What Causes An Overproduction Of Sebum?

What Causes An Overproduction Of Sebum?

Sebum is a word that many oily skin types have become accustomed to hearing on a regular basis. Some consider it a nuisance and the reason for pesky breakouts whereas others, such as people with dry skin types dream of having enough sebum on the face to make it more manageable and comfortable.

Do you, however, have a clear understanding of what sebum is? What does it do for the skin? And why have an overproduction of sebum can spell trouble? Let’s find out more…

What is sebum and what is it made of?

Sebum is a mixture of fatty acids, sugars, waxes and other chemicals found on the skin naturally and is critical to the skin’s health. It is the sebaceous glands that are in control of how much sebum is released onto the skin. Then sebum can take on its role at keeping the skin moisturised and lock water into the skin keeping it waterproof and maintaining a healthy skin flora. By flora, we mean the skin’s microbiome which plays an important role in your skin’s welfare. You can find out more about the skin’s flora in our blog post what is skin microbiome and why does it matter?

What causes increased sebum production?

If you are finding your skin has become too oily it may be the result of a number of things that can cause an imbalance to the skin:

  • Excess sebum can be a result of pregnancy
  • Excess sebum can occur throughout puberty
  • Excess sebum can be a result of hormonal change
  • Excess sebum can be a sign of misusing skincare products such as scrubs
  • Excess sebum can come from an irritated skin
  • Excess sebum is caused by dehydration
  • Excess sebum is a result of genetics

There are a few reasons to explain why you may be finding an overproduction on sebum on the skin, perhaps you find that throughout your menstrual cycle the level of oiliness to the skin varies due to the change in hormones, this can also happen from exposure to heat and exercise.

If you have a skin type that is prone to spots and breakouts you may be aware of how sebum can play a role in how extensive your breakouts will be. Though it may feel tempting to opt for robust scrub and work it mercilessly into the skin in the aim of reaching that “squeaky clean” feel you may find that those harsh chemicals and skin-stripping ingredients have in fact rid the skin of every drop of sebum. In the wake of doing this, you will find your skin’s defence layer becomes damaged and an imbalance in the skin kick starts an accelerated production in sebum. This then leads to the face feeling and looking oilier than before with spots and blemishes becoming a greater concern.  

One point you must always remember is that you need sebum to keep your skin functioning to the best of its ability. Yes, it can feel frustrating (especially if you have a blemish-prone skin type) to consider having sebum as a great benefit for the skin. There are ways of helping to keep on top of sebum production and reducing any excess oil, we will share those with you now.

How do you get rid of excess sebum?

Here are some simple ways of reducing the amount of excess sebum on the skin:

  1. Ensure you are using the correct cleanser

When looking for a cleanser that will help you keep on top of your sebum levels there are a couple of skin-benefiting ingredients to look out for. Firstly, there is salicylic acid which is the only BHA available and can work its way down, deep into the lower layers of the skin and clear out any clogged pores that can lead to blackheads and spots. By regularly using a wash containing salicylic you will keep the skin clear but not stripped of any important sebum. You can read our blog post about the skincare benefits of salicylic acid to find more about this potent BHA.

Other key ingredients to look out for are glycolic and lactic acid as these AHAs are great chemically exfoliating the skin without causing any drying effects. By finding the best skincare products and ingredients for your skin you will find the comfort levels and overall appearance of the complexion will remain healthy and balanced. If you find that any product you try causes irritation to the skin you must stop using it immediately.

  1. Adjust your skincare routine to work with your skin type

Sebum production varies depending on the time of year and change in hormones. You may find it a good idea to adjust your routine when you find your skin and body to become oilier than usual. When this occurs opt for an oil-free cleanser, chemical toner and lightweight gel moisturiser with active ingredients to help keep the skin nourished. Adding clay masks into your routine for a biweekly treatment will also help restore balance and clarity to the skin.

  1. Avoid using harsh scrubs and tools

As we have previously mentioned we understand how hard it can be not to reach for an abrasive scrub full of nut and fruit stone granules to work vigorously into the skin. Your skin may indeed feel beautiful for five minutes, but what you won’t realise is that your skin will be panicking and trying to counteract the skin trauma by overproducing excess sebum, thereby taking you back to square one. 

  1. Consult your doctor

By contacting your GP for advice you will have some more options to explore, there are various oral prescriptions to help reduce excess sebum, such as retinoids that can be taken orally or topically. These medications are very potent and should not be tried without advice from your doctor or dermatologist.

So, now you know a little more about sebum and why it isn’t this big bad villain we have all been lead to believe for so long. Without sebum, our skin would not function and its a key role at maintaining a healthy skin flora should, in fact, earn our respect. At least by not using harsh chemicals to cleanse the skin or overreact when that time of the month just so happens to affect our mood and our skin. Remember to keep a good skincare routine with the correct products for your skin type and you won’t have anything to worry about!


Popular dose of skincare tips, tricks, and ingredient recommendations.

Does Spot Treatment Work?

There is always that one particular spot that just won’t go. This is why we are truly thankful for spot treatments! With a selection of choices to decide from you will find a product that will cert...
Aug 10, 2020  by  Jessica

What Are Natural Moisturising Factors NMF?

Our skin is the biggest organ we have, and undoubtedly the hardest working. Not only does it have to combat daily environmental stresses, such as pollution, UV rays and bacteria, it can also be aff...
Aug 3, 2020  by  Jessica

What Skincare Ingredients To Avoid If You Have Rosacea?

Having rosacea is certainly no walk in the park. With various factors that contribute to a flare-up of red, uneven and bumpy texture, rosacea is a skin concern which has no impact on your health, b...
Jul 29, 2020  by  Jessica

What Is Azelaic Acid And What Are Its Skincare Benefits?

Now I know some of you may be groaning at the thought of having to learn about yet another facial acid. But this particular acid is really something special. If you have a skin that is prone to bre...
Jul 28, 2020  by  Jessica

How Do I Permanently Get Rid Of Blackheads On My Nose?

We all know that we really shouldn’t pick blackheads on our noses, but that doesn’t mean we won’t stop giving those pesky blemishes a heavy-handed squeeze. Yes, it can lead to enormous amounts of p...
Jul 27, 2020  by  Jessica

What Are Ceramides and How Do They Work?

Ceramides, you may have heard the word floating around and have a vague understanding that they are a powerful anti-ageing ingredient. If you don’t however, you’ve come to the right place as we are...
Jul 21, 2020  by  Jessica

What Is Kangaroo Paw Flower And What Are Its Skincare Benefits?

There are so many hidden secrets tucked away in the outback of Australia, we have previously shared with you the superfood Kakadu plum, the olive-sized vitamin C enriched skincare ingredient. Well,...
Jul 15, 2020  by  Jessica

What Is Squalene And What Are Its Skincare Benefits?

If you were to take a look at the ingredients of your skincare products, you will probably find squalane and squalene in them. Yes, they may sound like the same ingredient, and technically they are...
Jul 8, 2020  by  Jessica

What Is Niacinamide And What Are Its Skincare Benefits?

In the overflowing world of skin and beauty products, there are always buzz words constantly used and a new “it” ingredient appearing in almost every product out there. Niacinamide, a form of vitam...
Jul 7, 2020  by  Jessica

How To Make A Pimple Go Away Fast

If you are the type of person to wake up with a fresh, juicy looking spot and not attack it by picking and squeezing? Well, you have an impressive amount of will power! For the rest of us I wouldn’...
Jul 6, 2020  by  Jessica

Skincare 101: The Right Way to Wash Your Face

This may sound a little silly to some, but you will be shocked to hear just how many of us are still not washing our faces properly. With the market drowning in options of products, tools and metho...
Jun 24, 2020  by  Jessica

What are peptides? Your introduction to peptides for skin

Polypeptides, or peptides, have been a buzz word in the skincare world now for quite some time. Now, we don’t know about you, but the benefits of this miracle, Botox in a bottle, are still a little...
Jun 23, 2020  by  Jessica


Treat your skin today with one of our best-selling skincare products.


Treat your skin today with one of our best-selling bodycare products.

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published