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The Best Oil-Absorbing Ingredients For Your Skin

Posted by Ellie Swain on Nov 4th 2022

The Best Oil-Absorbing Ingredients For Your Skin

Many of us suffer from oily skin. Not only is a greasy face not a good look, but oily skin can contribute to unwanted bouts of acne.

There’s a right way to control oil and a wrong way. The wrong way – such as using denatured alcohol in an attempt to de-grease skin – only makes matters worse.

When it comes to skincare, the best thing you can do to reduce oiliness is to feed it with the right, high-quality ingredients to reduce shininess and keep the issue under control.

Fortunately, we know a couple of ingredients that can help with oil control without leaving your skin uncomfortable, dry, and tight.

Here are some ingredients to add to your oily skincare routine ASAP.

How Oil-Absorbing Ingredients Work

But first, let’s learn exactly how oil-absorbing skincare ingredients work.

Whether the absorbent ingredient is a type of clay, charcoal, or powder, all work similarly to draw the oil from the skin’s surface and from inside the pore lining.

These skincare ingredients can also keep hold of the oil they absorb so it doesn’t make the skin appear shiny and can be rinsed away.

Oil-absorbing ingredients can do this because their surface area is large or porous enough to keep oil from escaping.

The Best Oil-Absorbing Ingredients

Here are some of the best oil-absorbing ingredients to tackle shiny skin.


Clays are perhaps the most renowned and commonly used oil-absorbing ingredients and are often found in masks designed for treating oily skin.

Different clays are used in skincare products, some with misleading claims that they can heal skin or purge toxins.

However, what’s true is that clays work wonders at absorbing oils. At the same time, thanks to their absorbent nature, they aren’t hydrating.

Clay masks sometimes contain hydrating ingredients, but they’re used to help offset the dry effects of clays. This means you can enjoy the oil-absorbing benefits of clay without experiencing that dry, tight, pinched feeling after you rinse.

The Tuel Detox Clay Mask is an excellent option for those wanting to trial clay as an oil absorber.

Purge your pores with this intense mineral-rich mask and spot treatment in one. The fast-acting clay mask treats acne, and the kaolin clay and sulfur work together wonderfully to absorb oil and sebum while fighting blemishes caused by bacteria.


Charcoal is an impressive oil-absorbing ingredient, providing unique properties. Charcoal’s surface area relative to its size gives its remarkable capacity to absorb excess oil and other pore-clogging substances.

Part of what makes charcoal so beneficial for oily skin is its sponge-like action. Charcoal’s natural texture resembles a highly concentrated sponge filled with ‘holes’ with the power to attract and trap substances it contacts, including oil and water.

There are claims that charcoal can clean skin as well as reduce oiliness, but it doesn’t have the same cleansing properties that your daily cleanser has.

However, as charcoal can absorb oil and other unwanted nasties mixed with it, the ingredient can be thought of as cleansing or purifying.

The Cosmedix Detox Activated Charcoal Mask easily draws out pore-clogging dirt, oil, and impurities while removing age-accelerating pollutants for a fresher, smoother complexion. Ultra-purifying and gentle on the skin, the mask also exfoliates the face for added radiance.

Salicylic Acid

Salicylic acid has hit the beauty world headlines as an effective ingredient to reduce oiliness and combat acne. Salicylic acid is known to be lipophilic, meaning it dissolves oils.

This much-loved ingredient penetrates deep into your pores to flush out deep-set dirt and impurities, slough away dead skin cells, and banish oil build-up for a clearer complexion.


Also known as vitamin B3, niacinamide is another popular ingredient famous for banishing breakouts. Niacinamide helps absorb excess sebum while improving the appearance of pores and fine lines.

Not only that, but niacinamide strengthens the skin’s barrier and helps treat the skins of skin damage such as hyperpigmentation.

Other Ingredients

Other oil-absorbing ingredients to keep an eye out for include talc, aluminium, rice starch, starch octenyl succinate, cornstarch, silica, and nylon-12.

These ingredients are typically used in skincare products containing one or more clays or charcoal. With these popular oil-absorbing ingredients, they can enhance the application, texture, and how the solution dries on the skin. Interestingly, talc is an absorbent mineral that includes the element magnesium.

The GlyMedPlus Serious Action Sulfur Masque contains therapeutic sulfur and kaolin, along with talc, to absorb sweat and oil, destroy bacteria, and loosen and flake dead skin cells. Skin needing a heavy dose of TLC is left smooth and revitalized.

Do you want more skincare advice? Here’s how to recover over-exfoliated skin .