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  5. Oily Skin - Causes, Prevention, Treatments

That greasy look refuses to leave your face all day? We get your concern and can help you understand this condition in detail.

Here are a few remedies, tips and information regarding oily skin. (1)

1. What Causes Oily Skin?

Oily skin is not an uncommon dermatological concern. Your skin’s sebaceous glands produce a certain amount of natural oils to stay healthy. However, when it produces excess sebum (oil), it appears shiny and greasy. This is the first symptom to determine an oily skin type. (2)

different human skin types oily and dry skin

2. Do I Have Oily Skin?


There are several ways to determine whether you have oily skin.

  • Greasy skin/appearance
  • Frequent breakouts
  • Immediate family members have oily skin
  • Constant sweaty/sticky skin
  • Enlarged pores
  • Makeup “slides off”

young girl having skin problems and holding magnifier face skin close up

3. How To Get Rid Of Oily Skin?

A. Wash Your Face Regularly

Washing your face at least twice a day should be part of your skincare routine. This cleans clogged pores, and removes dirt and bacteria from your skin, while also preventing breakouts.

Don’t over-wash your face. Over-washing can dry up your skin and cause the sebaceous glands to produce excess sebum. (3)

B. Drink Lot of Water

Your body should stay hydrated at all times. If it lacks water, the body may produce too much oil to keep your skin hydrated. At least 2-3 liters of water a day is ideal to keep your skin healthy.

C. Avoid Direct Sun Exposure

Direct exposure to the sun dehydrates your body and skin. This may cause your body to overproduce oil. Wear sunscreen before you step out. (4)

D. Say Hello to Moisturizers!

Though it may sound contradictory to apply moisturizers to oily skin, it is a helpful product. Moisturizers keep your skin hydrated and prevent it from producing excess sebum.

A moisturizer will keep your skin moist, soft and supple. Choose an oil-control moisturizer if you have oily skin. Use a light-weight lotion based moisturizer to prevent your skin from feeling too heavy.

E. Add a Toner To Your Skincare Regimen

Toners cleanse your pores and add moisture to your skin, leaving it well-hydrated. It can be used as a deep cleanser. Toners help with removing oil and dirt from your skin. It also restores your skin’s pH balance and refreshes it.

F. Blotting Paper

Blotting paper is a good option for you to get rid of your mid-day greasy appearance.

However, you must be careful to not press these sheets too hard on the skin. You don’t want to deprive your skin of necessary oils.

Reusing a part of your sheet on another area of your skin is a bad idea too. It pushes the dirt you previously collected down your pores.

asian woman using facial oil clean film to removal oily on face for face

G. Follow a Skincare Routine

It is always healthy to follow a basic skincare regimen to allow your skin to breathe. Don’t compromise on your products.

Buying the right products (even if they are slightly above your budget) will benefit your skin. Conduct a patch test before you use a product on your face. Purchase only dermatologically-tested products.

H. Pat Dry Your Face

Rubbing too hard may cause your skin to stimulate sebum production. After washing your face, gently pat it dry with a clean towel.

I. Clean Your Makeup Tools Regularly

Make it a point to clean your makeup equipment at least once a week. Dirty tools can lead to clogged pores.

J. Use Oil-Free Makeup Products

If you’re prone to oily skin, buy oil-free makeup products. Oil-based products can clog your pores and result in skin conditions like acne. Always make it a point to remove your makeup before sleeping.

4. Treatment Options for Oily Skin Reviewed by Dermatologists

A. Topical Retinoids

These come in the form of lotions, creams and gels. Retinoids are rich in Vitamin A, a good source for skin health maintenance.

Studies suggest that some retinoids reduce pore size. Dr Harish Kautam says, “Retinoids act on retinoid receptors in the nucleus of the skin cell, which helps regulate cell proliferation and inflammation. But they do not have any effect on sebum production.” (5)

Some people believe that all retinoids are the same. However, this doesn’t hold true. Retinoids come in several types and the strength of each varies.

What to keep in mind before using a retinoid

  • It is always ideal to start with a cream-based retinoid to avoid irritation
  • If you have sensitive skin, do not wear it on for too long. It may cause irritation and redness

B. Cosmeceuticals

Cosmeceuticals are cosmetic products that claim to be medically beneficial. These products are made with bioactive ingredients. However, they are purely evidence-based. There is no guarantee that cosmeceuticals will live up to what they stand for.

Studies suggest that certain bioactive ingredients like green tea help treat oily skin.

5. Systemic Treatments for Oily Skin

A. Isotretinoin

Isotretinoin is an oral retinoid. It is rich in Vitamin A. It has proved to suppress sebum production in the skin considerably. (6)

However, it comes with secondary skin issues and side effects like dry skin and chapped lips. Isotretinoin should be consumed only after consulting a professional.

B. Spironolactone

Studies show that Spironolactone directly reduces sebum production in the skin. In the recent past, dermatologists have turned to this drug to treat oily skin and acne in women. (7)

However, certain temporary side-effects like irregular menstruation cycles have to be kept in mind before using Spironolactone. All-in-all, this one’s considered a safe systemic medication for healthy women.

C. Oral Contraceptives

Oral contraceptives came into the picture after topical creams and oral antibiotics didn’t work for some people.

A woman’s ovaries and adrenal glands produce androgens. High levels of androgens can trigger excess sebum production. Oral contraceptives contain estrogen and progesterone, which regulate sebum production.

The FDA has approved only three oral contraceptives to treat oily skin. Adverse effects of these include dryness, tightness and redness.

6. Home Remedies for Oily Skin

These ingredients have been used for years to treat oily skin. However, they are not science-based.

A. Aloe Vera

Oily skin is prone to several skin hazards, including acne. The plant of immortality (aloe vera) helps prevent bacteria build-up in your pores. Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties speed up the healing process after a breakout.

If you have sensitive skin, aloe vera may not be the best option for you.

B. Olive Oil

It may sound a bit unusual to say that olive oil combats oily skin. However, it can benefit your skin in several ways.

  • Olive oil is rich in antioxidants that prevent bacteria build-up in your pores
  • It is a great way to moisturize your skin and keep it hydrated and soft throughout the day
  • Its antibacterial properties minimize breakouts
  • Olive oil is non-comedogenic and won’t clog your pores. It helps dissolve bacteria and excess sebum

C. Multani Mitti

This is a tradition followed by our moms and grandmoms. A multani mitti (fuller’s earth) face pack is an excellent way of tackling bacteria and dead skin cells. It acts as natural clay and soaks up the excess oil on your face.

Multani mitti is rich in zinc, which is vital to treat oily and acne-prone skin. It also contains iron, silica, magnesium and oxides. Multani mitti face packs can also help lighten blemishes and have no side-effects.

How to Make a Multani-Mitti Face Pack

Multani mitti can be teamed with a number of ingredients to treat oily skin like tomato and lemon, rosewater, curd and turmeric. Curd, turmeric, tomato and lemon help reduce oiliness and regulate sebum production. Rosewater helps in balancing pH levels.

D. Honey

One of the most common natural ingredients used to create face packs is honey. It contains antibacterial and antiseptic properties, while also adding moisture to the skin. Honey also prevents the skin from producing too much oil. A thin layer of honey over your face should do the trick!

E. Oatmeal

Oatmeal not only absorbs excess oil, but is also a great natural exfoliator! It can be combined with curd and honey to create a soothing face-pack.

F. Egg-White Masks

An egg-white, honey and flour paste can be used as a face-pack. This will soak up the oil from your skin and add to its firmness.

G. Food

Healthy food and lots of water play a major role in building up your overall immunity. Is there something you may be eating that doesn’t quite suit your skin?

Avoid diets that are high in carbohydrates. Raw vegetables, pulses, fruits and other foods rich in Vitamin A and fibers are a good option for people with oily skin.

Switch to eating dark chocolate if you have a sweet tooth. It not only tastes delicious but also does a great job in preventing inflammation and controls oil production in the skin.

7. How to Prevent Oily Skin Throughout The Day

  • Avoid rough towels - Rough towels can stimulate sebum production and aggravate the issue.
  • Don’t use harsh chemical soaps - Too many chemicals can increase sebum production. It’s always a better idea to use mild skin care products.
  • Avoid unhealthy foods - Diets rich in carbohydrates may not be a good idea for anybody. As for the issue at stake, foods rich in carbohydrates contribute to sebum production in the skin. (8)
  • Oil-free products are a must - Make sure your makeup and skincare products are labeled ‘oil-free’. (9)
  • Remove your makeup before you sleep - Skin hygiene is a thing and should be maintained. Remove your makeup and cleanse your face every night before you sleep. Your skin needs to breathe too, just like you! Sleeping with makeup on may result in clogged pores.
  • Don’t exfoliate too much - Exfoliating is great, but isn’t a good idea for people with oily skin. Gently exfoliating your skin once every few days should be enough. You don’t want to stimulate your skin to overproduce sebum by constantly scrubbing it.

Oily skin is not the most pleasant skin-type. It comes with multiple skin issues and can cause anxiety in a person. However, if you maintain skin hygiene, this won’t contribute to your list of problems!

Customized skincare solves your problem of experimenting with random skincare products.

SkinKraft recommends a 3-step regimen based on a SkinID™ questionnaire.

You will get a

  • Customized cleanser
  • Customized moisturizer
  • An active to treat your concern

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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