Raise your hand if you constantly struggle to keep your T-zone shine-free. If you never leave your house without the no-sebum mineral powder, a pack of blotting paper, and stay lightyears away from liquid and cream foundations, you have oily skin.
Oily skin comes with a unique set of constant struggles like large pores, excess sebum, acne breakouts, and hyperpigmentation. The good news is – these issues can be fixed with the right skin care routine. This article will guide you through setting a healthy skin care routine to keep your oily skin shine-free and healthy. Keep reading.
In This Article
Oily Skin And Its Causes
Our skin has sebaceous glands that produce sebum (or natural oils) to moisturize it and protect its lipid barrier. However, oily skin produces excess sebum, which leads to shiny skin, greasiness, enlarged and clogged pores, acne, blackheads, and breakouts. Several factors can contribute to this and may aggravate oily skin issues.
Hormonal imbalance is linked to increased sebaceous gland activity. Hormones like androgen and estrogen may affect the sebocytes (sebum-producing cells), increase their activity, and lead to acne (1).
Several factors may cause hormonal imbalance and oily skin. They include:
- Thyroid issues
- High stress levels
Other factors that may contribute to oily skin include:
- Environmental factors (humidity, UV exposure, and pollution)
- Excessive cleansing
- Drugs and medications
- Poor diet and nutrition
If you have oily skin, all these issues can influence sebum production and add to the existing issues. The tell-tale signs of oily skin include:
- Excess shiny and greasy T-zone
- Visible pores around the T-zone
- Blackheads and whiteheads, especially around the nose
- Rough skin texture
- Frequent breakouts and blemishes
- Skin looks shiny shortly after cleansing
- Makeup slides off the face (even after using mattifying primer and setting powder)
If you can relate to all the points discussed above, we understand your pain. However, a good skin care routine can help you minimize the oiliness and manage the associated issues. The first step is to choose the right product containing the right ingredient.
7 Must-Have Ingredients For Oily Skin
Talk of skin care, and one of the first ingredients that comes to mind is retinol. This ingredient (2):
- Regulates excess sebum production by reducing sebocyte activity
- Reduces pore size
- Repairs photodamage
- Prevents acne
It also minimizes fine lines and wrinkles and reduces hyperpigmentation.
You can buy retinol serums for your A.M and P.M skin care routine. However, retinol can irritate the skin, so use it sparingly and start with a low concentration. Also, if you are using it during the daytime, apply sunscreen to prevent sun damage as retinol can cause photosensitivity.
2. Salicylic Acid
Salicylic acid is an absolute must-have ingredient for oily skin. This desmolytic agent disrupts the cellular junctions of the skin, promoting its natural exfoliation process, and helping to keep the pores clean. Salicylic acid is one of the main ingredients used to treat acne inflammation (3). Get cleansers with 2% (maximum strength) salicylic acid to wash your face twice a day.
3. Hyaluronic Acid
If you think oily skin does not need moisturization, you are wrong. Lack of moisture can trigger your skin to produce more sebum to compensate for the moisture loss. Hyaluronic acid is lightweight and gentle, provides hydration, and can significantly reduce sebum production (4).
It is available as sodium hyaluronate in serums and creams. It is the sodium salt of hyaluronic acid that penetrates the skin easily and provides better moisturization.
A study conducted on the Japanese and Caucasian population stated that using 2% niacinamide reduces the sebum levels on the skin . Niacinamide (vitamin B3) performs the following functions when used in skin care products:
- Reinforces the skin barrier
- Increases the skin cell turnover rate
- Minimizes hyperpigmentation
- Increases the skin elasticity
- Reduces the skin pore size and excess sebum production
5. Alpha Arbutin
Alpha arbutin is your holy grail if you have skin issues like hyperpigmentation, blemishes, and acne marks. This skin lightening agent inhibits tyrosinase activity (an enzyme that supports melanin synthesis), reduces melanin concentration, and fades blemishes to brighten the skin (7).
If you are more into natural remedies, mineral-rich clays can help you get rid of excess sebum. Clays like bentonite and kaolin clays, fuller’s earth, and rhassoul clay exfoliate the skin to remove dead skin cells, reduce sebum production (8). However, follow up with a moisturizer to prevent excess dryness.
7. Alpha Hydroxy Acids
While you can opt for in-office treatments, you can also buy OTC facial peels available at different strengths. These peels can improve your skin texture and also minimize the appearance of pores. However, if you haven’t used AHA-BHA peels, it is better to start from the lowest concentration and let your skin get accustomed to it before trying strong products.
Besides these ingredients, you can also look for products containing tea tree oil, ceramides, and peptides to nourish your skin and minimize acne. However, there are few ingredients that people with oily skin must avoid at all costs.
Ingredients To Avoid If You Have Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, avoid the ingredients that fall under these categories:
Ingredients that strip the natural oils, like:
- Sodium lauryl sulfate
- Sodium laureth sulfate
Products containing vegetable oils with high fatty acids, like:
- Coconut oil
- Sunflower oil
- Camellia oil
- Hazelnut oil
Occlusive ingredients, like:
- Petroleum/Petrolatum (like Vaseline)
- Mineral oil
Once you have gathered your products, it is time to set a daily skin care routine. We all follow a basic cleansing-toning-moisturizing (CTM) routine. However, you can add a few more steps to the basic routine to provide extra nourishment to your skin.
Best Skin Care Routine For Oily Skin
Morning Skin Care Routine For Oily Skin
Step 1: Cleanse
Wash your face with a mild and gentle cleanser to clean all the dirt and sebum that your skin might have gathered overnight.
Step 2: Exfoliate
Follow this step only once a week. You can use a physical or a chemical exfoliator to slough away the dead skin cells and smoothen the texture.
Step 3: Tone
Do not skip this step. Toner helps prep your skin to absorb all the goodness of the skin care products. It also cleans the residue that remains on the face after cleansing.
- Normalize the skin pH
- Keep your skin hydrated
- Minimize the pore size
Avoid alcohol-based toners as they can strip the natural oils off your skin.
Step 4: Serum
After the initial cleansing and toning, apply a serum to address specific skin issues. You can use serums that contain vitamins C and E, hyaluronic acid, niacinamide, alpha arbutin, and other ingredients to address skin issues like acne, hyperpigmentation, and enlarged pores.
Step 5: Moisturizing
For oily skin, use water-based moisturizers to lock in moisture, maintain your skin’s hydration level, and prevent overproduction of sebum.
Step 6: Eye Cream
The skin under your eyes is delicate and prone to damage. It does have oil glands and dries out easily. Invest in a good eye cream that maintains the hydration in the skin under your eyes and addresses specific concerns like dark circles, puffiness, or wrinkles.
Step 7: Sunscreen
Sunscreen is essential if you head outdoors during the day. Always pick a mineral-based sunscreen as it does not gets absorbed into the skin and blocks the UV rays to prevent damage. Alternatively, you can continue with chemical sunscreens if your skin is comfortable with them. Ensure that it has at least SPF 30 and PA+++ ratings.
Evening Routine For Oily Skin
Step 1: Double Cleanse
Use an oil-based cleanser to lift the makeup, dirt, and residue, and then use a mild and gentle cleanser to wash your face.
Step 2: Detox With A Clay Mask
Use a clay mask once or twice a week to rejuvenate and exfoliate your skin. You can invest in a detoxifying clay mask or go the DIY way. It removes the dirt and oil from your facial skin and improves the skin texture.
Step 3: Toner
After cleansing (or removing your mask), use a toner. This is important to calm your skin and remove any remaining dirt or oil.
Step 4: Use Retinol-Based serum
This is an important part of your nighttime skin care routine. As your skin repairs itself during the night, using retinol can help reduce wrinkles and fine lines and speed up the healing process. Since retinol makes your skin photosensitive, use it at night.
Step 5: Other Treatment
You can apply spot treatments and other active ingredients, like niacinamide and hyaluronic acid, for an additional boost of nutrients.
Step 6: Eye cream
Using an eye cream is important at night as it helps the area under your eyes stay nourished and smooth while you get a good night’s sleep.
Step 7: Moisturizer
Use a light moisturizer before you retire for the day. Avoid heavy oil-based night creams as they can clog your pores.
Apart from following a daily morning and evening skin care routine, here are some more handy tips and a list of dos and don’ts for managing oily skin.
Other Tips To Manage Oily Skin
- Blotting Papers Are True Saviors
Blotting papers are your secret weapons to beat the mid-afternoon grease and shine. These papers are easy to carry and absorb the excess oil on your face.
- Apply A Facial Mist Throughout The Day
Carry a facial mist wherever you go to freshen up your skin throughout the day. It helps remove dirt and unclog your pores, making you feel fresh instantly. For better results, use a facial mist with tea tree oil and witch hazel to calm and soothe the skin and keep oiliness at bay.
- Use Appropriate Makeup Products
Not all products suit oily skin. Use an oil-free and mineral-based foundation with a matte finish. It helps prevent shine and stays on for longer hours.
- Avoid Touching Your Face Frequently
Your hands and fingers are not always clean. Frequently touching your face can transfer dirt and bacteria to your skin that may clog the pores.
Dos And Don’ts For Oily Skin
- Wash your face twice a day, once in the morning and once at night.
- Sunscreen is important and compulsory if you are heading outdoors.
- Always use makeup that suits your skin type.
- Clean your makeup brushes to prevent breakouts.
- Change your pillow cover frequently.
- Get 8 hours of sleep every day.
- Work out every day to improve blood circulation in the body, including your skin, and stay healthy.
- Always remove your makeup before going to bed at night.
- Avoid using petroleum or petrolatum-based products.
- Do not wash your face frequently or more than twice.
- Avoid alcohol-based toners.
- Never rub or scrub your face vigorously.
- Avoid smoking to maintain skin health.
Wrapping It Up
Maintaining oily skin is all about striking the perfect balance to regulate the sebum production. This is possible with the right ingredients, the right skin care routine, and a healthy lifestyle. You also need to be consistent with your efforts. Follow the tips discussed in the article to manage oily skin.
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- An update on the role of the sebaceous gland in the pathogenesis of acne
- Oily Skin: A review of Treatment Options
- A double-blind
placebo-controlled evaluation of a 2% salicylic acid cleanser for improvement of acne vulgaris
- Hyaluronic Acid Decreases Lipid Synthesis in Sebaceous Glands
- How Much Do We Really Know About Our Favorite Cosmeceutical Ingredients?
- The effect of 2% niacinamide on facial sebum production
- Alpha Arbutin as a Skin Lightening Agent: A Review
- Characterization and Short-Term clinical study of clay facial mask
- Dual Effects of Alpha-Hydroxy Acids on the Skin