Is it bad to have oily skin? The derms say ‘no’

Oily skin is often seen as a problem that needs to be resolved. But while excessive oil production can lead to problems, such as acne or difficulty keeping makeup in place, there’s nothing inherently “wrong” with having this type of complexion. In fact, the oil actually helps keep skin healthy.

“Our skin is a barrier to the outside world and helps maintain hydration levels and protects us from infections, bacteria, and viruses,” says Ivy Lee, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Pasadena, California. Plus, sebum is packed with free radical-fighting vitamin E, which prevents the types of environmental damage that lead to skin aging. Also, people with oily skin tend to have fewer wrinkles as they age.

Sebaceous (also known as oil) glands are natural and their activity varies from person to person, so some people’s skin is oilier than others. Unless your oily skin is bothering you (for example, causing painful pimples), there’s no medical reason to try to quell it. And while it’s okay to want to curb oil production (for example, to keep makeup in place), if you overdry your skin with products like astringents and toners, it won’t be able to function optimally and may even give you the opposite effect. of what you want.

“Sometimes, in the quest to dry skin and decrease oiliness, people overdo it, and that tells our brain to make more oil, and then we’re perpetuating this vicious cycle,” says Dr. Lee.

When oily skin is problematic

1. You are getting unwanted pimples

Overproduction of oil is often linked to acne. This is because pimples often form when oil gets trapped under dirt, grime, or dead skin cells. So if your skin is oily and you have acne, one way to control it is to cut down on oil.

2. Your makeup won’t stay put

If you’ve ever used a cleansing balm, you know how effective oil is at breaking down makeup. If you have oily skin, that means your makeup may not stay on all day, if you even get it to stick in the first place. You may feel like your skin repels makeup and if it sticks, it’s patchy.

3. You’re just not a fan of ~shimmer~

Having oily skin means that you tend to look shiny. Let’s say you’re “someone who’s a little oilier and feels like they have that glow throughout the day,” says Dr. Lee. “Some people like that shine, some people don’t.”

How to deal with oily skin

1. Work with your hormones

The glands that create oil and sebum have hormone receptors. So “increased sebum production, or oil production, is usually due to hormones,” says Elizabeth Kream, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. “A lot of times, if someone comes to us for adult acne treatment, we may prescribe spironolactone, which is a pill you take by mouth that has antigenic properties, meaning it helps reduce bad estrogen and testosterone that cause acne.”

If you want a non-hormonal option, you can try supplements like DIM or diindolylmethane. It is derived from broccoli, kale, and cauliflower and has been shown to have anti-androgenetic properties. “That anti-androgenetic property is what will help decrease that hormonal component that drives oil production,” says Dr. Kream.

2. Use skincare products that decrease oil production

One way to slow down oil production is to decrease skin inflammation with ingredients like retinoids and niacinamide. “Stress hormones increase oil production in the skin, so decreasing inflammation makes the skin less oily,” says Shirley Chi, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Southern California.

Although retinoids are best known for increasing cell turnover and helping prevent clogged pores, “they also have some anti-inflammatory effects,” says Dr. Kream. And a small 2006 study found that a two percent topical niacinamide product reduced sebum excretion rates over the course of four weeks. The Youth To The People Retinal + Niacinamide Youth Serum ($68) is the perfect option. It contains 0.15 percent retinal, a retinoid that works faster and better than retinol, the typical over-the-counter retinoid, and 5 percent niacinamide.

3. Use a mattifying makeup primer

If you wear makeup, you might benefit from a mattifying primer.

“A primer can help keep oily skin in check. There are primers that hydrate as well as mattify. So if you have oily skin, a primer doesn’t have to be drying and you can choose a primer designed specifically for oily skin.” says makeup artist Jenna Menard. “And the great thing about primers is that they can extend the wear of foundation, but they can also be worn on their own almost like a sheer foundation to help reduce the appearance of pores, shine, fine lines and oil control.” without adding pigment to the skin. skin.” IT Cosmetics Your Skin But Better Makeup Primer+ ($40) is a great option. It’s oil-free, hydrating and blurring, and will hold your makeup on.

How to keep the shine

If your oil isn’t causing anything that you consider a problem, you can leave it at that. “Some of my patients who used to say, ‘I really don’t want to be brilliant,’ now they love it. They’re like, ‘I’m stopping my retinoid,'” says Dr. Lee. But letting your oily skin do its thing doesn’t mean you can throw your routine out the window. Here’s how to accept it and keep it healthy.

1. Use a gentle scrub

Just because you don’t want to stop your oil doesn’t mean you want it to build up in your pores. Keep your pores clean and clear by incorporating a gentle exfoliant, like Glytone Gentle Gel Cleanser ($15). It is made with glycolic acid and gently exfoliates, removes surface debris and moisturizes the skin.

2. Moisturize, hydrate, hydrate

Everyone should use a moisturizer, regardless of skin type. If you have oily skin and want it to look hydrated, avoid mattifying formulas and opt for something that is non-comedogenic (meaning it won’t clog pores) and will allow your oils to shine, like La Roche-Posay. Toleriane Double Repair Face Moisturizer ($20). “La Roche-Posay Double Repair is like one of my holy grails, tried-and-true skincare products that I think almost all of my patients are happy with,” says Elyse Love, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at NEW YORK. “It’s one of those skincare products that works great for oily skin and works great for dry skin.”

3. Enjoy it!

Repeat after me: having oily skin is not bad. Your relationship with your skin is yours and yours alone. Indeed, dewy skin is having a moment, but you should rock your skin the way you want, regardless of the trends. If you like your oil, there is no reason to try to “fix” it.

How to create a routine suitable for oily skin:

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