Beautiful skin requires commitment, not a miracle.
Rumour has it that if you’re a regular chocolate-eater, you inevitably struggle with oily skin, and that over-moisturising will leave you with a sudden epidemic of pimples to deal with.
Whilst it’s not possible to completely remove oily skin, as it’s genetic, you can jump-start the oily-skin clarifying train with a few easy additions and subtractions to your current skincare routine.
1. HORMONAL HAVOC
Simply put: your period has a lot to do with it. That monthly hormonal cycle is caused by fluctuating androgen hormones which stimulate an increase of oil production in your skin, even on your scalp. Your skin gets oilier depending on the time of your cycle, which happens during puberty, just before menstruation, during pregnancy, and menopause.
The more androgens that are present, the more oil that gets funnelled through the pores, creating an oily sheen. When excess oil is produced, it becomes trapped in the pore – this combines with dead skin cells and bacteria, which lead to pimples, blackheads, and blemishes.
2. BLAME YOUR GENES
Yep, that genetic jackpot strikes again. That’s right; the number of oil glands in your skin and their activity level is down to specific characteristics of each individual, which is influenced by genetics. This means your skin may produce more oil or you may have more oil glands on your face than the next person.
So whilst it’s normal to want to use a product to completely get rid of oily skin, nothing is going to genetically change your skin and permanently reduce oil production. This is your skin, and it is a natural process.
3. LOOK AT WHAT’S ON YOUR PLATE
Whilst a poor diet can’t give you oily skin – that’s entirely genetic – it can trigger, spur on, and worsen problem skin. When this happens, it’s worth taking a look inside.
From my own experience working with thousands of clients, I have seen first-hand how consuming a diet rich in processed food leads to overactive oil production and the greasy sheen that accompanies it. Furthermore, a diet rich in sugary food can raise your glycaemic index and insulin resistance.
ALMOND OR COCONUT MILK IT IS, THEN?
If you want to know how to get rid of oily skin, try cutting out the moo goo. Why? The problem with cow’s milk is that it is often taken from pregnant cows, and contains a high level of the female hormone Progesterone. That, coupled with the fact that there are more than 60 different hormones in just one glass of milk, wreaks havoc on the delicate balance of your own hormones. For those really struggling with oily, acneic skin, this interesting article on why you should cut back on anabolic-hormone-packed milk is worth a read.
4. DEAL WITH DEHYDRATION
Your skin might feel oily, but it could actually be dehydrated.
But wait – oil and moisture are also two separate issues; oily skin requires sufficient hydration to keep it balanced or it becomes dehydrated, spiking oil production. This is your skin’s way of keeping itself moisturised, something I discuss more in detail here. Treat your skin to H₂O Hydrating Complex, an intense moisture shot containing Hyaluronic Acid and Urea, which work like tiny micro-sponges to pull moisture deep into the skin’s tissues and lock it there.
Did you know that just increasing your water intake is not enough to give your skin the hydration it needs? Your skin is the last organ to receive water, so addressing this topically is vital. If dehydrated skin sounds like you, follow the link to find out more.
5. DON’T SKIMP ON SLEEP
It seems like a no-brainer, but you know that feeling when you wake up refreshed after a good night’s sleep? Well, you aren’t imagining it. A good night’s rest has a great effect on your skin.
Why? Well, a lack of sleep results in insulin resistance. Insulin creates IGF-1, a hormone that stimulates an increase of oil production in your skin.
6. DON’T USE HARSH CLEANSERS
If you’re prone to oily skin, you might notice you gravitate toward exfoliators and cleansers that really get in there and dry things out. In theory, this seems like a good idea, but they actually break down the natural protective barrier. Over-cleansed skin senses that your barrier function is stripped, making it shinier as your oil glands work overtime to balance things out.
Instead, use a gentle face wash like Miracle Cleanse, which balances and protects as it cleanses, so skin won’t get stripped of precious oils or become sensitised.
7. DON’T SKIP THE MOISTURISER
A common mistake many of my oily-skinned clients make is not moisturising because they think their natural oil production is enough. Skipping on your moisturiser means nothing keeps your protective barrier intact, so it is more susceptible to external irritants such as bacteria, pollutants, and free radical attack.
The bottom line: don’t be afraid of moisturiser; look for products that are strictly oil-free and non-comedogenic. Look for gel moisturisers that contain a mix of hydrating and mattifying ingredients that will help to balance the skin.
8. QUIT LOOKING FOR THAT MIRACLE CURE
An oily skin is often a by-product of over-treating and over-exfoliating, which triggers the skin to produce excess oil. The key is to remember that your skin’s natural oil is not inherently a bad thing: it’s there to protect and lubricate.
Many skincare products for oil control contain drying alcohols, astringents, and ingredients that can lead to irritation. Skincare for oily skin is often about “less is best”, so consider stripping back your routine.
9. DON’T SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF
When you’re stressed, your adrenal glands go into overdrive producing cortisol, which makes the sebaceous glands produce more oil. Studies carried out on high school students found that those children going through stressful exams had far more acne than those not undertaking exams.
10. DO YOU HAVE FATTY ACID DEFICIENT SKIN?
If you’re keen to learn how to remove oily skin naturally, then you could do a lot worse than looking at your essential fatty acid intake.
Your skin is primarily made up of lipids such as essential fatty acids, ceramides, and cholesterol, which all play a crucial role in our skin’s barrier function. Studies have found that those with acne have low levels of linoleic acid in their skin. When it is present at much-reduced levels, sebum (oil) is produced with oleic acid, which is denser, more likely to cause follicular blockage, and can cause irritation and inflammation to the skin. These deficiencies can be corrected internally and topically. An easy way to treat acne is through topical application of linoleic acid. This study found a 25% reduction in the size of micro-comedones over a one month period.
THE NAKED TRUTH
The plague of oily skin, that persistent skin type that may not seem as consequential as ageing, yet distracts and consumes the skin-savvy to an equal degree.
As an aesthetician, treatment for oily or combination skin is about addressing and controlling the three triggers that lead to congestion; this is a subject I discuss in greater detail here, under clinical advice.
Whilst you can’t control your predisposition to oily skin, you now know there are many ways you can treat your oily skin and take back control, taking the next step towards complexion perfection.