Although oily skin can clog pores and lead to increased acne breakouts, dermatologists from the American Academy of Dermatology say oily skin also has many benefits. Oil helps preserve the skin, and people with oily skin tend to have thicker skin and fewer wrinkles. The key, say dermatologists, is to strike a balance between having too much oil and maintaining your skin's natural moisture.
"There are many reasons for oily skin, including stress, humidity, genetics and fluctuating hormones," said board-certified dermatologist Deirdre Hooper, MD, FAAD, who maintains a private practice in New Orleans. "These factors can make oily skin difficult to manage; however, there are several things you can do at home to reduce the oil."
To help control oily skin, Dr. Hooper recommends the following tips:
- DO wash your face every morning and evening, and after exercise. While washing, resist the temptation to scrub your skin -; even to remove makeup. Scrubbing irritates your skin, which can make it look worse.
- DO choose skin care products that are labeled "oil-free" and "noncomedogenic." Products that have these labels -; including cleansers, moisturizers and makeup -; won't clog your pores or cause acne.
- DO use a gentle, foaming face wash. Many people with oily skin believe that they need to use a strong face wash in order to dry out their skin. However, using a face wash that is too harsh can irritate your skin and trigger increased oil production. Instead, look for a mild, gentle face wash.
- DON'T use oil-based or alcohol-based cleansers. These can irritate your skin.
- DO apply moisturizer daily. Although you have oily skin, it is still important to apply moisturizer to keep your skin hydrated. To save time and protect your skin from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, look for a moisturizer that also contains a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.
- DO wear sunscreen outdoors. Sunscreen helps prevent sun damage that could lead to wrinkles, age spots and even skin cancer. To prevent acne breakouts, look for sunscreens that contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and do not use sunscreens that contain fragrance or oils.
- DO choose oil-free, water-based makeup.
- DON'T sleep in your makeup. Always remove all makeup before going to sleep.
- DO use blotting papers throughout the day. Gently press the paper against your face and leave it on for a few seconds to absorb the oil. Don't rub the paper on your face, as this will spread the oil to other areas.
- DON'T touch your face throughout the day. Although it's tempting to touch your face, doing so can spread dirt, oil and bacteria from your hands to your face. Only touch your face when you're cleansing, moisturizing or applying sunscreen or makeup, and make sure your hands are clean first.
"Every person's skin is different, and there is no 'one-size-fits-all' approach to skin care," said Dr. Hooper. "If you are concerned about the amount of oil your skin is producing, or if you're struggling with blackheads or acne, make an appointment to see a board-certified dermatologist."
These tips are demonstrated in "How to Control Oily Skin," a video posted to the AAD website and YouTube channel. This video is part of the AAD's "Video of the Month" series, which offers tips people can use to properly care for their skin, hair and nails. A new video in the series posts to the AAD website and YouTube channel each month.