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The Essentials

Oily Skin Causes, Prevention and Treatments

Oily skin can be a daily struggle. The biggest con of oily skin is excessive shine and (potentially) clogged pores. But it also has its own advantages. Oily skin is thicker and smoother and therefore has a huge advantage when it comes to skin aging. Read on to find out how best to manage your oily skin (before you're 60 and can brag about how great your skin looks!).
Oily Skin Causes, Prevention and Treatments

When it comes to oily skin, the struggle is real. Everyone is after the “dewy glow”, and if you have oily skin, you certainly have an advantage. Oily skin tends to appear dewier (due to excess sebum and active sebaceous glands) and can be more resistant to wrinkling. However, oily skin can become extreme, leaving you with an embarrassing shine, due to overactive oil production. Oily skin types are more prone to breakouts, inviting inflammation and acne.

Top 3 Oily Skin Causes


The number one cause of oily skin? Hormones. Hormone levels fluctuate throughout life for all kinds of reasons: puberty, pregnancy, stress, menstruation, dietary changes and age can influence your hormonal levels. There aren't specific 'oily skin hormones' however hormonal changes will influence sebum production, leading to increased (or decreased) oil in your skin. Oral contraceptives can affect hormones and cause skin breakouts.


If one (or both) of your parents have oily skin, it’s likely you will, too. Oily skin, as well as other skin conditions, can be passed down through generations, as we can inherit large or dense sebaceous glands from our ancestors. Consult a dermatologist to discuss skin problems and treatment options as well as a skincare routine best suited to your skin and issues. Educating yourself will help achieve optimal skin health and avoid side effects from over-the-counter products.


Relative humidity has an impact on oil production in your skin. During the winter, when relative humidity is low and we often experience dryness from indoor heating, you’ll probably notice a drop in excess oil on the skin surface. Conversely, when the weather is hot and humid, your skin may feel especially hot and oily, and uncomfortable. This can lead to clogged pores that can then cause blackheads and breakouts.

Cleanse and moisturize diligently during the winter. Try a skincare products collection with an oil-free moisturizing lotion option over a cream, if you prefer a lighter formula. A daily moisturizer with SPF is the best option for added protection against the environment. Sunscreen is crucial for every skin type.

3 Ways to Prevent Oily Skin


While the link between chocolate and acne has been disproven, it’s true that a poor diet can cause oily skin. Diets rich in refined carbohydrates, sugar and dairy can spike your blood sugar and alter your hormone levels. This causes an increase of oil in your skin, and can even lead to breakouts and blemishes. If you want to control your oily skin, eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables. Try to avoid dairy, but if you must consume it, choose full fat dairy. Low fat dairy tends to be worse for your skin, especially when it comes to oil levels and acne-prone skin.


It might seem like an extra-foamy cleanser makes sense to control oily skin, but the opposite is true. Over-washing your skin can dry it out, triggering your body to produce even more oil. It’s actually better to use a gentle cleanser and warm water. Look for products without SLS, and without sulfates in general if you can.

Those with oily t-zone areas (oily nose and chin, dry cheeks and forehead) may want to exfoliate with an over-the-counter treatment to remove dead skin cells in these areas. Use sparingly as excess exfoliating and scrubbing will irritate skin and eventually stimulate more oil production. 


Toners are a great way to help reduce oil, as long as you select one that is gentle. Try to avoid toners that have a lot of alcohol, because these can dry out your skin too much and cause irritation. Look for gentle toners with Salicylic Acid or Tea Tree Oil.

How to Get Rid of Surface Oil on Facial Skin

It takes time to see changes in your skin, even if you implement all of the tips we’ve recommended. If you want to get rid of oil quickly, one of the best solutions is to use blotting papers. These absorb oil naturally without drying out your skin or irritating it and are portable for quick touchups. You can also use mattifying powders or oil-control primers to achieve a matte finish on your skin. Another option is a good oil absorbing mask, like our Mean Green Detoxifying Clay Mask. It absorbs excess oil without over-drying your skin - and if used 1 - 2 times per week, it will help manage your oily areas.


Oily Skin Treatments

Looking for products to control your oily skin long term? Salicylic Acid is an excellent ingredient for oily skin because it is “lipid” friendly. It easily penetrates oil and helps to clean out your pores. It’s also a natural anti-inflammatory, so it tends to be gentle and non-drying.

You can also introduce Retinoids at night, which can reduce sebum production over time and also push healthy, bright skin to the surface. Just be sure to use it sparingly until your skin adjusts, because Retinoids can cause irritation if they’re overused.

  This article is originally posted on Proven Skincare.

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