Oily skin is both a blessing and a curse at the same time. An excess of oil can make your face feel greasy and look shiny. And it leads to things like blackheads and pimples. But people with oily skin also tend to have fewer wrinkles as they age.
The key is finding a balance between having too much oil and maintaining your skin's natural moisture. We’re breaking down everything you need to know about managing oily skin; including tips for busting breakouts and looking shine-free ahead!
The oil in your skin is called sebum. It’s produced by the sebaceous gland in the hair follicles. Sebum’s main functions are to lubricate the skin, limit the growth of bacteria and prevent dryness and dehydration.
Oily skin is categorized by an excess of sebum production. People with oily skin tend to have a shiny T-zone (chin, nose, forehead). If you’re prone to breakouts, have enlarged pores and have a hard time keeping makeup on your face, you likely have oily skin.
While genetics plays a major role in determining your skin type, your lifestyle, environment, and hormones can all contribute to oily skin.
A good skincare routine is the first step to balancing the oil in your skin. To find the best routine for you, see our previous post How to Care for Your Skin at Any Age. Combined with a good skincare setup, the thirteen tips below will help you keep oily skin in check.
When it comes to oily skin, it’s important that you know what ingredients will break you out. SD Alcohol, denatured alcohol, witch hazel, menthols, peppermint, eucalyptus, and camphor are common skin irritants that shouldn’t fall in the first few ingredients of your products. Use lightweight serums and essences instead And replace coconut, olive, avocado, and almond oils with jojoba, grapeseed and rosehip oils.
Overwashing your face is just as bad as not washing your face enough. Washing your face too often can dry out your skin, triggering it to produce more oil. Washing is the key to fighting excess oil, but it’s important to maintain your regular wash schedule.
No matter your skin type, wash your face at least once a day, before bed. This will remove any dirt, makeup, oil, and grime that's built up on your skin throughout the day. If you have oily skin, washing twice a day is ideal. First in the morning when you wake up and once again before bed.
It’s also a good idea to cleanse after exercising or sweating a lot. And be sure to change your face towels daily, as oil, dirt, and bacteria can get trapped on your towels.
Toners are incredibly helpful for clearing up oily skin and minimizing pores.
A toner is a fast-penetrating liquid that helps remove dead skin cells and debris off the skin’s surface.
Toners balance oil production and deep-clean pores of dirt, makeup and environmental pollution. They prep the skin to quickly and more effectively absorb any treatments you apply after.
Use your toner right after cleansing, while your skin is still wet. Molecules penetrate the skin better when wet, so applying active ingredients immediately after cleansing delivers better results. Generously spritz a calming face tonerover your entire face, neck, and chest.
Oily skin is more susceptible to breakouts because the oil causes your skin to shed more slowly than other skin types. Exfoliating removes this skin cell build up so oil doesn't get trapped, clogging pores.
But just like over washing, exfoliating too much can be as bad as not doing it at all. Oily skin should be exfoliated 2-3 times per week. Look for ingredients like beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) to control oil production, minimizing the development of blackheads and blemishes.
We like salicylic acid for this. Salicylic acid is lipophilic, meaning it is attracted to and helps to break down excess oil. And it’s anti-inflammatory making it a great ingredient to combat the congestion that often comes with oily skin.
Retinol is a vitamin A derivative that is well researched and proven to improve almost any skin concern. And it works extremely well for treating oily skin.
Retinol builds collagen, firms up the skin and reshapes the lining of your pores. This means less oil is produced and any oil that is, comes out easily as opposed to getting trapped and causing a clogged pore, blackhead, or pimple.
Use retinol twice a week at first. Gradually work your way up to every other night, alternating with your exfoliant.
It might seem counterintuitive to moisturize oily skin, but this is actually a must for keeping oil production under control. A common misconception is that skin can either be oily or dehydrated. But it can be both.
Hydrating products are necessary to maintain our skin’s moisture levels. If your skin is lacking in hydration, oil production can go into overdrive to compensate. If you have oily skin, use a lightweight moisturizer that won’t clog pores.
After washing, toning and treating your face, dab your moisturizer onto drier areas, just lightly patting excess over the t-zone. Light hyaluronic serums and gels are useful for all-over hydration as well, particularly for oilier zones.
Sunscreen is a must everyday for all skin types. And oily skin is no exception. Look for a non comedogenic formula with oil-absorbing zinc. Studies have found that zinc can help reduce acne.
As a skincare ingredient, clay acts like a sponge, absorbing excess oil. A deep-cleansing clay face maskcan soak up excess oil, reducing shine for days. Look for one containing French green, kaolin or bentonite clay, as these are generally the most absorbent.
Your hair contains all kinds of oils that can mess with the balance of your skin. Pull your hair back into a ponytail or bun before bed. This will keep your strands (and their oils) away from your face while you sleep. While we’re on the topic, be sure to change pillowcases on at least a weekly basis.
Makeup melts into your pores, clogging them and leading to more oil. Try switching from a foundation to a tinted moisturizer. This will form a shield over your skin, keeping makeup where it belongs.
But if you’re not willing to part with your foundation make sure it's non-comedogenic. And always prime your skin first. A primer acts as a shield the same way a tinted moisturizer does.
And although face powder might seem ideal to keep the excess oil away, too much makeup can cause your pores to push out more oil. Apply a non-comedogenic matte translucent powder just on the areas of your face that are shiny.
Blotting papers are an affordable and portable way to instantly get rid of excess shine. These sheets are made from extra-absorbent materials like rice and cotton. Blotting papers soak up excess oil on your skin without disturbing your make-up. Keep a pack of blotting papers in every bag or purse for an on-the-go remedy.
The root of your oily skin could actually lie in your gut. If you have oily skin, reduce your intake of sugar, trans fats and saturated fats. These ingredients feed and increase oil production. Add lots of fruits and veggies to your diet and eat more zinc-rich foods. Zinc helps to regulate oil-producing glands. Some foods with zinc include shellfish, legumes and nuts.
Hormone fluctuations are one of the main causes of oily skin. Hormones called androgens put sebum production into overdrive. Androgens can be released in times of stress, or through hormonal changes such as your menstrual cycle, contraception, PCOS, puberty, pregnancy and postnatal, and the menopause. Studies show a positive correlation between stress levels and sebum production in people with acne-prone skin. Pay attention to your sleep habits and stress levels.
Oily skin can be a pain to deal with. Too much oil can make your face feel greasy and look shiny. Not to mention, the clogged pores, congestion and breakouts. But as you age, and your skin shows less signs of it you’ll be thankful! The key to treating oily skin lies in finding the balance between too much oil and maintaining your skin's level of moisture. Get yourself on the right skincare routine and stay shine free with our expert tips for treating oily skin.