Living with oily skin can be a slippery slope. Using a face wash can feel totally pointless, while makeup only makes things worse. And who would want to re-apply mattifying powder every hour? To top it off, oily skin is the perfect breeding ground for acne, something no one ever wants to deal with.
Needless to say, oily skin needs special attention, and the wrong ingredients or habits will just bring on the grease. So the goal should be to control excess sebum, not get rid of it. Drying out your skin will actually encourage sebaceous glands to make more oil. Talk about a catch-22! And to balance things out and get a handle on overactive sebaceous glands here’s a few things you could do.
1. Wipe Your Face With A Cleansing Oil
A cleansing oil might seem like the last thing you need but it’s a game changer. It breaks down sebum, dirt, and makeup while adding moisture. It’s no wonder that it’s a staple in Korean skincare and is starting to pop up around the United States. A good option is sea buckthorn berry oil, a remedy proven to control excess sebum.1 You could also try jojoba oil which is believed to mimic sebum on the skin to “trick” sebaceous glands into producing less sebum and help keep oil levels balanced. That said, it’s important to note that there’s no scientific research to support this theory so you’d have to give it a go to see if your skin truly responds well to it.
2. Limit Washing Your Face To Twice A Day
Oily skin might make you want to scrub your skin clean several times a day. But it’s important to limit washing your face to twice a day and after sweating. Overdoing it will just strip away natural oils and some sebum is needed for healthy, supple skin.2
Be sure to cleanse your skin after using a cleansing oil to get rid of any excess oil and gunk. Try and avoid products with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. Although these ingredients fight acne, they’re also quite drying. Consider using them in spot treatments instead.3 This way, you can avoid exposing healthy skin to their harsh effects.
3. Use A Face Mask 2–3 Times A Week
Since oily skin is more prone to breakouts and acne, treating your skin to a face mask 2–3 times a week will unclog pores and remove trapped oil and dirt. Besides, it’s a relaxing, easy way to give your skin a pick-me-up. Better yet, a mask with oil-absorbing ingredients will handle excess sebum. Additionally, look for face masks that feature hyaluronic acid or alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) for extra oil-banishing properties. Here are a two popular oil-busting face mask ingredients if you’re planning on doing things yourself.
- Papaya: This will give you a natural glow. A 2014 study in the Indian Journal of Pharmaceutical Science found that papaya combats both oil and bacteria. It’ll also reduce melanin, the natural pigment behind hyperpigmentation, but won’t leave your skin dry.4 Simply mash up fresh fruit and use as a mask or cleanser.
- Clay: Clay is amazing for absorbing extra oil.5 Many commercial products have it, but save your cash and buy cosmetic clay powder from the health store. Mix it with papaya for an instant oil-absorbing mask. However, wear it only for 15 minutes and don’t let it dry out completely.
- Egg whites and lemon: A folk remedy for oily skin, lemon and egg whites are believed to tighten pores. To give them a go, combine 1 egg white with 1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice and use it as a mask. You could add a cup of mashed strawberries to the mix for a dose of vitamin C. If you’ve got a lemon allergy or sensitive skin, it might be a good idea to skip this remedy.6
Always do a patch test when using a new face mask. Just apply a small amount to your neck, back of the ear, or inner wrist. Wait a few hours and look for any irritation.7.
4. Don’t Forget To Moisturize
Even oily skin needs to stay hydrated. Otherwise, dryness will make your sebaceous glands work even harder. Use a water-based moisturizer with zero fragrance. Doing so will keep your pores from being burdened with more oil.8
5. Add Honey To Your Skincare Routine
Honey is a rare “one size fits all” remedy. It reduces oil, hydrates the skin, and kills acne-causing bacteria like Propionibacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis.9 Add it to your face masks, use it as a spot treatment, or slather some on every other day for a few minutes before washing it off.
6. Use A Green Tea Toner
Toners help tighten your pores and remove oil. And while you can find several different brands of toners out there, we suggest opting for green tea or a product that contains it as an ingredient. This is because the polyphenols (antioxidants) in it control inflammation, sebum, and bacteria, making it an excellent choice for angry, oily skin.10 All you have to do is steep green tea leaves in warm water, pour the tea into a spray bottle, and spritz the solution on your face regularly or after cleansing.
7. Keep Blotting Paper Handy
Anyone with oily skin would know the pain of trying to deal with excessively greasy skin that makes it seem like we’re perpetually sweating. And since constantly powdering your face will only give it a cakey pallor, it might be best to carry blotting paper with you. While these thin, small papers can’t prevent the oil from being produced in the first place, they do a good job at minimizing the shiny, greasiness that oily skin brings with it, especially on a hot summer’s day. So you can blot away at the oiliness whenever you’d like to. The best part? They’re inexpensive and easily available.11
8. Exfoliate With Oatmeal Or Ground Almonds Every Week
This is an important skin care practice to remove dead skin cells, oil, and gunk. And regular exfoliation will prevent sebum in skin cells from getting clogged and breaking out. Natural ingredients like oatmeal and ground almonds will exfoliate your skin without drying it out too much (which we all know will trigger more oil production). Combine either of the two with honey and gently scrub your skin before washing it off. Avoid exfoliating more than 2 times in a week.12
9. Eat Clean
Although there isn’t enough research to fully understand the benefits of a clean diet on skin, traditional medicine holds that oily skin is worsened by consuming a diet high in greasy fast food. Besides, switching to dark, leafy vegetables as well as fruits, nuts, and whole grains can give your skin the nutrition it needs to stay healthy and
|↑1||Akhtar, Naveed, Barkat A. Khan, Tariq Mahmood, Rashida Parveen, Mughal Qayum, and Masood Anwar. “Formulation and evaluation of antisebum secretion effects of sea buckthorn w/o emulsion.” Journal of Pharmacy And Bioallied Sciences 2, no. 1 (2010): 13.|
|↑2||Face washing: Do’s & don’ts. Texas A&M Health Science Center.|
|↑3||Acne. FamilyDoctor.org, American Academy of Family Physicians.|
|↑4||Khan, H., N. Akhtar, and A. Ali. “Effects of cream containing ficus carica L. fruit extract on skin parameters: In vivo evaluation.” Indian journal of pharmaceutical sciences 76, no. 6 (2014): 560.|
|↑5||Piérard, Gérald E., Claudine Piérard-Franchimont, R. Marks, M. Paye, and V. Rogiers. “EEMCO guidance for the in vivo assessment of skin greasiness.” Skin Pharmacology and Physiology 13, no. 6 (2000): 372-389.|
|↑6||About Oily Skin. University Of Florida.|
|↑7||How Often Should You Apply a Face Mask? Florida Academy.|
|↑8||Dreams in a Bottle Caring For Your Skin. Yale University.|
|↑9||Julianti, Elin, Kasturi K. Rajah, and Irda Fidrianny. “Antibacterial Activity of Ethanolic Extract of Cinnamon Bark, Honey, and Their Combination Effects against Acne-Causing Bacteria.” Scientia Pharmaceutica 85, no. 2 (2017): 19.|
|↑10||Saric, Suzana, Manisha Notay, and Raja K. Sivamani. “Green Tea and Other Tea Polyphenols: Effects on Sebum Production and Acne Vulgaris.” Antioxidants 6, no. 1 (2016): 2.|
|↑11, ↑12||Organic Skin Care Tips For Oily Skin. Evergreen Beauty College.|