Most people experience some degree of oily skin at one point or another, but for some, it’s less an occasional annoyance than a fact of life. Your genetics and hormones determine whether or not you have oily skin, and although it may seem like a hassle, oily skin does provide a protective advantage over other skin types. With a proper skin care regimen and products that help to balance oil without over drying, it is possible to reduce the negative aspects associate with oily skin.
This article will discuss:
Skin oil, or sebum, comes from sebaceous glands located in pores all over the body. The highest density of sebaceous glands is on the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). Thus, this is the most common location of excess oiliness.
Oil production increases at puberty when a hormone called DHT (dihydrotestosterone) begins affecting the bodies of both males and females. If the body produces too much DHT or glands are overly sensitive to normal amounts of DHT, skin can easily become too oily. DHT levels are genetic, and oil production generally increases at puberty and decreases as time goes on. However, for some people, oily skin is something they deal with throughout their lifetimes.
Although it may seem like there is no upside to oily skin, it can help protect your skin from future damage. The lubrication oil provides pays dividends as the skin ages, making it less susceptible to everyday damage and irritation.
Oil lubricates the skin and hair, which helps prevent dryness and the formation of wrinkles in the future. In fact, the oil your skin produces is crucial for maintaining the protective acid mantle. The acid mantle is composed of sebum, cell debris, and sweat. These components create a layer with a pH between 4.5 and 5.5 that makes skin cells lie flat and hair follicles stay straight. The acid mantle keeps cells from breaking apart, helps prevent moisture loss, and protects from bacteria, contaminants and irritants. Skin with a healthy acid mantle is less likely to be dry, scaly, or sensitive.
The shiny appearance of oily skin is one major downside. Even worse for most people with oily skin is the increase in acne it tends to cause. Excess sebum mixes with dirt and dead skin cells to clog pores. Unfortunately, the fatty acids in sebum are the perfect food for the bacteria that cause additional blemishes. However, by being diligent with your skin care routine, you can significantly reduce the negative effects of having oily skin.
Tips for managing oily skin
- Keep your face clean, but avoid over washing, as this can cause the skin to overproduce oil to replace its natural lubrication. Most people only need to wash in the morning and before bed, although if you work out, washing one more time won’t hurt. Make sure to use products designed for oily skin so you don’t unintentionally add ingredients to your skin that promote the production of additional oil. Avoid using “superfatted” soaps that include ingredients like cocoa butter, cleansing creams, or lanolin, as these create more oil buildup.
- Some people with oily skin can go without moisturizer at all. Others benefit from using a light moisturizer containing humectants, which attract and retain water (for example, glycerin or sodium pyrrolidonecarboxylic acid). If you currently use harsh products that strip the skin of its natural oil and leave it feeling tight, you may end up compensating by using a moisturizer that is heavier than you really need. Try discontinuing these stripping products and then use the lightest hydrator that works for you. Focus on lotions or light serums, as opposed to richer creams.
- If you wear makeup, use oil-free, water-based foundations, like Perricone’s No Foundation Foundation. Also, try oil-blotting foundations, powders, and absorbent blotting papers. However, don’t powder too frequently, as this can make the skin appear chalky.
- When you look for makeup and skin care products like moisturizers, look for the keyword “non-comodogenic,” as products with these labels should not block pores.
- Even if you find you don’t need moisturizer, use an oil-free sunscreen of at least SPF 15 to protect your skin from harmful UV rays and prevent damage.
Check out Dr Perricone‘s Skin Clear Kit. It combines topical treatments and supplements that, especially when combined with the Anti-Inflammatory Diet, work inside and out to balance oily skin. Available at a discount when you have special Perricone codes, these products have ingredients such as eucalyptus leaf oil, allantoin, salicylic acid, and Alpha Lipoic Acid work to combat breakouts without overdrying, while DMAE helps combat early signs of aging. The products combine to combat acne and help control oil while also encouraging smooth, healthy skin.
This video has more information about the Skin Clear Kit: