There are three main types of skin out there: dry, combination, and oily. Oily skin is commonly associated with larger pores, a “shiny” appearance, and increased likelihood of acne.
In other words, oily skin is the worst!
This article provides information about the causes of oily skin, lifestyle habits that can make it better or make it worse, and beauty advice to help people manage oily skin.
Causes of oily skin
Is there a connection between oily skin and acne prone skin?
Of course there is.
If you think your skin seems to be oozing oil, that’s because it is. Oil (called “sebum”) is produced by our sebaceous glands and is pushed out through our pores. It’s supposed to keep our skin supple and soft.
When your body produces too much oil, that oil sometimes gets mixed up with dirt and dead skin cells and gets stuck in your pores – this causes blackheads and other blemishes.
Is there a difference between men and women when it comes to oily skin?
Yes, that’s why there are different skincare products for men and women.
Men and women have different skin, but oily skin in men is actually more common than in women (conversely, acne affects women more so than men).
A man’s skin is warmer, thicker, and oilier than a woman’s, which means he needs products that are better able to penetrate the skin. That’s why facial cleansers and other products for men are generally harsher than similar products designed for women.
In other words – don’t share your beauty products with your boyfriend.
“Seborrhea” is the medical term for oily skin. Unfortunately, the main causes behind seborrhea are 100% out of your control: hormones and genetics
Most people experience an uptick in oiliness and acne during puberty. This is caused by fluctuating hormone levels. For some people, oiliness goes away as they grow older. For others, it is a chronic problem that can be hard to treat.
Thankfully, there are plenty of things you can do on your own to manage and improve oily skin.
How to manage oily & acne-prone skin
#1 Maintain a healthy diet
You’d be surprised how many medical conditions and linked to your diet. Even acne can be caused by eating the wrong foods. To prevent oiliness and acne, stay away from the following:
- Greasy foods like potato chips, pizza, and doughnuts
- Refined carbs
- Excess sugar and salt
- Foods high in saturated and trans fats
#2 Utilize homemade remedies
Oily skin home remedies are the best bet for someone who wants to get rid of oily skin naturally. And the best part – you can make virtually all home remedies with common (and inexpensive) kitchen ingredients.
A great example is the “lemon and egg white” folk remedy for oily skin. Just mix 1 teaspoon lemon juice with 1 egg white. Using your fingers, apply the mixture to your face. Wait until it dries, then rinse with lukewarm water and pat dry with a clean towel.
Lemons have antibacterial properties (meaning they can help fight acne-causing bacteria) and are high in acidity, which makes them good for absorbing oil. Both egg whites and lemons are believed to help shrink the appearance of pores.
#3 Maintain good beauty habits
This includes choosing the right cosmetics and beauty products, altering your lifestyle and diet, and washing your face twice per day (more on this below).
#4 Visit a dermatologist
Anyone with skin problems will benefit from visiting a dermatologist. He or she can shed some light on your problems and make recommendations on things you can do to improve the appearance of your skin. In severe cases, he or she may prescribe topical or oral medication to reduce acne.
#5 Try a beauty treatment
There are many oily face treatments out there that claim to reduce acne. These include:
- Face dry brushing and microdermabrasion
- Blue light therapy
- Chemical peel
- Laser therapy
Each person will react differently to these treatments, so it’s important to speak with your dermatologist before you try anything. Some of the aforementioned treatments, like face dry brushing and blue light therapy, you can do at home.
Beauty tips for oily face
The best and easiest way to manage oily skin to find a beauty routine that works and to stick to it.
A beauty regimen for oily skin should be a combination of lifestyle choices, high-quality products, and good hygiene.
Lifestyle choices that can minimize oiliness include: washing your face frequently (but not too frequently), avoiding greasy foods, not wearing too much makeup (especially foundation), never going to sleep with your makeup on, getting adequate sleep, drinking enough water, and frequently changing your pillowcase and any towels/pads you use on your face.
You should wash your face once in the morning and once before bedtime. It’s important to use a face wash or soap designed for use on oily skin (other products can cause irritation and breakouts).
Bioré Blemish Fighting Ice Cleanser ($5.36) is a good example. This gel cleaner has a chilling effect that can shrink pores, soothe irritation, and help wake you up in the morning.
Bioré features an oil-free formula that effectively removes the dirt and grime that can cause acne. It has a pleasant citrus scent and uses salicylic acid to destroy acne-causing bacteria.
More brands to consider:
- Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash w/ pink grapefruit (active ingredient salicylic acid)
- Origins Zero Oil Deep Pore Cleaner (w/ mint and saw palmetto)
- Eau Thermale Avène Cleansing Foam (active ingredient glutamic acid)
- Clinique Liquid Facial Soap Oily Skin Formula (active ingredient aloe)
- Garnier SkinActive Clean+ Shine Control Cleansing Gel (great for clearing pores)
It’s important to use warm (but not hot) water when you wash your face. The heat will help open pores, remove dirt, and break down sebum. Follow up with a splash of toner or cold water to shrink pores.
When you struggle with oily skin, blotting sheets can be your best friend. Blotting sheets are small pieces of thin, absorbent paper that help remove oil from the surface of your skin. A few quick dabs and you can get rid of that dreaded “shiny” look.
Blotting sheets can help keep your skin dry and provide a “matte” look throughout the day. Remember, people with oily skin should still wash their faces with a high-quality face wash twice per day and after sweating/exercise.
Blotting sheets are cheap and easy to store in your purse. Neutrogena sells a pack of 50 for just $11.75.
Make sure to use blotting sheets gently, because rubbing can cause further irritation.
Here are a few more brands to consider:
- Boscia Fashionably Matte (great for removing oil without smudging makeup)
- Clean & Clear Oil Absorbing Sheets (plastic-like texture makes it softer and more absorbent)
- ELF Shine Eraser Oil Blotting Sheets (cheap but strong)
- NYX Blemish and Oil Control Blotting Paper (shrink pores and absorb oil; available in different types)
People with oily skin often ask is there is a way to “cure” it or to get rid of it permanently. Instead of searching for a cure-all treatment (which does not exist), we encourage you to follow the tips outlined in this article and to visit a dermatologist. In many cases, oily skin can be seriously improved with dedication and the right products.