Why is My Skin Oily and What Causes it?
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Do you notice your skin is often shiny, your makeup easily “sweats” off your face, and you can never seem to stop a smattering of pimples from attacking your skin? These are the daily woes of people who struggle with oily skin.
If you’ve noticed your skin exhibits quite a bit of shine and you easily break out, you likely have an oily skin type or combination skin type. Take a look at our quick rundown of these two skin types and determine which accurately describes you:
Oily Skin Type
Those who have oily skin often have shine on their face, and may deal with breakouts on a regular basis. Oily skin types usually have larger, more noticeable pores.
Combination Skin Type
This is the most commonly reported skin type. This skin type exhibits two skin types on the face. The skin in the T-zone will often be oily, while the cheeks and other portions of the face may be dry and cracking.
What Causes Oily Skin?
Our body produces oil to help keep our skin soft and supple, but if too much sebum is produced, it can lead to acne flare-ups and oiliness which are some of the leading causes of acne. Two main factors are to blame: hormones and genetics.
Oily skin is known medically as seborrhea and is caused by excess skin oil produced within the pores. During puberty and other life events, fluctuating hormones can result in increased androgen levels. Androgens are male hormones present in both males and females that signal the maturation of the skin’s sebaceous glands. As these glands mature, oil production increases.
The higher amount of androgens present, the more sebum is funneled through the pores, which then sits on the surface of the skin, creating an oily sheen. Should this excess oil become trapped in the pore and combine with dead skin cells and bacteria on the surface of the skin and inside the pore, pimples, blackheads, and other blemishes will form.
It’s also important to note the role that genetics can play in oily skin. In most acne patients, the reaction to hormonal changes is dependent on genes and hormones. Life events like puberty or pregnancy can result in hormone fluctuations, and genetics and hereditary factors can determine how your skin reacts to these hormone fluctuations.
When Does Oily Skin Go Away?
Some people see their oily skin fade with time, especially after puberty finishes. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone.
Generally, excessively oily skin is seen in puberty and adolescence, and severity tapers off as a person matures into adulthood. Because our genes direct how we respond to hormone fluctuations, excess sebum production may be something inherent to your skin and body processes. Unfortunately, this means some of us never grow out of it. Luckily, our clear skin guide details ways to keep your oily skin in check.
How to Cut Down on Shine
Looking for ways to cut down on that unsightly shine? It’s as simple as sticking to a daily skin care regimen or guide to acne prevention. The reduction of oil and acne from dieting is also a common practice.
Cleaning your face daily with a gentle cleanser that utilizes effective acne treatment ingredients can help you cut down on oil production. It’s important to wash once in the morning, and once before going to bed to ensure all debris, makeup, and dead skin cells are removed from the face.
If you participate in any form of exercise that results in heavy perspiration, always be sure to gently remove sweat and shower immediately. Also remove tight, sweaty clothes that can result in acne mechanica on the body, common among students and athletes.
Cleansing products containing vitamin a for acne reduction is another approach you can take. Excessive shine on a person's face due to oil is a source of insecurity. Substantial research has pointed to vitamin A as an aid for your oily complexion.
Those with oily skin may also notice they have oily hair. This can be remedied with regular washing and medicated shampoo treatments. It’s important to also avoid greasy hair products like pomades and waxes, as they can irritate the scalp and block pores, resulting in greasy hair and oily skin.
Salicylic Acid Combats Oil
BioClarity combines the power of effective natural ingredients and salicylic acid to help tackle acne breakouts and blemishes. Salicylic acid is a Beta Hydroxy Acid that dissolves keratin, helping exfoliate the skin, removing dead skin cells, debris, and bacteria that can clog the pores and cause blemishes. BioClarity’s Step 2 Treatment gel contains the highest allowable percentage of this acne-fighting ingredient to help unclog pores and keep the skin clear and blemish-free.
Some acne treatments may contain ingredients like benzoyl peroxide, but this harsh compound has actually been proven to cause a great deal of redness and irritation. It can result in excessive dryness and skin flaking, and if you have sensitive skin, it’s important to steer clear of this ingredient. Choosing between benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid for your acne treatment is a hot topic. Knowing the answer to the question "what type of acne do I have" is imperative to understanding what treatment and ingredients to integrate into your regimen.
Beyond consistent cleansing, there are a few ways you can combat shine throughout the day. Blotting your skin lightly with oil-absorbing materials can help keep shine down on particularly shiny days. If you do use such products, take a measure of caution. Only blot lightly, as wiping the skin can result in irritation and aggravate your acne condition. Always avoid any facial tissues that contain lotion or fragrances, as these additions can irritate sensitive skin.
The Benefits of Oily Skin
Okay sure, some shine may cause a bit of embarrassment, and reapplying makeup after it slides off can be frustrating, but there are benefits to having oily skin.
Most skin care experts agree that those with oily or combination skin types often age more slowly. Oily skin remains lubricated, preventing fine lines and wrinkles. You may not enjoy it now, but with proper skin care, you may find your skin benefits from that excess sebum down the road.
Does Moisturizer Cause Oily Skin?
Putting moisturizer on top of oily skin might seem counterproductive, but a regular moisturizing routine is vital, even for those with oily and combination skin types. Avoiding moisturizer may dry out your skin, and cause your glands to produce more sebum, resulting in even more oil.
Stick to oil-free, non-comedogenic moisturizers. Avoid heavy or greasy moisturizers if you have acne-prone skin.
Note: If you have combination skin, you may need to use two types of moisturizer to best treat your skin. Use a non-comedogenic, oil-free moisturizer for your T-zone, and a thicker cream moisturizer for dry areas of the face.
Lifestyle Habits that May Affect Oily Skin
There are many ways that daily habits and lifestyle choices can affect your skin, and impact the appearance of oil.
Get Enough Sleep
Getting the right amount of rest each night is important to holistic health, and it also can significantly affect the look and appearance of the skin. Sleep deprivation can result in insulin resistance. Insulin increases can result in the creation of IGF-1, a hormone that stimulates an increase in the production of sebum.
Keep Your Stress in Check
Be sure to manage your stress, as it has been connected to insulin resistance and worsened breakouts in numerous studies. Exercise regularly, practice meditation, and talk to a friend or family member if you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Always Wear Sunscreen
No matter your skin type, it’s important to use daily SPF to keep your skin safe and looking its best. However, with oily skin, it’s important to take a look at the type of sunscreen you’re using to avoid blocking up those pores. Look for sunscreen gels that are labeled oil-free.
If you wear makeup, look for light foundation products that contain SPF for an added bit of protection.
Makeup doesn’t cause acne, but with misuse can become a problem. Look for non-comedogenic makeup products, and always apply in light layers. Always be sure to remove every last bit of makeup before going to bed and before working out or heading to the gym.
Avoid any cosmetics that contain fragrances as these can irritate the skin and result in acne blemishes, along with dry, flaky patches on the skin.
- Oily skin is the result of excess sebum production, which can be caused by hormonal fluctuations and influenced by genetics.
- Salicylic acid is a powerful acne fighting ingredient that can help cut down on the appearance of oil and blemishes on the skin.
- Those with oily skin should still use moisturizer, as drying out the skin can signal the oil glands to produce even more sebum.
- Lifestyle habits can affect the appearance of the skin, so it’s important to get the right amount of rest, maintain a consistent cleansing routine, and avoid irritating products.