An Overview Of Oily Skin
It’s common for both men and women to experience oily skin. Read on to discover what causes it – and the best skincare products and ingredients to counter it.
In the beauty business, there’s a lot of talk about skin types. There’s also a lot of debate about how many different types there actually are (spoiler: more than you might think!). It’s important to understand that many people have multiple skin issues/conditions, which can span several different categories. We also have to take into account the fact that skin changes over time, and can be affected by everything from climate to diet to hormones. In short, it’s not always easy to identify what sort of skin you have – or which are the best products to care for it. That said, (very) broadly speaking, there are five main skin type categories: oily, sensitive, combination, dry, and normal. Then there’s mature skin – usually a polite way of describing older complexions – that can also be oily, sensitive, dry, normal and so on. The important thing is to identify your skin’s key characteristics and concerns, and to treat these accordingly.
What Is Oily Skin?
Fortunately, oily skin is usually fairly easy to identify. As you’d expect, it looks and feels slick to the touch, and is often prone to blemishes and breakouts. Oily skin usually looks shiny, and makeup is prone to slipping and sliding. Pores might appear larger, too.
What Causes Oily Skin?
In simple terms, oily skin occurs when excess sebum is produced – and builds up. This can be genetic, or is sometimes triggered by puberty, when the oil glands go into overdrive. Pregnancy and the menopause can also influence the amount of oil the sebaceous glands produce. Stress, diet and lifestyle can also exacerbate oil production.
How To Care For Oily Skin
Unsuitable products can make oily skin worse, and even turn it into acne skin. Your main priority should be to reduce the excess oil, but without stripping the skin or compromising its barrier function. Look out for skincare formulations that contain Retinol (Vitamin A), Glycolic Acid and Salicylic Acid, all well known for their pore-refining and resurfacing properties. Salicylic Acid isn’t just a great exfoliator, it can also help to unclog pores and reduce sebum levels.
Where oily skin is concerned, what you don’t use can be just as important as what you do. Avoid rich emollients and occlusives, and choose lighter gel/liquid formulations instead of heavy creams. Look out for products that are labelled non-comedogenic (this means they are formulated in a way that shouldn’t cause pore blockages). And don’t be tempted to go overboard with harsh scrubs. You’ll achieve better results with a gentle regime.
Keep It Clean
Regardless of your skin type, regular cleansing is vital. Clean skin is the foundation that everything else is built on. Cleansing not only removes makeup, oil, dirt and debris, it also preps your skin properly for whatever products come afterwards. So it’s really important to find the right formulation for your specific skin type.
Clarifying cleansers that exfoliate without stripping are a good choice for oily skins. Choose products that won’t clog pores, such as Epionce’s Lytic Gel Cleanser. Ideal for oily, combination and problem-prone skin, this refreshing gel cleanser delivers deep-down cleansing without stripping or tightness, gently resurfacing skin to leave it clean, smooth and soft. Key ingredients include Willow Bark, known for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Willow Bark contains Salicin (from which Salicylic Acid is derived) so it’s mildly exfoliating too.
Try A Toner
Today’s toners have evolved significantly from the highly astringent formulas of yesteryear. Modern incarnations are designed to condition, rebalance and refresh. Many combine a number of different functions, to enhance texture and tone. If your skin is oily, look out for an exfoliating toner, such as Swissline’s Cell Shock Age Intelligence Resurfacing Water. Featuring 10% Glycolic Acid, this night-time treatment sweeps away dead skin and encourages cell turnover, decongesting pores and dealing efficiently with excess oil.
Make Time To Moisturise
Many people mistakenly think that oily skin doesn’t need moisturising. It might seem counter-intuitive, but this really isn’t the case. Moisturisers help to keep skin feeling smooth and comfortable. They also help to strengthen the skin’s protective barrier. Strip oily skin of all its moisture, and it will dry out and rebound with yet more oil production to compensate, so you’ll be stuck in a vicious circle. Again, look for lighter formulations that won’t block pores. We recommend Emma Hardie’s Protect & Prime SPF 30. This lightweight, non-greasy moisturiser also provides vital UVA and UVB protection. Multitasking products like this often suit oily types, as fewer skincare ‘layers’ can help to counter congestion. This moisturiser also incorporates a light-diffusing veil to create a flattering, soft-focus finish.
The Magic Of Masks
Face masks can be used to address a variety of different issues, including excess skin oiliness. There are lots of different formats to choose from, including cream, clay, sheet and mud. Some are designed to be left on overnight, or even layered underneath a day cream. A great choice for oily types, Medik8’s Natural Clay Mask gently detoxes and decongests the skin, drawing out excess sebum and impurities to refine pores and keep blemishes at bay. Unlike some other clay facials, this mask doesn’t ‘cement’ to leave skin dry or dehydrated – and it’s easy to remove. It’s an excellent option for an at-home spa experience, leaving oily skin clean, clear and radiant.
Acne Skincare Guide
If your oily skin is prone to acne breakouts, click here to discover our expert Acne Skincare Guide.