Tips on How to Get Rid of Oily Skin

Notice an undeniable shine on your face when taking selfies for the Gram? Is it bad lighting? A glare from your phone camera's flash? Perhaps. Or it could be chalked up to oily skin. Sure, having oily skin can make you self-conscious.

Here's the thing: You're suffering in good company. Contrary to popular belief, it's not just teens who are impacted by oily skin and acne. (Those images of pimply-faced teens aren't reflective of the entire population that gets acne.) It turns out that acne affects a whopping 50 million Americans each year.

We'll go over what causes oily skin, the reasons behind why someone might have this skin type and offer a handful of pointers on how to stop oily skin, including some homemade remedies:

What Causes Oily Skin?
Oily skin occurs when our sebaceous glands overproduce sebum, which is a natural skin lubricant (NIH). Sebum is a waxy substance that keeps the skin hydrated and provides protection. While sebum is essential for healthy skin, too much can result in oily skin, clogged pores, and — you guessed it, acne.

Why Might Someone Get Oily Skin?

There are a handful of reasons why oily skin might flare up. These can be chalked up to genetics, environment, experiencing stress, or your age. For one, oily skin flares up during the warmer months and in humid climes. And as you age, you tend to have drier skin and less likelihood of having oily skin (Medical News Today).

Who Is Prone to Oily Skin?

Interestingly enough, males are at higher risk for oily skin. That's because they have a greater likelihood of having enlarged pores.

Females who are premenopausal and are ovulating, or have conditions with elevated androgens — think secreting tumors of the ovaries or adrenal glands, or congenital adrenal hyperplasia — are also more prone to oily skin. (NIH)

According to clinical studies, between 40 and 55 percent of adults aged 20 to 40 are diagnosed with persistent, low-grade acne and greasy skin. Per the Journal of American Academy of Dermatology, over half of women older than 25 have facial acne.

The Cost of Treatment

The good news is that getting rid of oily skin doesn't necessarily have to be expensive nor require trips to the dermatologist. You can do a handful of simple remedies you can implement without having to take prescription medication or seeing a doctor. Many of these proven methods are rooted in having a skincare routine and use over-the-counter ingredients — mostly simple and low-cost.

Let's take a closer look at how to get rid of oily skin from the American Academy of Dermatology:

Basic Skin Care Maintenance

If you're curious about how to reduce oily skin, it starts with a basic personal skin care routine. Sticking to a thorough regimen will prevent common skin ailments of oily skin from flaring up in the first place.

Wash your face regularly. First things first. Make a point to wash your face at least twice a day — in the morning and evening. You'll also want to wash your face after exercise. A sweat fest session could undoubtedly lead to clogged pores.

Avoid touching your face. While you might not be touching your face anyway because of COVID, it's good to know that touching your face can spread dirt, oil, and bacteria.

Choosing Skin Care Products

Look for skin products that are oil free. These are easy to spot. Look for skin care products with the phrases "noncomedogenic" or "oil free" on them. Oil free means they won't clog your pores.

Use a gentle, foaming face wash. Gentle is the key word here. What you want to steer clear of are facial cleansers that are oil-based or alcohol-based. While these products might seem more powerful or effective, they could also irritate your skin.

Use a moisturizer. You might be scratching your head, as it seems counterintuitive to apply a facial moisturizing treatment to your oily skin. It's key to keep your skin hydrated and healthy.

To kill two birds with one stone, consider a broad spectrum moisturizer that also has a SPF of 30 plus. UV rays are present even during overcast days, so wear your sunscreen, rain or shine.

Keep blotting papers on hand. Using face blotting papers throughout the day can keep excess shine to a minimum. You can purchase blotting papers online or at your local drug store for a few dollars. Look for one that works well for oily skin, is super absorbent and won't leave a powdery residue. Pro tip: Be careful not to rub the paper on your face. It will induce the spread of oil to other parts.

Makeup Tips for Oily Skin

Use oil-free makeup. Opt for water-based makeup instead. Why's that? Water-based makeup will be easier on your skin, especially if you're prone to breakouts. Plus, it won't contribute any additional grease to your face.

Remove makeup before going to bed. Going to sleep with your makeup still on could clog your pores and lead to acne flaring up. If you tend to neglect doing this every day, weave it into your bedtime routine. Do it right after you brush your teeth.

Try Over-the-Counter Remedies

You'll be pleased to discover that there is no shortage of home-based remedies you can try to prevent greasy skin and avoid clogged pores:

Tea tree oil. Tea tree oil is considered a very safe and effective topical treatment of certain skin conditions. For one, it has anti-inflammatory properties that can help with both reducing oily skin and acne. Besides being a natural antiseptic, tea tree also can serve as a natural astringent, which can fight acne and reduce pore size.

A 2016 study reveals that sunscreen with tea tree oil can help reduce greasy skin and decrease the size of pores. Tea tree oil can also decrease skin lesions. It's been proven that using tea tree oil can result in far less incidences with dryness, irritation, itching, and burning.

Salicylic acid. Using a store-bought cleanser that contains salicylic acid can aid in clearing up pores. You can also purchase salicylic acid in its pure form and try your hand at concocting your own cleanser.

Witch hazel. Another common home remedy for skin ailments is witch hazel. As a natural astringent, it can dry out acne lesions. Plus, it can help with the healing of blackheads, whiteheads, and non-inflammatory acne. Witch hazel is safe and can be found over-the-counter either online or at your local drugstore. Try mixing about 1 to 2 teaspoons of witch hazel with water.

Benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide can be found in cleansers and gels. It combats acne by assisting the pores shed dead skin cells and remove excess sebum. What's more, it can also fight inflammatory acne — bumps that get red and swell up — by getting rid of bacteria living on your skin. (Healthline)

Exfoliate Your Skin
The benefits of exfoliating your skin are many: it can dig deep into your pores and remove dead skin cells. However, not safely exfoliating your skin can damage your skin, induce peeling or dryness.

Those with greasy skin should consider using a washcloth and mild chemical exfoliator. You might want to skip using a mechanical exfoliation method — such as using a brush or sponge — it could result in dark patches on your skin. You'll want to be gentle, so no excessive scrubbing, picking at existing acne or digging into problem areas. Last, use a moisturizer. (AAD)

Create a face mask using baking soda. Baking soda has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. A face mask with baking soda can keep your skin dry and pores unclogged. To create a simple yet effective face mask, mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of baking soda with a gentle cleanser and warm water until it forms a paste.

To exfoliate your skin with baking soda, you can use the same formula as a face mask. The only difference is to wash it off right away. Because baking soda can dry your skin, follow up with a facial cleanser. (Medical News Today)

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting rid of greasy skin. How to reduce oily skin or and prevent your skin's oil from overproducing depends on the individual. There are a bunch of variables that come into play.

That being said, there are plenty of simple remedies using skin care products and ingredients that you can find over the counter. Your best bet is to explore your options. It might take a bit of trial and error, but the time you put into your skin care routine will help you reduce oily skin.

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About the Author:

Jackie Lam

Jackie Lam is a personal finance writer and is based in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in Business Insider, Salon, Mental Floss, and GOOD. She is a candidate for the ACFPE® financial coaching certification.

Jackie is passionate about helping artists, freelancers, and gig economy workers with their finances. She has in-depth experience writing about budgeting, investing, frugality, money, and relationships, and loves finding interesting stories that revolve around money.

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