Skincare tips & advice
Understanding Your Skin: Why Is My Face So Oily?
Oily skin naturally produces more sebum (natural oils) than other skin types. This can cause your complexion to have a consistently shiny, greasy-looking appearance that leaves you wondering, “Why does my face look so oily?” To help you control the appearance of slick, oily skin on your face, we’re sharing the main causes of oily skin below. Plus, discover tips on how to build the ideal oily skin routine to support balanced (i.e., not too oily, not too dry), healthy-looking skin.
What You Need to Know
Oily skin is characterized by shine, enlarged pores and blackheads, and it may feel slick even after cleansing. It is also often prone to breakouts. If you're not sure if you have oily skin, you can use blotting sheets to test it. To do so, dab one blotting sheet on your cheeks, another on your forehead and another on your nose, then hold them up to the light. If all three of the sheets are saturated in oil, it's reasonable to believe that you have oily skin. (Note: Normal skin will show only light oil stains from all areas of the face, while oily skin will show an abundance of oil from all areas.)
Creating a Skincare Routine for Oily Skin
- Look for a gentle, non-comedogenic face wash
- If acne-prone, choose a cleanser with benzoyl peroxide to help clear breakouts and prevent new ones
- Choose non-comedogenic moisturizers, including a daytime formula with a broad-spectrum SPF and a lightweight nighttime formula
- A damaged skin barrier can trigger an increase in sebum production, causing oily skin. However, skin care products formulated with ceramides can help restore the skin's barrier, while those that also include hyaluronic acid can help retain skin’s natural moisture and niacinamide can help calm the skin.
Why is My Skin Oily?
Genetics can, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), cause your sebaceous glands to produce an excess of sebum, which causes oily skin. But that's just one possible reason for why you may have oily skin. Others may include the weather, hormones and stress—which can, according to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), cause your skin to produce more oil than usual.
Additionally, washing your face too often or with the wrong cleanser can strip the skin of its natural oils and damage the skin's barrier, which can trigger an increase in oil production. Likewise, when the skin isn't properly hydrated, it will work to create its own moisture by producing more sebum. However, washing with a cleanser and using a moisturizer designed for your skin type, and choosing products containing ceramides to help restore the skin's barrier, as well as hyaluronic acid to help retain skin’s moisture, and calming niacinamide, can help keep your skin feeling clean, hydrated and balanced.
Skincare Routine for Oily Skin
Proper skin care for oily skin can help keep the skin feeling fresh and looking healthy—while reducing shine. And it should begin with a gentle, non-comedogenic face wash that won't strip the skin of its natural oils and won't clog pores. To help maintain your skin’s moisture balance, we recommend choosing a facial cleanser formulated with hyaluronic acid to help retain skin’s natural moisture, as well as calming niacinamide, and three essential ceramides to help restore the skin's barrier. If your skin is prone to breakouts, choosing a cleanser with benzoyl peroxide can clear acne breakouts and help prevent new blemishes from forming.
Any skincare routine for oily skin should also include a daytime moisturizer with a broad-spectrum sunscreen to help protect your skin from the sun's damaging rays, as well as a lightweight evening moisturizer that can help keep your skin hydrated while you sleep. Moisturizers like CeraVe AM Facial Moisturizing Lotion with Sunscreen and CeraVe PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion are non-comedogenic and include hyaluronic acid, ceramides and niacinamide. In addition, they are formulated with MVE Technology—a patented delivery system that continually releases moisturizing ingredients.
- “How To Control Oily Skin.”American Academy of Dermatology Association. 13 March 2018.
- Sakuma, Thais H, and Howard I Maibach. “Oily skin: an overview.” Skin pharmacology and physiology vol. 25,5 (2012): 227-35. doi:10.1159/000338978
- Arbuckle R, Atkinson MJ, Clark M, Abetz L, Lohs J, Kuhagen I, Harness J, Draelos Z, Thiboutot D, Blume-Peytavi U, Copley-Merriman K. “Patient experiences with oily skin: the qualitative development of content for two new patient reported outcome questionnaires.” Health Qual Life Outcomes. 2008 Oct 16;6:80. doi: 10.1186/1477-7525-6-80. PMID: 18925946; PMCID: PMC2577631
- Endly DC, Miller RA. “Oily Skin: A Review of Treatment Options.” J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2017 Aug;10(8):49-55. Epub 2017 Aug 1. PMID: 28979664; PMCID: PMC5605215.
- Kim, B Y et al. “Sebum, acne, skin elasticity, and gender difference - which is the major influencing factor for facial pores?.” Skin research and technology : official journal of International Society for Bioengineering and the Skin (ISBS) [and] International Society for Digital Imaging of Skin (ISDIS) [and] International Society for Skin Imaging (ISSI) vol. 19,1 (2013): e45-53. doi:10.1111/j.1600-0846.2011.00605.x
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