When you have oily skin, your skin may age slower than other skin types. But that’s little consolation when you’re dealing with acne, large pores, and shine (and not the good kind either, i.e. grease).
Fear not though! Let's find out what together what causes your oily skin and learn basic tips on how to combat the excess oil.
What is Oily Skin?
Some people think they have oily skin when they actually have combination skin oily only in some areas like the forehead, T-zone, chin, and nose.
How can you know you truly have oily skin? Check if you experience the symptoms and characteristics of the skin type:
• Shiny or greasy surface (everywhere)
• Enlarged pores
• Occasional or frequent appearance of acne
An easy way to test your skin to see if it is oily is to use a gentle cleanser in the morning, pat dry your skin and retain form applying makeup or other products.
Wait a couple of hours and look in the mirror. If your face is shiny, you have oily skin.
If your chin or cheeks are dry but your T-zone, forehead and/or nose are shiny, you have combination skin.
What Causes Oily Skin?
Oily skin is the result of excess sebum production. Excess sebum happens when we produce a lot more sebum (our skin's natural oil) than normal.
That excess is something we can thank (in this case, blame) genetics for.
The amount of oil we produce; the size of our oil glands; as well as the number of oil glands we have—we can inherit all that from our parents.
So, when people inherit more and bigger oil glands (sebaceous glands), they’ll be producing a lot more sebum.
Knowing that your oily skin is largely genetic can be disheartening. But fortunately, oily skin is perfectly manageable. And that’s where skin care comes in.
But in some cases, using the wrong skin care products can make your oily skin worse. Like using a heavy moisturizer or not using one at all.
Overdoing your skin care routine can exacerbate your oily skin too. Washing or exfoliating your face too often or too harshly will strip away too much of the oil from your skin.
Your sebaceous glands will see this as an emergency call. They'll start working harder, so they can produce enough oils to make up for the loss and restore the balance.
By then, you end up with more oil than when you started.
If You Have Oily Skin, You May Also Experience These
- Acne. When your skin produces too much oil, it starts to build up and clog the pores. And "thanks" to the shedding dead skin cells and acne bacteria, the oil hardens and pimples happen.
- Makeup doesn't stay in place. Are you familiar with this scenario? You leave for a party or dinner out. Your makeup is perfectly set in place and fixed. You look stunning! Then you arrive at the venue and go to the restroom, only to see your makeup is already running down your face. Annoying, I know.
- Shiny and greasy look. Though the dewy look is beloved by many, oily skin takes that look up ten notches. You'll also find the shine and grease accentuating your pores, as though the larger pores oily skin peeps tend to have need any more help.
Tips For Combating Excess Oil
Whatever the problems associated with your oily skin are, I have some solutions for you to try.
1. Adopt better skin care habits
To make sure your skin care is working in your oily skin's favor, you need to adopt better skin care habits.
For starters, stop using stripping products.
An example of a stripping product is a cleanser that leaves your skin tight and squeaky clean. Yes, it removes excess sebum. But it also takes away the normal amount your skin needs to be healthy.
You need to go for gentle, straight to the point products instead of stripping ones.
In line with the point above, use a gentle cleanser.
Cleansing is an oily skin's first line of defense. This step helps in getting rid of excess sebum. With how important it is, you have to make sure you're using a gentle, non-stripping cleanser.
In fact, it's so important that you need to cleanse twice a day to help regulate oil.
The morning cleanse takes care of the sweat and natural oils you produced overnight. As well as leftover skin care and dead skin cells on your pillowcase that transferred to the skin overnight.
The evening cleanse then takes care of makeup, dirt, pollutants, and oil. If you notice your face covered in grease during the day, please resist the urge to wash it again.
Over-washing will be an incentive for your skin to produce even more oils.
Going to another "over," please avoid over-exfoliating. Instead, keep it at once or twice a week, as you'll see in tip #2.
Lastly, don't skip moisturizer.
Moisturizing coats the skin and acts as a protective layer—keeping all the much-needed water in your skin. If you have oily skin, it might seem like moisturizing will only make you oilier.
But that’s not true when you use the right moisturizer!
A non-comedogenic (not pore-clogging) moisturizer that fits your oily skin will keep you skin happily moisturized and even less likely to produce excess sebum).
Look into gel or gel-cream moisturizers. These types are often oil-free, water-based, and lightweight yet moisturizing enough for oily skin.
2. Exfoliate 1-2 times a week
When you have excess sebum, you'll want to avoid having dead skin cells stubbornly sticking to your skin.
Dead skin cells mixed with excess sebum and a dash of acne bacteria is the recipe for a breakout waiting to happen.
To make sure your pores are always clean, exfoliation is your pal. This skin care step makes sure dead skin cells are always on the move. It even helps clear out your already clogged pores.
But take note that exfoliation shouldn't be about scrubs but about chemical exfoliants.
Physical exfoliants like scrubs and konjac sponges might seem like they're helping. But they can actually damage your skin because of their rough texture.
Chemical exfoliants, on the other hand, often come in the form of serums. These easy to spread liquids gently exfoliates your skin.
Salicylic acid for example is great for oily skin. It's oil-soluble, meaning it can cut through the grease of your oily skin and deeply clean your pores.
It gets bonus points too for being a huge help with acne.
And again, be careful not to over-exfoliate, because this can amp up your oil production.
You can learn all about exfoliation in the post Exfoliation Explained.
3. Use a mask 2-3 times a week
Masks help reduce the oily appearance of skin for days at a time. They also help clear pores, making them less noticeable.
Try my 3 Green Clay Masks recipes for clearer skin.
It uses green clay which does a great job of purifying the skin, controlling oil production, and tightening the pores.
4. Avoid mineral oil in your cosmetics
Mineral oil is often added to skin care products and makeup.
It's a cheap ingredient that creates an illusive feeling for moisturizing. In moisturizers especially, mineral oil is a staple for heavy formulas.
Though mineral oil can be great for dry skin peeps, it's actually bad news for oily skin peeps. Mineral oil can clog the pores and even cause flushing and irritation.
5. Don't try to soak the excess oil in powder
Remember the scenario from earlier? You leave the house stunning and arrive at a venue with makeup running down your face. What do you do?
You reach for your purse and sprinkle powder all over your face. You don't stop until your skin is matte at all angles. Maybe even cakey at some areas.
But I'm guessing looking too matte and cakey isn't your end goal. Nor is it your goal for the powder to mix with the oil and clog your pores.
What you can do is look for a matte translucent powder and use it sparingly. You can also try oil-blotting papers. Just don't press too hard as they can take your makeup off along with the oil.
Now that you're certain you have oily skin, you can confidently proceed with oily skin tips to manage your skin type.
Because let's face it, one-size-fit-all advice has no place in skin care. On top of the various skin types, we can have different skin conditions, concerns, and goals.
So, embrace your oily skin and take the steps needed to manage the excess oil.
Do you have oily skin? Share how you take care of it in the comments below.
Thank you for reading my blog, I hope the post was helpful. Feel free to share it with your friends.
Stay tuned and take skin care 🙂