Greasy, perpetually moist skin can be embarrassing. Shine is typically associated with good things, just not when it’s front and center on your face. Enlarged pores don’t help matters. Fortunately, there are hacks to reduce that annoying perennial sheen. Stay tuned for some oily skin care tips and tricks.
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Advantages Of Having Oily Skin
There’s always a silver lining, right? This sentiment applies to oily skin, as well. Like life, there’s an upside to everything. Here are a few advantages of having oily skin:
1. No dry skin woes: This one is obvious, look at this way, you won’t have to constantly slather on moisturizer umpteen times a day to not feel like a prune. Nor do you have to fret over rough, itchy skin. The moisture in your skin took care of that.
2. You have a natural glow: I know, I know, you’d rather not have this special kind of radiance, but talk to those with super dry skin, and you may sing a different song.
3. Your skin may not wrinkle as fast: If you’re a natural detective, and go digging for more information on this topic, you’ll find it controversial, with many varying opinions. Some say oily skin protects against wrinkle formation, and may even hide those pesky lines once they’re there. Other experts disagree. If this premise is true, you can look forward to looking younger longer.
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What Causes Oily Skin?
Overactive sebaceous glands cause an overproduction of oil, or sebum, on the skin. This is why oily skin is also called seborrhea. But why the overactive glands?
Let’s discuss both the good and bad news. First, the bad news; your oily skin is caused by genetics. You can’t change what you’ve been given, but you can control what triggers oil production. That’s the good news.
There are a number of factors that contribute to excess oil production, including stress, skincare products, hormones, and even the weather. There are factors within your control, at least to a degree, to mitigate oil production. This is not an exhaustive list, but worth noting:
Stress of all kinds can initiate changes in the skin; physical, mental, emotional, dietary, and environmental. Stress hormones, like cortisol and epinephrine, stimulate a stress response in the body, which activates the sympathetic nervous system. When this system is activated, oil production increases due to adrenal gland stimulation, increasing androgen production.
If you’d like to learn more about the effects of stress on the skin, read my post here below
[Read More: Does Stress Cause Wrinkles?]
Elevated androgens, like testosterone, are implicated in both oily skin and acne. These excess androgens are also stimulated from high-insulin levels. Elevated insulin is caused by high-carb diets, and eating too frequently.
Eat a whole-foods diet, monitor your carbohydrate intake, and nix the constant snacking. Keep your environment as toxin-free as possible, get appropriate exercise, and get at least eight hours of sleep each night. Removing the sources of stress, and effectively dealing with the sources that can’t be removed, are critical to hormonal balance.
[Read More: Does Sleep Affect Your Skin?]
Skincare products that contain a lot of ingredients can be irritating to the skin, which can cause breakouts and exacerbate acne flares. Now you have a double whammy, acne and oil. Stick with light, matte foundations, rather than heavier versions that will trap oil. Heavy makeup is suffocating to the skin. It doesn’t allow it to breathe and will liquify when combined with the oil on your face. Not a good look to say the least. Ugh – there’s nothing worse than a melting mess of a face.
Gentle exfoliation is another helpful technique because it removes dead skin cells and unclogs pores. However, exfoliating too harshly or too often could backfire and end up increasing oil production. Find a happy medium that works for your skin. Ditch cosmetics that are oil based; no need to put oil on top of oil.
This subject deserves an entire book, that’s how complicated it is. As mentioned above in my section on stress, excess androgens are the culprit behind many skin-related hormonal imbalances. Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, perimenopause, menopause, and oral contraceptives all affect hormone levels. These fluctuations change the way your skin looks and feels.
For instance, before menstruation, estrogen levels fall, increasing testosterone. Testosterone is an androgenic hormone which boosts oil production. The same scenario happens in perimenopause and menopause. The birth control pill, on the other hand, decreases testosterone, improving some women’s skin. When the pill is discontinued, however, the effects of the imbalance return. It’s this balance between hormones that is key.
Hot, humid weather is not going to be your friend if you have oily skin. Grease plus sweat doesn’t feel or look good. As a bonus, you’ll sure appreciate the winter months if you live in a dry, low-humidity climate. The same goes for your sweaty exercise sessions. Be sure and wash your face after each workout to prevent oily sweat from coagulating on your face, and accelerating the problem.
Oily Skin Care Tips
The theme when it comes to skincare options for oily skin is “keep it light,” and as natural as possible. Gentle, foaming cleansers are best as harsh soaps may stimulate excess oil production.
- Acid-based solutions, such as, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or beta-hydroxy acid are typically acne-based products, but also work great for those with oily skin due to their drying effects. Acids can be irritating, so experiment with a small amount on one area of your face, to see how your skin reacts. You might want to begin by using medicated pads saturated with acid. They’re convenient, portable, and can be used on the go to remove excess oil.
- Blotting pads are a favorite among those with oily skin. They’re easy to throw in your purse and use as needed. Simply press for 15 seconds on particularly oily areas, such as, the T zone. The T zone comprises your forehead, nose, and chin. Look for powdered blotting papers that rein in the shine even further.
- When applying sunscreen, opt for an oil-free product, or even better, choose one of the facial-powder sunscreens that are so popular today. UV rays break down collagen in the skin, cause free-radical damage, and decrease repair mechanisms. Get in the habit of never exposing your face to the sun without protection.
- Clays are great for absorbing oil, and have many additional benefits, as well. See my clay mask recipe below.
- Lastly, I know how terribly tempting it is to skip washing your face at night. Don’t cave to this temptation. A morning and nightly skincare routine is important for all skin types. Read my post on baby wipes for a quick solution for those nights where it isn’t going to happen.
[Read More: Are Baby Wipes Safe To Use On Your Face?]
Natural Clay Masks
Clays can be amazing for balancing oily skin. I like kaolin clay so much that I use it in my mineral makeup. It’s also effective as a mask due to its drying effects, its ability to draw out toxins, remove excess sebum, and tighten pores. Masks are easy to whip up, and can be used a couple of times a month. Be aware of how your skin reacts to the clay to better determine how often to apply a mask.
Here’s A Simple Recipe
- 2-3 teaspoons of kaolin, bentonite, or Redmond clay. There are many other types of clay so be creative and use a variety of different ones to see what your skin likes best.
- 2 teaspoons water. I use filtered water to reduce exposure to chemicals.
- 3 drops of your favorite essential oil.
- Optional ingredients: Feel free to add a few drops of vitamin E oil, rose hip oil, or aloe vera gel or juice. Make sure the mixture is not too runny or it won’t stay on your face.
After combining all ingredients to form a paste, cover your face completely with the mixture and leave on until it dries. Use a wooden or plastic spoon for mixing – metal can react with the clay’s properties and reduce it’s potency. Leave the mask on for approximately 15-20 minutes. Your face will get really dry and stretchy feeling. Rinse with warm water, and apply your favorite moisturizer.
One last oily skin care tip, please, oh please, keep your germy hands off your face. This is just wrong on so many levels. The extra bacteria you’re depositing on your face is NOT going to help matters…
Do you have oily skin? What hacks work for you? Let me know in the comments:)
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