#AskADerm: Q&A with Dr. Cristina Vajaitu on Oily Skin and Acne

Updated: Jul 12


When one thinks of a glow-up, you may imagine a blemish-free complexion that’s soft and bright thanks to your skin’s natural oils. However, ladies with oily skin types may be concerned that excess oil production may get in the way of their quest for perfect skin—and prevent them from using products like facial oils. We sit down with M.D. Dermatologist, Dr. Cristina Vajaitu, to hear her advice.



Q1: Facial oils for oily skin? Yes or no?


Dr. Vajaitu: "Oily skin is characterised by an increased production of sebum leading to a greasy aspect of the skin. But how can applying oil on oily skin be beneficial? The answer is simple, some oils have the capacity to control sebum secretion and reduce skin oiliness.

  • Grapeseed oil has astringent properties, thus reducing the excessive oiliness of the skin. This oil is rich in linoleic acid and antioxidants (such as resveratrol, vitamins), thus having anti-inflammatory and sebum regulating properties.

  • Tea tree oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, reducing the bacterial load of P. acnes, the bacteria that are involved in skin breakouts. Due to its capacity to penetrate deep into the skin, it is recommended to be used localised - only on the affected area, drying the pimples."



Q2: Cleansing oil for oily skin? Yes or no?


Dr. Vajaitu: "Even though it sounds paradoxical, cleansing oils can be used on oily skin.


Oil cleansers have the power to dissolve the oil better than any other cleanser ingredient.

Oil cleanser is better integrated into a double cleansing routine, using the cleansing oil as the first washing step and a water-based cleanser as the second step, this being the best way to prevent acne and blackheads to form. A cleansing oil containing a friendly oil for oily skin or acne-prone skin is recommended."



Q3: Can oily skin use serum?


Dr. Vajaitu: "Serums are not only used for dry or ageing skin but can be also used on oily skin when containing the right ingredients. A serum, by being lighter, can hydrate the skin in a proper manner and also encourage a lower sebum production.

The best option for oily or acne-prone skin is a light, water-based serum containing hyaluronic acid, glycerin, vitamin A, C and E, and also oils such as tea tree oil or beta-hydroxy acids such as salicylic acid."



Q4: How much moisturiser to use for oily skin?


Dr. Vajaitu: "Twice a day moisturizing is recommended for oily skin because it helps to prevent your skin from producing more oil. It is important to choose the right moisturizer for the oily skin: a water-based, lighter version is recommended. Another important aspect is to verify that it does not contain comedogenic ingredients. In addition to moisturizing, we need to keep in mind that drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy diet is important in maintaining the fluid balance in our bodies that will influence our skin condition."



Q5: Is oily skin dehydrated?


Dr. Vajaitu: "Dehydrated skin is not a skin type, but a condition. You can have oily, dry, or combination skin, and for some periods of time, it can also be dehydrated as the skin might be experiencing a lack of water. Thus oily skin can also be dehydrated - it can have plenty or too much oil in the skin, but still lack an adequate amount of water. Lacking oils in the skin means that the skin is dry."



Q6: Can acne scars heal?


Dr. Vajaitu: "Acne scars can be aided to heal by using a combination of treatments such as chemical peels, dermabrasion, laser resurfacing, fractional laser therapy, topical ointments such as derivatives of vitamin A, or injecting fillers such as hyaluronic acid in order to raise the scars to the level of normal skin. Some situations can require excision of these scars using punch biopsies or excisional biopsies when the area of scars is fused and extended."



Q7: How many acne products should I use in my routine?


Dr. Vajaitu: "It's essential for acne-prone skin to use cleansing products twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. Micellar water formulated for skin with blemishes should be the first step of the evening routine, before washing the face with a suitable cleanser. It is also important to use the right moisturizing product, especially during the morning routine that can assist with dehydration.


A product that contains either derivative of vitamin A or AHAs or BHAs is recommended for acne-prone skin as the last step of the evening skincare routine. SPF50 cream (formulated for acne-prone skin) is also of vital importance due to the risk of developing post-acne hyperpigmentations.

Apply the SPF50 cream before makeup in the morning routine.


Thus a cleansing product, micellar water, moisturizer, dedicated cream, and SPF cream are 5 vital products that need to be integrated into the daily routine for acne-prone skin."



Q8: Why does my acne keep coming back?


Dr. Vajaitu: "Acne is a chronic condition that cannot be completely cured but only kept under control using the right regimen. Its evolution is influenced by a large number of internal and external factors.


  • Internal factors can be represented by a high level of androgenic hormones or high levels of stress hormones such as cortisol or lack of sleep leading to an overproduction of sebum.

  • External factors can be due to the usage of comedogenic ingredients in our skincare products, a dirty pillowcase that can increase the facial bacterial load, an inappropriate diet that contains milk, dairy products, or high-iodine foods.


There are some spots on the body that are considered to be more prone to recurring zits such as chin and jaw area, T-zone, forehead, scalp, shoulders, back, arms, and butt due to a larger density of oily glands in these areas compared to the rest of the body."



Q9: What acne location means? Is there a reason behind sudden acne on my chin?


Dr. Vajaitu: "If the pimples are located in a certain area of the face, they can be due to a certain cause as you can see down below.


  • Acne around the hairline is also called pomade acne. This type of acne appears due to certain hair products that contain comedogenic ingredients. The best way of avoiding or treating this type of acne is by using only non-comedogenic hair products and washing the hair with a clarifying shampoo in order to clean the pores and remove any product residue.

  • Acne on the cheeks is due to the bacterial load on the skin and is mostly the cause of a lack of rigorous hygiene. The causes are touching your cheeks, holding your phone against your cheek when you’re talking on the phone, friction or bacteria from the pillow you sleep on (or sleeping on your hand), or wearing makeup on your cheeks, to name a few.

  • Acne located on the chin and jawline (“hormonal acne”) can be due to either hormonal imbalance (mostly an excess of androgens that overstimulate the oil glands and clog the pores in that area due to the fact that the number of androgenic receptors and the sensitivity for androgens is higher in that area compared to the rest of the face) or a dismicrobism along the intestinal tract. So, the first step to take in this situation is checking your hormonal levels, and in the case of women, have a gynecology consultation and ovarian echography to verify for polycystic ovaries, and re-evaluation of the diet in order to maintain a balanced intestinal microbiota.

  • Acne on the forehead and nose (T-zone) is due to the overproduction of oil. Stress and sleep deprivation seem to play an important role in the pathogenesis of this type of acne.


With invaluable insights shared from Dr. Cristina Vajaitu, we can ascertain that ladies with oily skin can enjoy a variety of products by picking those with the right ingredients. If you have relatively good skin and only get the occasional spot popping up, it’s essential to take care of your complexion to continue reaping the benefits.


Start with good basics that are suitable for oily skin. The Glow Renew Moist Cleanser is gentle on combination skin while gently and efficiently removing impurities and excess sebum. Follow up with the Glow Renew Essence Toner with Green Tea and Niacinamide to prevent clogged pores and help minimise oiliness on your skin, then a lightweight water-based gel-like moisturiser such as the Ultra Pore Refiner to help control oil production and target dark spots with its potent key ingredients of AHA, Niacinamide, Witch Hazel and Ceramide.


With the right diet and product ingredients, you’ll get the glow-up you desire—sans the shine!



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As featured in Her World, CLEO, FEMALE, Shape, Nuyou, Singapore Women’s Weekly, Daily Vanity, Layers of Skins.









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