Every expert worth his or her salt says that the first step is to identify your skin type to start a proper skincare routine.
At this point, you identify whether you have dry, oily, sensitive or normal skin.
Once that is done, we move on to the next step, which is adopting an appropriate skincare routine.
If you have large pores, persistent acne, and an overall greasy or shiny look, you probably have oily skin.
The fundamental reason behind oily skin is overactive sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands reside in the skin and produce sebum, just another word for natural oil.
Sebum has many important functions, including protecting the skin, keeping it moisturized, preserving the skin barrier, and maintaining overall skin health.
However, oily skin is an example of how too much of a good thing can be bad, or in this case, greasy!
There are many reasons the skin produces too much sebum, including genetics, hormonal changes, stress or certain medications.
Besides the greasy appearance, oily skin can also lead to clogged pores and acne, and it can also be difficult to keep makeup on for long.
While preventing oily skin can be hard, there are many ways to control the oiliness and look fresh all day long.
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As with any good skincare routine, we begin with the first part of CTM, which is cleansing.
Cleansing a few times, a day helps reduce the oiliness on the skin, provided it is done right, with the right kind of products.
For cleansing oily skin, it is recommended to use a mild cleanser and lukewarm water, using just the fingers without rubbing too much. Pat dry after washing - in short, avoid rubbing when cleansing or drying.
The choice the cleanser is critical for oily skin. The best cleanser for oily skin should be a foaming formulation like a pH-balanced cream or milk face wash.
Avoid harsh soaps or extremely drying face washes with fragrance or too many chemicals.
Remember that over-washing can kick the sebaceous glands into overdrive, so the best times to cleanse are in the morning, at night, and after exercising or a tough day outdoors.
Use a toner
The next step in the CTM routine is toning, which may be optional for other skin types but is crucial for oily skin. A toner helps close pores and get rid of any product residue.
Many astringent toners can make the skin completely oil-free immediately on application. Still, these often contain alcohol, ACV, or other ingredients that dry out the skin and trigger more oiliness.
On the other hand, the best toners for oily skin are gentle, containing soothing ingredients like witch hazel, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, and aloe vera.
These ingredients fight inflammation and help prevent acne and breakouts.
The final step of the CTM routine is moisturization.
Skipping moisturization for oily skin may seem logical since it is already well hydrated, but this can backfire.
When the skin senses that it is running low on moisture, it kicks the sebaceous glands into high gear, resulting in more oiliness.
The best solution is to use a gentle, oil-free moisturizer that keeps the skin hydrated without making it greasy.
Aloe vera gel is a great example since it is soothing, anti-inflammatory, and hydrates skin.
Sun protection is a must for all skin types, including oily skin, so get a moisturizer with SPF 30 or more.
A serum or gel formulation works well with oily skin, and ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are ideal.
Once the CTM routine is done, another important step is exfoliation. Exfoliation is important for oily skin since it helps get rid of dead skin cells and excess oil and other impurities.
As with cleansing, it is important to be gentle, using gentle, circular motions for not more than 30 seconds.
Salicylic acid is one of the best ingredients to look for in an exfoliator for oily skin.
Salicylic acid is a BHA (beta-hydroxy acid) that breaks down the extra sebum by penetrating the pores and cleaning them out thoroughly.
Other natural ingredients that work well to exfoliate is colloidal oatmeal and almond meal. Exfoliating twice a week is ideal for oily skin.
Choose the right ingredients
Whatever product you choose for your skincare, it is important to read the label and make sure you're choosing the right ingredients for your skin type.
These are some of the ingredients that are beneficial for oily skin:
Green tea - Contains antioxidants and polyphenols that can reduce oil production
Retinoids - These are Vitamin A derivatives that diminish pores and lower the production of sebum
Niacinamide - This is a Vitamin B3 derivative that slows down the rate of sebum production
L-carnitine - This is an amino acid that breaks down fatty acids, including sebum
Avoid ingredients that will clog pores, like coconut oil, petroleum jelly cocoa butter, or silicones.
Apply a face mask
A face mask is your best bet when oily skin needs some TLC to tackle the oiliness. Homemade face masks work just as well as commercial ones, as long as you use the right ingredients, like these:
Clay - Cosmetic clay contains minerals like bentonite or smectite that absorb excess oil and fight acne
Honey - Honey is antimicrobial and hydrating while keeping the oiliness in check
Lemons - Lemons are slightly acidic which work well to control oiliness and are also anti-bacterial
Egg whites - Egg whites help tighten pores, preventing them from getting clogged
Parsley - This unlikely ingredient can control excess sebum production
Use blotting paper
While all the remedies listed above are part of a skincare routine, blotting papers come to the rescue when you need an emergency fix.
These are special blotting papers meant for skin, and they're made of ingredients like abaca leaf. These papers absorb extra oil from the skin without disturbing your makeup.
Keep these papers in your purse and whenever you feel like your skin is getting extra oily, take out a sheet and press to the oily area on your face.
Gently press for a few seconds and then remove. Some blotting papers may be medicated with ingredients like salicylic acid.
Make lifestyle changes
It may seem like everything you need to do to tackle oily skin has to do with what you apply to your face, but what goes in your body is just as important.
High glycemic foods, or foods that spike blood sugar, cause the pancreas to produce insulin, stimulating more oil production.
So, it's best to eat fewer refined carbs and sugar and go for more whole grains.
Similarly, stay away from alcohol or limit its consumption since alcohol can enlarge the oil glands. It's also good to eat foods rich in zinc and magnesium, which help control sebaceous glands.
Humid weather can also trigger extra sebum production, so avoid getting too hot, especially during summer.
Use a cooling facial mist to stay fresh and hydrated. Avoid stressful situations, which release hormones that trigger oil production.
In addition to these, take care of other common skincare tips like removing all makeup before bed, and avoiding touching your face during the day, as this can transfer dirt from your hands to your skin.
It helps to choose powders over creams as they control excess oil when wearing makeup.
Many products targeted toward oily skin contain labels like 'non-comedogenic', or 'non-acnegenic', but these may dry out the skin too much.
Pay attention to the ingredients and always do a patch test before trying out any new product. If you suffer from severe acne, it's safer to consult a dermatologist before starting any new skincare routine.
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