Even though we cannot control some causes of excess oil production, such as genetics and hormones, we can lessen the appearance of oily skin. Here are some ways to combat excess oil production:
Wash your face with gentle products – It is vital to wash your face twice daily to remove dirt, oil, and bacteria from your skin. If you exercise, wash after exercising. Only use gentle products, because harsh chemicals can irritate the skin and cause excess oil production. Also, avoid scrubbing your face because that can irritate it and cause excess oil production.
Use moisturizer – Many incorrectly assume that if you have oily skin you should not use a moisturizer. That is wrong. If you do not moisturize your skin, your skin will think it needs to produce more oil. So you can trick your skin into not producing oil by using a moisturizer. Select a moisturizer that is light, greaseless, and non-comedogenic. Lightweight lotions or gels are an excellent choice for oily skin.
Try a toner or mask – The right toner or mask can help remove excess oil and mattify (reduce shine) your skin. Look for ones that control oil.
Exfoliate twice a week – Exfoliating can remove excess oil and dead skin cells to improve the look and feel of your skin. Do not over-exfoliate because that can irritate your skin and cause more oil production.
Use only non-comedogenic products – If you have oily skin, only use oil-free, non-comedogenic products, including cleansers, moisturizers, sunscreens, concealers, and makeup. You do not want to use the wrong products and add oil to your oily skin. Avoid products containing petrolatum, silicone, mineral oil, and coconut oil.
Sunscreen – Sun can dehydrate the skin and cause more oil production. Sun also causes skin cancers and wrinkles. Daily sunscreen use is critical. Just be sure to select one that is oil-free and non-comedogenic.
Never sleep with makeup – You must wash your face and remove your makeup before going to bed. Otherwise, makeup will clog your pores and lead to acne.
Do not touch your face – You must keep your hands off your face. You do not want to transfer the dirt and oil from your hands onto your face and cause oily skin and acne.
Change your mask daily – Dirt, bacteria, and oil build-up on our non-medical masks throughout the day. You need to use a new one or clean one daily to prevent the old dirt and bacteria from being implanted into your skin and causing acne. You do not want to go through the effort of cleansing your face and then putting a dirty mask over it.
Blotting papers – Blotting papers are a great way to quickly and easily remove excess oils throughout the day. All you have to do is dab them on the oily areas when you notice oil or shine.
Stress – Yoga, exercise, or meditation can help lower your stress levels throughout the day.
Diet – Stick to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains because they have a low glycemic index. Sugars and carbohydrates can lead to oil production and acne breakouts. Cow's milk can also cause acne breakouts. Also, stay well hydrated.
Avoid alcohol – Products containing isopropyl alcohol can over-dry the skin and cause more oil production.
Mattifying makeup – There are makeup products available that contain ingredients to absorb the oils and reduce the appearance of oily skin.
Products to control oil – Several ingredients in skin care products can help reduce excess oil production:
- Retinoids help to shrink the oil glands leading to less oil production.
- Hydroxy acids include alpha-hydroxy acids, like glycolic acid, and beta-hydroxy acids, like salicylic acid. Hydroxy acids gently exfoliate to remove dirt, oil, and dead skin cells.
- Niacinamide can help reduce oil production.
- Bentonite and kaolin clays help absorb oil from the skin.
- Aloe vera is a natural astringent that can help reduce oil production.
- Green tea contains compounds that are anti-androgenic and reduce oil production.
- Licorice contains compounds that help control oil production.
Professional treatments – Botox, Lasers, and light treatments can help reduce excess oil production by decreasing sebaceous gland activity.
Oil production is necessary for the proper functioning of the skin.
Some people are prone to excess oil production due to genetics, hormones, or lifestyle.
There are a number of ways to combat excess oil production and reduce the appearance of oily skin.
American Academy of Dermatology. How to control oily skin.
Baumann, L. (ed.). (2015). Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients. McGraw-Hill Education, New York.
Bolognia, J., Jorizzo, J.L., Schaffer, J.V. (2012). Dermatology. Philadelphia: Elsevier Saunders.
Draelos, Z.D. (ed.) (2005). Cosmeceuticals. Elsevier Inc, New York.