Oily skin is a problem for millions of people and although there are numerous treatment options available, the condition may persist for years in some cases. Oily skin is characteristically shiny with a dull-colored pallor. If the condition persists for years and is a chronic concern, the pores of the skin will become clogged with excess oil and outbreaks of acne may occur. Most treatment options attempt to remove the excess oils with chemicals or harsh soaps. However, this tends to go too far and actually remove too much oil to the point that the skin dries out. Treating oily skin properly is a delicate process that requires a balance between removing enough of the excess oil to eliminate the problem without creating a new one by removing too much and causing dry skin. A firm understanding of the causes of oily skin is important in understanding the best treatment options for you.
Common causes of oily skin
Sadly, our genes are often responsible for our oily skin problems-at least to some extent. The other major factor that causes oily skin is our diet. Too many processed sugars, fluids, and excess salt may all contribute to oily skin problems. Even when heredity is suspected as the cause of oily skin, a dermatologist will still recommend alterations to the diet as a means of managing the problem.
Our hormones are another big factor where temporary (and in some cases long-term) problems with oily skin are concerned. This is especially the case during puberty when hormone levels are known to vary greatly. A common factor in adolescent outbreaks is due to excessive sebum (oils) production as a result of hormone imbalances.
Hormones are also prone to imbalance during pregnancy which is why oily skin is often a problem for many women prior to giving birth. Birth control pills can actually make the problem worse but they are often prescribed initially as a potential means of correcting the hormone imbalance.
Other known factors contributing to problems with oily skin are cosmetics and humidity or very hot weather.
Treating Oily Skin
While diet is often a large factor in problems with oily skin, most people will choose to attack the condition directly. That is, they choose to remove the excessive oil. This is often accomplished by washing excessively, using a harsh soap with high lye concentration, or a combination of both. Unfortunately, this often creates more health problems than existed with the oily skin.
The oil produced by the sebaceous glands helps lubricate our skin and help retain moisture. When a person washes excessively or removes too much sebum, the skin will become dry, flaky, and eventually, itchy. Plus, the removal of those oils will stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce even more oils and can result in a condition known as Reactive Seborrhea. This will send your glands into overtime and may lead to malfunctioning in the future. Any soaps that cause more problems than they create should obviously be avoided.
You want to find a soap that doesn't use any harsh chemicals or artificial additives. Avoid any soaps that contain alcohol and try to find those with all-natural ingredients such as almond, olive, or even avocado oil. All have deep-penetrating qualities that will replenish the skin and help retain moisture.
The bathing itself should be confined to warm, not hot water. It is important to remove the excess oils but not to remove them all. Hot water makes it easier for the soap to remove the oil and dirt from your face and speeds up the entire process and may lead to dry skin and flaking. It is also important not to scrub your face excessively while bathing as it, too, will help remove too much oil. A gentle rubbing motion should be sufficient to eliminate your oily skin problem without causing a dry skin problem in the process.
The simple act of bathing or washing too often is a common tactic used to treat oily skin. However, this will also remove too many of the oils responsible for protecting your skin and may lead to Reactive Seborrhea. One washing per day with a mild soap should be sufficient to remove the excess oils while leaving enough behind to retain moisture and protect skin.
While using a mild soap, warm water, and washing only once a day are all great ideas that should remove excess oils while leaving enough behind to lubricate and protect the skin, a moisturizer will still be necessary. It is especially important to use a moisturizer within the first few minutes after bathing. This will help lock in more moisture before it has a chance to evaporate.
Not only is the timing of the application of a moisturizer important, but the type you use is of the utmost importance. Paying particular attention to the active ingredients is a good way to avoid spending money on products that may do you more harm than help. Moisturizers made with harsh chemicals or synthetic ingredients can lead to a host of problems including allergic reactions, dehydration, and even outbreaks of acne. Plus, if the balance is not right, the moisturizer may cause the same oily skin your were trying to get rid of in the first place.
After gently scrubbing your skin with a mild soap and removing the excess oil, you want to apply a moisturizer made from all natural ingredients that will help retain moisture without leaving an oily film on your face. Avocado oil, almond oil, and olive oil are all natural oils that can protect, moisturize, and help your skin look beautiful without causing any of the side effects as those products made from chemicals or synthetic ingredients.
The removal of excess oils produced by the sebaceous glands is an essential first step in treating oily skin. The use of a mild soap with an all natural moisturizer should be used once a day to remove the excess oils without removing all oils from your skin. Then, the application of a moisturizer made with all natural ingredients (to help reduce chances of allergic reaction, dehydration, etc. caused by chemical ingredients) within a few minutes of washing will help retain moisture and keep skin looking healthy and beautiful.