What causes oily skin?

Whether you're trying to ward off the sun's damaging rays, hydrating dry skin or battling acne, skin care is truly a year-round job that never takes a day off. But every skin type is different and seasonal changes can bring their own unique challenges, so while there are some tried and true practices that work for everyone, you may have to work a bit harder if you have oily skin.

Why is my skin so oily?

The fact is, everyone's skin produces oil at levels that are determined by genetics, but also outside factors like diet, exercise and more. According to VeryWellHealth, the oily residue that's found on your skin is a substance called sebum, which is produced by the sebaceous glands found underneath each of your pores. And while it may seem like a nuisance, it is actually an important part of your body's physiology. Healthy production of sebum by the skin helps to seal in moisture and prevent skin from overdrying, cracking and chapping.

These sebaceous glands are each attached to a hair follicle, and produce sebum through a process called holocrine secretion. The glands produce sebum within the glands and they are broken once they reach a certain size, allowing the sebum to flow freely into the hair follicle. The hair then naturally spreads the oil onto the skin to lubricate and protect it. Additionally, sebum also has antibacterial properties, and chances are, sebum has prevented you from contracting common colds and viruses thousands of times over during the course of your lifetime.

Oil on your skin is actually a good thing in most cases, but when the production of sebum starts going haywire, whether skin is becoming too oily or not oily enough, that could be the sign of an underlying health condition. Let's dive into what causes oily skin and how you can best take care of your epidermis year-round.

Oily Skin: Conditions, causes and treatments explained

If you have a daily sheen across the surface of your epidermis, you may be wondering how to get rid of oily skin and what causes it in the first place. Remember that aforementioned sebum production that we all have coming out of our pores? Well, for those with excessively oily skin, this means that sebum production is on overdrive. While this can be the sign of an underlying health condition, it can also be caused by numerous factors per Healthline.

1. Weather, Temperature, Humidity

Have you ever noticed that bouts of dry skin tend to lessen during the spring and summer months? That's no accident. Hot, humid climates lead to more oily skin, and sebum production increases in high temperatures.

2. Enlarged Pores

Oil is secreted from pores in your skin, so if your pores are enlarged due to weight gain, acne complications or aging, this could be contributing to bouts of oily skin.

3. Skin Care Products

Finally, your skin care regimen could be having some adverse effects. Heavy creams and other moisturizers, if used improperly, could do more harm than good and may result in excessive oil on the surface of the skin.

Those are just a few of the causes that could cause oily skin, but if you've gone through them all and the issue still persists, the issue could come down to genetics. If your parents or grandparents had oily skin, there's a good chance you will inherit that condition as well!

How to get rid of oily skin

Oily skin may just be a fact of life for some people, but there are some easy ways to keep it at bay and keep your oily shine to a minimum. Here are a few tips from the American Academy of Dermatology:

1. Wash your face!

Washing your face is pivotal to removing surface oil, but be sure to avoid excessive scrubbing that could irritate the skin layers, as well as using gentle soap and water to skip the possibly harmful ingredients in some face washes.

2. Go oil-free skin care

This is an important distinction you need to make now if you have oily skin: oil-free skin care products. Adding skin care products with oil on top of already oily skin is a recipe for clogged pores, acne and other skin imperfections.

3. Upgrade your moisturizer

While it may seem counterintuitive, daily moisturizing is vital to keeping excessive oil on your skin at bay. An oil-free moisturizer will keep your skin hydrated and healthy, and finding one with an SPF of 30 or above with broad-spectrum protection will ensure that your skin is protected from the sun's harmful rays as well. According to Medical News Today, when shopping for a moisturizer, opt for one that has aloe vera as an active ingredient. A 2014 study found that aloe vera can soothe oily skin and moisturize the underlying skin layers without making the skin feel greasy.

4. Avoid pore-clogging skin care products

Oily skin is produced by an overabundance of oil emitted from the pores - so blocking them up should fix the problem right? Not exactly. For those whose skin produces excess oil, using skin care products that have the ability to clog the pore, hair follicle or oil glands, will probably lead to acne and other skin imperfections. Finding the right skin care product that sits well with your pores may take some trial and error, but Self Magazine recommends starting with non-comedogenic products, which are specially formulated to prevent clogged pores. This is a good feature to keep in mind when you're shopping for sunscreen as well!

5. Tone down the salicylic acid

Salicylic acid is one of the most common ingredients found in over-the-counter acne treatments, and it's notable for its ability to remove dirt, oil and other substances on the surface of skin to help prevent clogged pores and breakouts. While salicylic acid is a godsend to those with oily skin, using it excessively can actually exacerbate the issue. Salicylic acid is used to remove the dead skin layer on the uppermost layer of our epidermis that contributes to breakouts, but if it is used too often, it will dry out the skin and cause more oil production. When it comes to this ingredient, err on the side of caution and always use as directed, or speak with a dermatologist to find the right skin care regimen for your needs.

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FSAstore.com’s Favorite Staff Picks for the 2020 Grace Period Deadline

For more than a third of the flexible spending account (FSA) user population, March 15 is a pivotal deadline when they have to spend the last of their 2019 funds before they're forfeited to the "use-it-or-lose-it" rule.

Need some help getting your wellness shopping trip started? Let the FSAstore.com staff help. We've compiled our staff's favorite newly eligible and top sellers so you can get exactly what you need to spend your remaining funds and get what your family needs to stay healthy year-round.

1. MDSolarSciences Hydrating Lip Balm SPF 30

"This is my favorite sun-safe lip balm that goes with everything. It has broad spectrum protection and helps prevent chapped lips," - Pauline F.

2. Bug Bite Thing

"This is one of our office favorites. It uses a suction tool to remove insect saliva and venom to quickly get rid of any itching or burning after a bite," - Kevin O.

3. KT Tape Recovery Cold Therapy Roller

"If I have a sports injury or just some regular workout soreness, this is a great option to have in my freezer to fight off pain and inflammation," - Ethan W.

4. Kanjo Acupressure Zip-Apart Mat

"I'm a big fan of Kanjo products, and this zip-apart mat helps me set up and break down the mat quickly and stow it in a suitcase or bag when traveling. It's a great way to treat common pain issues that can affect your neck and back," - Brendon A.

5. Attitude Living Baby & Kids Mineral Face Stick SPF 30 Fragrance-free

"I love this face stick for my little ones because it's plant-based, reef-safe and certified sustainable while offering broad spectrum protection against UVA/UVB rays," - Nancy H.

6. Recoup Cryosleeve Cold Compression Sleeve

"When I pull a muscle or tweak something at the gym, this cold compression sleeve is a lifesaver. It conforms to the area to ease pain and speed up the recovery process," - Bill S.

7. Sven Can See Antifog Gel

"If you wear contacts or eyeglasses, an FSA is a no-brainer to cover vision corrective aides and everything else that goes with them. I'm a big fan of Sven Antifog gel that will keep my lenses clear for 24 hours and comes in a pen-sized spray bottle that can go with you anywhere," - Zach W.

8. Elvie Double Electric Breast Pump

"After using a regular breast pump after the birth of my first child, I'm absolutely wowed by the Elvie. It can be worn in a standard nursing bra, and I can get stuff done while still being able to pump. It's one of the coolest mom innovations out there today," - Vanessa S.

9. Caring Mill Travel Heating Pad

"You'd be amazed how many ways you can use a heating pad, especially when it comes to treating abdominal cramps and discomfort. This Caring Mill design is perfect for use at home and can fit easily in a travel bag, and each sale benefits our charitable partner, Children's Health Fund! It's a win-win," - Jackie D.

March 15 will be here before you know it, so make sure you shop at FSAstore.com for all of your deadline spending needs:

  • Shop worry-free until midnight PST on March 15
  • 24/7 access to FSA experts, call or chat
  • 100% eligible products, guaranteed
Living Well

Product Pick of the Week: Kanjō Travel Acupressure Set

Acupressure mats have been one of the biggest sellers on FSAstore.com over the past year, and a new product from Kanjo will allow you to take your drug-free pain relief regimen on the road.

Kanjō Travel Acupressure Set

First and foremost, what is acupressure? In many ways it's similar to acupuncture, which is used to treat chronic pain issues and a wide variety of other conditions by manipulating specific "acupoints" in the body to alleviate pain. Where acupuncture uses needles, acupressure utilizes "pressure" on these key points throughout the body, reports WebMD.

Acupressure mats and pillows were created to deliver targeted therapy to help treat neck, back and foot pain, fibromyalgia pain, stress relief, improved circulation and more. But traveling with something the size of a yoga mat can be limiting for some people, and while they are great for at-home use, those who need to take their acupressure therapy on the road now have a solution.

The Kanjō Travel Acupressure Set includes a compact acupressure mat, acupressure pillow and a carrying case that folds down to find into any carry-on or backpack. Both the mat and pillow have plastic stimulators over the surface of each piece that are designed to target aches, pains and spasms.

The Kanjo acupressure mats have already been a huge hit with our customers, and this new travel pack can help you bring your drug-free pain relief therapy on the road. If acupressure has worked for you or has the possibility to give your spouse/qualified dependent a new way to treat pain, it's a smart FSA-eligible buy for any time of the year.

Other pain relief essentials

DonJoy Marvel Reusable Cold Pack - Captain America

Your new favorite cold pack featuring Marvel's CAPTAIN AMERICA from The Avengers! The reusable round cold pack remains flexible when frozen to help provide soothing relief to pain, bruises, and swelling that is associated with the injury.


Aculief Wearable Acupressure

Aculief is an award-winning, doctor-approved, Wearable Acupressure™ device. It works by applying pressure to the LI4 pressure point, which has been used for thousands of years to treat headaches and provide tension relief.