Oily skin is enough to contend with through puberty, but as an adult, it feels kind of wrong. After all, skin is supposed to get drier when you get older as your hormones balance out (for a while, anyway!) and sebum production slows down.
But, as with everything in life, it doesn’t always work out this way and the truth is, the skin type you were born with is the skin type you have for life. It’s not all doom and gloom, however ...
For one thing, oily skin tends to age a little better because it generally shows fewer fine lines and wrinkles across the forehead and cheeks thanks to thicker skin and larger pores.
Also, there are many skincare and lifestyle choices that can alter the look, feel and health of your skin. And if you have oily skin, you’re probably one of the worst offenders for doing exactly what you shouldn’t.
So if you’re still battling with an unwanted shine, chances are some of your lifestyle and skincare habits could be making matters worse. But, what are these habits, we speak of? And what can you do about them? Let’s take a look…
1. Your Skincare Products Are Too Harsh
Skincare that’s packed with oil-absorbing or astringent ingredients may sound like heaven, but too many ‘drying’ ingredients are the exact opposite of what oily skin needs.
Great skin is all about balance and when you strip your skin of its natural (and very important) oils, your sebaceous glands go into overdrive, producing even more oil to counterbalance all the stuff you’ve taken away. This makes your skin even oilier than it was to begin with, resulting in what we like to call ‘a vicious beauty circle.’
Check the ingredients of your skincare, and especially your cleanser, for things like sodium lauryl sulphate or sodium laureth sulphate which are cheap detergents that do a great job of cleaning your skin, but can be extremely drying.
The good news is our Crystal Cleanser is completely free from all parabens and sulphates and is the ideal balancing cleanser. You should also try our new Natural Element Clay Mask as a twice weekly pampering treat. It’s awesome for oily skin because it’s packed with natural clays and plant extracts to help balance and unclog your pores without drying out your skin.
2. Your Stress Is Building Up
Reducing emotional stress is easier said than done, but stress plays a major role in the levels of sebum in your skin, so it’s certainly one to watch out for.
The main reason stress is such a blight on oily skin is cortisol. Cortisol is also known as ‘the stress hormone’ which says it all! It’s an extremely important hormone because it helps you react when you’re under threat or in case of emergencies, but when your body is permanently anxious, it produces way too much which is bad news for both your health and your skin.
An excess of cortisol in your system increases sebum production, encourages inflammation, upsets your collagen and elastin and interferes with healing. This is not only bad news for oily skin, but it spells disaster if you’re concerned about premature ageing or sensitivities.
So, how can you cut down on stress? Ha, the million dollar question. A great night’s sleep is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress, but other forms of management can include anything from meditation and yoga to simple breathing exercises and a daily walk. Try out a few things that work for your schedule and needs, you should be able to find something that helps.
Of course, if you’re feeling completely overwhelmed by emotional stress, always seek professional help from a qualified expert.
3. You Constantly Touch Your Face
Touching your face or leaning on your hands is something everyone does without thinking. But if you’re prone to oily skin, this can make matters so much worse.
While the palms of your hands and pads of your fingers don’t produce oil themselves – they have no hair follicles and sebaceous glands – they will always carry a certain level of sweat, dirt and bacteria, no matter how much you wash or sanitise them.
Touching your face with your hands, therefore, transfers these nasties to your face. It also moves oils around your skin which can aggravate your sebaceous glands. All this adds up to even more oil and, worse yet, blocked pores and potential breakouts.
Stopping the face-touching habit is easier said than done, but if you check yourself every time you do it, this should help stop the cycle.
4. You’re Not Moisturising Properly (Or, Gasp, At All!)
Failing to moisturise is just as bad as cleansing with skin-stripping products. It will fool your skin into thinking it’s dry which forces your sebaceous glands to produce more sebum in a bid to rectify the situation.
The simple fact is, moisturising oily skin is essential – you just need to know the kind of formulations that will work best; usually lotions or gels that are packed with humectants and may contain light emollients.
Quick moisturiser lesson for you. A great moisturiser must always contain a combination of humectants plus emollients and/or occlusives. Humectants like glycerin, aloe vera and hyaluronic acid are vital for all skin types because they draw water to the surface of the skin to maintain balance and hydration.
And yes, this is equally as vital for oily skin because it might not be dry, but it can still be (shock, horror!) dehydrated.
Emollients and occlusives, meanwhile, smooth the skin and help lock all this moisture in. The difference is that occlusives like cocoa butter and coconut oil are super rich and create a seal over the surface of the skin.
Emollients are lighter and allow your skin to ‘breathe.’ They include things like cetearyl alcohol, caprylic triglyceride and isostearyl palmitate – all of which are ideal for oily skin.
Our favourite moisturiser for oily skin types is Organic Hydration Gel which you should apply twice daily to clean skin. It’s perfect for oily, acne-prone skin and is packed with hydrating ingredients including aloe and vegetable glycerin, plus xanthan gum to smooth the skin.
And you may find this hard to fathom, but our Organic Age-Defying Facial OIL is also a great shout. You see, the right oils actually help to balance and regulate your natural oil production (or over-production in this case). Don't just take our word for it - see it for yourself!
5. Your Diet Is Not Working
It’s a big fat myth that chips give you oily skin, but it’s true that certain foods can trigger oil production, causing shiny skin and the odd breakout. We believe that prudent skincare is the most important way to control and balance your skin, but it’s definitely also worth looking at your diet.
Things to cut down on are anything that causes inflammation or an unbalance in sebum production such as salt, red meat, soy, sugar, refined carbs and dairy. Instead, pack your diet with lean poultry, fish, whole wheat carbs, seeds, nuts and antioxidant-rich fresh fruit and veg.
Zinc also helps your sebaceous glands to function well, so eat plenty of seafood and yoghurt which are both naturally rich in zinc.
So there you have it, five ways to make your oily skin even more oily (and five fixes to reduce excess oil, which is what you really want).