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5 Skincare Mistakes to Avoid if You Have Oily Skin

May 02, 2021

5 Skincare Mistakes to Avoid if You Have Oily Skin

Are you someone who’s constantly fighting excess shine on your skin? You most likely have oily skin.

While this skin type can be frustrating, it isn’t all bad—those with oily skin tend to be less prone to wrinkling than those with dry skin. However, the downside to oily skin is that it can lead to a variety of other issues, such as clogged pores and breakouts.

Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions out there when it comes to treating oily skin. What might seem to make sense for this skin type may actually be harming your skin and causing it to produce even more oil. This is why it’s important to be aware of common misconceptions and what science has shown to actually work for this skin type.  

Keep reading to learn about mistakes to avoid for oily skin and better alternatives to keep your skin balanced:

Mistake #1: Over-Cleansing

Cleansing your face regularly is one of the best ways to keep oily skin in check. A good cleanser will help to remove excess dirt, bacteria, sebum, and oil from your pores, keeping the skin clear and healthy.

With that being said, it is possible to do too much of a good thing. Over-cleansing can actually dry out the skin, throwing off its balance and causing it to produce more oil in response. The same goes for exfoliating. Using harsh scrubs can dry out the skin and even create microscopic tears in the skin’s surface, exposing it to infections and irritation.

Alternative: When it comes to cleansing oily skin, it’s best to choose a gentle, yet effective formula. Steer clear of high amounts of harsh ingredients that can strip the skin of its moisture, such as sulfates, alcohol, and benzoyl peroxide. When it comes to frequency, cleanse no more than two times per day, and exfoliate no more than three times per week. 

Mistake #2: Using Drying Toners & Treatments

Toners are a great way to add an extra boost of benefits to your skincare routine. They help to target a variety of different skincare concerns, such as large pores, dryness, or even texture and uneven skin tone.

While toners can be great for those with oily skin, it’s important to choose the right formula. Unfortunately, many toners that are marketed for oily skin can be incredibly drying. When used in combination with a harsh cleanser, for example, this will only further dry out your skin and lead to irritation and excess sebum production.

Astringents, which are designed to deeply cleanse the skin and dry out oil, are also popular among those with oily skin. This type of a treatment can be very effective for oily and acne-prone skin types, but they can also be very drying. Using them too frequently can easily cause an adverse reaction in the skin.

Alternative: It’s important to use drying toners and astringents sparingly. If you find that your skin tends to be more sensitive to these types of products, consider using them as spot treatments versus applying them to your entire face. If you’re looking for a toner that will help to balance and soothe the skin without drying it out, consider one formulated with rose water.

Mistake #3: Avoiding Moisturizer

One of the biggest mistakes you can make if you’re someone with oily skin is to skip moisturizer altogether. Using moisturizing products may seem counterintuitive if your skin is on the oily side, but keeping it properly hydrated is actually one of the most critical things you can do for your skin (starting to see a theme here?).

Skin needs moisture to properly function. Without it, the skin is at higher risk of irritation, infection, and premature aging. While oily skin might seem like it’s hydrated, this isn’t the case at all. An excessive buildup of sebum just sits on the surface of the skin, whereas a moisturizer will penetrate the layers of the skin and provide a boost of hydration that helps to maintain skin’s plumpness and elasticity.

Face oils are another product commonly avoided by those with oily skin. However, face oils are not only a great way to keep skin hydrated, but some even offer benefits specific to those with oily or acne-prone skin.

For example, studies show that Tamanu oil has antibacterial and wound-healing properties, which can help to fight against bacteria involved in the formation of acne. Whether you decide to mix oil into your moisturizer or press a few drops into your skin at the end of your routine, this can be a great way to lock in hydration and keep your skin looking plump and luminous.

Alternative: Water-based moisturizers are often best for those with oily skin. These products are just as effective as other moisturizers, but feel virtually weightless on the skin. Plus, you won’t have to worry about them clogging pores or leaving behind a greasy residue. 

Mistake #4: Applying Products That Clog Pores

Speaking of clogged pores, this is something those with oily skin types need to be aware of. Oily skin is unfortunately more prone to clogged pores than other skin types, so it’s important to use products that won’t contribute to this further.

One of the best ways to ensure that your skincare won’t clog pores is to use products labeled non comedogenic. Essentially, a non comedogenic label is an indicator that the product is free of ingredients that have been shown to cause pore blockages and acne, such as:

  • Coconut oil
  • Lanolin
  • Isopropyl myristate and derivatives
  • D&C red dyes

While some skin types may be able to handle coconut oil, for example, it’s not recommended for those with oily skin. Coconut oil is highly comedogenic, so it’s likely to clog pores and worsen acne.

Alternative: Next time you’re shopping for products, look for the non comedogenic label. When in doubt, do your research or consult with a dermatologist who can recommend specific products for your skin type.

Mistake #5: Not Paying Attention to Your Diet

Studies show that there is in fact a connection between the foods we eat and the health of our skin. Diet alone can’t solve skin problems, but some conditions such as oily skin and acne can be improved with good nutrition.

Foods such as oranges, broccoli, lentils, and pumpkin seeds are full of vitamins and minerals that have been shown to keep skin looking radiant and healthy. Bone broth, salmon, and whole grains also offer incredible health benefits that in turn, can help to keep your skin balanced.

There are plenty of foods out there that nourish the skin, but unfortunately, there are also foods that can really take a toll on our complexion. Specifically, these foods have been shown to cause oiliness in the skin that in turn, can lead to breakouts:

  • Refined carbohydrates: Refined carbs are stripped of vitamins, fiber, and minerals. In addition to providing little to no nutritional value, refined carbs have been linked to acne. A 2011 study found that those who consume added sugars often had a 30% greater chance of developing acne. 
  • Sugary drinks: Drinks full of sugar cause blood sugar levels to spike and drop throughout the day, which can harm your skin and health in general. One study found that daily soft drink consumption significantly increases the risk of moderate-to-severe acne in adolescents.
  • Saturated fatsSaturated fats, like those found in processed meat, butter, and sweets, have been linked to high concentrations of insulin growth factor, which is known to cause an increase in acne production. 
  • Some dairy: Dairy is one of the most controversial topics in the skincare world. Some studies, for example, have found that certain dairy products can increase insulin levels, which may worsen acne. However, it’s important to keep in mind that dairy affects everyone differently. If you’re unsure of whether you should try cutting out dairy to improve the health of your skin, ask your doctor or dermatologist.

Alternative: While the foods listed above may be contributors to oiliness and breakouts, it doesn’t mean you have to cut them out completely. It’s safe to enjoy everything in moderation. Instead of focusing on what you shouldn’t be eating, focus on adding skin-loving foods to your diet. 

Oily skin is one of the trickiest skin types to treat. However, by maintaining a healthy lifestyle and incorporating the right products into your routine, you’ll be on your way to clear, balanced skin in no time!