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Oily Skin. What causes it? Do you have it? And What Can You Do About it?

We all produce oil. It’s natural and it’s healthy. But too much can lead to a few common skin complaints. Oily skin results from the overproduction of oil in the sebaceous glands, which can leave the skin looking shiny, feeling greasy and with large visible pores. If you have oily skin, you might struggle to control shine and be prone to breakouts of acne or blemishes. Although it is often associated with teenagers, people may find they have oily skin into adulthood. So, what classes as oily skin? What causes it? And what can we add to our skincare routine to tackle it?

Do you have oily skin?

If you suspect you might have oily skin, there a few common symptoms you can look out for:

  • Your skin looks shiny or oily by the afternoon.
  • Your pores are noticeably enlarged.
  • You’re experiencing regular breakouts and/or blackheads.
  • Your Skin rarely feels dry.
  • Makeup struggles to stick to your skin and appears to slide throughout the day.

What causes oily skin?

There are a few reasons why your skin might be over producing oil. Here are just a few:

  • Hormones. If your pregnant, menstruating or going through puberty, your changing hormones could trigger an on over production of sebum.
  • Stress. Stress causes the production of cortisol, which in turn triggers an increase in the production of oil.
  • Diet. Some research suggests that eating large amounts of dairy products such as eggs, milk and cheese can cause a rise in the production of testosterone and progesterone. This will ultimately lead an increase in oil production.
  • Make up. When not removed properly, make up can mix with dead skin cells and clog pores – causing a build-up of oil under the skin.
  • Genetics. It could also just be that oily skin runs in your family and that you are naturally predisposed to slightly oilier skin.

What can you do about it?

There are lots of ways to can help your oily skin. A mix of lifestyle changes as well as creating and sticking to a great skincare routine is a great place to start. Here are a few tips from us to get you going:

Lifestyle changes for oily skin.

Taking care of your skin isn't all about products and chemicals. How we look after our body and what we put in it can have a huge impact on our skin. We've put together a list of some simple changes that you might like to try.

  • Cut down your sugar intake. Sorry! But too much high sugar food will spike your blood sugar levels and cause your body to produce insulin. Insulin encourages your glands to produce more oil.  Swap out sweet treats and sugary drinks for berries, dark chocolate and water with lemon or lime.
  • Stop frying foods. Fried foods are high in inflammatory fats. Instead try baking, grilling, roasting, boiling or steaming your food.
  • Wash your bedding and pillow cases regularly. The excess sebum we produce when we sleep is absorbed in to our bed sheets. This can then clog our pores when we we’re sleeping.
  • Stop touching your face. Oil from our hands, as well as other dirt and bacteria, are transferred to our face every time we touch it. Invest in some antibacterial hand gel to keep your hand clean and use throughout the day.

Skincare for oily skin.

We’ve put together a helpful guide of products and ingredients that we think work wonders for sensitive oily skin.

Key Ingredients and products to look out for.

  • Alkaline. At Sönd, we believe that your skin functions at its best when its pH level is balanced. Keep an eye out for products with higher alkaline content – pH levels above 5.5 – as they will help keep your skin hydrated, improve blood flow and allow your cells to regenerate more efficiently, helping you get that healthy glow.
  • Essential oils. Look out for soap-free products that contain skin calming essential oils such as tea-tree, lavender and chamomile.
  • Hyaluronic acid. It is great for keeping your skin hydrated, but lightweight enough as to not sit on your skin and clog your pores.
  • Glycolic acid. It actively works to reduce excess oil production, preventing the clogging of pores.
  • Foaming face washes. A face wash works in combination with water to create a gentle cleansing foam. This is massaged over and washed away from your skin, along with any grime, without being to abrasive or causing irritation.
  • Oil or cream cleansers. It may seem counterintuitive to use an oil cleanser for oily skin; however, some people find that these types of cleansers can nourish stressed skin, and are effective at removing irritants such as makeup, without drying the skin. Look out for shea butter, jojoba oil or coconut oil-based products.

Ingredients and products to avoid.

Oil-stripping toners. These might seem like a great choice if you’ve got over oily skin. However, a lot of these products can actually dry your skin out too much, causing your skin to produce even more oil in response.  

Oily haircare products. Oil based shampoos, conditioners and styling treatments hang around on the skin and mix with dead skin cells to clog your pores. As an alternative, look for water-based products, and try some oil free solid shampoo bars.

Make changes in moderation.

Don’t be tempted to make too many changes or try too many different products at once. This can over load the skin and cause more damage than good. It will also make it hard to tell which are the products or changes that are actually making a positive difference to your skin.

Our ultimate skincare routine for oily skin.

If you don’t know where to start. We've put together an easy to follow skincare routine. It’s only a suggestion and we encourage you to mix it up every now and then until you find the products that achieve the best results for you.

1.Wake up, wash, cleanse.

Start every day buy washing away the oil that’s been produced in your sleep. Use a gentle foaming cleanser and wash away all those dead skin cells that could clog up your pores. Don’t forget your neck, and when you rinse, do so with warm water.

  1. Then, moisturise.

Get a good day cream that is lightweight and doesn’t sit on the skin. Look out for shea butter or chamomile as they have skin soothing properties.

  1. Hydrate.

Keep a bottle of water with you at all times and make sure you drink every hour.

  1. Keep blotting paper in your bag.

Use oil-control blotting paper throughout the day to keep excess oil at bay.

  1. Finish the day as you started.

Before bed, wash off the day. Cleanse and moisturize just as you did in the morning.

In summary

Oily skin can be a pain but having a bit of knowledge about what causing it and sticking to skincare routine that works for your skin will help you keep oily skin at bay.


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