Are BB Creams good for oily skin?

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Today is one of those days when I feel the beauty industry is leaving me, the beauty junkie, behind and it feels frustrating to have just discovered BB Creams when they’ve been on the market since 1980s. Shame on me! At least I woke up in time to witness the transition towards the revolutionary CC Creams but I am going to leave the latter for another exciting post.

Now, back one letter up in the alphabet, BB creams…

What is BB Cream?

BB originally stands for ‘Blemish Balm’ a 3-in-one product designed to treat, moisturize and cover acne prone skin that was turned into a celebrity product by a Korean actress back in 1980s.  Due to the continuous evolution of the product, when BB creams were introduced to U.S. companies kept adding more benefits to it quickly involving new audiences (and skin issues) thus switching to the name  ‘Beauty Balm’.

The BB creams today have changed from simply treating blemishes into multi-tasking products (you can find these creams treating almost everything (from aging issues to, dehydration, uneven skin, large pores, offering sun protection etc.) that don’t require extra layering products saving you some money that you’d normally spend on foundations, primers, moisturizers and sunblocks.

Dermatologist and spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology, Debra Jaliman, MD, states  for HuffingtonPost:

“BB creams contain a moisturizer, foundation, sunblock and primer in one product. Many people like this as they don’t have to layer on multiple products and get great coverage. In this fast-paced world people are looking for shortcuts.”

Does BB Cream really work?


For me BB creams are more of a cosmetic option for problematic skin than a real dermatological solution and I don’t believe that you can solve all the skin problems you’ve had since adolescence with a tinted magic potion. The major problem that ALL products on the market have is the concentration level of their ingredients.

It’s not enough for a product to simply contain all the wonder ingredients you want for your skin but also they need to have the proper concentration in order for them to work and we can never know this because companies don’t reveal them unless acting on promotional premises.  Even with a simple moisturizer the issue of  ingredients’ concentration level may arise and I don’t even want to think about BB creams!

I personally don’t think they work for skin with real issues, if you have moderate or severe acne please talk with you doctor about this because some ingredients in skincare products may exacerbate existing problems (mineral oil- although it is not comedogenic it is a common allergen).

Is BB Cream good for oily skin?

It ultimately depends on the product and on what it is formulated with. I usually try to stay away of Alcohol Denat (SD Alcohol 40, Denatured Alcohol, Ethanol and Isopropyl Alcohol), Sodium or Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate because they can be extremely dehydrating, oils that are too heavy (Wheat Germ Oil, whatever comes from Coconut- oil and butter- Cocoa Butter) and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate because it is comedogenic. Check out the comedogenic ingredients from Beneficial Botanicals.

Other than this and then the fact that too many multi-tasking benefits are less likely to help your skin I don’t think that BB Creams should not be used. I personally believe they can be a good option as foundation, primer or sun protection, it might help to even skin tone and mattify the skin so why not give it shot!

Best BB Cream for oily skin under the microscope

Garnier Skin Renew Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream is one of  the most famous and high rated affordable BB Creams. I get a lot of questions about Garnier’s BB Cream from ladies that are interested in having it. I never bought it for myself but one of my friend bought it and I got to try it too. It seemed to me too thin to provide any real cover (I have uneven skin tone from acne marks and I need serious coverage) and on top of it, it made my skin very shinny.

Let’s get down and analyze the ingredients. This is the ingredient list:

Active: Octinoxate 4%. Inactive: Water, Isononyl Isononanoate, Isohexadecane, Glycerin, Alcohol Denat., PEG-20 Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Cetyl Palmitate, Nylon-12, Cyclohexasiloxane, Propylene Glycol, Hydrogenated Polyisobutene, Stearyl Alcohol, Magnesium Aluminum Silicate, Phenoxyethanol, Fragrance, Caprylyl Glycol, Lithum Magnesium Sodium Silicate, Disodium EDTA, Linalool, Benzyl Salicylate, Limonene, Caffeine, Ascorbyl Glucoside, Benzyl Alcohol, Geraniol, Cellulose Acetate Butyrate, Polyphosphorylcholine Glycol Acrylate, Citral, Ammonium Polyacryloyldimethyl Taurate, Polyvinyl Alcohol, Sodium Chloride, Butylene Glycol, Sodium Hyaluronate. [May Contain: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxides].

I advise you to look at the first 5 ingredients because there’s where the high concentration is, meaning that these 5 ingredients are more likely to affect your skin than the rest of them. And as we can see here, Alcohol Denat is present which, for me, is an unacceptable ingredient in products that should be used by oily skinners because continuous use will get your skin dehydrated and thus more sebum will be produced.

My second problem is with the active ingredients Oxtinoxate which is supposed to offer protection against UV rays. Unfortunately this ingredient doesn’t offer protection against UVA only UVB and it is not quite stable. The fact that this product relies on Oxtinoxate for sun protection renders the product less effective. You can read more about Oxtinoxate on Truth in Aging and judge for yourselves.

In conclusion, would I recommend Garnier BB Cream for oily skinners? Definitely not.

What have we learned about BB creams?

BB Creams are just the creation of a lot of marketing, seems like a great product for today’s customers but I wouldn’t rely on it to do everything it says it does. You should keep your eyes opened and not take everything that looks pretty and is on the trend for granted, do some research before buying, read some reviews and then decide if this is worth investing in. If you ask me I think BB Creams are the biggest deflated souffle of the decade. What do you think?

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6 Comments

  1. Alyssa

    December 11, 2012 at 9:09 pm

    I just wanted to say that I LOVE your blog! It has been incredibly helpful as I have suffered from oily-acne prone skin since I was 12. I am 19 now. As for BB creams, I agree that a lot of it is crap. emilynoel83 on youtube has a video which she compares the different types which is quite helpful. I also really like Tarte BB Amazonian Clay Tinted Moisturizer w/ SPF 20! It gives good coverage, but I do set it w/ powder. Thanks again for writing this blog!!!

    • Livia

      December 12, 2012 at 2:33 pm

      Hi Alyssa,
      Thank you for stopping by and sharing with us what works for you, I’m sure others will find it useful.I’ve never tried Tarte BB product but there’s a start for everything. Take care!

  2. Charliecoy

    December 13, 2012 at 6:54 am

    Once again you providing us good information. I’ll be back later for some great reading. Thanks for the post…

  3. Anna

    December 19, 2012 at 6:57 pm

    Just wanna give some quick input on this. I’ve tried quite a few bbcreams the last year. If you have, like me, acne prone skin you definitely avoid the bbcreams from garnier and Dior! Big warning! I loved the coverage and feel of diors bb cream, but once you washed it of, horror! Spots popping up every where. I went from having a couple small spots to develope real acne:(
    Went to a dermatologist who recommended Jane Iredal BBcream and so far so god. I’ve only been using it for a week now and haven’t noticed any new blemishes because of it. It ha amazing coverage but can be a bit flakey, this can be helped by hydrating skin your skin properly before applying!

    • Livia

      December 19, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      Hi Anna, Thanks for sharing some tips with us. I haven’t tried Jane Iredal BB Cream yet but there’s a start for everything.
      Take care and stop by again!

  4. Ruma

    April 14, 2013 at 4:53 am

    hi..I’m RUMA..I’v acne prone oily skin..I can’t find any good moisturizer for me..Will garnier BB cream really good for me..??…please give me suggestions…

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