How To Cure An Oily, Pimply T-Zone

How To Cure An Oily, Pimply T-Zone

I typically have very dry skin, so you can imagine my horror when the weather in Toronto turned steaming hot and humid (literally overnight), and the skin on my face turned into a greasy mess.

t-zoneIt wasn’t so much that my entire face went oily, it was more the T-Zone area. If you’re not sure where the T-Zone is on your face, here is a pretty diagram I’ve made for you. Just imagine a T shape on your face. The top part of the T is your forehead, and the bottom is a line drawn down your nose and chin.

And it wasn’t just oily skin either, I broke out with some small pimples, with two on my nose, one on my chin and a small scattering on my forehead. Not a pretty site and very unfortunate after I’d only recently be celebrating completely clear skin.

I don’t think I helped matters much either by using my ‘usual’ amount of moisturizer on the first humid morning. I slathered on a decent amount of my Olay moisturizer which my skin usually needs in the cold and dry weather. On this very humid day it just made my skin greasy and shiny. So much so that my house mate even made a comment at how greasy my face was looking! Eww.

So the first thing I knew I needed to do was to use less moisturizer. In fact, I’m of the belief that if your skin is oily or you feel as though you don’t need any moisturizer, then why bother even putting it on. I’m sure there are beauty therapists out there groaning and shaking their heads, but I’m positive that moisturizers only work on the top layers of the skin, so they’re more for aesthetics and making your skin feel better rather than being a ‘cure all’. So if you already have plenty of natural moisture on your skin, why bother?

As soon as I started using significantly less moisturizer, and leaving my forehead out completely, my skin began to recover. I also used my Paula’s Choice 2% BHA once a day (at night), and used my Miessence Purifying Blemish gel on the small spots that I had. It took about a week for the blotchiness and pimples to go away, but they did! And now I’m happily pimple free again.

So for those of you with oily skin or oily t-zones, consider perhaps how much moisturizer you’re using on your skin. If it’s making your skin feel oilier or greasier then do you think you’d be better off with no moisturizer at all?

Here’s a video I recorded about my oily T-Zone:


26 comments… add one

  • Glory

    Benzoyl peroxide is the most effective topical disinfectant for the treatment of blemishes. I agree with Fran’s tip. I have the same kind of skin and i think reducing or even avoiding using excessive moisturizer on the t-zone will help. You can also try to apply moisturizer only on the dry areas in the night and after you wake up in the morning if your t-zone is oily then you dont need to apply moisturizer there since your skin is producing enough oils on its own.

  • RobynMu2

    I have a slightly oily t-zone and there has been a noticeable decrease in the overall oiliness of my skin since I started using the pH Balanced Moisturizer from Made from Earth skincare line. I would recommend this and a face wash in conjunction if you have oily skin.

    I use my face wash in the shower and then apply the PH Balanced Moisturizer when I get out.

  • Mitchie

    Hi Jillian, I used to have a simalir problem to u. I had loads of different sized pimples near my forehead, chin and nose and even my cheeks. So basically my whole face. I even got bullied for it. But as I followed Fran’s advice ( not to keep changing your facial routine and to go the natural way) it cleared up. A lot. So now, I really only use natural products. And I did start drinking more water and eating lots healthier. I bet u can clear it up in a few months. I use things from lush. Like herbalism. But there are quite a few natural things out there. Just keep ur eyes open and stay away from really harsh chemicals like benzoyl peroxide. Thx 4 reading this long comment!

  • Jillian

    Hey Fran I’m a 13 year old girl with an oily t-zone and lots of small pimples all over my forehead, chin, and nose. I cut down on moisturizer and use it every other day and it hasn’t helped. What can I do! I clean my face in the morning then clean it with an exfoliating scrub at night. I use astringent after. I want to know how to make my acne go away. Please don’t tell me that I will grow out of it!! I was hopeing to make it go away by when school started up again. I have 2 monthes. I can’t go order proactive or get a prescription or anything my mom tells me I’m fine and to not worry about it. But even my friends agree it’s not looking good. Pleeeease help me!!

  • Robin


    For just under a year I have been struggling with oily skin, only in the T-zone area (mainly on my nose), forehead, but none on my chin.

    I started to notice it on my first day of moving towns due to studying reasons. I moved into a flat with 3 strangers and I noticed my skin started to shine. So, perhaps it is stress related.

    But anyway, since then I’ve had a nightmare with my skin. It’s a really funny situation because I will shower in the morning, and then I will walk to uni and my skin will be fine, then half an hour/to an hour into being at uni my skin starts to shine. It continues over the day to get worse too.

    I wouldn’t say it is dreadful, but it is pretty bad and it is also getting worse day by day. Also, I’m from the UK, and as summer is beginning, I’ve noticed an increase in oil on my skin in this week alone!

    It’s a real nightmare and I suppose you understand how it can socially irratate you. I went for a meal tonight with some friends at a restaraunt, my skin was fine, then I went to the toilet after I’d eaten and in the mirror I saw my nose was shiny. It just makes me feel un-confident and as if I can’t be myself. When I’m talking to someone I notice they look at my nose and it just annoys me now, so I’ve decided to seek help.

    I have tried a tea tree oil moisturiser and several vaseline moisturisers but none seem to do any good. I want to know how I can keep my skin from producing oil! As I’ve said, my skin is fine for about an hour after washing, then it suddenly breaks out.

    I haven’t actually spoken about it to anyone, this is the first time I have actually contacted someone or anything. I haven’t even mentioned it or asked any of my friends because I’m worried of their responses.

    I would sincerely appreciate your opinion.


    Robin. :)

  • Mitchie- When going down the natural path with the skin, it’s really normal for the acne to take a good 3 months to clear up ..or even show significant difference. Stick with it :)

  • Mitchie

    Do you know if the lush products are any good? I have looked at their website. I can smell the shop from a mile away and was just wondering if all the smells and scents were good for my skin. I have oily skin, espically in my T-Zone. I need to know which Lush products aren’t that harsh.

  • Mitchie

    Like I have said in my other comment, I have tried everything. It has been a while since I had acne. And a few weeks after I had acne I tried different products that worked. So like you recommended, I didn’t change my routine for a while. But it’s taking more than it’s meant to. (6-12 weeks) Is it because its hormonal and the products I use like Clean and Clear, Body shop tea tree, witch hazel products… are just to HELP clear up my skin?

  • Mitchie

    I am only 10. I read your blogs and watch your videos. They are very helpful and my acne has become better. I have mild acne. I used to have mild acne before but you can see a difference. I forgot what the natural deoderant has to do with acne. But anyway, I just wanted to say thanks for the tips and advice. And am I too young to have acne? I have tried everything from the body shop tea tree range to clean and clear. Not clearasil because apparently Benyol Peroxzide makes you break out more. Please help!!!

  • Sammi

    Hi Fran,
    I used to have really bad pimple breakouts but since using a new system, my skin has been for the most part clear. I still have one or two pimples but its mostly gone. In the beginning, using this system, my skin was really nice but recently my skin has been really red every day. It has never been this red before and it looks really unnatural. I would put concealer on, but I don’t want to breakout again. I don’t think it’s because my skin is dry because in the beginning it was fine. Do you think I have to change my skin care system every once in a while?

  • dj

    basically my oily skin is the main reason for spots all over my T zone, do you know how to correct a oily T zone,the best methods,best products etc,any info would be great

  • austin

    I’m not too bad off, but school starts in around 5 days and even a few pimples that pop up every now and then annoy the heck out of me, ive used that clean and clear stuff before and also just tried a plain bar of soap. Is there something im doing wrong or something else im supposed to be using?

  • Hi Su, lucky you living in a climate which is always warm! It’s winter here at the moment and I don’t like the cold :)

    The best thing you can do for your t-zone is just leave it alone. If you keep washing your face and scrubbing at it you may be stimulating more oil production. Just stick to washing your face twice a day – once in the morning and once in the evening.

    If you’re doing holistic treatments – eating well, exercising, practicing relaxation, etc ..then the oils coming out of the skin will be less “toxic” because you body won’t need to remove as much physical and emotional waste. So if you’re healthy on the inside your sweat shouldn’t make you break out.

  • su

    i live in a tropical country. my side of the island is always hot,the thing is that i never put mosturiser on bcoz of past experiences with getting so hot under the sun. my question is :why does my t-zone always feel oily?
    my t-zone is forever oily,i would go and use facial scrub now and in the next 3hours or so its back to being oily/greasy…help!!!

  • Fran said:
    “A sunblock is not for moisturizing, it’s to protect our skin from skin cancer, so if you’re going out in the sun you definitely need it.”

    It looks like you’ve got fair skin, and need to me more careful about sun exposure than others. One thing to consider, though, is that vitamin D is produced in your skin by exposure to UV-B rays. The so called “burning” rays. The trick is to get enough sun during the peak hours (generally around 10am-2pm) WITHOUT getting burned. This will be very protective against skin cancer! Too much sun out of the peak hours exposes you to UV-A radiation which can promote skin damage and isn’t checked because of a lack of vitamin D production. By the way, Almost all tanning beds block UV-B rays to promote tanning.

  • Jane


    My skin is very dry but also greasy on my T zone. I have a problem using foundation as I need to moisturise my face but my T zone gets so greasy that my foundation just comes off, but if I don’t moisturise my T zone the skin is then very dry and flaky. I’ve tried loads of skincare items from the local supermarkets own make to Clinique. My foundations range from Loreal, Maxfactor and Clinique.
    Help please


  • Hi Jonathan,

    All of your questions are answered in my free acne cure mini-course and in the acne blog archives (

    Or you can join my coaching program for personal support:

  • Jonathan

    Hello. Nice videos. I do not have much acne anywhere but there is many on my forehead. I think it is because for all my life I hung my hair there. I am fourteen years old. I have been holding my hair back for about a week and a half and how long do you think it will take? Also what products do you recommend? I have been applying Aplicare Povidone Iodine on my forehead and I have been seeing little progress. There is currently 6 or 8 pimples but many many red spots from previous acne. Thank you.

  • Danielle

    Thanks Fran for the info. I will be writing on your forum, but I wanted to say that I am unable to see a dermatologist because of lack of funds. So I will be looking for product with tea tree oil in them and if there is anything else please let me know. Thanks!

  • Hi Zack, if you’re going outside of course. A sunblock is not for moisturizing, it’s to protect our skin from skin cancer, so if you’re going out in the sun you definitely need it.

    My mother, grandmother, grandfather and uncle have all had skin cancers so I’m very careful when I’m out in the sun.

  • Zack

    Hi Fran I was wondering do you still need to put on sunscreeen if you skin is oily?

  • Hi Danielle, you may have very badly clogged pores from years of using the wrong products, so the constant oil is breaking you out and keeping your pores clogged (the first stage of an inflammation).

    Sign up to my mini-course if you haven’t already, and follow the steps in that. This article is also a summary of the mini-course:

    I’d suggest that you start using products for oily skin, specifally something that contains a salicylic acid or BHA so you can help purge your clogged pores. You’ll then need to use something antibacterial to try and stop those breakouts. If you can find a cleanser and moisturizer that contains tea tree oil, or something else that’s natural and antibacterial, then this will be a good option for you.

    Also work on your diet by eating typically low GI foods. This will help remove the excess oil in your skin, and reduce the redness and inflammation. Diet is extremely important for the holistic healing of our skin. It’s not good to just work on the surface level, you need to consider your whole body :)

    This is really long, sorry. If you would like more help, jump into the forum and I can answer more there.

  • Danielle

    Hi, I just starting looking at your videos on youtube and I have been trying to clear my skin for about 10 to 12 years. I don’t want to go into a long story but maybe you could let me know what I should try that might work. First mistake I made was a friend of mine had told me that everyday he would put vaseline on his face, well I have extremely oily skin I mean if my arm or my leg is dry I could actually use my face as a lotion. Anyway since then I have had very many blackhead, whitehead and large painful bumps that has been in my skin for about 10 years. I believe I have the most servere acne I have ever seen. There is seriously more “pimples” than I can even count on my face. Also from the old pimples there are scars many dark scars on my face which make it look like someone threw-up on my face. Also I am a black woman just 25 years old and this has been preventing me from getting a job. People love me on the phone and think I do excellent work but when they see me it’s a totally different story. I have tried everything from over the counter to Proactiv to Murad. Nothing seems to work. I don’t mean to vent but I really am tired of being let down by products. Let me know what should be my first step. Please inform! Thanks

  • Estella that’s awesome!

  • OK. The past couple of days, I’ve stopped moisturizing at night. I wake up every morning with soft, but not greasy skin. My natural oils seem to take care of it very well. In the morning after washing, though, I put on a moisturizer with spf. I’ve noticed a big difference in how often I need to use blotting paper.

  • Thanks. This was really helpful to think about. I started thinking, yeah, topical moisturizer makes sense if I’m using a harsh face wash and harsh pimple cream everyday, drying my skin out, or it makes sense for skin that’s not prepared to deal with harsh dry winter weather, but I imagine you’re right, if it’s summer, and I’m using only a gentle cleanser and natural spot treatments, like aloe vera, well, the skin’s natural oils should take care of moisturizing, shouldn’t it? I think I’m going to give that a try for a day because I have an extremely oily t-zone.

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