7 Burning Oily Skin Questions Answered + Pro Tips To Maintain Oily Skin
Let's Talk About Oily Skin
So far managing my super oily skin has been the biggest concern. As I was struggling with this, I was also facing a few pimples here & there.
Luckily I’ve never had massive acne to deal with but as usual, day by day, due to hormonal reasons (as I was on pills due to PCOS) it was getting harder & harder to manage the excessive sebum secretion which indirectly led me to research a bit about managing oily skin.
No matter how meticulously I’d cleanse my skin, oil comes back after an hour & it’s the same again. For a person like me, who was blessed with a rather non problematic skin during her teenage years & thought it was over, had to face a nasty oily skin in adulthood. I was searching for my answers to doctor google & to people I thought was qualified enough but I didn’t realize the thing before I took up biotechnology as my major in graduation.
This new era slowly introduced me to the life systems & fundamentals of pharmacology which eventually cleared my doubts & answered almost every question. I was re discovering life processes slowly & it was never immaculate rather, a trial & error process with more errors & a little success but I learnt the hard way.
So, let’s move on to answering some common question about oily skin & then we’d move on to ways we can maintain it. What suits me may not be suitable for you but only you will have to find out the ideal way to care for your oily skin. I can only cater some ways you can try.
Common Questions Regarding Oily Skin
1. Why does my skin produce oil & why does the rate of oil production vary? What is the purpose of it?
èI think this is the most common question about oily skin. Well, it is the sebaceous glands in your skin are to be blamed (or thanked maybe ???) for the oil or sebum production. Generally the rate of this oil production varies depending on your genetically determined skin type (oily, dry, normal, combination etc) , age, regular care routine etc.
Usually, as you age, your skin tends to lose the oil /sebaceous glands & less oil it’ll produce. Sebum is generally termed Natural Moisturizing Factor or NMF which has the purpose to simply keep your skin moisturized.
Generally, a moisturized skin is better equipped to handle environmental aggressors. But just like dilemma regarding over-moisturization, over production of oil is annoying & at it’s worst, it can clog pores & give rise to acne.
2. So, if the sebum can moisturize skin, is it still necessary to use a moisturizer on oily skin? / Can oily skinned people use moisturizer?
èSadly, yes. It is important that you moisturize your oily skin. Mostly because if you don’t do so on a regular basis, at a point of time, your skin will automatically become more dry & this condition will over-stimulate your oil glands to produce more sebum than needed, which will indirectly clog pores & cause you to break out.
So, to keep oil production in check, you need to moisturize externally.
Our body (and parts of it like skin) is excellent in keeping homeostasis (balance) & thus if it senses the existence of moisture, it’ll automatically keep oil/sebum production in check.
3. Can we cure oily skin? / How can I get rid of oily skin once & for all?
èIt cannot be done, sorry. In most cases, rate of sebum production is a genetically determined factor which cannot be changed. The rate of sebum production depends on the amount of sebaceous glands active on your skin & the rate of activity shown by them.
However, you can do things to better manage your skin so that it breaks out less, produces a bit less sebum etc. but you cannot ‘cure’ it.
With regular care, oily skin can become less annoying.
4. Okay, so you have to moisturize oily skin; but how can I get my makeup last longer on oily skin especially in humid weather?
èSimple, get a primer. I’ve seen people using moisturizer as an alternative to a primer but I guess it’s the biggest mistake I’ve ever came across. Moisturizer under a make up can not only make it last fewer hours than it was destined to but as our body heat is helping it spread, it’ll end up a foundation look cakey.
So, just stick to a primer that’s suitable for oily skin & finish it off with a setting powder/spray. Usually a matte foundation lasts longer than a mousse one but you can always sport a dewy look by using a proper primer.
Sometimes, if you don’t have a dewy look foundation at hands, you can turn your matte one to a dewy finish by simply mixing a few drops of face oil (less comedogenic carrier oils will do) with a matte look foundation & it’ll do the job.
5. Is oily skin anti ageing/ resistant to signs of ageing?
èYes, indeed it is.
Infact it is the same oil you’re cursing now & then is your biggest protection against fine lines & wrinkles. Oily skin is the hardiest of all skin types & show signs of ageing later than all other skin types & if taken good care of, can look as young as in 20s’ when you’re almost hitting 50.
Ageing has a serious association with dryness & because even if we have oily skin, we tend to lose the sebaceous glands as we age thus resulting in extra dryness & this is exactly why we have to keep our oily skin moisturized.
In short, oily skin doesn’t deserve that much curse it earns, it’s a rather blessing because acne can be easily controlled but ageing isn’t, since acne is a condition & ageing is a natural process.
6. So how to maintain oily skin & keep acne at bay?
èThis is what we’re going to discuss about. Oily skin, needs as much attention as dry skin.
Let me mention what I do to maintain it:
· I use only non comedogenic products: It is important not to overload your pores with oil & clog them which may result in a nasty break out.
· I use sunscreen daily, reapplying every 2-3 hours & more if I’m sweating. Sunscreen is the common advice I give to all, no matter what their skin types are. It is basic of all skin care because preventing sun damage is important to protect your DNA from damaging & as a result, skin is shielded from ageing to a certain extent.
· Using a facewash is mandatory but it’s more important to not use a ‘foaming face wash’. Although foaming washes are marketed as oily skin friendly but it does just the opposite. Foaming face washes strip the skin off of its natural sebum & in response; the sebaceous glands are stimulated to overcompensate with producing more sebum than it would normally.
· I always prefer a facewash based on Alpha/Beta Hydroxy Acid. Ofcourse there’s not much facewashes can do because they stay on your skin of not more than a minute, which is even a short deadline for the strongest of active ingredient, so basically it all goes down the drain. But to cleanse pores immaculately, I prefer those pharmaceutical preparations & most are not even overly-foaming.
· I also use face oil as an alternative to moisturizers at night before bed. Despite of what the name sounds like, face oils do not tend to be comedogenic (they don’t clog pores) that’s why face oils are suitable for use on oily skin. They also keep oil production in check unlike the moisturizers which answers many people asking me whether oily skinned people can use facial oils.
These days such oils can be easily bought from the market but I make my own. I simply take a carrier oil (non comedogenic) as my base oil & mix a few drops of essential oils of my choice (usually about 50, yes I know overwhelming, but I’ve made my collection of essential oils really rich). These oils can be used safely as carrier oils for oily skinà
§ Safflower Oil
§ Hemp Seed Oil
§ Cucumber Oil
§ Calendula Oil
§ Moroccan Argan Oil
§ Tamanu Oil (it’s a big high on comedogenicity, so I’d suggest you to limit the amount you’re using)
§ Watermelon Seed Oil
If you’re interested in knowing what essential oils I usually add in any of the carrier oils mentioned above to make my own face oil, then, check this list out (just a few from more than 50 oils, just mentioning my favourite ones) à
Ø Helichrysum Oil : Extracted from the flowers of the plant Helichrysum Angustifolium/Italicum, is also known as the ‘immortelle’ oil, which is a notorious anti ageing oil & also one of the most precious one. I absolutely adore this.
Ø Sandalwood Oil: We Indians love our sandalwood & we do so for a reason. It is applicable in almost every condition. It not only detans but also heals cuts, burns & treats scars, sun damage & it has so many other properties that are still unknown to us. But since sandalwood oil is highly comedogenic, a few drops on 1 tsp carrier oil should suffice, afterall you’re going to use only a drop of the concoction.
Ø Myrrh:The precious African gift to the world, extracted from a commiphora genus’ plant, myrrh has a spicy woody fragrance & is rich in anti oxidants, heals cuts & burns, an antiseptic, anti bacterial oil by itself & is also a potent anti ageing agent.
Ø Frankincense:I use the Somalian variety (the white frankincense) or Boswellia frereana, Frankincense is gold standard in lightening & brightening skin tone, removing scars & tan.
Ø Amber Oil: It has an amazing woody/musky fragrance (I find it to be highly suitable for men), Amber oil not only brightens complexion but also fades scars, removes tan, & reverses sun damage.
Ø Benzoin Oil: Hard to mix it, a very heavy oil, usually precipitates at the bottom of the container but this is a magic oil. It diminishes pores & fades fine lines & wrinkles in an enviable speed.
Ø Lemon Oil & Lime Oil: Both have amazing citrusy fragrance & immediately freshens you up but both are superheroes in reversing sun damage & also uplifts your mood which makes them ideal candidates for a face oil to be used before bed.
These are my favourite essential oils I use in my face oil. However, please be aware that none of them are low on comedogenicity except lime, lemon & helichrysum oil. But since I’m mixing only a few drops of each in a large amount of low comedogenic carrier oil, they don’t usually harm in the long term.
But if you think it’s risky to give them a try, you can happily skip them.
If you’re currently suffering from acne, there are plenty of essential oils for you to choose from. Just like the above, in this case take any carrier oil mentioned above & add the oils mentioned below 2 drops each & mix well. I assure you these oils are powerful enough to treat even the nastiest breakout in just a few days of application.
Ø Camphor Oil : An antibacterial, antifungal with it’s amazing aroma will kill your acne in a jiffy.
Ø Cedarwood Oil : Another antibacterial, antifungal & antiviral; the ultimate multi tasker for acne.
Ø Clove Leaf Oil : It officially kills mild acne overnight & heals nastier comedones in a few days, but since it is very strong, I’d highly recommend not to use more than a tiny drop. It also temporarily feels like burning but the reaction quickly subsides.
Ø Peppermint Oil : Another strong oil & is usually not recommended unless it is a very nasty acne not healing even after you’ve tried real hard.
Ø Tea Tree Oil : The best one for oily skin & the tea tree oil totally nails it. This is present in many acne specific products found in the market & it has a reason. It not only heals acne fast but also balances sebum production & keeps the oil in check.
7. So, which face masks are ideal for oily skin & how do I make a homemade face mask for my oily skin?
èI’d say clay masks are the best for oily skin. Technically any mask that is not too oily or has highly comedogenic oils are suitable for oily skin. But clay masks are superheroes for oily skin in two ways: firstly they get the skin rid of extra oil & secondly, they help those with acne to heal it faster.
There are basically three clays I’m talking about.
Multani Mitti/ Fuller’s Earth: Most popular & inexpensive clay & works very well for oily skin. It immediately clears the skin & strips the dirt & extra oil off but it is always better to use a moisturizer afterwards or you may risk dry skin which will overstimulate sebaceous glands to make more oil. This is the same for all kinds of clays.
Bentonite Clay:It is found in two version, sodium & calcium bentonite while both are equally effective; I personally prefer sodium bentonite over calcium bentonite because the former one is cheaper. However, adding a pinch of salt in calcium bentonite will convert it to sodium bentonite.
Bentonite clay, upon addition of water swells to be almost double & sodium variant swells more, which makes it extremely cost effective.
The prime reason, Ido not consider bentonite to be versatile is that you cannot mess with its pH value which is normal when you add a whole lot of other ingredients in your DIY face mask especially those for oily skin.
The inherent negative charge of this clay is the one working to draw out toxins & dirt which are usually positively charged. Nevertheless it is effective as a pollution fighter & after a tiring day at work. But don’t forget to moisturize after washing this off.
Simply add water to bentonite clay & wait for 15 minutes before application. Do not add anything else, neither acidic nor alkaline to keep it at its optimal pH.
Rhassoul Clay/Moroccan Lava Clay: Not exactly the clay you’d use after a long day at work because it’s slightly oily (not comedogenic) & doesn’t give you a squeaky clean feel but it’s equally effective as any other clay.
But just like bentonite, you cannot mess with its pH either, so it’s better to add only water & not anything else except some salt to strengthen Rhassoul’s action.
Rhassoul is suitable for all skin types.
I prefer rhassoul clay mask in a relaxing spa day or after I’ve washed off my multani mitti mask.
Finally I’d say if you’re big on adding a lot of ingredients to make your face mask multipurpose (I do so), like neem, tulsi or essential oils; multani is the best choice.
Also, to make a clay mask effective enough to penetrate through your oily face & make it so that it also brightens your complexion, consider adding citrus ingredients:
· Lemon Juice
· Tamarind Paste
· Pineapple Juice
· Tomato Juice
But never use all of the ingredients mentioned above together in a face mask. Stick to the ‘mix & match’ approach.
Also keep in mind that these ingredients do make your skin a lot photo sensitive. So, in order to avoid suntan/damage, avoid applying them during the day & only do so in the evening.
Also, do not forget to use a broad spectrum sunscreen during the day & wear protective clothing if possible.
I apply a clay mask every evening, 365 days a year. You can use it atleast twice a week for optimal results.
So, this is all I do to maintain my super oily skin. Those with combination skin can also use them in the summers.
Love me or hate me, let me know in the comments section below & it’d be amazing if it’s the former & don’t forget to follow me on social media (buttons on the collapsible sidebar ß)
Thank you for reading.