Seems we always want what we don’t have. If we have straight hair, we wish it was more wavy or curly. If we have curly hair, we spend all kinds of time straightening it.
The same seems to apply to skin—those of us with dry skin wish only for more hydration, while those of us with oily skin get so fed up with the endless shininess!
“I have super oily skin with large pores,” says one of our blog readers, “we are talking shiny after an hour of my morning cleanse.”
This sums up the problem with oily skin very nicely—shininess and large pores. Is there anything you can do that will help? We have some solutions for you to try. You can also check out our best of page to learn even more about healthy skin!
What is Oily Skin?
Some people think they have oily skin, when in truth, they have combination skin—oily only in the T-zone, or the forehead, nose, and chin areas. Truly oily skin typically has the following characteristics:
- looks shiny or greasy everywhere
- appears thick and coarse
- has enlarged pores
- occasional breakouts
One way to test your skin to see if it is truly oily is to wash it in the morning with a gentle cleanser, pat it dry, avoid applying any make-up or lotion, and wait an hour or two. When you look in the mirror, if your face is shiny and covered in oil, you have oily skin. If your cheeks are dry but your forehead and nose are shiny, you have combination skin, which we’ll cover in another post!
What Causes it?
Oily skin is caused by over-active sebaceous glands that produce excessive amounts of skin oil, called “sebum.” Typically it is hereditary, meaning that if one or both of your parents had oily skin, you may have it, too. In addition, exposing the skin to too many products that upset its own natural balance can also trigger the over-production of oil.
What Are the Problems Associated with Oily Skin?
If you have oily skin, you may also suffer from the following problems:
- Clogged pores: too much oil dirt and clogs pores
- Shine: oily skin looks shiny and greasy
- Runny Cosmetics: you have a hard time keeping makeup in place and often have to blot and reapply
The good news is that oily skin ages more slowly than dry skin, so when you move into your 40s and beyond, you may actually be thankful for your oiliness!
“I’ve learned to love and embrace my oily skin,” says another one of our readers. “Look at all those poor women out there with dry skin who constantly have to replace what we already have in abundance!”
Daily Routine for Combatting Excess Oil
Even though your skin may age more slowly than other types, that’s little consolation when you’re looking at large pores and shine. When looking for ways to help control your oil production, start with some basic steps.
- Wash only twice a day. Even though the oil crops back up within a couple hours, resist the urge to wash again. If you strip the oils too much, your skin will react by producing even more, which is definitely what you don’t want. If you wash off that excess oil more than that, use water alone.
- Use a dissolving cleanser. You want your cleanser to gently dissolve the oils and deeply clean at the same time. Try our Citrus Mint Facial Cleanser, which is formulated specifically for oiliness. It will remove dirt, excess oil, and impurities without harsh chemicals, and will help unclog pores. Use warm water, and massage the cleanser into your skin for at least one minute before rinsing off.
- Tone carefully. Again, the danger here is over-stripping your natural oils and causing a backfire in oil production. You want a toner that is gentle but effective. Try my Rosemary Toning Mist, which helps clean and give the skin a balanced appearance, plus it is a leave-on toner, which provides lasting benefits.
- Balance the oils in your skin. This is critical in oily skin types, and the step that most people struggle with. You know the problem is too much oil, so you try to get rid of that oil, but oftentimes that means harsh products that just strip the skin, damage the outer layer, and lead to increased oil production in the long run, as well as accelerated aging. Natural oils have an amazing ability to work with the body to balance the way your skin looks, which is why I’m so sold on them. You may think, “apply oils to oily skin?” But just try it—you’ll be amazed at the results, I’m sure. Use the Herbal Facial Oil for Oily Skin, made especially for oily skin types. Apply it every day after cleansing and you’ll notice a more balanced look.
Eight Tips for Oily Types
Once you’ve got your daily routine down, it’s time to add in a few extra steps that will improve the appearance and behavior of your skin.
- Use a mask 2-3 times a week. Masks help reduce the oily appearance on the face for days at a time. Plus they can help pores appear smaller. Try our Purifying Mud Mask, which uses mineral rich clays to give a toner and tighter appearance to the skin.
- Exfoliate 2-3 times a week. Try the Kaolin Micro Exfoliant, which leaves your looking skin smooth and clean. Just be careful not to over-exfoliate, because that can cause skin damage and may encourage your skin you produce more oil.
- Consider your diet. Foods high in fats, sugars, and unhealthy oils can cause a negative reaction in your skin. Choose healthy fruits and vegetables and lean proteins, and cut down on sugar-sweetened beverages.
- Try witch hazel before applying makeup. It’s a natural salicylic acid toner. Wiping your face before applying makeup will help soak up excess oil without stripping your skin.
- Use a light moisturizer. It can be a little counter-intuitive, but using a light moisturizer with infused ingredients that cleanse can help your skin balance out its own oils overtime so that you don't stay so oily.
- Use oil-free cosmetics. When choosing makeup products, always find oil-free or “non-comedogenic” products that won’t clog pores.
- Don’t overdo powder. You may think that more powder would help soak up excess oil, but it can actually get cakey and may encourage your skin to pump out more oil. Apply powder sparingly only on shiny areas, and use a matte translucent formula.
- Remember sun protection. No matter what kind of skin you have, you need to protect it from the sun, which is enemy #1 when it comes to aging! Look for zinc oxide formulas.