The causes and solutions to oily skin
Does this sound at all familiar to you?
You wake up, feeling fresh as a daisy, ready to face the day… one glance in the mirror, and hello, that glowing face! And not a good kinda glow. The “your skin has gone into overdrive, and produced a litre of oil on your face overnight” kinda glow. Probably a few blind pimples, or ready-to-burst whiteheads, too. For you, this is a daily thing! You never leave the house without your powder compact or your blotting paper, photos with a flash are just the worst, and you’re always looking for the next best oil-free product (which, news flash, is probably making matters worse!)
Oily skin happens when the sebaceous glands in the skin make too much sebum. Sebum is the waxy oily substance that helps to maintain the acid mantle, which protects and hydrates the skin.
So we know sebum is vital for keeping the skin healthy. However, overproduction of sebum can lead to oily skin, clogged pores, and acne. Managing oily skin often requires a person making regular skincare a habit.
What are the causes of oily skin?
Let’s talk about some of the reasons why you may have oily skin:
- Genetics - if one of your parents experiences oily skin, chances are they can pass that down to you.
- Environment - heat and humidity can trigger oily skin types even more!
- Use of benzoyl peroxide/alcohol-based acne products - these products strip away your natural moisture layer (the acid mantle), which can then trigger your sebum glands into action, thus creating a vicious cycle.
- Overcleansing/overwashing - Similar to the use of acne products, overly frequent cleansing or washing causes damage to your acid mantle, causing an overproduction of sebum to repair the damage.
- Hormonal changes - at times such as puberty or pregnancy.
- Medication - Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement medication can cause an increase in oil production. Oily skin is also one of the possible side effects associated with taking certain kinds of steroids. Many medications can also cause dehydration that leads to a production of excess oil.
- Poor diet - According to research published by the NIH, a diet high in sugar may lead to high serum glucose levels and elevated levels of insulin. In turn, insulin has been shown to elevate sebum production.
- Stress - When your stress levels are high, your body produces cortisol, which in turn triggers sebum production in your skin.
- Under moisturising - When you have oily skin, you probably feel like you need less, not more, moisturiser! When in fact, skipping moisturizer can contribute to your oily complexion. When you don’t provide your skin with enough hydration, it can trick your skin into producing too much oil.
As you can tell, many of these causes are in your control. Some may be more difficult than others, such as a stressful job or hormonal changes, but many can be turned around.
Now, if oily skin runs in your family, that’s a bit of tough luck, and is unfortunately out of your control. But what is in your control? The solutions.
The solutions to oily skin
First, let’s take a look at your day to day life. For example, do you consume an excessive amount of sugar in your diet? This can be a big trigger, as sugar is hidden in so many foods that we don’t even realise. Statistics reveal Australians consumed an average of 105 grams of total sugars per day. Just over half of this was free sugars (60 grams, equivalent to approximately 14 level teaspoons of white sugar), with the balance (45 grams) being the naturally occurring sugars.
Other factors can be harder to solve, which is where a good skincare routine comes into play.
So let’s talk about oil cleansing. Now, oil cleansing may seem like a new kid on the block, but in fact, it has been around for centuries. And it all comes back to the biology of your skin, which is where you should be starting!
Consider the acid mantle that we spoke about earlier. This is a very thin, natural protective film that’s made up of sebum (skin oils), amino acids, fatty acids, lactic acid, water (from perspiration), and skin’s own natural moisture. Its main function is to protect your skin from the elements and nasties like dirt and bacteria, as well as keeping your skin cells firm and hydrated. The acid mantle is also slightly acidic, which means that the use of alkaline-based products, such as foaming cleansers, can destroy the pH balance of the acid mantle.
Once the acid mantle is compromised or stripped away, our sebum glands start producing excess oil in order to repair the acid mantle, thus producing your oily complexion.
So you can see how the use of drying acne products, overcleansing or overwashing, and the use of alkaline products can contribute to, rather than solve, your oily skin problems.
How does oil cleansing work to fix oily skin?
Step 1 below in our Supercharged Range (specifically designed for oily and breakout-prone skin) demonstrates how a purifying cleansing oil will work to balance and cleanse an oily complexion. How does this work? Oil dissolves oil. One of the most basic principals of chemistry is that “like dissolves like.” By using the right oils, you can cleanse your pores of dirt and bacteria naturally, gently and effectively, while replacing the dirty oil with beneficial ones extracted from natural botanicals that heal, protect and nourish your skin. By repairing and replacing the acid mantle in this way, your sebum glands will no longer need to work hard to create oil for your skin's protection.
Step 2 and 3 in our Supercharged Range complete the process, our emollient Facial Oil repairing further damage to the acid mantle and skin surface by filling in the gaps and locking in moisture, tightening pores and creating an even skin tone, while the final step, our Dream Serum, leaves your skin feeling firm, soft and hydrated without that heavy moisturising feel, creating a perfect canvas for your makeup, or no makeup at all.