Submit your skincare questions to Dr. Agnes, CEO of Herborium and natural medicine expert
We all like to shine…. but not on our faces. So we often ask, WHY is my skin oily and WHAT can I do about it?
The oil you see on your face is called sebum. Produced by the sebaceous glands, sebum is actually a good thing, and is a necessary part of maintaining healthy skin. Sebum travels from the sebaceous glands to the surface through the pores to hydrate, moisturize, and protect the various layers that make up the skin. The face tends to be the oiliest part of the body as that’s where the majority of the sebaceous glands are located, anywhere from 2,500 to 5,500 per square inch!
Naturally, oily skin can be attributed to pore size, with some medical sources believing that larger pores can indicate a larger oil-producing gland. Other factors can contribute to the overproduction of sebum as well, such as over-washing or tanning, which tends to dry-out the skin, triggering the glands to create more oil to replace what was just stripped away. Ultimately, the production of excess sebum comes down to a hormonal imbalance, which can trigger these glands to produce more oil. This can result in acne symptoms, as too much sebum can become trapped within the pore, leading to breakouts. (*Note to AcnEase® users: You’re in luck! AcnEase® works as a buffer between the hormones and the sebaceous glands, ensuring that the oil being produced is only enough to properly hydrate the skin.)
When it comes to oily skin, there are some actions you can take to keep the problem of excessive oiliness at a manageable level.
For a lot of women with oily skin, a shiny t-zone, nose and chin can serve as a constant source of aggravation. Most reach for their compact to erase shine with a powder. However, applying a layer of makeup to an oily complexion doesn’t actually rid the skin of oil, and can potentially lead to clogged pores. Pressing a sheet of blotting paper onto shiny areas of the face will properly absorb oil in a pinch. Don’t have blotting papers in your purse? A single ply of any napkin will do the trick as well, and won’t cost you a thing!
Keeping the surface of your skin clean is essential, but can be tricky when it comes to oily skin. Many people immediately want to scrub the shine away until they’re left with a squeaky-clean complexion, but this can actually trigger the production of even more sebum in an effort to hydrate, which can lead to more oil, or even acne. Anything labeled “acne-fighting” is typically good for treating oily skin, so cleansers using ingredients such as salicylic or glycolic acid or benzoyl peroxide can help zap oil as a temporary quick-fix. It’s important to find a solution that works for you, as many of these harsh chemicals can irritate your skin. Washing your face with a gentle, foaming cleanser morning and night will usually suffice
It is rare to find someone with just dry or just oily skin. Most people actually have combination complexions, with dry areas, usually on the sides of the cheeks and along the jaws, as well as oily areas, typically around the forehead, nose and chin. While applying an oil absorbing clay or charcoal mask can draw impurities from the pores, as well as dry out excess oil on the surface, it’s important to remember only to apply to these oily areas, as a clay mask on dry skin can result in irritation, flaky skin, or once again, the overproduction of sebum. Check out these DIY herbal masks and remedies for oily skin.
Many people with oily skin think that moisturizers will only contribute to the problem, but keeping the surface of the skin hydrated is an important part of maintaining healthy skin function. An oil-free moisturizer applied to clean skin can help ensure skin is meeting its potential, looking and feeling it’s best!
All of the above topical solutions are a great way to zap oil that’s already made its way onto the surface of the skin. Keeping your complexion clean and free of excess oil, dirt and debris is a very important part of remaining acne-free. However, none of these tricks will actually address the problem, which is the overproduction of oil created by the sebaceous glands, except a systemic regimen like AcnEase®. Working as a buffer between hormones and the sebaceous glands, AcnEase® ensures that only enough sebum needed to keep skin healthy and hydrated is making its way through your pores.
Regardless of your skin type, it’s important to love your skin! As a consolation, research reveals that oily skin is the best protection against aging, sagging and wrinkles. We want to hear from you! How do you keep your oily skin under control? Tell us in the comments below!