We all have a sebaceous gland that produces natural oils under our pores. This oil is called sebum, and its function is to keep our skin hydrated and healthy. When our skin produces just enough sebum to be well-balanced, then we have normal skin. If we produce too little, our skin will be dry and lacking in the lipids that it needs to maintain moisture and protect the skin against external influences. If, on the other hand, our sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, then we will have oily skin, which makes your skin look constantly shiny, feel greasy, and can even cause breakouts if the sebum mixes with dead skin cells and clogs your pores.
There are several factors that can cause oily skin, but the first and foremost is genetics which means there really isn’t much you can do in completely getting rid of oily skin. You can, however, try to identify the factors which may be making it worse and try to reduce them. Here are five of them:
You may notice that your skin gets shinier during the hot summer months, and that is because heat and humidity stimulate the production of sebum, which leads to more oil on the skin. On the other hand, if the climate is too dry and cold this may also affect us, as the weather would dry out the skin making our sebaceous glands begin to overproduce sebum to make up for it, and ultimately leading to oily skin.
Keeping blotting sheets on you to reduce the appearance of oil through the day is a great tip to keep in mind, as well as using water-based or mattifying makeup products.
2. Hormonal Changes
Another thing that could be causing you to produce more oil than usual is hormonal changes. The hormones responsible for oil production are androgens, and they can sometimes fluctuate which will commence the increase of sebum production. Normally, androgens fluctuate during puberty, right before we’re about to get our period or during menopause.
Going hand in hand with hormonal changes is the effects that stress can have on our skin. It’s common knowledge that stress has an overall negative impact on our health, but it also negatively impacts the health of our skin.
One way in which it does that is by raising the amount of cortisol we produce, which is a hormone that tells the glands in our skin to make more oil. This will make you sweat more and decrease capillary function because the blood flow will go to your internal organs and your brain instead. As a cause of this, your body starts producing more oil to protect itself.
4. Skincare routine
While genetics and the environment are out of our hands (we can neither change our families nor move to avoid oily skin), there are some things we can change in order to reduce the amount of oil our skin produces. Finding an appropriate skincare routine and avoiding mistakes you may be making is essential.
You may think washing away the oil frequently is the way to go, but that may actually be counterproductive as it may strip away too much oil, leading to your skin becoming dry, and thus, going into overdrive and producing even more sebum.
Washing it twice a day with a gentle soap is enough.
Just like with washing, exfoliating helps to keep the sebum at bay, but that doesn’t mean you should go overboard. We know that we exfoliate to get rid of any dead skin or excess oil, but if you do it too often or too harshly (scrubbing your face with rough washcloths or coarse exfoliators) it can strip away too much moisture, prompting the glands to overproduce oil.
Not only will sunscreen protect your skin from the harsh rays of the sun, it will also keep it from getting too dry which would, you guessed it, produce more oil.
People tend to think that since they have oily skin, applying a moisturizer is the last thing they should do. But that’s wrong; using a moisturizer will not cause you to get oily skin. If you find the right kind, that is.
You obviously can’t go for moisturizers directed towards people with dry skin. Instead, try finding a lightweight, water-based moisturizer, preferably one that claims to be “oil-free” and “non-comedogenic”.
The health of our skin, just like everything else on our body, depends largely on the food we consume.
Foods that may be causing you to have that unwanted oily sheen to your skin are:
The high level of hormones like testosterone in products such as milk, butter, and cheese can cause increased oil production and breakouts due to blocked pores.
Eating a lot of sugar starts a chain reaction of raised blood sugar levels leading to your body producing more insulin, leading to the sebaceous glands producing more oil, and giving you oily skin and higher chances of acne.
Foods containing refined carbohydrates like white bread, white rice, white pasta, and cereals lose the fiber your body needs when they’re processed. So this also leads to increased blood sugar levels and oil production.
Eating too many salty foods will cause your body to dehydrate, thus retaining more water and making you feel bloated. It also raises oil levels on the skin since your body will go on emergency mode to fight off dehydration.
Just like salt, alcohol also makes us dehydrated by draining all the fluids from our skin. So, again, to combat dehydration, our skin will produce more oil.