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Dos and don’ts for oily skin

Deanna Sletten has been writing for nearly 20 years for magazines and websites. She owns the blog Write Moms that shares information about freelance writing. Deanna is also the author of two fiction novels.

Controlling oily skin

Oily skin is one of the most difficult to care for because it occurs due to the body producing more oil than necessary. Oily skin is prone to breakouts and blackheads, and can change from oily to normal or even dry depending upon the season. Oily skin is also affected by hormones — it affects teens and women with fluctuating hormones the most.Here are ways to control and care for your oily skin.

Woman with oily skin

Causes of oily skin

Oily skin is caused by overactive sebaceous glands that are affected by a variety of stimuli such as hormones, humidity, heat and even stimulation by aggressive scrubbing or washing. "The body naturally produces oil to keep the skin moisturized and healthy," states Marcy Street, M.D., a practicing dermatologist in East Lansing, Michigan. "However, too much oil can cause breakouts and blemishes, yet stripping the skin of all oil causes the body to overcompensate and produce more oil. Treatment must be a fine balance". Because oily skin is an internal problem, there is little that can be done except for treating it externally with a variety of cleansers and topical products.

Caring for oily skin

Learning how to care for oily skin takes time and patience while you try to find the products that work best for you. Ahmet Altiner, M.D., a practicing dermatologist in Manhattan, New York states, "It is very rare that only one type of medicine is sufficient enough for long-term oil control. Most patients will need a combination of over-the-counter benzoyl peroxide or salicyclic acid products. " Often, prescription topical creams and gels are also necessary. To complicate the problem, many people with oily skin are actually combination skin types with the forehead, nose and chin areas oily and the cheeks normal or dry skin. This can make cleansing the skin complicated.

Ron Robinson, a cosmetic chemist who has developed several products for major cosmetic companies and founder of the website BeautyStat gives this advice for cleansing oily skin:

  • Always wash hands before cleansing your face to protect your skin from bacteria
  • Use a gel-based or cream cleanser 2 to 3 times a day
  • Use warm water to rinse — not hot — as hot water will increase production of oil
  • Use toner on the oily parts of your face
  • Moisturize — oily skin needs moisture just as much as any other skin type. Use a light, oil-free moisturizer

How oily your skin is will determine the types of cleansers you choose. Some dermatologists suggest using a cleanser and toner that contains salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide or beta-hydroxy acid. You will have to find the combination that works best for your skin.

Protecting oily skin

Like all other skin types, oily skin needs protection from the sun. Unfortunately, traditional sunscreens can cause havoc on oily skin, blocking pores and causing breakouts. Instead, try using a sunscreen gel or one of the new oil-free sunscreens. The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that all skin types use a sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15, however using SPF 30 or higher is preferred.

Cosmetics for oily skin

When choosing cosmetics for oily skin, you have to be careful to stay away from products that contain oil. Jessica Krant, M.D., MPH, a practicing dermatologist in Manhattan, New York and Founder of Art of Dermatology suggests, "Use a mineral-based powder foundation or, for liquid makeup, look for the ingredient dimethicone, which is a non-oil-based moisturizing agent that helps keep the product smooth." You can also look for makeup which contains small amounts of salicylic acid which is anti-inflammatory. Serecite is another ingredient to look for that will help reduce pore size and absorb oil. Be sure to choose a foundation that is one color lighter than your actual skin tone because the oil on your skin will darken the makeup. Matte cosmetics for eyeshadow and blush are best for oily skin.

The trick to having a smooth makeup finish is to prepare your skin before applying. Use an oil-free toner and light moisturizer for the base before applying foundation.

Diet for oily skin

Eating a healthy diet is good for your entire body and may also help the appearance of your skin. Eat a diet rich in antioxidant foods like blueberries, spinach, carrots, and other brightly colored fruits and vegetables. Include foods that contain Omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tuna, mackerel, walnuts, almonds and hazelnuts to improve skin texture. You should reduce foods high in fat and sugar and increase proteins and complex carbohydrates. Also, drink plenty of water to keep your skin hydrated.

More skin care tips

Dos and don'ts for sensitive skin
Dos and don'ts for dry skin
Dos and don'ts for aging skin

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