Oily skin produces excessive amounts of Sebum (the opposite of dry skin), which is produced from your sebaceous glands. Sebum is a lipid rich protective substance that helps form the skin barrier. Sebum is made up of – Squalene, Sterols, Wax Esters, Sterol Esters, Triglycerides – these are the most abundant.
The reason that the sebaceous glands are over active is down to Testosterone. This hormone is secreted by the male sexual organs, and in women it comes from the ovaries and adrenal glands.
In excess the sebum makes skin look shiny and have open pores and tends to be easily congested – make-up doesn’t seem to stay on that well. Oily skin is genetic and you cannot stop the excess oil, but their are many products and lifestyle choices that can control it. Eventually as you get older and go through hormonal changes your oil secretion should calm down.
I have a genetically oily skin type that I have inherited from my mum (thanks mum!) Oily skin tends to age better than a dry skin – as long as you protect against the sun and don’t smoke etc. Although my skin is very oily, I only experience breakouts before my period, but I have to be careful to avoid Pore Clogging Ingredients (Comedogenic) as my skin gets clogged very easily. Don’t forget Oily skin can still get dehydrated, as it can lose water in the upper layers.
Oily Skin And Acne
So even if your skin is oily, it is not the direct cause of Acne, you would have a genetic predisposition to Acne, or hormone imbalance is triggered by stress and can cause a low grade persistent Acne.
Free flowing sebum is not a problem in regards to acne, It is the sebum that is not released, that builds up and gets inflamed, that results in acne breakouts.
What is Combination Skin?
Identifying your skin type is made even more difficult by the “term” Combination Skin. Strictly speaking it is not a true skin type, but almost everyone at some time has combination skin. I tend to go with the majority rules theory – if your skin is mostly oily – then you have an oily skin type, If your skin is mostly dry – then you have a dry skin type. It is the formulation of the product that is important, cream or lotion, water or oil based.
Physiologically, the nose, chin, center of forehead, and the center of cheeks all have more oil glands than other parts of the face. Problems occur when you buy products for oily skin that are not appropriate for the areas that are not oily, or vice-versa. You may need separate products to deal with the different skin conditions on your face.
Tips For Oily Skin
- Avoid Harsh stripping of the skin – products with Alcohol will actually cause your skin to pump out more Sebum, to make up for what has been lost!
- Avoid baking your face in the sun! while it may seem to temporary dry your skin out – the sebaceous glands will go into overdrive to replace the lost oil! not to mention the Sun Damage!
- High Humidity will make your skin feel even oilier! you need a scrupulous skin-care routine, and avoid pore clogging ingredients.
Don’t give up, it is a manageable skin type and a blessing in disguise! Here are my skin-care must haves for oily skin.
- Scrupulous double cleansing that breaks down oils and stubborn make-up, so your second cleanse can actually clean your skin and pores – I like Dermalogica Precleanse for the first cleanse
- Use a clay based or a foaming cleanser to thoroughly cleanse your skin, Dermalogica Dermal Clay Cleanser or Dermalogica Special Cleansing gel are very effective.
- Exfoliation can help control oil production, improve skin texture and help prevent clogged pores that lead to spots. Salicylic Acid is an effective ingredient to look for in exfoliants or other products for oily skin, as it can actually get inside the follicle and break down sebum. I like Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant or Dermalogica Daily Resurfacer.
- Once or twice a week, apply a deep cleansing clay based mask to help control sebum and clean pores. Try Dermalogica Sebum Clearing Masque or Dermalogica Skin Refining Masque.
- Even if you think your skin doesn’t need it, apply a light moisturiser like Dermalogica Oil Control Lotion, Dermalogica Active Moist or Crystal Clear No Shine Serum, even oily skin gets dehydrated.
- For make up, go for oil free formulations, I love Dermalogica Treatment Foundation and Mineralogie Matte Finishing Powder
- Sunscreen formulations have improved so much as they used to feel too greasy and clog the skin. I like Dermalogica Oil Free Matte Block SPF25 and Mineralogie Face And Body Block SPF30, a unique mineral powder you just dust over skin.
Skin Treatments for Oily Skin
- By receiving a regular facial every 4 – 6 weeks, you can keep your skin clear and healthy. Professional extractions and exfoliation will help with the ongoing skin concerns of an oily skin, and also tackle any other concerns you may have with your skin.