Oily skin, much like other skin types, needs to have a clear understanding of how to treat it, control its symptoms and keep it healthy. Many believe that having oily skin is considered one of the easiest to get on top of, this isn’t 100% true as there is still a lot of misunderstanding about oily skin, from which ingredients to look out for, to which products to use. We have taken the time to answer some of your most popular questions when it comes to oily skin, so read on to find out more.
What Causes Oily Skin?
Oily skin occurs when the sebaceous glands in the skin make too much sebum. Sebum is the natural oil found in your skin, it has a waxy, oil-like consistency and is vital for keeping your skin healthy. For dry skins, sebum is something they are lacking, a very different story for oily skins as the overproduction of sebum can lead to a greasy appearance, clogged pores and spots.
Genetics and hormones also play a part in your skin being oily, things such as pregnancy can change the hormone balance and make the skin feel and look more shiny, even high levels of stress can become a trigger for excess oily sebum to be produced.
There are some symptoms that can help you identify whether you have an oily skin type:
- A greasy and shiny appearance to the face, particularly in the T-zone area, from your chin, up your nose and across your forehead.
- Very large and visible pores
- Regular breakouts and spots
- Clogged pores and blackheads
- Patches of the skin that looks thick and rough to the touch
These symptoms can vary from person to person with many seeking to use strong products to prevent any oil. It may be tempting to grab a rough textured cloth or harsh astringent and dose your skin in it hoping to strip away all that oil, but you may be surprised to hear that oily skin appreciates a more gentle approach. The skin needs a certain level of sebum to keep it healthy, by stripping this all away with drying products will result in sending a message to the skin that there is an imbalance or trauma causing the skin to jump start excess sebum production. Inevitably, you’d be back to square one.
How To Get Rid Of Oily Skin
The bad news is, is that you can never completely get rid of oily skin, but the good news is, is that you can manage it. I’ll admit there are some downsides to having oily skin, but there are also some positives. One of them mainly being that an oily skin takes a long time to age in comparison to dry skin types. Fine lines, wrinkles and other signs of ageing do not begin to show for a while, meaning an oily skin stays looking younger, plumper and healthier for longer.
If you are really wanting to get a handle on managing your oily skin then the best prevention is to find a consistent good skincare routine. This routine must be tailored to your skin’s needs and have the right ingredients, such as the acids, glycolic and salicylic. You may have to adjust your current routine but once you have found the ideal one, stick to it!
Genetics and hormones can make things a little tricky for oily skins. You may find that your skin can become quite blemished during your menstrual cycle which is linked to the change in hormones. This time could also lead to the urge to indulge in greasy foods and transfats which can also cause complete havoc on the skin and result in blemishes. Focusing on your diet is important to keep the oil in your skin at the correct level. Not forgetting eating lots of vegetables, whole foods and plenty of water to keep the skin hydrated and happy.
If you are finding that none of these is having an effect than a visit to the dermatologist would help. There are many medical formulations and prescriptions that can help and with a consultation you can work closely with your dermatologist to treat the skin effectively.
How To Take Care Of Oily Skin
It is surprisingly simple to take care of oily skin and that is to find a skincare routine that works and sticking to it. This does mean some time and dedication is needed to perfect this routine, here is a rundown of the best steps to take.
- Wash Regularly
- Washing the skin regularly with a gentle cleanser that has been formulated for oily skin will remove any dirt, bacteria and excess oil.
- Stir clear of any strong fragrances and avoid rough washcloths and loofahs.
- Products containing ingredients such as salicylic and glycolic acids show the best results, ensure you perform a patch test before use as they can be too drying for some.
- Use a Toner
- Astringent toners contain alcohol, which can dry out the skin.
- Opting for a natural astringent such as witch hazel will soothe the skin and not dry it out.
- Using witch hazel as a toner can help remedy oily skin and reduce the appearance of enlarged pores.
- Be careful when using witch hazel as some people experience a strong tingling reaction, if this irritation occurs stop using the product.
- Don’t Forget to Moisturise
- Don’t avoid moisturisers even if you have oily skin
- Moisturisers help balance the skin’s protective barrier keeping free radicals and toxins at bay
- Opt for formulas that are oil-free and hydrating
- For a natural alternative, you can try aloe vera to soothe the skin and doesn't disrupt the sebum production
- Gentle Approach
- Gently pat the face dry after cleansing to avoid any unwanted friction
- Choose a soft cotton towel or flannel to use on your skin
- Avoid harsh products that will strip and dry out the skin
- Do not overuse face scrubs as this can also encourage excess oil
- Use a Face Mask
- Choose a face mask that is clay-based and use it once a week
- Clay will naturally detoxify the skin and pores of any remaining bacteria and debris
- Clay masks can control shininess and sebum levels without causing irritation
- Be sure to follow up a mask with a hydrating moisturiser
- Exfoliate Once a Week
- Exfoliating once a week will keep the skin clear and pores unclogged
- Ensure you do not overuse a scrub as this can cause excess sebum and irritation
- You can choose either a manual exfoliation, such as a face scrub or chemical, such as face acids to achieve the desired amount of exfoliation
If you follow those steps you will find that your skin will become more manageable, feel less greasy and look healthy. Sadly this won’t happen overnight, consistency is key so be sure to focus on products that will work for your skin.
How To Treat Blemishes On Oily Skin
Not everyone with oily skin can expect to have blemishes, blemishes are formed when bacteria, dirt, excess sebum and leftover product block the hair follicle. This can then form into blackheads, spots and cysts. What you have to remember is that maintaining a good skincare routine will be the remedy to breakouts.
To treat blemishes on oily skin is simple, just follow the steps previously mentioned with the addition of added products use to topically target any active spots. Salicylic acid is one of the main acids you will find in blemish-fighting products. This BHA is oil soluble meaning it can cut its way into the lower layers of the skin and clear the pores of all the compounds that lead to blemishes. As powerful as this ingredient is, be careful with the strength you decide to use, too strong will dry the skin which as you know by now is bad news!
If you are finding your blemishes to be consistent than seeking the advice from a dermatologist is recommended. If you do purchase any over the counter products for fighting blemishes and oily skin be sure to apply a small amount on the forearm to see if there is any skin reaction before using it.
How to Prevent Excess Oil on The Skin During The Day
Oil production continues to work throughout the day, which can lead to your T-zone looking greasy by midday, to prevent this you can follow these simple steps.
- Be sure to complete your skincare routine in the morning
- If you are wearing makeup use a mattifying skin base and oil-free products to keep the makeup looking fresh and stay in place.
- Ensure your makeup brushes are clean to stop any cross-contamination of any remaining oil
- Use a light powder to knock back any shine
- If you are out and about use blotting paper to absorb any excess
- Try not to touch your face too much as the oil from your fingers can add to the excess oil
- Ensure you thoroughly remove any makeup and cleanse the skin at the end of the day
What Is The Best Makeup For Oily Skin
Makeup and oily skin is undoubtedly a challenge! With excess sebum affecting the consistency of foundations finding the right product can be difficult, not forgetting that oil can cause rapid oxidation changing the foundation colour and tone completely. Here is a guide to finding the correct products for you:
- Choose products that are water-based and oil-free
- Consider using a powder foundation as this has the ability to stay in place and absorb excess oil
- Invest in silicone-free, mattifying primers to apply before your foundation
- Use a setting spray on the finished look to keep it all in place
- Use blotting paper throughout the day to absorb any excess without ruining your makeup
With blemishes going hand in hand with oily skin, you may feel tempted to apply a lot of foundation to cover any spots. This can in fact cause more blemishes by clogging the pores and stopping the skin from being able to breathe. The best method to hide the unwanted blemishes is to spot conceal, which is to apply concealer to the problem areas and not the entire face, you will find you will look flawless and the number of blemishes reduced.
What Moisturiser Should I Use With Oily Skin
You wouldn’t be blamed for thinking that having oily skin means you don’t need to use moisturiser, this is a mistake made by many! The skin’s protective barrier needs to have correct levels of water and oil to allow it to work. Moisturisers add great hydration and moisture to the skin which helps the barrier to remain healthy. This means it can then fight off any skin-irritating toxins, free radicals and environment that can damage the skin resulting in premature ageing and many more.
The best moisturisers to use when you have oily skin are ones that are water-based and usually come in a light, oil-free, gel-like formula. These hydrate the skin and avoid disrupting the oil levels in the skin.
Can I Use A Face Oil If I Have Oily Skin
The word “oil” may send shivers down your spine, but it's been proven that using certain types of oils on oily skin can really help transform the complexion. As counterproductive as it may sound, using an oil on oily skin is actually very beneficial.
Since oils are quickly absorbed it can reinforce the skin’s barrier by making it stronger and less vulnerable to damage. Usually oily skin is stripped away of the natural oil causing problems. Using a face oil will replenish the skin’s oils restoring balance back to the skin and even keeping blemishes away!
Take into consideration that not all oils will work for your skin:
- Tea Tree Oil- this oil is anti-bacterial and will zap away any problematic spots and blemishes with no trouble.
- Rose Oil- is great for locking in moisture and hydration with great anti-inflammatory properties
- Magnesium- reduces inflammations without causing any imbalance in oil levels
Other such nourishing oils such as avocado and popular coconut should be avoided due to the fact they are comedogenic, meaning they clog pores.
So for those of you who have oily skin now have a clearer understanding of the best ways to treat and look after your face. Just as long as you remember maintaining a good routine, drink plenty of water and keep your diet and makeup brushes clean, you will find that having oily skin isn’t such a bad thing after all, especially if you get to look younger for longer!
Are you interested in finding out more in the acids that can keep your skin shine and blemish-free? Take a look at our AHA and BHA guide.