While having a “shiny” or “greasy” complexion isn’t exactly desired, the presence of oil on your skin is not only normal but it’s necessary. Oil, or sebum, plays a vital role in the proper function and health of your skin, so wishing it completely away isn’t the best skincare advice. Instead, use this as a guideline to understand why your skin needs oil and how you can manage overly oily or combination skin.
The Role of Sebaceous Glands and Sebum
Sebaceous glands are attached to each follicle, or pore, of your skin. These occur all over your body and scalp, with the exception of the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. Their function is to release sebum, which travels through the pore onto the skin’s surface.
Sebum is composed of cholesterol, wax esters, squalene, fatty acids, triglycerides and diglycerides. Although the exact function of sebum is still somewhat unknown, evidence suggests that sebum helps to lubricate the skin and hair, aids in the skin’s barrier function and provides antioxidant and antibacterial properties (Journal of Lipid Research). Without any sebum, your skin would look and feel very dry and brittle.
What Causes Oily Skin?
While everyone has some level of natural oil content on their skin, certain skin types can be oilier than others. People with very oily skin types may notice that their skin tends to appear shiny all over, whereas those with combination skin tend to be oily in the T-zone and dry in the other areas of the face.
Unfortunately, you have little control over how much oil your skin naturally produces, as this is largely determined by genetics and hormonal fluctuations within the body. However, there are some things you can do to help control the oil content on your skin and prevent acne and other common conditions in oily skin types.
How to Care for Oily or Combination Skin
Even if you have oily or combination skin, it’s important that you don’t allow your skin to become overly dry, as this can trigger the sebaceous glands to produce even more oil. Instead, try to maintain a balance of natural oils on your skin with these tips:
- Use cosmetic products such as toners and cleansers that are formulated specifically for oily skin. These can help to manage excessive oil on the skin.
- Use a moisturizer when needed, especially if the skincare products that you’re using begin to dry out your skin too much.
- Wash your face regularly to help sweep away excess oil, dirt and other debris that can become trapped inside your pores and lead to acne breakouts.
- Avoid using skincare products that contain ingredients that may also contribute to clogged pores. A few infamous ingredients to avoid for this reason include mineral oil, coconut oil, paraffin wax and silicones.
Instead, look for skincare products that are non-comedogenic, meaning they won’t clog pores. All skinbetter science products, for example, are non-comedogenic and fragrance-free, making them excellent choices for all skin types, even sensitive and oily types. You will also find gentle moisturizing ingredients in skinbetter science products such as Daily Treatment Cream FACE and Daily Treatment Cream EYE for light skin hydration while also helping to smooth away the appearance of lines and wrinkles.
Although you might not always be in love with how oily your skin appears, know that your skin depends on that oil to stay healthy and optimally functioning. Rather than doing everything you can to get rid of it, take a few simple skincare steps to help manage and care for oily skin. Take advantage of the most advanced skincare products available to provide gentle hydration that won’t clog your pores for a smooth, healthy-looking complexion, no matter your skin type.