This week I wanted to talk to you about oily skin, which seems a subject that we tend to avoid or to shelter under the phrase “combination skin” as it does not sound as bad as “oily”.
First of all it is important to determine if we have oily skin. To the touch, oily skin appears oily and rough: the irregularity in the texture is given by the presence of dilated pores, often accompanied by acne and / or old scars left by acne.
How to recognize Oily Skin?
- We can take a simple test at home by using a clean make-up tissue or a fabric (silk or cotton) on the face, and apply it to an area where the sebaceous glands look more numerous. If after removing it from the skin, the material has wet and greasy traces you can actually say you have oily skin.
- However, it is important to remember that oily skin affects the entire face of sufferers. If, on the other hand, the skin is oily only in certain areas of the face (such as the forehead, nose and chin, the so-called “T zone”), while the remaining areas (cheekbones, jawline, etc.) are characterized as a particularly dry skin, then your skin will be classified as mixed/combination.
Why does it happen?
The origin of oily skin is an enhanced functionality of the sebaceous glands located in the deep dermis: it is the excess of sebum concentrated in the superficial layers of the epidermis that gives the skin an oily and unhealthy dull appearance. This condition, already problematic in itself, can even be worsened when an unbalanced diet is followed (both in terms of quantity and quality of food), medication, harsh detergents or when skincare products are used which are not suitable for one’s type of skin.
What can be done to improve it?
- Clean the skin gently. As you can easily guess, oily skin needs to be thoroughly cleansed. What, on the other hand, is not known to all is that to do so it is necessary to use only delicate detergents, in such a way as not to attack or irritate the skin unnecessarily, since doing so would result in counterproductive results. The best results I have seen are with cleansing milks/creams without detergents.
- Remove bacteria. If the skin, in addition to being oily, has pimples or acne, the most suitable advice is to use special detergents with bactericidal activity (natural antioxidants are a must in these formulas).
- Purify and normalize sebum production. Given the characteristics of oily skin and the tendency to manifest blackheads and acne, the use of treatments with a purifying and sebum-normalizing action can be useful. I like the Epilobium extract. The flower contains huge amounts of oenothein B, which is a polyphenol capable of reducing the excessive amount of sebum. For this purpose, clay facial masks are very effective too.
- Natural remedies. The lotions based on essential oils are very suitable to improve the appearance of an oily skin: my favourite ones are sage, lavender, rosemary, eucalyptus, bergamot, cypress, tea tree, and mint. They have powerful antiseptic and astringent properties. However, it is recommended not to exceed the application of these products and avoid DIY remedies.
- Choose the right skincare. It is important to choose the most appropriate cosmetic for your skin type. A cream for oily skin should combat sebum overproduction, deeply moisturize, fight bacterial proliferation and promote pore closure.
- Use sunscreen . Before sun exposure, it is always recommended to apply a generous layer of sun protection. In fact, the skin reacts to UV radiation increasing its thickness, thus facilitating the formation of blackheads (white / black spots).
What you should not do
- To attack the skin. An oily skin must not be overfed, but also not attacked with too irritating skincare products. Many commercial soaps designed to treat this type of skin, eventually dry the skin and it is well studied that the sebaceous glands react to it by increasing the production of sebum (typical rebound effect). It is therefore better to focus on specific products for oily skin, which generally have a relatively low pH (4.5-5.5).
- Carry out too frequent washing. To avoid worsening the appearance of the skin it is advisable to avoid too frequent washing (no more than 2-3 times per day).
- It is well known, in fact, that too frequent washing – as well as the aggressive cleansing mentioned above – decreases the lipid components of the hydrolipidic film protecting the skin. Because of this phenomenon, therefore, the sebaceous glands react by increasing the production of sebum, which results in the inevitable deterioration of the clinical picture of oily skin.
Having said that not washing the skin at all is also bad.
- Use products without rinsing. Oily skin (as well as mixed skin) does not like the so-called “non-rinse cleansers”: in fact, the prolonged permanence of these substances on the skin worsens the disorder because it clogs the follicles.
- Pollutants tend to adhere to the superficial epidermal layers, they make them more oily and greasy. For this reason, it is advisable to avoid excessively polluted environments.