One problem that generally goes hand in hand with acne is oily skin. Skin that looks like it has been drizzled with oil. Besides giving you a sticky feel, oily skin looks dull. You might also have this weird combination of skin being dry as well as oily. This is a common problem when you are battling adult acne. Trying to use makeup when you have this dry and oily combination skin can be a bit of a challenge.
Where does this oil come from ?
The oil or sebum is an oily substance secreted by the sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands are everywhere on your body except your palms and the soles of your feet. Coincidentally there is a greater concentration of sebaceous glands on your face. These glands may be connected to a hair follicle or open up directly onto the surface of your skin. When the pore is filled with sebum or oil it spreads on the surface of the skin to keep it moist and healthy. When the gland keeps producing oil and the pore is blocked with dead skin cells it leads to acne.
Let’s keep something in mind here. This oil to required keep your skin looking good, healthy and protected from infections. Without this oil your skin would be dry and dull and would age faster. What we want is a fresh dewy look but not the sticky and yucky feel that comes with excess oil.
Why does Your Skin Get Oily
Sebaceous glands are controlled by hormones. That is why teens generally get acne as their hormones are fluctuating and since these hormones control the sebaceous glands, excess oil is secreted. This hormonal imbalance sometimes continues or starts in adulthood due to diet, stress, genetics, environmental factors etc. There is no way of knowing which factor or combination of factors causes it. The way I see it, it is generally irrelevant what causes your oily skin or your acne. Focus on fixing the problem.
So How Do We Fix This?
What’s the first thing you do when you have oily skin? Well, wash it of course. A few hours later, your face gets oily again and you wash it again. This cycle continues. You then go looking for face washes meant for oily skin. Face washes meant for oily skin generally tend to be harsher. The cycle of skin being oily and washing continues. This is what I did. Let me tell you that this is one of the worst things you can do when you have oily skin. My skin got sensitive, red and raw. Of course I cannot blame just the washing. I have to put equal amounts of blame on the BP and antibiotics.
There is a lot of advice out there about treating oily skin, that I really do not agree with. The only thing I can say is that all this advice comes from people who have never struggled with either acne or oily skin. The advice ranges from being mildly unhelpful (like do not moisturise oily skin) to completely awful (which says to ask a doctor for Accutane). Using Accutane to stop the oiliness is on the same lines as using dynamite to blow up your house just to kill the cockroaches in it. While washing your face frequently to remove oil may seem like the logical thing to do, it does not really work at stopping the oil. The oil continues to flow to the surface of the skin and the constant washing continues to dry out the skin. The oil can’t just be washed away with a face wash.
How to wash your face
When your face is oily and you keep washing it to remove the oil, the oil glands just create more oil. There are a few ways you can deal with this. One is to stop using face wash completely and just rinse your face with plain water. Of course not everyone will like this method.
I am not sure there is a really mild face wash out there so I suggest using a home made face wash to clean your face.
Honey is great for acne prone skin when used as a mask or as a face wash. You can apply honey all over your face. Leave it for 15 minutes then wash. If you do not have time just apply a coin size amount all over your damp face, rub gently and wash off. If the honey is too stick mix it with a little water.
DIY Face wash with Honey
Here’s a face wash you can make with honey.
- 1/2 cup honey (preferably organic)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon jojoba, rose hip, avocado oil
- 10 drops tea tree oil
Mix all and keep in a glass jar. Shake well before use. To use apply a coin size amount all over your damp face and wash off.
Oatmeal Face Wash
You can also wash your face using oatmeal. Oats are very soothing to the skin and are often used in creams to provide relief from dry itchy skin. Grind oatmeal and keep it in a jar. Mix one tablespoon of the ground oatmeal in 2 tablespoons of warm water. Rub the paste on your damp face gently and wash off with warm water.
Oil Cleansing Method (OCM)
You can also wash your face using the Oil Cleansing Method (OCM), which although sounds counter-intuitive actually works. This is a bit scary for anyone doing this for the first time. Just keep it as an option though. You can try the above 2 methods for now.
Face Masks for Oily Skin
Honey Face Mask
My favourite face mask for acne, acne scars and oily skin is the one I normally recommend to most of the people who ask me what to use. This is the honey face mask which packs a huge punch.
The other masks that help with oily skin are clay based masks. The best clay for acne prone oily skin is bentonite clay. This clay actually helps control the over production of sebum and unclogs the pores. Over time it even shrinks pores, gives your face a glow and reduces the appearance of scars. Adding green tea to the mask also helps reduce the oil and tone your skin. This is optional.
- 1 teaspoon bentonite clay
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- 2-3 drops rose hip oil
- Water to make a paste ( or green tea )
Mix all the above to form a thick paste. Apply on your face and leave it on for 15 minutes or till it dries. Wash off with warm water.
Do you need a toner?
Most people with oily skin are told that they need to use toner to close the pores to prevent excess oil formation. Most toners contain alcohol which dries out the skin. You do not need a toner. If you feel you really need a toner you can use green tea or rose water. Or try any of the following DIY toners.
Green Tea and Rose Water Toner
To make this toner add equal quantities of rose water and green tea and store in an easy to use bottle in the refrigerator. Use whenever needed. make small quantities as it is better to make this fresh.
Grind a handful of mint leaves and strain the mix. Dilute the mix till it is transparent. Store this in a bottle and use as needed.
Rub an ice cub all over your face. This has the same effect as a toner does.
Apple Cider Vinegar Toner
I personally would not use this one because I do not like the smell of vinegar. Combine 1 part of apple cider vinegar with 3 parts of water. So for one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar you need to add 3 teaspoons of water.
Does Oily Skin Need Moisturiser?
Many people say that oily skin does not need a moisturiser. Makes sense as your skin is oily enough. But in truth your skin does need all the moisture it can get. So please do use a moisturiser. If you do not want to use it during the day, use it during the night. Any light moisturiser will do fine. Stay away from heavy cream based moisturisers.
Always Use Sunscreen
Acne prone skin needs to be protected from the sun. When your skin is healing from acne, it tends to be weak. It can cause pigmentation at this time, if it is not protected from the sun. So always remember to use sunscreen when out in the sun. A gel based sunscreen is great for oily skins. If possible try and get a moisturiser with SPF 30 in it.
Improving Your Diet
Overactive sebaceous glands are due to a hormonal imbalance. This imbalance can be greatly improved by cutting out sugar and dairy from your diet. The side effects of using diet to balance out your hormones are all good – great skin, great hair and good health. Once you cut out sugar and dairy I promise your skin will be a lot less oily.
You do not need to cut out oil from your diet. Oil in your diet does not cause oily skin. Make sure you drink at least 2 litres of water everyday. Adding the juice of one lemon into this water will also help in bringing down the oiliness of your skin.
To conclude it does not take much to reduce the oiliness on your face. A few simple steps go a long way in getting rid of excess oil on your skin.