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Oily Skin: What Ingredients You Should Try and Avoid


Many people will experience oily skin at some point in their lives. Oily skin usually first appears during puberty. In puberty, “increased androgen levels, which are male hormones present in males and females, signal the oil glands of the skin to mature.” When this happens, the body begins to produce more oil. Everyone’s skin is different, and for some, this signal to produce oil results in oily skin.

There are upsides to having skin that tends to be more oily. It’s likely that if you have oily skin you’ll end up with fewer wrinkles. However, having oily skin (besides causing an oily-looking appearance) may make you more prone to acne.

Oily Skin and Acne

The thing that oily skin and acne have in common is called sebum. Sebum is skin oil, which is the root of the word seborrhea, the clinical name for oily skin.

Sebum is a complex and variable mixture of lipids including:

  • Glycerides
  • Free fatty acids
  • Wax esters
  • Squalene
  • Cholesterol esters
  • Cholesterol

It makes sense, then, that a rise in sebum occurs around the age of 9, and continues until around the age of seventeen. This is the period most people experience oily skin.

Sebum comes from the sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands are small and oil-producing, and all mammals have them. Sebaceous glands are everywhere on the body (except the palms and the soles of the feet), and are often attached to hair follicles. They are most prevalent on the scalp and face.

When the gland is plugged, sebum accumulates in the follicle and sebaceous duct. The chemical breakdown of triglycerides in the sebum, possibly by bacterial action, releases free fatty acids, which in turn trigger an inflammatory reaction producing the typical lesions (pimples) of acne.

Oily Skin in Adults

While oily skin may first appear (and peak) during puberty, it continues into adulthood for many. Some may want to reduce their oily skin. While there are treatments, there are also some natural remedies that may reduce oily skin.

Honey Masks for Oily Skin

Honey has been used medicinally since ancient times. Honey has properties that help to disrupt microbes, which why it is often used in natural medicine for a variety of ailments. These same properties may also help honey reduce oily skin. Try applying raw honey directly to the face as a mask and wash off after 10 minutes.

Clay Jojoba Masks for Oily Skin

Clay facial masks are a popular choice for treating a variety of skin types. Research supports the use of clay jojoba masks to reduce skin lesions and improve skin’s overall health. Participants in the study applied a clay jojoba mask to their skin 2-3 times a week for 6 weeks, and inflammatory and non-inflammatory skin lesions were reduced by an average of 54%.

Oatmeal for Oily Skin

Many personal care products like creams, cleansers, and lotions, contain colloidal oatmeal as one of their ingredients. Products with oatmeal, or homemade oatmeal masks, may calm skin and absorb excess oil, and have been found to be a “safe and effective ingredient in personal care products.”

Products to Avoid

If you are prone to oily skin, there are certain products or ingredients you should avoid. These include:

  • Astringents, harsh soaps, alcohols
  • Heavy makeup or cosmetics
  • Anabolic steroids (these cause high levels of androgens, which creates even more oil)

There are facial cleansing and cosmetic products formulated specifically for oily skin. Natural Healthy Concepts sells a variety of products oily skin.

European Clay Powder from NOW Foods is the perfect base for your clay jojoba mask, or any other kind of clay mask that is ideal for detoxification of skin, supporting the appearance of pores, healthy-looking skin, tone, and texture.

Grandma’s Acne Soap Bar Oily Skin from Remwood Products is a soap formulated with castor seed oil, colloidal oatmeal, lard, and lye to help people with acne and blemishes to feel more confident. Use this soap when you bathe, making sure to rinse thoroughly with each use

Acai + Kombucha Oil-Free Moisturizer from Andalou Naturals pairs perfectly with oily skin. While many products work to strip away oils, this one works with the natural oils in the skin to create a light feeling that is enjoyed throughout the day. Antioxidants, aloe, black tea, and so many other desirable ingredients work together to then support the appearance, texture, and tone of your healthy-looking skin.

Do you have oily skin? What products help?

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