- Treat oily skin by washing your face regularly with a mild cleanser.
- To help reduce oil production, use topical retinol products after cleansing.
- When outdoors, apply an oil-free broad-spectrum brush-on sunscreen.
- If you wear makeup, use oil-free and noncomedogenic products designed for oily skin.
Excessively oily skin, or seborrhea, is a common skin condition that can be triggered by one of many factors including hormonal fluctuations, genetics, climate and lifestyle.
Those with oily skin are prone to unwanted large pores, blemishes and a shiny complexion due to increased sebum production. Although there are many treatments available, it is best to opt for dermatologist-recommended treatments instead of home remedies, which may not be effective or scientifically supported.
Oily Skin Causes
Oily skin is a common condition affecting both men and women, typically between puberty and about 60 years of age. It is characterized by an excessive production of sebum.
Many factors play a role in the origin and development of oily skin. Hormones, genetics, climate, lifestyle and choice of skin care products are some of them. The following is a review of current effective treatment options to help combat your oily skin.
Effective Treatments for Oily Skin
To help control and treat oily skin, an effective action plan may include the following: mild cleansers that won’t trigger increased oil production, the use of topical retinol products after cleansing and applications of brush-on sunscreen throughout the day.
While some may be tempted by one of the many home remedies claiming to treat oily skin and acne, the products presented below are known to effectively treat oily skin.
Use These Products to Treat Oily Skin
Oily skin can be treated effectively with several options, using mild facial cleansers, topical retinol skin care products and brush-on sunscreens.
Mild facial cleansers
Cleansing is said to be the most important step in maintaining healthy skin. By gently washing away oil buildup, dirt and other unwanted substances such as dead skin cells, makeup and toxins, the skin is refreshed and prepared for the next steps of a good skin care routine.
It is important to use a mild cleanser. A harsh cleanser could cause skin irritation and dryness, and ultimately aggravate the situation by increasing sebum production. Mild foaming facial cleansers won’t lead to these negative effects, however, due to a more neutral pH that won’t damage skin’s proteins and lipids.
Topical retinol products
Retinol, a derivative of vitamin A, is available in many over-the-counter topical skin care products. Retinol works as a treatment for oily skin by unclogging pores, reducing oil production as well as pore size, and making skin appear brighter and shine-free.
Note that topical retinol products must be used with caution and in small quantities, as they may cause irritation. It is recommended to use them occasionally at the start, and to slowly increase frequency of applications to allow skin to build tolerance.
As oil is produced throughout the day, using a brush-on broad-spectrum SPF sunscreen midday and then every 2 hours (indoors and out) will help avoid sun damage and also control shine.
Brush-on sunscreen is powdered and therefore a great option for oily skin because it is designed to rest on the surface of skin and not penetrate it. Brush-on’s provide the same protection as creams and lotions – without clogging pores.
When purchasing sunscreen look for the words oil-free and noncomedogenic, as they are not likely to cause comedones (or pore blockages). Also, make sure your sunscreen is SPF 30 or higher, broad-spectrum (for protection from both UVA and UVB rays) and water-resistant.
Some Products to Avoid
Although some may believe they are great oily skin treatment options, some skin care and cosmetic products, may in fact, cause adverse effects. Some makeup and many skin care products contain oil or other ingredients that can promote an unwanted production of sebum.
For those affected by oily skin, midday shine and a shiny T-zone are familiar occurrences. Makeup could be one of the many causes of these unwanted symptoms which is why it is important to choose your makeup carefully.
Using makeup designed for an oily skin type is key, as some cosmetics may trigger oily skin. Powder-based makeup is a popular choice for oily skin as it absorbs excess oil throughout the day and is also less likely to clog pores.
Avoid oil-based and fragrance-free cosmetics, including concealers and liquid foundations, and look for products that state they are noncomedogenic and won’t clog pores.
Despite many claims, there is no independent evidence that mud masks, clay masks, cream masks or sheet masks provide any long-lasting benefits for oily skin.
In reality, facial masks can cause inflammation and irritate skin because of their highly absorbent nature. Just like overscrubbing or excessive exfoliation, masks also cause inflammation and swelling.
Although some studies report that natural, raw honey has antibacterial and antiseptic qualities, honey masks, because of their sticky nature, leave a film on the surface of the skin, leading to blocked pores and increased oil production.
Maintain These Lifestyle Habits to Treat Oily Skin
While there is no cure for oily skin, there are effective treatments. Adopting a healthy diet and staying hydrated can also aid in preventing and treating excess oil production.
A healthy diet
Diet may play a role in the development of oily skin. Some evidence suggests that consuming fewer foods with a high glycemic index may contribute to an decreased production of sebum.
Avoiding soy products is suggested as well, as they contain phytoestrogens, natural plant estrogens that mimic natural estrogen levels and cause a hormonal-type imbalance, leading to increased oiliness.
Lastly, any food that reduces inflammation will help with oily skin. Studies suggest following anti-inflammatory diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, which is high in fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains, fish and healthy oils, and which activates the immune system.
Hydration has multiple health benefits and influences many aspects of health. Proper water consumption has a direct impact on skin, affecting how a body maintains and regulates oil production.
When skin is dehydrated, it can become dry and cracked. The oil glands in the skin then start to overproduce oils to compensate for this lack of hydration, leading to oily skin.
To correct this overproduction, it is important to consume plenty of water throughout the day. Once skin is properly hydrated, the body will consequently slow down oil production in the skin to normal levels and skin will look and feel less oily.
To help improve skin’s appearance, a regular skin care regimen using products designed for oily skin types will gradually produce beneficial results.
Oily skin can be controlled and treated by using skin care products designed for oily skin (and avoiding those that aren’t) and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits.
For those suffering from extremely oily or acne-prone skin, prescription medications, such as Accutane and other prescribed topicals may be more beneficial.
Those who may have excess oil skin concerns are encouraged to make an appointment with a board-certified dermatologist.