We all want the glow of healthy, youthful looking skin, and dermatologists agree that the oils naturally produced by the body are very helpful in this respect. This is because oily skin actually slows the rate of aging of the skin and helps us to have fewer wrinkles. For persons with oily skin(seborrhea), however, it is very much a catch 22 situation.
Why? – Because oily skin doesn’t do a simply glow. Instead, it streaks right past that to greasy and unsightly. Added to that, oily skin has a greater tendency to be blemish prone, due to the presence of larger more visible pores. The challenge for someone with oily skin is how to keep skin moisturized and looking fresh without being greasy.
Causes Of Oily Skin
Knowledge is power, so before we move on to some tips on how to keep skin moisturized without the attendant oil slick, let’s look at the some causes of oily skin. Persons with oily skin are well aware of their T-zone (even if they don’t know it by name).
It is the part of the face comprising of the forehead, nose, inner cheeks, the area around the mouth and the chin. The T-zone is usually the area of greatest concern for oily skin combatants, because it has a higher concentration of oil glands. This means a more noticeable buildup of excess oils.
Oily skin is linked to a number of factors, chief among them being genetics. If oily skin runs in your family, then you are more likely to have larger sebaceous glands producing excess oil, and a predisposition to clogged pores and breakouts. Apart from genetics, a hormone called androgen is responsible for oil glands maturing when we hit puberty, so it’s no surprise that hormonal changes can cause ramped up oil production in the skin.
These changes may be due to the use of hormonal birth control, hormone replacement medications, the regular up and down of hormone levels during a woman’s monthly cycle, and just plain being stressed.
Thirdly, we are all aware that hot and humid weather can cause an increase in the skin’s oil production levels. Even for those who do not normally suffer from oily skin, spring and summer are understandably trying times. But what about in the wintertime?
Oily skin suffers often can’t seem to get a break, as in the winter when dry air dehydrates the skin, it may overcompensate for this with excess oil production. As a matter of fact, anything that irritates or dries out the skin can be an oily skin causing culprit – think about when travelling!
So avoid overuse of skin care products, unnecessary skin care tools, sun tanning, astringents, harsh soaps, and alcohols.
Tips To Turn Down The Shine
Begin with the Right Cleanser
The right cleanser is the right first step to keeping your skin healthy, whether your skin is oily, dry or a combination of both. For oily skin, you are in search of a cleanser that is designed to slow sebum (skin oil) production and remove excess oil from the skin’s surface.
Cleanse the skin first thing in the morning and before going to bed at night. Temperature extremes tend to irritate the skin, so cleanse using warm (not hot) water.
What should you look for in a cleanser?
Go for natural ingredients like jojoba beads and Aloe Vera. These will help to smooth and polish the skin, and provide lightweight moisture, respectively.
Additionally, moisturizers with Jojoba oil are particularly good at regulating oil production in the skin. If your basic cleanser doesn’t seem to do enough at getting rid of the grease, you may opt for a cleanser with an acid such as benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, glycolic acid, or beta-hydroxy acid.
Be sure to test the product first with just a small amount, as these ingredients can be irritating. Foaming cleansers are generally good at removing excess oil, but, persons with dry skin type should steer well clear of them.
A Serum may be Your Best Bet
Serums are specially formulated with less of the lubricants and thickeners you would find in a cream or a lotion. They are water-based, contain a higher concentration of active ingredients, and are lighter.
Serums are absorbed faster and penetrate deeper into the skin’s outer layers. So, if you have oily skin, and cringe at the thought of heavy moisturizers on a warm sunny day, a serum may be just the thing you need.
Choose a Good Mattifying Primer
By definition a mattifyer makes the skin less oily and shiny. A good mattifying primer can do wonders to help oily skin suffers avoid that ‘her skin could probably glow in the dark’ look. It goes without saying that you’ll want one that’s oil free. Mattifying primers go beyond helping your makeup to go on smoothly and last all day long.
Since they contain oil absorbing ingredients, they are great at controlling oily skin. Nowadays, mattifying primers are developed with some really good-for-your-skin minerals. Check to see if the one you are going for has antioxidant vitamins to help fight against the effects of free radicals in the environment.
Good Old Sunscreen
We don’t need to tell you why sunscreen is important, but we can share with you, that persons with oily skin no longer need to see them as a necessary evil. Sunscreen products have been revolutionized. Many have eliminated that greasy, shiny after-feel by being less oily, more matte and with faster drying times.
So, don’t skip this vital step in your daily skin care routine. Sample a few of them, and find the one that works best for you. Remember to keep an eye out for the Skin Cancer Foundation’s Seal of Recommendation.
Try Not to Overdo it
Applying too much of any product to your skin may irritate it and dry it out. The skin may then compensate (or over-compensate) for this by kicking oil production into top gear. The different areas of your face may absorb and react differently to products such as serums, and day and night creams. It may take a little practice for you to get a proper feel of how much product to apply where.
Here is one way to go. Use a dime size of the product applied as five tiny dots within the T-zone. That’s one dot each for forehead, nose, chin and cheeks, using a smooth upwards and outwards motion to blend them into the skin. After it’s dry, a quick check will tell you which areas (if any) need a little extra product.
A Do-it-Yourself Clay Mask
Applying a clay mask to the face once a week can help remove excess oil, ‘calm’ your face, and reduce the appearance of pore size. Kaolin clay (or China clay) contains kaolin which is great at absorbing oil and soothing the skin. It deep cleans the pores and boosts the renewal of cells in the skin.
Another good choice is Bentonite clay. It has wonderful absorbing and toning properties. Bentonite clay will clean and open clogged pores, preventing abscesses and skin blemishes.
Foods rich in Vitamin A have been shown to actually lower oil production in the skin. So reach for some sweet potatoes, carrots and dark leafy green vegetables. Add in some fish and tropical fruits, and your skin will get a great healthy boost.
Foods you should cut back on are cocktails (no more than one drink a night) and spicy foods (limit to once a week). They work against your skin, as they dilate the blood vessels and cause you to perspire.
Some More Good Ideas for Coping with Oily Skin
Don’t use too many products. Seek out products that combine the benefits you are looking for. For example use a moisturizer or serum that contains SPF so you won’t need to add sunscreen. Likewise, going for cosmetics that are mattifying may help you eliminate the primer step and still keep the shininess at bay.
Use a toner morning and evening to help balance out the skin. Just insure that that it is alcohol free, as this might lead to irritated, drying skin.
Blotting paper and powders are great as a quick and handy way to remove excess oil. Go lightly with the blotting paper, however. Some skin care professional feel they may cause you to press dirt and oil further into pores, doing more harm than good.
It is always good advice to talk to your dermatologist if you are having any unresolved concerns.
So, here’s to hoping you have many shine free days, filled instead with the confidence of healthy radiant skin.