Oily skin is a classic example of when too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing for you. To people who suffer from oily skin, it’s hard for them to imagine that oil (or sebum) is actually good for them. We know how frustrating it is to rely on all sorts of oil-control products to better control the oil slick and yet still have to constantly blot excess oil away.
‘The truth is that sebum is good for our skin. It nourishes our skin, hair and nails, keeping them soft and supple,” says Singapore-based aesthetic doctor, Dr. Gabriel Wong of SL Aesthetic Clinic. If you’re not convinced, just compare it to people who suffer from dry skin. Their skin is super sensitive, constantly flaking and looks wrinkly.
Dr. Wong goes on to add that “various factors can cause overactivity in our sebaceous glands. This includes genetics, hormones, externally applied products or certain skin conditions such as rosacea and acne vulgaris.” Oily skin is something most of us are born with, although certain products and routines can make it worse.
Left untreated, oily skin can lead to social embarrassment and acne flares. We will share some top tips in the form of Do’s and Don’ts from an aesthetic doctor’s perspective on how to control your oily skin better.
DO’s for Oily Skin:
- DO wash your face with a gentle cleanser twice a day. For most people, this means once in the morning and once in the evening. If you exercise, you should also wash your face after. Avoid washing your face too often as it dries it out unnecessarily, stimulating the oil glands to produce more oil.
- DO use a gentle, water-soluble, foaming face wash. Most people are tempted to use a super strong, drying face wash for their oily skin. This is a misconception as it has a high likelihood of irritating your skin.
- DO use a lightweight moisturizer twice a day. Moisturizing your skin reminds it not to produce too much oil, regulating the oil glands. However, you should choose a light texture which isn’t too greasy for your skin to prevent clogging up more pores.
- DO use sunscreen. Sunscreen strikes fear people who suffer from oily skin due to the fact that most sunscreens have a heavy and greasy feel. However, there are also lightweight sunscreens which moisturize your skin and do not clog up your pores. Sunscreen is the most important component of a good skincare routine as it protects us from premature skin aging and skin cancer.
- DO use a hydroxy acid-based leave-on exfoliant. For example, salicylic acid is great for promoting cell turnover and reducing sebum production. This should be used daily to control oily skin and keep acne at bay.
- DO use blotting paper throughout the day. Blotting up excess oil is a good way to control excess shine without overly drying out your skin. To use it effectively, apply a gentle pressure on the oily area with the blotting paper. Do not rub it around to avoid spreading the grease to the surrounding areas.
- DO go for medical facials regularly. Medical facials with a light chemical peel done by well trained aestheticians (such as SkinLab’s Signature Medical Peel facial) are very effective in preventing acne and controlling oily skin. This is because there are certain treatments which we simply don’t have at home, such as a light chemical peel and LED light therapy. Moreover, such sessions are relaxing and melts away the stress which drives our oil glands crazy.
DON’Ts for Oily Skin:
- DON’T use alcohol-based cleansers and toners. This products leave your skin temporarily squeaky dry but will coax it to produce even more oil. Examples of ingredients to avoid include SD alcohol or denatured alcohol. You will also want to avoid products that tingle your skin, such as menthol, eucalyptus and mint.
- DON’T touch your face unnecessarily throughout the day. Our fingers are full of germs and dirt. While dirt doesn’t cause acne, it does clog up pores and increase the risk of developing acne.
- DON’T use abrasive scrubs or stiff-bristled brushes. Such products injure our normal skin barrier by causing micro-fissures in our skin. The weakened barrier is less able to keep out harmful substances and keep in moisture. This will stimulate our skin to produce more sebum in a desperate bid to heal and stay hydrated.
In summary, oily skin is troublesome but by no means inevitable. We hope that the above tips will help you keep the oil on your face in check. Everyone’s skin is different so do seek professional help if you want to further improve oil control!