Our reader Lakshmi asked:

My face feels quite dry after washing, but after using toner, serum and moisturizer, in about an hour my face is so oily that I get break-outs. If I don’t use anything, my face skin looks dry and lifeless. So my question is: Is it necessary to use a toner, serum and moisturizer for oily/combination skin or is there any single product that can suffice and make my face look hydrated without being oily?

Your description suggests that your skin is oily but dehydrated. It is a frustrating situation you’re in, but what it means is that you have to choose your products very carefully.

Firstly, try to select products that are meant for oily/combination skin. This is usually labeled on the products.

While it’s tempting to go for cleansers that leaves your skin feeling completely oil-free after wash, it may be stripping too much sebum from your skin, causing your skin to over-compensate with even higher levels of sebum production. Go for a mild cleanser that doesn’t irritate and maintains the pH levels of your skin.

Using a toner helps to hydrate and mattify your skin. Again, choose products meant for oily/combination skin for yourself.

A serum can be incorporated into the regime according to the skin’s requirement. Serums usually contain a more concentrated amount of active ingredients. This supplements your regular skin care regime to give you quicker, more obvious results. In your case, your best bet is to go for an oil control product, or choose a lightweight serum that penetrates quickly into your skin and provides good hydration. You could try the L’Oreal Paris Youth Code Boosting Essence. This product also helps to prepare your skin for better absorption of subsequent products.

L'Oreal Paris Youth Code Boosting Essence
Photo source: L’Oreal Paris

A moisturizer hydrates your skin, which is important to help control oil secretion levels in your skin. It also strengthens your skin’s barrier function to prevent moisture loss. Select something that is gel based (rather than creams that are slightly oilier) to avoid irritating your skin.

Most importantly, use UV protection to reduce UV induced damages to your skin. Unprotected exposure to UV rays can cause premature ageing to occur.

The Expert

Aileen Lee, L'Oreal Paris' Retail and Training Manager