Introduction: Shine On!
Our skin is a funny thing – it covers our entire body and reacts to different stimuli. If we’re embarrassed our skin might flush red, and if we’ve been in a hot place for too long our skin will produce natural oils. Ah! Oily skin, get away from me!
It might surprise you to know that oil secretions from your skin are actually produced to protect your skin. We know that oily skin is supposedly the worst thing that can happen to a person, but it has only good intentions!
The oily secretions are called sebum and are only produced to hydrate your skin after being in a dry area for too long. Many dermatologists assure us that oil is good for the skin and is vital for keeping it healthy.
However, it’s hard to follow this advice when your face is seemingly always covered in oil. No matter how much you blot or try to cover it with makeup, the oil will always seep through. We know that it can be a big knock to your self-confidence, which is why we’ve compiled this guide.
Today we’ll be looking at why your skin gets oily and how to prevent it, along with some tips to follow to avoid your sebum from overpowering your life. Unfortunately, preventing oily skin doesn’t come easy and it might take you a while to find what works for you, but stay with us – you got this!
Why Does Oily Skin Happen?
We know that you’re desperate to know how to reduce the oil on your skin, and we promise that we’ll get to it soon. But first, we need to understand the reason that sebum seeps from your skin.
Sebum is produced from the sebaceous glands when the skin is too dry – it is the skin’s way of naturally preventing damage from occurring.
Everyone’s skin produces natural oils when it needs them, but some people seem to suffer from too much oil being produced. There are a few reasons for this, from genetics to how you live your life. Let’s take a look at how these factors might be affecting your skin more than you first thought.
Having a bad diet can affect the oils that are secreted from your skin.
When you can see oil on your food, it’s likely that you’ll be able to see it on your face too!
You might assume that this only refers to fried and junk food, but dairy can also promote oily skin.
While dairy products come with plenty of health benefits, they’re not the best for oily skin.
Dairy contains hormones that have been known to clog pores and promote sebum production. To avoid dairy causing an oily face, consider switching to non-dairy alternatives such as soy or oat milk.
Foods that contain too much sugar or salt are also bad for your face, as they can promote spots and dryness. Once your skin becomes dry thanks to too much salt, your skin will try to compensate with excess oil. Finally, alcohol can also add to oily skin. Much like salt, alcohol dries our skin out.
To avoid your diet becoming a cause of your oily skin, try and stick to a balanced diet as much as possible. Of course, it’s impossible to never eat unhealthy food again – but try and limit yourself if you want your skin to improve!
Unfortunately, oily skin can be passed down through families.
If one of your parents has oily skin, there’s a chance that you’ll have it too.
You cannot change your parents, so you have to suck it up and follow the preventative measures to ensure that your overactive sebaceous glands are kept at bay.
Your lifestyle will also play a role in your oily skin journey. Are you an active person who enjoys getting your sweat on?
While exercising can release endorphins and promote better wellbeing, it can also contribute to an oily face.
As sweat builds up on your skin it can clog pores if not washed off right away.
Too many people make the mistake of smashing a sweat sesh in the gym and allowing the sweat to dry on their skin. Dried sweat can lead to rashes and acne, which in turn can lead to excess oil.
We’re not suggesting that you give up exercise altogether, as exercise is very beneficial to your skin in many ways. However, you should carry a face wash with you to ensure that all of the sweat is cleaned off of your face before it has any time to do some damage.
Where you live could be another contributing factor to how oily your skin is becoming. If you live in an area with high humidity you might find that your skin produces more oil due to the hotter climate.
In comparison; however, some people also find that colder climates also make their skin oilier. This can be put down to the fact that cold temperatures dry our skin out, which makes the sebaceous glands want to overcompensate and produce more oil.
What Are The Symptoms Of Oily Skin?
You might be wondering whether the amount of sebum produced by your skin is enough to be classified as oily skin.
People are affected by oily skin differently and some produce much more than others. While you think you have oily skin, you might actually only have normal skin that needs a different skincare routine.
The number one telling of whether you have oily skin or not is a shiny face. Finding that your face looks greasy halfway throughout the day is a symptom of oily skin. Your face should not need to be blotted every couple of hours, but if it does it will mean that you have overactive sebaceous glands.
Oil can clog your pores and lead to pimples and oversized pores. If you find that you have a lot of breakouts and blackheads, it could be an indicator that your skin is oily. Don’t worry, though, as there are ways to minimize this symptom.
Your skin might also look rough or thicker than others. This is because of the more oil glands underneath the skin. There are more of them and therefore make your skin look thicker in comparison to someone with a dry skin type.
Most people with oily skin will have either one or all of the above symptoms. The most common is a shiny face, but this more than likely will lead to oversized pores and imperfections. If you find that your makeup is separating throughout the day, it is more than likely due to an oily skin type.
Is There Anything We Can Do About It?
Luckily for us, there are various things that we can do to prevent an oily face from ruining our lives. Many skincare experts have been coming out with more research to educate us on what is best for our skin, no matter what type it is.
Let’s take a look into what we can do to prevent you from having to carry around your blotting sheets everywhere you go.
Carrying around blotting papers is an excellent daily habit to start reinforcing into your routine.
When you feel the shine coming on, don’t grab for your powder puff right away.
Adding more layers of makeup can restrict the breathability of your skin and cause it to produce more oil.
While powder makeup can help you keep your oily skin manageable, it might be adversely affecting it in the long run. So, instead of adding more makeup to your struggling skin use a blotting paper instead. Blotting papers are thin sheets that can be pressed against your skin to wick oil away from your skin.
Blotting papers can be used over makeup so that you can touch it up without having to add any more makeup to your face. They’re real lifesavers to anyone with oily skin and if you haven’t tried them yet, we highly recommend that you pick some up next time you’re at the beauty store.
Another daily habit that you can implement to prevent oily skin is to take a few moments out of your schedule to destress.
The stress hormone is called cortisol, and when this rises it can promote more oil production. This means that the more stressed you get, the more likely it is that your skin is working overtime to produce sebum.
Finally, our last tip for you is to remove all of the exfoliants from your bathroom. Seriously, get rid of all but one, and your skin will thank you for it. We’ve been told for years now that exfoliants are good for oily skin and that they’ll remove blackheads and acne, but they can be very counterproductive.
Too much scrubbing can dry your skin out and promote more oil production to hydrate your skin again. So, when you exfoliate your face too much you might actually be harming it more than you are helping it. Exfoliants can also make your pores appear larger which is not what someone with oily skin wants.
Food and Diet
As we mentioned earlier, your diet should be balanced and free of any greasy, sodium-filled foods.
Alcohol is a no go if you want to keep your skin shine-free and you should also avoid spicy foods wherever possible.
These restrictions all come down to the fact that alcohol and spicy foods restrict blood vessels near the surface of your skin.
This leads to sweating, and we already know that sweating is bad for your skin unless you have your skincare bag handy.
If you’re struggling with your oily skin, you should look into how vitamins can help stop the production of oil on your skin. Vitamin B, C, and D can help your skin in a number of different ways. Vitamin A can also help to slow down oil production on the skin, so remember to eat plenty of carrots and spinach.
If you don’t have a skincare routine that is built around your skin, you need to find one.
Don’t get us wrong – finding your perfect routine is time-consuming and can be very difficult.
The products have to work together to aid your skin, and it’s not as simple as throwing any old products together.
There are some products that are better used for oily skin than others. You might be thinking that you don’t want to add a face oil onto your already oily skin, but face oils can be great helpers when it comes to excess sebum.
This is because the face oil keeps your skin hydrated and happy, and your sebaceous glands get the memo that they don’t need to produce any oil just yet. So, opting for a face oil for oily skin can be very beneficial.
Face oils with tea tree, jojoba, marula, and squalane oils are great for oily skin as they are lightweight and not greasy. To reap only the rewards from your face oil you should also opt for an AHA moisturizer to go with it.
Your skincare routine should be made up of a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer in its most simplistic form. Some people with oily skin find it best to stick to three products while others find it best when they use an eight-step regime.
However, if you want a minimalist skincare routine only you should not miss out on toner and moisturizer. We would also recommend using a chemical exfoliolant rather than a physical one, and only use it once or twice a week.
Physical exfoliants can be too harsh for your skin and cause more oil to be produced as a way of compensating.
6 Everyday Tips For Less Oily Skin
And now what you’ve all been waiting for. We’ve compiled a list of 6 tips that you can use every day to prevent as much oil from being produced on your skin. We’ve scoured the internet to find information about products, home remedies, and treatments, as well as much more.
Implementing even one or two of these tips will help your skin, and we’re sure that your skin will thank you. Let’s get started so that you can find a way to feel more comfortable in your own skin, shall we?
Treating your skin right
It makes sense that if you want your skin to thank you, you need to treat it properly.
You should take the time to find out what it likes and what it’s not so keen on.
Doing this allows you to find your perfect skincare routine.
Below we’ve compiled some of the best types of products that you can use on oily skin.
When you have oily skin, it’s imperative that you look at the ingredients of everything that you’re putting on your skin.
For oily skin, you should stick to a clarifying cleanser that is specifically formulated to control oil production. Salicylic acid is a great ingredient to look for as it helps to remove blackheads and clogged pores.
Clarifying cleansers come in all sorts of formulas, so you’ll have to find the one that works best for you. Foam cleansers are seen as better than balms or lotions for oily skin as it has the power to remove more of the oil off of your face without harsh scrubbing.
Cleanse your face twice a day, but no more. It’s tempting to cleanse more often if you have particularly oily skin, but this will dry your skin out and cause more oil to be produced. The best times to cleanse your face are in the morning before you apply any makeup, and before bedtime.
Toners or Astringents
Some people think that toners are useless and therefore they don’t use them, but we’re here to tell you to not listen to these people! Toners are very important to your skin, particularly if it’s oily prone. Astringents are toners made specifically for oily skin, so we advise you to find one of these.
Simply take some of your astringent on a cotton pad and rub it over your face and neck. You should tone your face after you’ve cleansed but before you add any more products. Some people who don’t wear makeup also like to use their toners to remove excess oil throughout the day.
If you’ve run out of blotting papers and need a quick fix, take your toner and apply some more to your face quickly. The solution will wipe away oil and leave your face feeling fresh. Some astringents also have other benefits such as clearing pimples and blackheads as well.
Just because oil is produced to try and add moisture back into the skin doesn’t mean that it’s very successful. Many people think that they don’t need to moisturize because their oily skin is doing that for them, but this is also wrong.
Using a moisturizer on oily skin can help to keep the skin supple and smooth so that the sebaceous glands don’t feel the need to overcompensate. Look for ingredients such as hyaluronic acid.
Hyaluronic acid is perhaps one of the best ingredients for people with oily skin as it has a plethora of benefits. In moisturizers, it can help to balance the water and oil levels in your skin. This gives your skin a better barrier to protect it from excess oil.
Exfoliating your skin is essential when it comes to controlling the oil production, but please put the physical exfoliants down! Physical exfoliants can be too harsh for many people’s skin and therefore make it more oily.
Physical exfoliants can also increase the size of pores. As people with oily skin already have larger pores, this is undesirable at best.
Chemical exfoliators use acids to gently exfoliate the skin and remove dead skin cells. We know, how is an acid gentle? Well, the acid won’t actually burn your face – it will just loosen the dead skin stuck to your face.
Sounds lovely, right? People with oily skin are more prone to breakouts because the oil keeps ahold of the dead skin cells which makes it harder for your skin to breathe, resulting in pimples. So, exfoliating is very important.
Salicylic acid is an excellent chemical exfoliant for oily prone skin as it dissolves the oil in your skin to allow the dead skin cells to remove themselves from your skin. It also penetrates the pores and cleans them of dirt and oil, making them appear smaller.
Just remember not to overdo it with the exfoliants. While chemical exfoliants make it harder to over-exfoliate than physical exfoliants, you should not use them every day. Three times a week is the most you should be exfoliating your face, so try and refrain from using them too much.
Without a doubt, clay face masks are the best for oily skin. Clay soaks up the excess oil on your skin and removes it, leaving your face feeling smooth and tight. A clay face mask will soak up all of the dirt and oil from your pores, leaving them looking smaller as well.
Clay face masks can also help to remove dead skin cells, much like chemical exfoliants. This allows your face to breathe more and prevent excess oil buildup. Clay doesn’t add any other oils onto your face as other face masks do, so we definitely recommend a clay face mask.
DIY home remedies
You might find that a clay face mask is too strong for your skin, but don’t worry.
There are home remedies that you can use to avoid the drying clay face mask again.
Honey is one of the most commonly used home remedies as it’s antibacterial and antiseptic, making it excellent for oily skin and acne.
Use honey as the base of any of your homemade face masks – you won’t regret it. Alternatively, you could just slather a layer of honey all over your face and let it sit for ten minutes before rinsing. It’s a sticky process, but the honey allows your skin to remain moisturized without being oily.
Oatmeal can be added to your honey to enhance your face mask even more. Oatmeal soothes skin and absorbs oil on your skin. It’s also exfoliating without being too harsh on your skin. Simply make a small batch of cold oatmeal and add some honey.
Massage the mixture into your skin for three to five minutes before rinsing off. You could also use it as a mask by leaving it on your face for ten minutes before removing with warm water.
Finally, you might be interested in an egg white facemask. Some people like to add lemon juice but we think that this is a little abrasive to the skin.
Crack an egg and separate the whites from the yolk. Discard the yolk or save it for an afternoon snack and slather the whites onto your face and neck.
We know it’s not the most appetizing facemask, but egg whites help to tighten pores and reduce sebum production. Rinse off after the egg whites have dried onto your skin.
Choosing the right makeup
Just because you have oily skin doesn’t mean that you cannot wear makeup without it looking cakey or it separating halfway through the day.
You just need to adjust your makeup routine to fit in with your oily skin. If you like wearing makeup, follow our tips down below.
First things first, you’ll need to use an oil-free primer. Take a small amount of primer and smooth it onto the oiliest parts of your face.
This is usually the T zone but can be different for everyone. You’ll find that your face remains less oily throughout the day.
Many people find that an oil-free foundation is a saving grace for their oily skin, but others find that it looks too cakey on their face. You will have to find what works best for you. No matter which foundation you opt for; however, you should always set your face with a high-quality powder.
This will prevent any oil from mixing with your foundation and separating on your face. If you have a lightweight powder you can carry it with you to top up throughout the day. However, don’t do this too much as it could make your makeup look cakey. Instead, opt for some blotting papers.
Remember to remove your makeup every night before you cleanse your face. Cleansing your face alone will not always remove every trace of makeup and this is how pimples and excess oil are produced. Use a cream makeup remover lotion before cleansing.
Alternatively, you could opt for a cleansing gel to remove your makeup as you’re washing your face. Cleansing gels are typically stronger than other cleaners and therefore can usually get all of your makeup off.
However, we would still advise cleansing twice if you’re going to do this to make sure that all of the dirt and oil is off of your skin. Once you’re happy that all of your makeup has been removed you can continue with the rest of your skincare routine.
Finally, you should never share makeup with anyone else. Not your best friend, a cousin, or your mom. You shouldn’t even share anything to do with makeup – brushes or products. While an oily skin type is not contagious, sharing these things can spread other people’s oils and bacteria over your face.
Sounds unappealing, right? Most people don’t think about it in such a way, but sharing makeup and applicators is a very common way to promote acne. Pair this with already oily skin and you’re sure to suffer from a breakout.
Not only will you suffer from a pimple or two, but chances are the person you’ve shared with will too. So, do both of yourselves a favor and stick to your own makeup! You will only regret it otherwise. You should also clean your brushes regularly to avoid bacteria building up.
Give your skin a break!
Sometimes the saying ‘less is more’ rings true. The same goes for your skin – sometimes it needs a break from all of your attention.
Remember that natural oils are normal and you can’t do anything about a little oil.
Look around you at other people – can you see their natural oils?
If the answer is no, and we think that it will be, then there’s a good chance that no one is taking notice of your oily skin either. It’s too common that we put ourselves down thinking that others are ridiculing our appearance when they’re probably too busy thinking the same thing about you.
So, sometimes it’s better to give your skin some air to breathe. Go one day a week without makeup, if that’s something that you can do, and let your pores rest. You can still take your blotting papers if you’re worried about oil production, but leave the powder at home.
There is also such a thing as overworking your skin. This means that you’re scrubbing and applying all sorts of skincare products to your face until it feels dry. While this may be the desired effect, it can irritate your skin and you might even find that your skin is producing more oil than before.
Be gentle with your skin and it will be kind to you. Wash it no more than twice a day and go easy with the exfoliant. If your skin is irritated, you’ve overworked it already. Stop as soon as you find that it’s irritated and try again tomorrow, trying not to reach that point again.
Stick to what you know
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, you know! Some people love to test skincare products, and we can see why. It’s exciting to get a new product to try out and see the effects. Skincare boasts all of these amazing benefits and you want to see them get to work on your skin, right?
What you have to remember is that these benefits are different for everyone and you’re not going to experience them all. When you find a great cleanser that works for your skin, why change it?
Stick to what works for you. Once it stops working you can start trying new products. But for now, stick with what you have.
This goes for both skincare and makeup. Trying new products can send your skin into shock and cause it to break out or produce more oil from the unexpected change. This might set all of your progress back to square one, which is not what you want.
So, make sure that you don’t play around with your routines too much as it might bite you in the long run.
Consulting a doctor
If you’re still not happy with your skin and you’ve exhausted all other options, you can always consult a professional to get their opinion on what you should do.
Dermatologists will work with you to get you on a treatment plan specifically formulated for your skin.
Professionalists will also sometimes prescribe you creams and medications that cannot be purchased over the counter. These treatments are stronger and sometimes come with side effects, but they can be the best option if your face is very oily.
Your doctor might also suggest opting for a more drastic treatment such as heat therapy or diode light therapy. These can remove your sebaceous glands altogether, meaning that there is no way for your skin to produce excess oil. However, these are relatively new and can be expensive.
Acne & Oily Skin: The Low Down
Let’s be honest, acne doesn’t make us fall in love with our skin. It’s painful, can be difficult to cover, and lowers self-confidence. Many people think that acne is only an issue for teenagers due to their changing hormones, but it can actually affect adults as well.
Acne is caused by excess sebum, dead skin cells, and trapped bacteria. Sound familiar? Yep, these are all factors that can be found on oily skin. People with oily skin are much more likely to suffer from acne than people with dry skin.
There are plenty of factors that contribute to acne as well as excess oil production, such as hormones and diet. The most commonly used advice when it comes to acne is to change your diet, removing fatty foods, alcohol, and gluten.
However, you should get your oil production under control to help your acne clear up. Sebum can keep dead skin cells trapped on the skin which can block pores and create pimples. The oil can also keep bacteria trapped in your pores and on your face which can turn into nasty acne.
So, you need to help your oily skin to help your acne. Luckily, we’ve created an entire guide above to help you get your sebaceous glands under control. Keep your lifestyle healthy, find your ideal skincare regime, and only exfoliate up to three times a week.
We know that it’s tempting to scrub at your skin to try and get rid of the imperfections, but we promise that it’s not doing you any favors. In fact, this can make your acne worse due to the additional oil being created on your skin.
If you’ve tried seemingly everything and feel as though you have exhausted all other options, you can talk to your dermatologist to discuss different treatments. There are plenty of acne treatments out there but not all of them will be suitable for you. Again, these treatments are not a quick fix.
Conclusion: My Eyes! Stop The Shine
To tell you the truth, there is no quick fix when it comes to fixing the issue of an oily skin type. There certainly are things you can do to prevent the shine, but you will need to undergo some trial and error before you find the best option for you.
Some people give up due to their skincare journey being so long, but the rewards at the end of it will be so worth it.
There are a number of causes of oily skin, such as diet and lifestyle, and genetics. Unfortunately, there’s nothing that you can do about your parents, but you can adjust your lifestyle to help your skin if you so desire.
Oily skin is easy to diagnose from a few distinct symptoms. You’ll have a greasy looking face that has a sheen to it throughout the day.
Your pores might be larger than people with normal and dry skin and you might suffer from acne. Your skin might also look rougher and thicker than other people’s skin.
While oily skin is typically regarded as the ‘worst’ skin type, there are things that you can do to avoid your sebaceous glands from taking over your life and self-confidence.
You can change your daily routine to care a little more for your skin, you can introduce a new diet into your life, or you could research your skincare and find the best routine for you.
It’s advised that we should all have a good skincare regime to look after our skin properly, and oily skin is no different. How do you expect it to repay you with gratitude if you don’t look out for it with specific cleansers and moisturizers?
Your skincare routine should be made up of, at least, a cleanser, toner, and moisturizer. You can also add serums, face masks, and oils to your routine if you feel the need to, but three products are the backbone of your regime.
You need high-quality products that have ingredients specifically designed to help oily skin.
There are home remedies for you to test out as well, and you can always talk to a professional dermatologist if you want to try harsher treatments. One thing to remember is oily skin is the leading cause of acne, so don’t leave your skin to its own devices for too long.
Acne is much harder to treat than oily skin, so don’t let it get out of control. Good luck on your skincare journey, and don’t forget that every skin type is beautiful and manageable – you just have to put the work in!