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Mar 18 2014 2:38 PM
Oily skin is a skin type with higher than normal oil production all over the face. Oily skin appears shiny or greasy and pores appear enlarged, and visible, especially on the forehead, nose and chin. Skin thickening, clogged pores, blackheads and blemishes may also be present. Additionally, makeup tends to “melt” off or disappear and hair around the face tends to look dull and stringy.
Oily skin is caused by overactive oil (sebaceous) glands that produce excess oil (sebum). This can be due to genetics, stress, hormones, medications, climate, and improper skincare.
Heredity plays a role in the size of the oil glands and the amount of oil an individual makes. The good news is that the genetic tendency towards larger oil glands and higher than normal oil production also helps keep the skin hydrated and locks in moisture which tends to make oily skin age more slowly than dry skin types.
Stress causes a surge in hormones like cortisol and testosterone, which stimulate the oil glands to increase oil production. Additional hormonal fluctuations that occur with during puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, or with the onset of menopause can also trigger the oil glands to pump out more oil.
Oil production increases when humidity and temperatures climb in the spring and summer or when living in or travelling to tropical climates. Dry winter air can also cause an increase in oil as the skin tries to compensate for getting dehydrated.
While many causes of oily skin are outside our control, factors within our control include the products we choose and how we use them. Mineral oil based skincare products, such as moisturizers, or makeup (foundation and powder too!) aggravate oily skin, clog pores and create blemishes. Harsh soaps or cleansers that contain sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate further irritate and strip the skin of natural oils. Product misuse such as excessive washing, overzealous scrubbing, use of hot water or simply inadequate use of moisturizers can further dry out the surface of the skin. All of these scenarios trigger the skin to produce more oil in an effort to compensate in a process called rebound oil production.
To control oily skin, it is important to choose skincare products designed to minimize oil, refine pores and hydrate the skin. Being consistent and gentle with the appropriate regimen is equally vital for treating oily skin. At minimum, cleanse, tone and use an oil-controlling moisturizer twice daily.
Additional ways to control oily skin include exfoliation, masking and face oils. Use a gentle exfoliating cleanser three to four times per week and along with an enzyme peeling cream once or twice a week will remove the excess dead skin cells that tend to accumulate with oily skin and clog the pores. Incorporate a clay-based mask once or twice a week to further absorb excess oil and control the symptoms of oily skin. A professional deep cleansing facial treatment is also highly recommended.
Added to Cleanser
A skincare regimen for oily skin needs to start with a sulfate-free cleanser that will normalize and control oil production. Look for a cleanser that contains burdock, which normalizes the oil glands. Other great ingredients for oily skin include ivy, lemon, watercress, basil and pine.
Added to Toner
Oily skin types should always use an alcohol-free toner after they cleanse. The right toner will complete the cleanse by further removing excess oil without drying the skin. It will also remove irritating hard water deposits that can leave a residue on the skin as well. Great toner ingredients for oily skin include aloe and lactic acid to increase moisture and geranium to prevent excessive oil.
Added to Moisturizer
Oily skin types tend to avoid moisturizer, thinking that it will make their skin even oilier. While this is true for heavy, mineral oil based moisturizers, moisturizers that are noncomedogenic and refrain from mineral oil are an important final step in a regimen for oily skin. A lightweight, oil-controlling moisturizer will increase hydration without clogging pores, and can actually slow down oil production.
(I had to omit the “a professional deep cleansing facial treatment is also highly recommended” on the moisturizer page.
Oily Skin Rules
Be consistent with your skincare regimen Avoid harsh cleansers and excessive washing Use warm water to cleanse your face Avoid Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, artificial fragrances, mineral oil and petroleum. Use water-based, non-comedogenic cosmetics.
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