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Oily Skin – What It Is And How To Deal With It

One of the most common skin conditions that men and women of all ages can have is oily skin. This is a condition wherein the sebaceous glands of the skin overproduce an oily substance called sebum. The severity of this condition is largely determined by your genetic make-up and hormonal condition.

If your parents have oily skin, there is a good chance that you and your offspring will have it too. Other causes of oily skin are diet, pregnancy, side effects of oral contraceptives (i.e., birth control pills), reaction to cosmetic products, hot weather and high levels of humidity.

While oily skin can occur at almost any age, it is during the teenage years that this dermatological condition is at its most severe. As we age, this condition becomes less pronounced. Also, while this can be uncomfortable and result to clogging of the pores which promote the occurrence of acne, oily skin types age more slowly than other skin types.

How to deal with oily skin

In dealing with oily skin, it is important to remember that the sebum is not the enemy per se, just the excess. You should therefore avoid treatments that almost completely strip your skin of sebum and promote dryness and skin flaking. There is a strong chance that your body will fight back by producing even higher levels of sebum to compensate for the loss, resulting to a condition called reactive seborrhea. When this happens, even if you discontinue the treatment, you could end up with an even more severe case of oily skin than you started out with.

What makes reactive seborrhea worse is that, when your skin becomes dry, it tightens up, effectively restricting the outflow of excessive oil (without stopping its production) which, in turn results to pore blockage and skin outbreaks. While it is important to keep your skin very clean, it is unadvisable to wash it more than three times in a day because of the drying effect on the skin which promotes further production of sebum.

One effective way to treat oily skin is to first use oil-based products that dissolve the sebum and follow it up with oil-free moisturizers which remove the shine that is characteristic of oily skin. Use “pure” soap, i.e., soap that has natural oils and contains no synthetic additives for fragrance or killing of germs. Do not use alcohol-based cleansers or lotions as these promote drying and flaking.

Use moisturizers sparingly if you are below the age of 30, after which your skin could make use of moisturizers on a twice-a-day basis. If you need to where make-up, first apply a day cream containing benzyl peroxide, which prevents the secretion of sebum. Just make sure not to go to bed with your make-up on.

Oily skin need not be a major problem if you just remember to keep your skin clean but not dry, i.e., it is all right to have some oil on the skin as long as it is not excessive.