Does your face often get shiny?
Having a shiny face isn’t automatically bad because the skin has its natural oils, especially along the T-zone — the forehead, nose, and chin. However, if your face has too much oil early during the day and even outside of your T-zone, then you might have oily skin.
It's tough to prevent oily skin and it's even tougher to keep it under control if you don't know much about it. This article will help you understand your skin better by sharing the characteristics and causes of oily skin. You’ll also learn how to prevent oily skin and how to manage it if you have it.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
Sebum and Causes of Oily Skin
Let’s take a quick look at factors that influence sebum production.
Oily skin runs in families. You're more likely to have hyperactive sebaceous glands if one of your parents has oily skin.
While oily skin doesn’t always go away with age, people generally produce less sebum as they get older. When this happens, proteins such as collagen are lost as well. This is why so many aging people have dry skin. Because of the absence of sebum and collagen, fine lines and wrinkles become more visible with time.
When a person is stressed or anxious, the body responds by producing more of the stress hormone cortisol. This leads to an increase in sebum production which can result in oily skin and larger-looking pores.
Some people have naturally large pores that are easily visible. Others get bigger pores because of hormonal changes caused by stress and anxiety. Larger pores are likely to generate more oil.
Location and Time
It’s quite obvious that the location and time of year can impact sebum production. You might have noticed that in hot and humid environments, your skin tends to be oilier than in the fall or winter.
Wrong Skin Products
Using the wrong products for your skin type can cause oily skin. Some individuals confuse combination skin with oily skin. As a result, they may use skin products that are too heavy and creamy for their skin.
Excessive Skincare Routine
Washing and exfoliating can remove oil but how often this should be done can be quite confusing. You may have noticed that washing your face too occasionally causes oily skin while exfoliating too frequently also makes your skin oily!
This is because washing too frequently and exfoliating with products that are too harsh removes too much oil from your skin. This triggers your sebaceous glands to go into overdrive and produce even more oil to compensate for the loss.
Pros and Cons of Oily Skin
How do you know if you have oily skin? Oily skin is characterized by the following symptoms:
- Skin feels thick and looks glossy
- Enlarged pores
- Presence of blackheads and whiteheads
- Acne or regularly occurring pimples
As with most things, there are advantages and disadvantages to having oily skin. Let’s see what they are.
Advantages of Oily Skin
Sebum isn't all terrible as it naturally moisturizes and hydrates your skin while keeping your hair lustrous and shiny. Sebum is an important component of healthy skin because it protects your skin by trapping dirt, pollution, and other particles to prevent them from entering your pores.
Another advantage of having oily skin is your skin doesn’t age as rapidly as those with dry skin. Oil helps preserve the skin. Those with oily skin have thicker skin than those with dry skin. As you get older, the oil keeps your skin moist, smooth, and prevents wrinkles better than dry skin.
Disadvantages of Oily Skin
There are also skin problems associated with oily skin. When your sebaceous glands create too much sebum, your skin becomes greasy and pores can become blocked with oil. Clogged pores can cause blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples that can lead to acne outbreaks. If not addressed properly, these issues can be exacerbated by inflammation and infection.
Prevention for Oily Skin
Is your skin on the oily side? Thankfully, there are a couple of things we can do to manage it.
- Avoid touching your face. Touching your face often and throughout the day can distribute even more oil, germs, and dirt that can irritate your skin.
- Avoid sleeping with makeup on. Going to bed with makeup on keeps your pores clogged. Before you turn in for the night, make sure to wash your face first.
- Avoid scrubbing your face. Resist the urge to rub your skin too roughly, even when exfoliating or removing makeup. Scrubbing hurts your skin and can aggravate skin conditions.
- Never use hot water. Not only can hot water burn your skin, the extreme temperature can also irritate your face. Opt for warm water instead.
- Don’t use oil and alcohol-based products. In addition, keep away from alcohol-based cleansers because they can also irritate your skin.
Treatment for Oily Skin
If you’re tired of having oily skin, there are ways you can have better sebum control. What kills sebum production? Here are a few products you can try:
Let’s call in our first line of defense! Cosmetic blotting sheets are an excellent way to remove oil. To absorb the oil, gently press the paper against your face and allow the paper to absorb the oil. Keep dabbing until your skin feels less oily.
Just remember: don't use blotting paper to rub your skin! Instead, simply press it against the greasy area.
Facial Wash or Foam
How often should you wash your face? Ideally, oily skin cleansing should be done twice a day — in the morning and at night. Always use a mild cleanser when doing so since strong cleansers can prompt your skin to produce more oil. Dirt, debris, dry skin cells, and perspiration can all be removed by your facial cleanser.
Applying face masks to the skin helps draw out oils while cleansing pores. Just be careful not to use them too often since it can cause dryness. Use a face mask once a week at the most. Certain face masks can alleviate oily skin, especially those that have oatmeal, honey, or clay in their ingredients.
Sunscreen protects the skin from ultraviolet (UV) exposure that can cause wrinkles, age spots, and even skin cancer. Look for sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide to provide your skin with adequate protection.
For oily skin, sunscreen gels can work better since they won’t add to your skin’s oily texture, unlike creams and lotions. You can also look for oil-free sunscreens and face products like face powders and foundation that have a sun protection factor (SPF) so you don’t have to apply them separately.
Failure to use sunscreen can cause your skin to become dry which can cause an increase in sebum production. Remember that you may need to reapply during the day, depending on the strength and coverage of your sunscreen.
Many people with oily skin avoid moisturizers because they think it will make their skin greasier, however, there are oil-free moisturizers that are suitable for oily skin. Moisturizers don’t add to the oil but they do keep your skin hydrated and protected. A good compromise if you suffer from oily skin is to apply less product.
Gel-based, Water-based and Matte Products
If you like using makeup, choose matte and water-based products in your concealer, foundation, eyeshadow, etc. When removing them, use micellar water so as not to aggravate oily skin.
For skincare products like sunscreen, moisturizers, and toners, look for water-based and gel products. These types of products have a thinner consistency, feel more weightless, and do not leave a greasy residue.
Pro Tip: Toner should only be used on oily skin regions such as the T zone. If you have combination skin, using toner on the drier portions of your face can cause dry or flaky patches.
Oily skin is unlikely to cause major health problems but it can be embarrassing and be a pain to deal with. When you need to look your best, remove excess oil but be careful not to overdo it and make your skin too dry. If you already have too much sebum and your skin becomes too dry, you might inadvertently cause your skin to overcompensate by producing even more oil.
It's important to keep in mind that oil production is a natural part of healthy skin so do your best to be kind to your skin. The trick is to find the right balance between having too much oil and maintaining your skin's natural hydration.
We hope this article has helped you understand and treat your skin better. Remember that everyone's skin is unique and there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to skincare. Products and routines that work well for others may not be the best for you.
If your efforts fail to yield the results you’re looking for, consult a board-certified dermatologist.
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