Oily skin is caused by over-active sebaceous glands, that produces excessive amounts of skin oil also known as sebum. This overproduction can cause shininess, enlarged pores, blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, blemishes and acne.
Oily skin is most often caused be genetics, and in that case, the best thing is to find a daily routine that will keep the oil production at bay.
You can also have combination skin, where only the T-zone (nose, forehead and chin) gets oily. Also things like changes in activity, environment, weather and hormones can make the skin either oily or dry at certain times.
If you are not sure, try washing your face in the morning without applying anything and wait for 2 hours. If your whole face is shiny and covered in oil, then you have oily skin. If you’re only oily on your nose, forehead and chin, you have combination skin.
It’s key to remember that moisture and sebum isn’t the same thing. Your skin needs moisture to be healthy, and the sebum is what’s keeping in the moisture in. Be sure not to strip your skin completely of sebum, and always use a light moisturizers.
Use a gentle water-soluble cleanser made for oily skin. Avoid oil-based or alcohol-based cleansers as they can irritate the skin. Also avoid scrubbing with aggravating scrubs or cleansing brushes with stiff bristles, as it will only irritate the skin. Pat your skin dry with a soft towel without rubbing the skin.
After cleansing the skin, you can add a toner. Choose a toner that is alcohol-free, or at least one where alcohol isn’t listed as one of the top three ingredients. Also go for a toner that is made for controlling oil-production or is antibacterial. If your skin gets very irritated with the toner, try only using it at night, or 2-3 times a week.
Even when you have oily skin, it’s important to use a lightweight moisturizer with SPF during the day, preferably with antioxidants to protect your skin from external pollution. In your nighttime routine you might want to add a serum that gets deeper into the skin, with oil-reducing ingredients. Here are some of the best skincare ingredients for oily skin.
- Witch hazel
- Vitamin B5 (panthenol/pantothenic acid)
- Squalane / squelene
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate(SLS) – (caution)
- Sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) – (caution)
- Rosemary leaf extract / rosemary leaf oil
- Rose water / Gulab Jal
- Rose hip seed oil
- Rice water / komenuka
- Retinoids (Vitamin A) – (caution)
- Licorice oil / Dipotassium glycyrrhizate
- Lavender oil
- Jojoba oil / Jojoba wax ester
- Hyaluronic acid (HA) / Sodium hyaluronate
- Charcoal / activated charcoal
- Camellia japonica oil / Tsubaki-abura oil
- BHA / salicylic acid (exfoliate)
- Amla berry
- Aloe vera
Oily skin tends to have an extra-thick coat of built-up dead skin on the surface, along with a thickened pore lining, that can create an orange-peel like texture. Use a mild scrub or a chemical exfoliator, with low concentration of acids or enzymes. These are some of the best exfoliating ingredients for oily skin. Exfoliation for oily skin
You can help your oily condition by choosing high quality make-up that is made for oily skin, especially primer, foundation and powder. Look for phrases like “oil-control”, “oil-absorbing”, “mattifying”, “oil-free”, “water-soluble” or “non-comedogenic”.
Also blotting paper is your new best friend, to effectively remove oil from your skin during the day. You can also touch up with a matte sun-protecting powder to help eliminate the shine. Always remove makeup before going to sleep, or even better when you get home, to let your skin breathe.
A poor diet can make oily skin worse. Try cutting back on transfat, dairy, sugar and processed food.