How do you know if you have oily skin?
This skin type is recognized by excess sebum (natural oil) on certain areas of the face, including the forehead, nose, and chin – also known as the T-zone.
But, there are those of us who produce an overabundance of it, and we consider ourselves lucky if our entire face doesn’t start to shine two hours after applying makeup (on a good day).
If you have a shiny complexion, enlarged pores and your skin is prone to blackheads and whiteheads – your skin type is leaning on the oily side.
In this guide, I am going to show you how to control oily skin as well as 5 ways to beat oily skin (taken from my own experiences).
Let’s get started…
5 Ways You Can Control (& Prevent) Oily Skin
01: Avoid using harsh cleansers
02: Use a toner to balance the pH of the skin and soothe and calm the skin.
03: Use a hydrating moisturizer to balance out the oil production
04: Opting for an oil-free sunscreen that dries quickly
05: Exfoliating once or twice a week for a healthier complexion, improved skin color, and overall smoother skin.
What Is Oily Skin?
Oily is a skin type that is determined by the number of overactive sebaceous glands present in the area that produce large amounts of sebum.
Oily skin type is most common in adolescents and young adults due to the increase in sebum production.
The increase in sebum production is due to the hormonal changes each one of us experiences during puberty.
This process is mainly influenced by the male hormone testosterone which becomes active during these changes.
This means that after puberty, oil production might slow down for some people.
What Can I Do To Control And Balance Oil Production?
There are quite a few things you can do and products you can use to help control your oily complexion.
Remember that when cared for properly, oily skin can appear dewy and never dull, unlike other skin types.
Avoid Harsh Cleansers
Having greasy skin isn’t an excuse for using harsh cleansers as this may worsen the condition by making the skin feel stripped and in need of moisture.
The skin will only produce more oil to compensate for what was lost! So the desired solution is to always go with a mild, gentle cleanser as this will only complement your complexion without irritating your skin.
Use a Toner
A toner’s function is to complete the cleansing of your skin and remove any traces of pollution or makeup that still might be lingering on your face after cleansing.
Toner serves to bring back and balance the pH of the skin after using a cleanser and depending on your skin type – to soothe and calm the skin.
Oily skins might slightly benefit from astringents (strongest acting of the toners) due to the most desired effect of pore-shrinking, but they are still drying to the skin and should be avoided in the long run.
The alcohol content, which irritates the skin also causes swelling around the pores and temporarily makes them look less obvious.
A gentle, balancing, and non-irritating lotion is something I would always recommend for any skin type.
Get A Hydrating Moisturizer
I see many people making the horrible mistake of skipping on applying their moisturizer. Okay, we get it. It is greasy, and this is the last thing your oily complexion needs.
This is wrong on so many levels. Incorporating a light, hydrating moisturizer into your skincare routine has the potential of balancing out the oil production.
It all goes down to the same solution for a familiar problem. The sebaceous glands will not be thrown into overwork to provide moisture for your skin because a gentle, oil-free moisturizer will have that covered for ya’.
Choose An Oil-Free Sunscreen
Sun protection is essential for healthy skin.
As we all know (and are tired of reading) sun causes the most serious damage to our skin compared to all self-inflicted injuries we expose our skins to daily.
The sun is a number one factor for any skin conditions from freckles, discoloration, hyperpigmentation, telangiectasia (dilated blood vessels under the skin), sallowness (a yellow discoloration of the skin), destruction of the collagen and elastin tissue, and the scariest and most fatal; skin cancer.
Using a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect from the damaging UV rays will save your skin from all of the above.
Sunscreens include lots of silicone and acrylate polymers which make them water-resistant, so typically these tend to leave that greasy film on the face which oily skins dread most.
Opting for an oil-free sunscreen that dries quickly can put an end to this struggle and shield your skins from daily aggressors.
Exfoliate Once or Twice A Week
The process of this involves the removal of old, dead, keratinized skin cells that are tightly packed on the surface of our skins and are responsible for making our complexion appear dull.
Exfoliating once or twice a week promotes a healthier complexion appearance, improved skin color, and overall smoother skin.
Oily skin types are spoiled for choice between both chemical exfoliators or mechanical scrubs as this skin type can take both types of exfoliation without showing an overly sensitive reaction.
4 Possible Causes of Oily Skin (Besides Genetics)
You might find battling the awkward shiny complexion and enlarged pores caused by our natural oil to be a real challenge.
Especially when everything seems to be a trigger for your skin to start greasing. But although challenging, it is by no means impossible.
Let’s start from the beginning and pay attention to recognizing the primary factors that are probably the main cause of the overproduction of sebum.
Having excessively oily skin may be related to poor hydration.
Low water intake triggers our system to easily detect the problem. The sebaceous glands are immediately thrown into overwork, producing sebum to compensate for the hydration our skin is missing.
You are two big bottles of water (a day) away from resolving this problem.
I think this is self-explanatory.
A poor diet can be the main trigger for many serious health-related issues, and this always shows on the skin. Many skin concerns address an imbalanced diet, including excess oil production, which causes clogging of pores, leading to acne, bumps, cysts, etc.
You might want to remember having your fruits and greens daily because your skin will undoubtedly be thanking you.
I won’t be the one to tell you that you should avoid stress. We all know that stress is bad for our skin and health and we should avoid it at all costs.
But what we also know is that doing such a thing is nearly impossible in today’s world.
However, I feel compelled to list stress as one of the main factors to completely mess with our health and skin.
Stress causes most hormonal imbalances which in turn stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce enough sebum to clog the pores and cause the most dreaded acne problems.
Which – I’m not going to lie – is the main reason why I ended up with a face full of acne.
Bad Skincare Products
This is the most important part when it comes to any skin concern, including oily skin and acne.
Using bad skincare products that contain too much irritating and stripping ingredients can insult your skin and aggravate whatever skin concern you have.
Ingredients such as essential oils, drying alcohols, and fragrance work against your skin rather than with it; therefore, an excellent idea is to read the ingredient list before picking your products rather than trusting the marketing on the packaging.
Can You Get Rid of Oily Skin, Forever?
The short answer to this question is: You cannot.
Oily skin is genetic. Just like you can’t change your eye color, you also can’t change your skin type. But no matter how annoying it can be (almost all the time), having oily skin has its perks too.
Your skin needs the naturally acidic film as a barrier to protect and maintain a healthy pH balance. Or in simpler words, a certain amount of natural oil is needed to keep your skin healthy, smooth, and supple.
Sebum is made up of triglycerides, free fatty acids, wax esters, cholesterol, and squalene.
These are ingredients you often see in skincare products, and for a good reason.
They are natural moisturizers in charge of feeding your skin with moisture. This is the reason why people with oily skin typically experience the signs of aging at a slower pace than people with dry skin types.
Dry skin can make wrinkles appear more pronounced.
Which is not a bad thing at all, right?
My name is Simone and I am a certified skin specialist. I created this website to teach my readers how to take great care of their skin and I also like to occasionally share my honest opinions on skincare products I’ve tried. You can learn more about me here.
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14 thoughts on “5 Ways To Control Oily Skin (From An Esthetician)”
I naturally have an oily face but it is not always a bad thing as most people would seem to believe. It can help to naturally lubricate it and help it feel naturally smoother and younger if washed thoroughly and regularly. Diet is also the biggest factor. Do you deal with oily skin and do you think that it changes significantly with diet?
Having oily skin isn’t at all a bad thing. It is very important that we keep the healthy pH balance of the skin which is naturally on the oily side.
The oily film on our skin is called the acid mantle and it is created by sebum and sweat together to lubricate and protect us from the naturally drying environmental aggressors.
I have managed to control my excessively oily skin with using gentle cleansers and keeping my face hydrated. I must say that personal experience has made me believe a healthy diet and good water intake are a massive game changer when it comes to clearing your skin and maintaining the balance of sebum production.
I use face wash 3 times a day. But the problem is it can’t control my oily face. It always comes back.
So, I did some research on oily skin and I realized that pH is also the causes of oily skin. So do you think that if we try to control our pH, we can get free from the oily skin?
pH stands for “potential Hydrogen” and this value is used to measure acidity or alkalinity of water-soluble substances. It looks like this http://www.jansanconsulting.com/uploads/5/5/5/8/55581447/ph-scale_orig.jpg. As you can see there are numbers from 0-14. What this means is that if a product has a pH value of 3 let’s say, it is on the acidic side and that in skincare means that it’s on the oilier side. If the pH value is 10, that means that the product is alkaline or on the drying side. A balanced/neutral number is 7 (which is too dry for the skin), and a pH value of healthy skin is between 4.5 and 6. Which means that healthy skin is naturally on the acidic (oily) side. Having oily skin isn’t a bad thing and the best way to control excess oil and maintain a healthy pH balance on your skin is to use a gentle, non-stripping cleanser, followed by a toner and a moisturizer. Remember that this is to be done twice a day and that your skin might be getting oily due to overuse of a cleanser and not enough moisturizing.
After reading your article I have benefited greatly.You disscuss in your article about How To Control Oily Skin. You also said What Is Oily Skin, How To Get Rid Of Oily Skin, Poor Hydration, Imbalanced Diet, Stress, Pollution and humid climates, What Can I Do To Control And Balance Oil Production. I think your article is an informative article. After reading your article i have learned in this topics clearly. So, Thank you very much for sharing your article.
Thank you for your comment. I am happy that you found my post clarifying. You might be interested in my new post on how certain foods affect oily skins.
Although I don’t have oily skin, my Wife does, and she has fallen into the trap you highlight of NOT using a moisturizer. To do so when you have oily skin sounds counter-intuitive, but having read your explanation it makes sense.
Thank you for your comment. I am happy that you found the explanation in my post useful. Here’s another post that explains how certain foods affect oily skins. I hope you will find it helpful.
Diet and water intake definitely play a big part in caring for oily skin. But so does cleansing and moisturizing your skin. A moisturisor especially made for oily skin should be used. I used to have oily skin. But that changed as I got older. Now, In my 50s, I have a combination skin. In summer I still battle a little with oily skin, but then I wash it more often and of coarse moisturize.
Thank you for your comment. Perhaps you will find my newest post interesting.
Hi Simone Sidel.
Your post was about how to control oily skin. I have read your entire post because unfortunately I also have oily skin. It is so irritating because I never feel fresh when my skin became oily. You have nicely mentioned how to get rid of this problem. After reading your post, I have learned why our face becomes oily and what should we do for it. You have given many instructions to control this problem. I think it is a very helpful post to them who has oily skin like me.
So I am gonna share your post to others. Thank you so much.
Thank you for your comment. Please remember that having oily skin isn’t a bad thing. Healthy skin is naturally on the oily side, and excess oil can be controlled in many ways, starting from your diet and water intake to skincare products that you are using. This is what worked for me, and I hope it will help you too.
Thanks so much for sharing this much detailed information about oily skin and how to control it. I did have oily skin but I never knew its bad because to me, it seems to be a result of good nutrition and skin refreshment. Thanks so much for clearing my misconceptions. Truly, I get dehydrated most times but I don’t take water rather, I prefer juice and others. I will really try to adhere to the tips here to overcome my oily skin at least, to control it. Thanks
Thank you for your comment. I am glad you found my post helpful. Remember that having oily skin isn’t bad. Healthy skin is naturally on the oily side and good water intake is essential for healthy skin. You might find my new post on how certain foods affect oily skin helpful.