Many people suffer from oily skin, especially on their faces, and the results can be unsightly: from large pores to obvious blackheads, pimples and breakouts. If you suffer from oily skin, it’s likely that you’re used to excess shine, and may be prone to acne. And while the condition of our skin is often down to either genetics or hormones – both of which we have little, if any, control over, there are ways in which it can be treated. From identifying your skin type to honing in on a routine that will best suit your skin, read on for our tips on the best skincare routine for oily skin.
The role of skin
Our skin is the biggest organ in our bodies; and as adults we carry around 3.6kg and 2 square meters of it; so it’s essential that we take constant and consistent care of it. Skin has many roles in the maintenance of life and health, but it too can have many potential problems, with more than 3,000 possible skin disorders, from acne to eczema, to heat rash and beyond.
In addition to holding everything in, our skin also plays an instrumental role in providing us with an airtight, watertight and flexible barrier between the outside world and the regulated systems found within the body. It also helps with everything from temperature regulation, to immune defence, to vitamin production, and sensation.
The skin is unique in many ways, and no other organ demands so much attention and concern in both states of disease and health. There is a huge focus on skin health, with fierce competition to have glowing, clearer, healthier, younger and fresher skin. And this focus can cause secondary problems with self-esteem and mental health.
Defining your skin type
When it comes to looking after our skin, it is first important to identify what type you have. There are four main types of healthy skin: normal, dry, oily and combination, and our skin type is often determined by genetics, but can also be impacted by factors such as where we live and our day to day diet. Subsequently, the condition of our skin can vary greatly when you take into consideration both internal and external factors we subject it to.
To break it down, ‘normal’ skin is widely referred to as well-balanced, while ‘dry’ skin is used to describe the sort of skin that produces less sebum than normal skin. As a result of the lack of sebum, dry skin lacks the lipids that it needs to retain moisture and build a protective shield against external influences. Combination skin consists of a mix of skin types, that usually vary between the T-Zone and the cheeks. Finally, oily skin – which is known medically as seborrhea – is caused by excess skin oil produced within the pores.
What causes oily skin?
While it’s part of the natural skin process to produce oil which keeps our skin soft and supple, when too much sebum is produced it can lead to excessive oiliness which is a leading cause of acne. And when it comes to pinpointing the reason why you might have oily skin, the answer is both two fold and can be attributed to both hormones and genetics.
While many think hormonal imbalances only occur during puberty, hormone fluctuations also occur naturally, during pregnancy, menopause and perimenopause and can also be caused by toxins or an unbalanced lifestyle. Another thing to be aware of is androgens, which are male hormones found naturally in both men and women that signal the maturation of the skin’s sebaceous glands. As these glands mature, oil production increases.
The higher amount of androgens present, the more sebum is funneled through the pores, which then sits on the surface of the skin, creating an oily sheen. Should this excess oil become trapped in the pore and combine with dead skin cells and bacteria on the surface of the skin and inside the pore, pimples, blackheads, and other blemishes will form.
Finally, it’s also important to note the role that genetics can play in oily skin. In most acne patients, the reaction to hormonal changes is dependent on genes as well as hormones.
And so, when it comes to looking after oily skin, it’s important to take the time and invest in the products that will most benefit you. Below, we’ve outlined a step by step skincare routine for oily skin. From the process to the products, read on to find out more about how you can care for your oily skin.
How to look after oily skin
Wash your face twice a day
This may sound like an obvious point at which to start, but when it comes to caring for oily skin, clean skin is key, so it’s essential that you allow ample time in both the morning and evening to give your skin a thorough wash. And, as tempting as it might be to wash it more often, doing so can strip your skin of natural moisturisers and increase oil production – meaning it can have the opposite to the desired effect. The only time you should wash your face more than once a day is if you’ve been sweating more than usual, so, for example after strenuous exercise of if it’s particularly hot outside.
Use a gentle cleanser
Given that oily skin is associated with excess oil and the appearance of enlarged pores that often result in blemishes, a good cleanser is an essential part of any skincare routine for oily skin. One brand we love is SkinCeuticals, which offers advanced skincare designed to improve the appearance of oily skin, by absorbing excess sebum to minimize shine, decongest pores with high-potency acids, improve the appearance of visible pores, and prevent the appearance of blemishes caused by clogged pores. Try their LHA cleansing gel, which is a targeted exfoliating cleanser that removes excess oils and makeup, while decongesting pores and brightening skin. Formulated for aging skin prone and anyone to breakouts, this deep cleansing gel gently refines the appearance of congested pores and helps to reduce blemishes without drying the skin and is a perfect addition to any skincare routine for oily skin.
Avoid scrubbing your face
While it’s fine to use an exfoliating cleanser, using a facial scrub can actually cause your skin to dry out and produce even more oil.
Only tone essential areas
If you use a toner as part of your skincare routine, only use it on areas that are oily such as your forehead or around your nose. If you use a toner on areas that aren’t oily it can cause dry patches, so be sure to pay attention when applying toner to your skin.
Use an oil-free moisturiser
While it’s commonly believed that oily skin makes enough oil and therefore doesn’t need a moisturiser, using the right moisturiser may reduce the oiliness of your skin for two reasons: moisturiser contains ingredients that dissolve and mix oil and water and moisturiser can thin and balance the sebum produced by your skin. Try asap’s moisturizing daily defence SPF50+ which contains Zinc-Oxide for broad spectrum physical protection, Hyaluronic Acid to increase skin hydration and help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and Niacinamide which works to help prevent pigmentation and promote elasticity. Suitable for all skin types, its built in sunscreen is also a great preventative measure against sun damaged skin.
Choose the right foundation
When choosing foundation and other make-up, pick those with gel, liquid or powder bases. If using a liquid make-up make sure it’s water rather than oil based. Makeup labeled “noncomedongenic” will contain ingredients that won’t clog your pores.
Exfoliate once a week
Incorporating exfoliation in your skin care routine will help to loosen and remove dirt and any build up of oil in your pores.
Don’t pick your spots
While picking or squeezing spots and blemishes can be tempting, doing so can have a disastrous effect on your skin, leaving you with scars that will last a lifetime. Use a spot treatment product instead