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What’s the Deal with Oily Skin?

Christine Mitchell Adams March 11, 2015

If you're dealing with oily skin, sometimes it can feel like a never-ending struggle. Almost just as frustrating as the midday shine is not knowing why you have oily skin in the first place. So let’s unravel the mystery by looking at some of the causes of oily skin, and how to best treat it.

First, let’s talk about pores . . .

Your pores do two important things - excrete sweat and secrete oil. Sweating helps your body to maintain temperature. Oil (or the even less appealing term, sebum) is produced by sebaceous glands. Oil lubricates your skin, removes dead skin cells and other irritants, and protects your skin. Yet, overactive sebaceous glands can lead to clogged pores, blackheads, and a shiny complexion.

Now, what are some of the causes . . .

Genetics: Your genes play a big role in the fight against oil. If larger sebaceous glands and pores are common in your family, it’s likely that your struggle has to do with genetics. But don't fret, that doesn't mean it's a lost cause.

Hormones: Androgens are the hormones largely responsible for oil production, and sometimes they can go a little haywire - especially during puberty, pregnancy, and menstrual cycles. Higher levels of androgens lead to higher production of oil.

Over-exfoliating/-washing: Despite what you might think, Overusing your face scrub or face wash doesn’t keep oil at bay. It actually strips your skin of its natural oils, which then kicks your skin into oil production overdrive.

Seasons: The change of seasons can definitely trigger excessive oil production. In the summer, humidity and heat often leave you with a shine. And in the winter, harsh, dry air can lead to overproduction of oil.

Stress: Similar to hormonal changes, when your body is under stress, it produces more androgen hormones which then leads to excess oil production.

Now that you know what might be causing it, let’s look at how to deal with it . . .

The most important step to take is to adopt a daily routine of washing, toning, and moisturizing to keep your skin clean and balanced. Look for natural ingredients like the surfactants and essential oils found in our products. Among their many benefits, the essential oils we use have antibacterial properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria.  

  • Washing should be done with a sulfate-free (sulfates are a known skin-irritant, which we’ll talk about on the blog soon), natural cleanser to wash away grime and excess oil without stripping your face of the natural oil it needs to stay balanced. Our Fantastic Face Wash is sulfate-free and features plant-derived alpha and beta hydroxy acids that provide a mild dose of exfoliation.
  • A swipe of toner like our 4-in-1 Essential Face Tonic cleanses, exfoliates, hydrates, and soothes. Witch hazel and willow bark help cut that dreaded greasy skin feeling.
  • Moisturizing may seem counterintuitive, but it actually helps your skin stay properly hydrated and balanced so it isn’t prompted to start producing excess oil. A light daily moisturizer like our Fortifying Face Balm will provide natural moisture and nutrients with a shine-free finish.

We hope this post helps those of you with oily skin concerns. If you have questions or comments, please don't hesitate to reach out to us! And stay tuned, we’ll be talking about the causes (and best treatment) of dry skin next.

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