Problematic skin? Learn proven ways to care for oily skin.
If your quest for a perfectly matte complexion is often ruined by an unsightly oil slick come 3pm, well, you’re not alone.
Genetics, hormones, chemicals and even the weather can all contribute to oily skin, making us go through more blotting papers and powder compacts than our totes can handle.
And while a little sheen has the ability to make skin look healthy, dewy and glowy (hello, overflowing highlighter collection) it’s less than supermodel-esque when it creeps up on your T-zone and generally everywhere else.
What causes oily skin?
Our body produces oil to help keep our skin soft and supple, but if too much sebum is produced, it can lead to acne flare-ups and oiliness which are some of the leading causes of acne. The next time you ask yourself “why is my face so oily?”, remember that there are two main factors to blame: hormones and genetics.
Oily skin is known medically as seborrhea and is caused by excess skin oil produced within the pores. During puberty and other life events, fluctuating hormones can result in increased androgen levels – androgens are considered one of the top oily skin causes. Androgens are male hormones present in both males and females that signal the maturation of the skin’s sebaceous glands. As these glands mature, oil production increases.
The higher amount of androgens present, the more sebum is funneled through the pores, which then sits on the surface of the skin, creating an oily sheen. Should this excess oil become trapped in the pore and combine with dead skin cells and bacteria on the surface of the skin and inside the pore, pimples, blackheads, and other blemishes will form.
It’s also important to note the role that genetics can play in oily skin. In most acne patients, the reaction to hormonal changes is dependent on genes and hormones. Life events like puberty or pregnancy can result in hormone fluctuations, and genetics and hereditary factors can determine how your skin reacts to these hormone fluctuations.
Oily skin frequently affects the face. Symptoms of oily skin include:
- a shiny or greasy appearance
- very large or obvious pores on the skin
- skin that looks thick or rough
- occasional or persistent pimples
- clogged pores and blackheads
People with oily skin may have trouble finding makeup to suit their skin, as the makeup can mix with the sebum, giving it a different consistency.
The symptoms of oily skin and their severity vary between people. Genetics may play a role in how oily the skin becomes.
Hormone changes or high-stress levels may also increase the production of oily sebum by the body.
Cleanse and tone
Use a gentle, water-soluble cleanser twice daily. Ideally, the cleanser should rinse without leaving a hint of residue, be fragrance free (fragrance is always a problem) and not contain drying cleansing ingredients. (Drying up skin doesn’t help anything). For extra cleansing, please avoid skin-aggravating scrubs or cleansing brushes with stiff bristles. A soft washcloth or cleansing brush with ultra-soft bristles can be helpful—being rough on your skin is not!
An alcohol-free toner loaded with antioxidants and skin-replenishing ingredients is an incredibly important step for oily skin. Toners that contain these ingredients help skin renew and recharge, minimize the appearance of enlarged pores, and remove the last traces of makeup that can lead to clogged pores. For some this can be the only “moisturizer” they need for daytime.
Use blotting papers.
This is a quick, effective solution to soak up excess oil. They won’t cut down on your skin’s oil production though, so this treatment should be paired with a cleansing regimen for the best results.
- Make sure you don’t rub your skin with blotting papers. This can spread dirt and cause irritation. Instead, just gently press the paper down on your skin and hold it there for 15 to 20 seconds.
Don’t forget to moisturise
While it might feel a little counter-productive, moisturising morning and night will actually help to keep your skin’s oil production in check.
Be sure to stick to light, non-comedogenic formulas which preserve the skin’s natural defence against spots and blemishes without clogging pores. If you’re in a hurry, look for products to help streamline your routine.If your skin feels particularly dehydrated or if you’ve had one too many late nights, a sheet mask will deliver a surge of moisture without feeling heavy.
Preventing oily skin
When oily skin is caused by genetics or hormones, it’s tough to prevent. Practicing consistent skin care and avoiding unhealthy foods such as fried foods, foods high in sugar, and processed foods may help.
It’s tempting to use heavy cosmetics to cover the effects of oily skin, but this can make the condition worse. When oily skin acts up, reduce the use of makeup, especially foundation. Choose water-based products instead of oil-based. Look for products labeled noncomedogenic that are less likely to clog pores.
Many people claim home remedies for oily skin work. Most remedies aren’t well-researched. The success of a home remedy is dependent on many things such as your specific situation and the quality of the products you use.
It’s possible to develop allergies to remedies you have been using for a while. If your skin becomes sensitive to any product, discontinue use.
If a home remedy worsens symptoms, stop using it, and contact your doctor or a dermatologist. You should also seek medical help if oily skin symptoms such as acne are severe, since they may lead to infection or scarring.