Many of us suffer with oily skin, resorting to the use of blotting sheets in a desperate attempt to hide an unwanted shiny appearance. But how can we combat this? Consultant Dermatologist Dr Sharon Wong discusses what causes oily skin and the best skincare and ways to deal with it below…
Why do I have oily skin?
Oily skin is due to the over-production of the skin’s natural oils known as sebum. This is mainly a genetic trait but is also heavily influenced by hormone changes that increase the amount of male hormones (androgens) in the system, such as during puberty and in the condition known as polycystic ovarian syndrome. Androgens stimulate the grease glands in the skin resulting in excess production of sebum.
Other external factors that may aggravate the problem include changes in climate and also using products that disturb the oil balance on the skin, such as certain make up and beauty products which can trigger over production of oils.
What are the effects of having oily skin?
Oily skin creates a shiny appearance to the skin which results in make-up not lasting for long periods of time. Together with debris and dead skin cells, the sebum on the skin can clog the pores also making it prone to breakouts of acne.
How can I treat/deal with my oily skin?
I would recommend you follow the below simple six steps to deal with oily skin:
1. Master your skincare routine
Wash your face twice a day, in the morning and evening only and ensure all makeup is removed before going to bed. Beta hydroxy acids (BHAs) such as salicylic acid in face washes can help to cut through grease but also effectively unclogs the pores and ensures a deep cleanse. Oily skin has nothing to do with poor hygiene so washing more frequently is not necessary and if anything doing this can dry out your skin too much and actually trigger even more sebum production. Toners are not a necessity. In fact, many toners contain alcohols which can damage the barrier function of the skin making it more sensitive and irritated.
2. Make sure you moisturise
Although the skin is overproducing grease it still requires hydration to maintain a healthy skin barrier. Many anti-acne products dry out skin so it is important to rehydrate the skin to prevent it from producing more sebum to combat the dryness. Avoid heavy moisturisers and opt for oil free creams or serums instead.
3. Exfoliate but don’t over-do it
Exfoliation encourages healthy skin turnover. It also helps to remove surface dead skin cells and prevent blocking of pores but again being overaggressive with exfoliation can leave your skin sensitive but can also cause a breakout.
4. Treat your skin
Using a retinoid (vitamin A) based product at night and have regular light chemical peels (e.g. glycolic acid, lactic acid or salicylic acid peels). These can reduce the oiliness of the skin and prevent breakouts of acne.
5. Carefully select your make-up
Avoid heavy foundations and look for key words like matt-effect, oil-free and non-comedogenic when choosing your makeup. Oil control blotting paper or pads can be helpful on-the-go for those greasy areas that break through in the middle of the day.
6.Watch your diet
Cutting out refined sugars, highly processed foods and saturated fats can help in some individuals to reduce sebum production.