An oily complexion results from getting too much of a good thing. Facial skin needs some oils produced by the body in order to stay healthy. But an excess amount of facial oil can lead to blackheads, blemishes, and acne outbreaks.
The key to caring for oily skin on your face is balance. You want to properly care for your skin with a regular daily routine without unintentionally irritating it or triggering even more oil production.
Causes of Oily Skin
During puberty, male hormones called androgen increase in the bodies of both males and females. Androgen directs the skin’s oil glands to develop, and the body starts making high levels of skin oil. For some people, however, their oil glands become overactive, producing an excess and giving the skin a shiny look and feel.
Other causes of oily skin include:
- Disorders requiring a medical diagnosis
- Ovarian cysts
- Acromegaly, or gigantism
Caring for an Oily Complexion
Many skincare products and promoted skincare routines claiming to control and even prevent excess oiliness are too harsh for delicate facial skin. Even though oily skin may appear thick and shiny, it is fragile and needs to be treated with care.
To reduce surface skin oils, wash your face morning and night. Choose a gentle facial cleanser. Good choices for oily skin contain acids such as beta-hydroxy acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, and benzoyl peroxide. Often face wash with these ingredients is marketed for acne but effectively cleans oily skin as well. Avoid scrubbing oily skin with washcloths or facial scrub pads. Such rough treatment can stimulate even more oil production. Always wash your face using warm water rather than hot because extreme temperatures can irritate skin.
Toners have long been considered a vital part of any good skincare routine, especially one for oily skin. Dermatologists, however, are now questioning whether or not toners actually provide any benefits and if they may even harm skin. So feel free to leave toner out of your skincare routine.
If you still prefer to use it, choose your toner formula with care. Opt for alcohol-free witch hazel blended with lavender or rose, rather than harsh astringent formulas. Apply toner only on oily parts of your face, such as your nose, chin, and forehead. Otherwise, you might create dry patches on your skin.
You may not think you need a facial moisturizer if you have oily skin, but you do. Simply avoid heavy, cream-based formulas. Instead choose an oil-free moisturizer and vary the application based on whether a particular area tends to be dry or oily.
In the morning, also apply oil-free sunscreen. You may need to try several different facial cleansers and moisturizers before you find the ones that work best for you, so buy the smallest size available when you first try a product.
While a facial mask, especially one containing clay, can pull out excess oil and impurities, if used too often it may dry out your skin. Even with oily skin, masks are best used only occasionally, such as before special events, or applied just to specific problem areas of the face.
Reduce Facial Oil Between Washes
No one product will keep an oily face matte-looking all day, but there are safe, effective, and affordable options for keeping your oily face feeling fresh, no matter where the day takes you.
Medicated pads containing oil-cutting ingredients such as salicylic acid and glycolic acid are great for on-the-go touch-ups. They are portable and easy to use.
Blotting papers are another excellent choice for removing excess facial oil anytime. They are convenient and won’t dry out your skin. Just apply a blotting paper to oily areas of the face like your nose, forehead, and chin. Gently press it against your skin for 10 to 15 seconds. Some blotting papers are lightly powdered so that they not only absorb excess oil but also leave behind a matte feel to the skin.
Tips for Acne Care
If you have acne along with oily skin, you may need to take some extra steps to reduce breakouts and lessen redness, in addition to following the skincare routine already described. Home remedies can be quite effective in treating acne, and you probably have all or some of these naturally healing ingredients in your kitchen right now.
- Egg whites
- Baking soda
- Tea tree oil
Apply egg whites on the face. Let dry for up to 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. Make pastes of oatmeal and baking soda by mixing them with warm water. Apply the paste to the face. Let dry for up to 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. For honey, apply a thin layer evenly to the face and leave for up to 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water. Tea tree oil can be applied directly to problem areas with a sterile cotton swab.
Treating acne from within is also a good idea. Try including flaxseed and avocados in your diet on a regular basis.
Never squeeze or pop pimples, which can cause infection, increased redness, and even scarring.
Makeup and Oily Skin
An oily face doesn’t mean you can’t wear makeup. Just start by priming your face. After cleaning and moisturizing your face, apply oil-free, anti-shine primer to the oiliest parts of the face, such as the nose, forehead, and chin.
Look for a foundation that is oil-free and noncomedogenic, which means it won’t block pores. Products sold as long-wear also are good choices for both your foundation and eye makeup. While it may make sense to pile on the face powder, doing so may actually trigger increased oil production. Instead, apply translucent powder only on the oiliest areas of the face.
Consistency and balance are important in a skincare routine for oily complexions. Don’t try to scrub or rub away excess oil. Such rough treatment can cause irritation and may trigger even more oil production. Instead, focus on finding the facial cleanser and oil-free moisturizer that work best for your skin and then use them morning and night. Finally, the next time you feel frustrated because of your oily face, remember that facial skin that is oilier tends to wrinkle less and look younger longer.