Have you ever gotten off the phone with a friend, and noticed that your phone screen is now covered in your face’s residue? Or perhaps you feel the constant need to have powder or blotting papers ready on hand? If so, you probably have oily skin, and as off-putting as it can be, you’re certainly not alone with the condition: millions of people have it.
Now, if that information isn’t comforting, this surely is: it’s controllable! Keeping your skin balanced is simply a matter of understanding its needs and treating it accordingly.
Oily skin starts out in the sebaceous glands beneath the dermis. These glands create an oil known as sebum, which assists in keeping your skin hydrated, lubricated, and healthy. Sometimes, however, the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum due to dehydrated skin, fluctuating hormone levels, stress, or even simply because you were born with large pores.
Furthermore, excess sebum can then mix with dead skin cells and lead to clogged pores, which can lead to an acne breakout. To make matters worse, such breakouts can potentially be painful and even damaging to the skin.
Keep in mind that it’s not just about going in with harsh products to wipe all the oil out, though it may be tempting to find scrubs and masks that will aggressively mattify your face. This is nonetheless strongly advised against, as it will likely make matters worse!
Increased oil production can be caused by several factors, such as the climate you live in, using unsuitable skin care products, enlarged pores due to hormone imbalances, and genetics. No matter the reason, it is possible to control the oil levels in your skin. A wealth of products are available specifically for this condition, meaning that relief may be but an exfoliation away. The rest is simply a matter of knowing which products and ingredients will work best for your unique needs.
One of the biggest causes of oily skin is stress. When humans are upset, overwhelmed, or frightened, our bodies release a hormone called cortisol, which leads to increased oil production. To keep your cortisol levels low, find out what’s most effective for you when it comes to decompressing.
Meditation, for instance, has been proven to promote mental clarity, thus supporting mental health overall. Meanwhile, exercise is excellent for releasing endorphins and, even more, the added benefit of perspiration. Perspiration helps encourage your pores to push out sebum and other toxins. That being said, always wash your face afterwards!
Additionally, hot water and steam reduces tension in the joints and muscles, so a hot bath is a surefire way to relieve stress in the body. Try adding essential oils to the bath, such as lavender ( which is also great for acne!) and ylang ylang.
Sometimes, the best products for your skin are those you make at home, featuring natural ingredients such as coconut oil or honey. In general, always keep an eye out for botanical ingredients. Witch hazel, for example, is renowned for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.
One great home remedy for oily skin is a mask you can make from a paste composed of a tablespoon of raw honey and a handful of finely-ground oats. Oats contain nourishing whilst gently exfoliating properties, and honey is antimicrobial. After leaving this mask on your face for ten-to-fifteen minutes, your skin is sure to feel fresh and renewed!
As mentioned, drying out the skin can make matters worse. It might cause even more oiliness as your skin tries to compensate. Your glands may think that your skin is in dire need of hydration, so it will produce a lot of excess oil.
With this in mind, it may be a good idea to replenish the nutrients in your face with sheet masks or serums. These products tend to contain ingredients such as retinol and hyaluronic acid, which not only assist in sloughing off dead skin and excess sebum, but also reintroduce nourishing vitamins to your epidermis, which may be what’s needed to break your cycle of oily skin. It’s all about a healthy balance!
Your skin gathers debris when going out as well as while you sleep. While knowing this might give you the urge to exfoliate twice a day, don’t. Gentle is always better than harsh, so use an exfoliant sparingly while using a gentle cleanser, like the Nopal Cactus Cleanser to cleanse twice daily. Your skin gathers debris overnight, and from going out. This water-based cleanser helps remove extra residue after using a makeup remover.
Cleanse your skin thoroughly with warm water, but avoid being rough on the skin. For a review on how to properly cleanse your skin, see this article.
Even the most gentle cleansers can leave your skin a little stripped, so always follow up with a toner, especially one containing salicylic acid. Salicylic acid is excellent because it’s lipophilic, which essentially means it likes oil. Products containing it will attract the sebum in your skin like a magnet! Apply toner with a cotton pad after cleansing twice a day.
After cleansing and restoring the nutrients in your skin, it certainly doesn’t hurt to assist your glands in reintroducing hydration to the face. Puristry’s Seaberry Moisturizer, for instance, is excellent for this, while fighting free radical damage that can cause additional stress to skin.
Whether your oily skin is caused by climate, stress, or genetics, know that it is perfectly normal, common, and treatable. That being said, keeping your sebum production balanced will be done so more effectively when you learn to understand your skin’s needs. To do this, test each possible factor one at a time in order to learn the cause, and treat accordingly. This may take some time, but be patient! Awareness of your diet, stress levels, and hormonal shifts is especially useful for determining this.
Aside from pinpointing the exact cause, general skin care advice helps everyone. Over-washing and stripping your skin of its natural oils is detrimental in the long run and can make oily skin worse. Regularly replenish your skin with nourishing serums and sheet masks, and cleanse with gentle cleansers containing natural ingredients.