Why is My Skin So Oily?

Oily skin – it makes your face shine, your make-up disappear and leads to blackheads and breakouts.

Ugh! With oily skin, getting your skin to behave isn’t as simple as just washing the oil off. It just keeps coming back again, it’s like having your own personal oil well! That’s because glands called sebaceous glands that lie underneath your skin are producing too much of an oily substance called sebum.

You now know oily skin is caused by overproduction of sebum but why does this happen? Hormones are a factor. That’s why oily skin is more common in teens and young adults and tends to diminish with age. Genetics play a role too. Oily skin and acne tends to run in families. The environment you live in is also a factor. When you live in a humid area, the humidity can make oily skin worse. Some people also aggravate oily skin by using skin care products that contain oils and pore-clogging ingredients.

Skin Care for Oily Skin

You might think the best way to manage oily skin is to use a cleanser that removes as much oil as possible. You might also (like me!) be a little on the cynical side and doubt that cosmetic companies cater for various skin types, but they really do create specific formulations for all varying skin types. For oily skin, you should avoid harsh cleansers. Harsh cleansers can increase oil production by irritating your skin. Scrubbing your face too aggressively with an exfoliating pad or washcloth can boost oil production too. Instead, use a gentle cleanser made for oily or blemish-prone skin.
Some of the best cleansers for oily skin contain ingredients like glycolic acid or salicylic acid that help to slough off dead skin cells along with excess oil and sebum.

Top Tip!

Use a pure muslin cloth to remove your facial cleanser! The key word here is gentle… muslin face cloths are 100% pure cotton and have enough of a texture to enable gentle cleansing and exfoliating, and they’re by far and away a more logical option than cotton wool pads and they’re perfect for all skin types.
Rinse the muslin cloth in hand hot water and gently clean away all facial cleanser in smooth and fluid circular motions. Rinse and repeat until deep down impurities and dead skin cells are gently removed leaving smooth, baby soft clean skin.
Muslin cloths are ideal for skin prone towards breakouts. Make the switch and honestly, you won’t look back!

Oily skin can also benefit from a toner. Toners that contain ingredients like salicylic acid and glycolic acid help to clarify your skin while removing excessive oils and make-up remnants. You might be tempted to skip the moisturizer because you assume your skin is already too oily. Even oily skin needs moisturizer to stay healthy. Choose one that’s non-comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog your pores, and choose one that’s oil-free. Use it on the drier areas of your face, around your eyes and the outer part of your cheeks twice a day after cleansing and toning.

Don’t forget about sun protection! All skin types, even oily skin needs protection from the sun’s damaging rays. Look for an oil-free sunscreen and wear it each time you go outside. Your oily skin may also benefit from weekly treatment with a facial mask. Look for one that’s clay-based to help soak up excess oils.

How Diet Impacts Oily Skin

Some research suggests eating a diet rich in high-glycemic carbohydrates worsens oily skin and acne. High-glycemic carbohydrates are foods that raise your blood sugar rapidly. These include most processed carbs like potato chips, cookies, soft drinks, foods made with white flour and foods that contain added sugar. Replace these foods with low-glycemic carbs like non-starchy vegetables and berries.

Research also shows a link between acne and milk consumption. People who consume higher amounts of milk may be more predisposed to oily skin and acne. Cow’s milk is also likely to contain steroids that may increase oil production.

What foods should you get more of if you have oily skin? Try to include foods rich in omega-3 fats including wild-caught salmon, mackerel, sardines and other fatty fish may be helpful. Other sources of omega-3 fats are flaxseed, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts, which also improve skin texture.
Along with foods containing omega-3 fats, try to include antioxidant rich foods such as blueberries, spinach, carrots, and other brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid foods high in saturated fats and sugar.

Other Factors That Can Make Oily Skin Worse

Just as you care for your oily skin, keep your scalp clean by shampooing regularly and keep your hair off your face as much as possible. Oils from your hair can end up on your face and lead to breakouts. Choose your cosmetics carefully. Everything you put on your skin should be oil-free and non-comedogenic. Avoid wearing make-up when you’re at home, and be sure to remove your make-up before going to sleep at night each and every night.

Did you know stress can aggravate oily skin and acne? Apart from the multitude of very negative and debilitating health conditions caused by prolonged stress, it is also responsible for the release of a hormone called cortisol that actually increases oil production. Ever notice how breakouts appear when you’re feeling the most stressed out and run down? Find ways to manage stress in your life through meditation, massage, deep breathing exercises, yoga or walking. Make sure you’re getting at least eight hours of relaxing sleep too. Lack of sleep also elevates cortisol, a hormone that increases oily production.

Don’t forget that having oily skin doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good facial massage either! You’ve simply got to be as selective for your facial massage oil as you are for your cleansing and makeup choices.
Facial massage oils for oily skin include: Apricot Kernel Oil, Jojoba Oil and Soy Oil.
Oily skin facial massage oils to avoid: Grapeseed oil, Olive oil and lanolin.

The Bottom Line?

Oily skin is a challenge but it usually gets better with age. Until then, only use skin care products and cosmetics specifically formulated for oily skin, avoid high-glycemic carbohydrates and manage stress as effectively as you can – and watch your oily skin improve.

Would you like the ultimate facial massage, given by the person who knows your face best (That would be you!), then go take a look at our ultimate facial massage course.

Good Luck!


SkinTherapyLetter.com. “Does Diet Really Affect Acne?”
WebMD. “Coping With Acne: Your Care Plan”

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Author: Alex Marsh

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