As some people know, your body produces oil as a way of keeping skin supple and healthy. But when you’re producing more oil (or sebum) than what’s needed, your skin becomes shiny, greasy and thick – plus it looks dull. You might also experience large pores, and find yourself with lots of blackheads, blemishes and unsightly pimples.

Luckily, oily skin can be treated through a variety of ways, including prescriptions from dermatologists, and basic moisturizers from the supermarket. But before we get into all of this, let’s discuss the causes of oily skin.

Causes of Oily Skin

As mentioned before, the basic cause of oily skin involves over-active glands, but there are other causes for concern, including:

  • your hereditary,
  • what you are eating,
  • medications you’re taking,
  • humidity,
  • cosmetic products you apply to your face,
  • and hormone levels that are associated with pregnancy, puberty or menopause.

Skin that is dry or normal in some areas – while still being oily in others – is considered combination skin, but can still be treated as oily skin.

The area of the face that tends to be oiliest is known as the “T- zone.” This is your forehead, chin, and the area on or around your nose. Teenagers normally have the biggest problem with oily skin because their hormones are going through changes, which cause blemishes on the skin.

Although adolescent teens tend to have the biggest problem with oily skin and acne breakouts, people of all ages have to deal with this problem. The oil that your skin produces increases in adolescence, and typically decreases as you get older; however, when women become pregnant or go through menopause, they also experience a change in hormones, which causes unexpected acne breakouts due to over-production of oil.

Although oily skin can be annoying to deal with, one big advantage to having oily skin is that you age at a slower rate than those who have normal-to-dry skin types. Oily skin is just as delicate as dry or normal skin types, and needs to be washed with warm water and cleanser daily. For the best results, use products designed for oily skin so that the sebum will dissolve without stripping your skin of all its nutrients.

Step-by-Step: Oily Skin Care Routine

1. The first step to dealing with oily skin involves cleansing in the morning with a gentle oil-free acne wash that contains salicylic acid; use only warm water to rinse the cleanser off of your face. Hot water will only irritate your skin more, and cause a greater amount of oil to be produced, thus leading to further acne breakouts.

2. Oily skin needs to be exfoliated on a regular basis, and the amount of exfoliation per week depends entirely on the individual. Directions on exfoliates advise you to exfoliate twice a day for one week, and then switch to just once a day. You may, however, only need to exfoliate two or three times a week depending on how oily your skin is. It’s worth mentioning that you should avoid exfoliating if you currently have an acne breakout to avoid skin irritation. Exfoliating face treatments that you use should contain salicylic acid to remove dead skin cells that can build up and cause pimples. Also, an easy and gentle exfoliate can be made at home using lemon juice and sugar; mix together a few table spoons of lemon, add sugar, put the mixture onto a cotton ball or pad, and gently rub the cotton pad in a circular motion around your face and neck.

3. Once you’ve patted your face dry, you can use a toner to help keep your skin firm, and close pores after you cleanse and exfoliate. Toner will also aid in reducing oil secretions that cause skin to look greasy without clogging pores; you’ll remove any residue or dirt that could be left over after cleansing. Toner can be used to set makeup when in a spray bottle, and can also double as a refreshing spray throughout the day. Use a toner that doesn’t contain alcohol to avoid drying your skin out.

4. After you’ve cleansed and used toner on your skin, the next step is to apply a moisturizer with SPF. No matter what skin type you have, it’s important to use a moisturizer that contains SPF to combat wrinkles and other damage caused by the skin. Apply oil-free water-based moisturizer all over your face and neck by dabbing and massaging lightly in an upward motion. Your skin absorbs water-based moisturizers quickly, and this keeps your skin from being greasy.

5. If you wear makeup, it’s important to wear foundation that is designed for oily skin. This may take some experimenting, but it’s important so that you’re not blocking pores, which leads to acne breakouts. Also, use a matte foundation to avoid the shiny appearance that oily skin is known for. When you’re applying foundation, it’s best to use a stippling brush or a sponge makeup applicator instead of your fingers. You might even opt for a tinted moisturizer rather than a full coverage foundation, which enables you to apply fewer products on your face each day.

6. Before going to sleep at night, always cleanse, use toner, and moisturize again to maintain healthy-looking skin. You should especially do this if you wear makeup because it keeps your pores and face free from pimples.

If you’re not sure whether you are using too harsh of products, pay attention to how your skin feels once you’ve finished cleansing. Skin that feels dehydrated and tight is most likely over-cleansed or stripped of beneficial moisture and oil, which causes the top layers of the skin to shrink. This leads to blocked pores and breakouts because the oil can’t reach the skin’s surface. Avoid washing your face more than twice a day because this also causes skin to over-produce oil.

If you already suffer from acne, then you’ll especially want to follow these instructions to begin the healing process. Other things you can do to minimize effects of oily skin are to wash your pillows and pillow cases weekly or bi-weekly, along with your bed sheets, hats and/or scarves. Also remember that products used in your hair oftentimes have negative effects on your face’s skin. One more thing worth remembering is to keep your hair from becoming oily by washing it every other day, and using a dry shampoo in between normal washes. These tips should make having oily skin much easier to live with!