Oily skin plagues many people, and not always for the same reasons. For some, oily skin means the “shiny” effect that makes them self conscious. For others, oily skin equals acne breakouts. Oily skin can be bothersome in all seasons, so here’s how best to manage it year-round.
Sebum is the technical term for oil, and it’s absolutely necessary for keeping skin hydrated. This substance is responsible for lubricating and protecting your skin against water evaporation. Sebaceous glands cover the majority of the human body, typically clustered around hair follicles. Generally speaking, there are four main types of skin: normal (meaning few skin conditions and optimal amounts of sebum production), dry (too little sebum production), oily (too much sebum production), and combination (a mix of dry and oily skin).
Oily skin happens when sebaceous glands overproduce oil, causing a waxy or shiny appearance on the skin or leading to acne. Acne occurs when the excess sebum mixes with dirt, bacteria, and dead skin cells within the gland (or pore) itself, clogging the gland and producing blackheads, whiteheads, or inflamed, red pimples.
Those with oily skin are usually predisposed to it through genetics, but there can be certain triggers that produce this skin type as well. Hormonal changes -- especially during adolescence, pregnancy, and menopause -- can alter the amount of oil produced in the sebaceous glands. Certain diseases and conditions can affect sebum production, as well as certain medications and skin care products.
First, if you’re regularly dealing with breakouts, seek out an acne treatment. Look for a non-comedogenic skin care regimen formulated for oily or acne-prone skin. These products may have ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Wash your face twice a day, and don’t forget to moisturize, ideally with a water-based (rather than oil-based) moisturizer. Often, oily skinned people want to skip moisturizer altogether, but this lack of hydration leads the sebaceous glands to then produce even more oil in response.
Other lifestyle habits that can help include carrying blotting papers and using them (or a clean, dry cloth) when you notice excess oil. Wash your pillowcases in hot water regularly to eradicate any bacteria living on your pillows. Avoid greasy finger foods, and wash your hair regularly -- both of these things tend to contribute to the transfer of oil onto the skin.
Exfoliation is a key factor in managing oily skin. Not only is it an effective acne treatment, but manual exfoliation can even reduce acne scars. Look into getting regular dermatologist microdermabrasion treatments about every six to eight weeks. This treatment uses a mildly abrasive tool to remove the top layer of dead skin cells, sloughing off problem-causing dirt and bacteria as well.
Microdermabrasion doesn’t just help with oil and acne, but it can also minimize fine lines and wrinkles as well as even out skin tone overall.
Need help managing your oily skin? Want to try a dermatologist microdermabrasion treatment? If you’re in the greater New York City area, contact Vanguard Dermatology today for an appointment with one of our board-certified specialists.