Achieving that gorgeous dewy glow might be all the rage right now, but there’s a fine line between a controlled shine highlighting your cheekbones, and an all over greasy mess! Oily skin is caused by an overproduction of sebum, from glands just under the skin’s surface. This can be caused by genetics, hormone changes, diet, stress or the climate you live in. Although some extra shine may not be the end of the world, it can also lead to clogged pores, breakouts and acne.
But remember, we don’t want to banish oily skin altogether. Sebum helps to protect and moisturize our skin, keeping it hydrated and making it less prone to wrinkles. So how do we tame oily skin without angering it, or eliminating it completely?
Tailor Your Cleansing Routine
"For overall good skin health for your face, it's important to cleanse, exfoliate, moisturize, and use sunscreen daily," Joseph Cruise, MD tells Byrdie. You might have your easy skincare routine set in stone already, but it’s worth tailoring it a little to your skin type.
If you have oily skin, the urge to wash your face more often can be difficult, but try to avoid over-cleansing. It seems contradictory, but the removal of oil actually has the opposite effect, activating further oil production as your skin tries to compensate.
Don’t be tricked into buying super-strength cleansers targeted at oily skin, as these often make the situation worse. According to Andrea Pfeffer, founder of Pfeffer Sal, the ingredients to watch out for are alcohols, astringents and sulphates. 'Whilst they’ll have a satisfying short-term effect of removing the excess oil on the surface of the skin, over time the lack of oil in your skin will trigger excess oil production to try and make up for the oil that’s stripped away.' If your skin is left feeling tight and dry from a product, it’s not right. Choose a cream or milky cleanser instead, to dissolve dirt without disturbing the natural moisture levels of the skin.
Whether it’s a cleanser, moisturizer or makeup, the AAD suggests choosing products labeled “oil free” and “noncomedogenic.” These won’t clog your pores or cause acne.
When it comes to sunscreen, we need to protect ourselves whatever our skin type. To prevent acne breakouts, look for sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and avoid sunscreens that contain fragrance or oils. "Studies that have investigated zinc alone or zinc in combination with another medication have found that zinc can help reduce acne," dermatologist Sejal Shah has told Allure.
Don’t Skip The Moisturizer!
People often think that moisturizer isn't necessary if you have oily skin, and will make the skin even greasier. But that’s not the case, says Cruise. "By not applying enough moisturizer, you're causing the skin to overcompensate and produce more oil."
Keeping the skin hydrated is essential, but choose a moisturizer that will hydrate, but not clog your pores. If you're worried about blackheads, blemishes and extra shine, it's best to avoid super-creamy, heavy moisturizers. 'Your skin probably won’t appreciate thick heavy moisturizers, so avoid any creams with rich plant butters as these are likely to be too rich and lead to congestion,' advises Pfeffer.
Cruise recommends looking for ingredients that include glycerin and hyaluronic acid to hydrate the skin to help even out the skin tone. Natural ingredients like jojoba oil also mimic natural sebum and conditions and seal moisture in the skin without clogging pores or exacerbating acne.
Try A Face Mask
If like us, you love a good facial, there are plenty of face masks which are good for oily skin. Pfeffer recommends a classic clay mask: 'They’re fantastic allies when targeting oiliness as they act like sponges, absorbing excess oil,' she explains. Masks containing minerals like smectite or bentonite can absorb oils and reduce shine and sebum levels without irritating the skin. Use them only occasionally to prevent the skin drying out, and apply a gentle moisturizer afterward.
Some home remedies have also been proven to work wonders. One study reports that natural raw honey has antibacterial and antiseptic qualities. A 10-minute honey face mask may reduce acne and oily skin while keeping the skin soft.
Another study suggests masks containing colloidal oatmeal, may help to cleanse the skin. Oats contain gentle, cleansing saponins, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds that could soothe irritated skin. For more home remedies, check out this article.
Choose The Right Foundation
Although many people with oily skin prefer to avoid foundation altogether, we know that an even skin tone can give you an added boost of confidence. If you prefer a good covering of foundation to balance out your shine, mineral powders come with a lot of benefits. Not only are they largely non-comedogenic (so they won’t clog your pores), they’re fantastic oil absorbers, and can easily be layered up as the day goes on.
If you’re still loyal to long-wear liquid foundations, make sure you invest in a great setting powder to keep the shine at bay. Makeup artist Gabriella Floyd swears by the Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder as it keeps skin shine-free for hours on end. She suggests applying it using a damp Beautyblender as it allows you to really press the powder into the skin, making it last all day. You can also top up with a super-light pressed powder throughout the day to prevent any shine.
Whatever foundation you choose, just make sure you remove it before bed! Leaving any makeup on your face will cause more problems than can be covered.
Quick Daily Solutions
A quick and easy way to take care of excess oil throughout the day is by using blotting papers. These specially designed absorbent papers pull oil from the skin. Although blotting papers will not treat the sebum production in the skin, they are a quick solution for dulling that extra shine. Another option is cloth pads which are medicated with familiar cleansing ingredients, such as salicylic acid or glycolic acid. These may help to remove excess oil through the day, while cleansing the pores and skin.
If you’re getting through a pack of 20 blotting papers or cloth pads a day, you’re probably removing too much oil, but using them in moderation is a simple way to remove shine without messing up your makeup.
Work With Your Skin, Not Against It
If your oily skin problems are genetic or triggered by changes in hormones, it can be difficult to control. In particular, multiple studies have indicated a positive correlation between stress levels and sebum production in people with acne-prone skin. Although it’s easier said than done, you can attempt to maintain balance by paying attention to your sleep habits and stress levels.
Another oil prevention technique is controlling your diet. It can help to stay hydrated, avoid greasy foods and trans fats, and to eat a well-rounded diet full of whole foods. You can see some more healthy food tips here.
At the end of the day, finding a consistent skincare routine that works for you, and sticking to it is the best course of action. Pay attention to the ingredients, keep healthy and hydrated, and your skin will thank you for it.