A Guide to Oily Skin

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Creative Commons License photo credit: said&done Of all the various types of skin, skin that’s chronically oily is perhaps the most difficult to deal with. Everyone has oily skin, to some degree, as each of us have sebaceous glands with the center layer of skin, or the dermis, that produce these essential oils that help to protect our skin and keep it feeling soft and supple. However, in some people, their sebaceous glands create too much oil which may lead to clogged pores, pimples, and blemishes.

How Can I Tell If I Have Oily Skin?

The majority of adolescents and young adults suffer from oily skin simply due to overactive hormone production. After you are in your 20s, it’s fairly easy to determine whether or not you have oily skin just by looking into the mirror. If you notice a large concentration of oils especially on the face’s “T-zone,” which is the forehead, nose, chin, and sometimes under the eyes, that gives the skin a shiny appearance, chances are you have oily skin.

Another telltale sign of chronically oily skin is the condition of the hair. If your hair also tends to be oily between shampoos, this is an indication that the sebaceous glands are producing too much oil. For women who have trouble getting their foundation makeup to stay on for more than a few hours, excess oils may be to blame.

If you frequently struggle with blemishes and blackheads, this is yet another good indicator of oily skin, although, other factors such as stress and hormonal changes may also be responsible for outbreaks of pimples and the like. Keep in mind that oily skin just doesn’t occur on the face as technically, it can happen anywhere there’s a concentration of sebaceous glands including the chest, shoulders, back, neck, and the upper arms.

The Best Way to Care for Oily Skin

All too often, people with oily skin make the mistake of thinking they should completely strip the skin of all its oils, when in all reality, doing so actually makes the skin more sensitive and prone to different conditions. While it seems logical to remove the oils that are causing the problem, the skin actually needs them to protect itself and act as a natural moisturizer. In some people, their oily skin also tends to be sensitive so it’s important to take care when using cleansing products and achieving the right balance of oils.

Ironically, another reason to steer clear of harsh cleansers or products that strip the skin of its oils is that they may actually cause the sebaceous glands to become even more overactive in response to the lack of oil on the outside of the skin.

Since oily skin is notorious for causing clogged pores, it’s imperative to keep the skin as clean as possible, but doing so using gentle products and lukewarm water, never hot as it will irritate the already sensitive skin. To remove the accumulation of dead skin cells and pore-clogging bacterium, one must exfoliate the skin on a regular basis. Every week, use a product that doesn’t contain harsh abrasives to keep the pores open and healthy, or after cleansing the skin, apply a toner that doesn’t contain alcohol as it will have the opposite effect and dry out the skin too much.

People with oily skin can still use moisturizers if necessary, provided they are specifically formulated for that skin type. Also, be sure to choose makeup and sunscreen products that are also free from oil and intended for use on oily skin. A good rule of thumb to follow is to check for either the word “non-comedogenic” or “non-acnegenic” somewhere on the label or in the product’s list of ingredients.

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