Skincare Solutions for Oily Skin
Now, I’m not promising long-term solutions to actually stop the cause of oily skin. Oil (also known by fancy people as sebum) is produced by healthy skin as a barrier for protection – basically, to keep the greeblies out and moisture in. It’s part of your skin’s natural moisturising factor. In fact, as we age, oil-production dramatically slows to a point where most of us develop dry skin – a lack of natural oil – and that’s not a good thing!
But oily skin can be a real pain. Not only can excess oil contribute to acne and blackheads, that oil-slick shine isn’t cute when you’re striving to look effortlessly well-groomed. It’s hard to look ‘effortless’ when your shiny face makes it look like you’ve been slogging over a hot stove and are ready for a shower…in the middle of the day.
So here are my fave ways to control and manage excess oil.
• Avoid products where alcohol (Alcohol, alcohol denat., SD alcohol, Ethanol or Isopropyl alcohol) is listed in the first few lines of ingredients.
First of all, SO MANY anti-acne and oil-controlling products use large amounts of alcohol to eliminate oil from the surface of the skin and leave a cool, refreshing feeling. Alcohol, however, only upsets the balance of your skin. Applied to any surface, alcohol evaporates and takes any moisture with it. It’s power to control oil is short-lived, however, as the skin simply responds by producing more oil to replace that which was stripped away, and often overcompensates, leaving your skin oilier than before. This actually goes for all skin types, as alcohol is a common irritant and damages healthy skin.
• If your skin is super-oily, consider not using a moisturiser (yes, skip it altogether) or use one only where your skin is dry or dehydrated.
What you probably don’t need is a heavy, thick or creamy moisturiser. What oily skin may still need, however, is a helping hand with hydration and retaining moisture. YES oily skin can be dehydrated at the same time! It may sound contradictory, but dehydration is a lack of moisture, so even if your skin produces excess oil, it can still suffer from lack of moisture in Winter, through exposure to wind/cold or when it’s unable to retain moisture when its natural barrier is broken.
In this case, you’ll need a moisturiser based on ingredients such as glycerine or isododecane. Glycerine is a humectant – that means it attracts moisture from the air and adheres it to the surface layers of your skin. Isododecane is a hydrocarbon and all hydrocarbons help prevent the evaporation of water from skin. These moisturisers often come in lotion (thin cream) or gel form.
To recap, if you’re oil glands are working overtime, consider taking advantage of that by skipping the moisturiser step in your routine or by opting for a light humectant-based lotion, rather than oil-based.
• Regularly use a BHA solution.
Have you heard of AHA’s (Alpha Hydroxy Acids)? Well, Beta Hydroxy Acid goes one step further. AHA’s are naturally occuring acids like glycolic acid, lactic acid and citric acid. They’re the active ingredient in those chemical (or ‘fruit’) peels you can have performed by a beauty therapist to dramatically exfoliate your skin, leaving it baby smooth and brighter. Beta Hydroxy Acid (BHA) goes one step further: Not only does it help speed up your skin’s renewal process/cell turnover – as AHA’s do – it actually exfoliates inside the pore, clears out debri and oil and helps pores to form properly in the future. That means your pores will be less congested ie. less blackheads as oil will be less likely to get trapped inside them. How cool is that!?
Although this all sounds very high-tech, BHA serums can be found is most onto-it skin care ranges. When these acids (also called enzymes) are in skincare they are used at a lower concentration that those once-off ‘peels’ in a clinic. BHA is also known as Salicylic acid – so that’s what you’re looking for.
A 2% Salicylic acid solution is perfect for most people, used once a day or every second day if once a day causes dryness. The BHA product I use is an all-over lotion or gel, not just a spot treatment. I use the Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting BHA Lotion Exfoliant from Paula’s Choice.
• If you want super-duper matte skin during the day, use a Benzoyl Peroxide gel under your makeup (at a different time to your BHA solution).
Benzoyl peroxide (BP) is for the treatment of acne and is great for zapping zits overnight when they are first visible. In the morning – poof – gone, or much less raised. But BP can also be applied all over the face, with caution. I would use a 10% strength gel for spots but I wouldn’t use this everywhere. Both ‘Clean and Clear’ and Clearasil brands sell these (I found mine online).
For all-over use, to control extreme oiliness or if you have acne in large areas on the face, use a tamer 5% or 2.5% strength. This is one of the best ingredients for acne and blemishes. It’s still the gold standard of zit-zapping and should always be on hand if you regularly experience whiteheads or cystic acne. Starting out, see if your local chemist in New Zealand stocks PanOxyl Acnegel 5 (around $28), or get the one I use – Paula’s Choice CLEAR Daily Skin Clearing Treatment online – both are 5% strength.
If you don’t have acne but want to a mattifying product under your makeup, try the Shine Stopper Instant Matte Finish from Paula’s Choice or the cheaper Mary Kay Oil Mattifier. When I used to be super oily, I would apply this everytime I used suncreen as sunscreen always makes my face look oilier more quickly. I skip it however if not using sunscreen, as it’s too matte just under my foundation alone as the foundation becomes hard to blend and looks textured.
Want to know my all-time favourite suscreen for under makeup? Read my post about preventing the biggest cause of ugliness!
My personal order of application:
• Cleanser then optional Toner
• 2% BHA Lotion (left untouched for 5-10 mins)
• 10% BP as spot treatment if needed
• SPF 30 Sunscreen
• Matte Foundation (and I use a little less of this when paired with the Paula’s Choice SPF 30 because the sunscreen itself adds a little coverage!
What’s your solution for your oily skin? Comment below. I’d love to hear your fave products or hacks!
Need a personal recommendation? Ask away – free of charge! Call me during NZ office hours for a free 15 minute phone consultation: 021 1501605 (NZ)