Your skin seems to be in pretty bad shape.
Your skin seems to be in pretty bad shape.
While it can happen at any age, oily skin is most often associated with youth and is seen as a painful rite of passage for teenagers that is accompanied by pimples, blackheads, acne, and enlarged pores, all of which can be symptoms of oily skin.
But oily skin is not only for the young, and heredity, diet, hormonal changes including pregnancy and the use of birth control pills, cosmetics and weather can all contribute to the skin condition. It occurs when the sebaceous glands work overtime, pumping out sebum that can clog pores, create a rough texture and produce an environment that’s ideal for triggering breakouts.
On the plus side, oily skin is slower to age than other skin types, because dry skin contributes to signs of aging. But is the trade-off worth it? For most people, probably not.
Tackling Oily Skin Strategically
Instinctively, one of the first things most people with oily skin do is to attempt to dry up all that excess oil.
That approach, which usually involves harsh products, almost always backfires, because it causes a condition called reactive seborrhea, in which the sebaceous glands go into overdrive to produce enough oil to make up for that stripped away by those products.
If your skin feels tight and dehydrated after cleansing, you may feel as though you’ve cleansed away that troublesome oil. In reality, however, you’ve caused the barrier layer, the surface layer that protects skin from contaminants, to constrict, which restricts the flow of oil through pores, making them more likely to clog.
Treat oily skin more gently, too. While textured puffs or wash clothes can be tempting, a gentle chamois or no cloth at all is safer and gentler on skin, and will be less likely to trigger the production of excess oil.
What Ingredients Are Good?
Using olive or jojoba oils, which are gentle and packed with antioxidants that can be beneficial to skin. Jojoba has linoleic acid, which encourages the regeneration of skin cells, while olive oil has oleic acid, which helps strengthen skin’s barrier layer, which protects it from toxins like environmental hazards. Natural oils are also able to penetrate the skin, so nutrients reach the dermis layer, where real healing happens.
And even if you’re tempted, don’t skip out on the moisturizer.
Hydrating oily skin after cleansing will help prevent skin from feeling tight and dry, which will inevitably lead to the production of excess sebum. Choosing a water-based moisturizer will keep skin hydrated without clogging clogged pores.
Tips to help control oily skin:
- Use hot water. Hot water will help encourage excess oil to dissolve.
- Mask it. Clay or mud will lift away oil excess oil and other toxins without drying skin. Follow up with a water-based moisturizer.
- Cleanse more often. Younger skin can stand up to an extra cleansing or two. Washing your face with the right cleanser three or four times a day can help keep excess oil at bay.
- Blotters work wonders. Oil-blotting tissues can help absorb excess oil during the day, preventing it from settling into pores.
While many people blame oily skin on a diet that is made up of too much fried food, genetics are more likely to blame.
That’s not to say that dietary improvements can’t make a difference in your skin’s health, especially if fast food fries are commonly found on your plate.
According to dermatologist Dr. Ellen Marmur, food plays a big role in how the skin looks and feels.
Skin cells turn over regularly, and as part of the process, skin “uses vitamins and nutrients from food to repair and rebuild,” Marmur says.
Some great options include:
- Leafy greens. Veggies like spinach and kale have vitamin C, a skin-friendly antioxidant that encourages cell turnover.
- Nuts. Nuts like walnuts and almonds have vitamin E, which helps strengthen cell membranes, encouraging the healing process.
- Salmon. The omega 3s in salmon not only help dry skin become more hydrates, they also help reign in oily skin because they help regulate the production of sebum.
- Oatmeal. Oats contain zinc, which helps regulate sebum, but it also encourages the production of collagen, which keeps skin looking young and vibrant.
- Tomatoes. Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which is believed to offer protection against sun damage.
If You Have Oily Skin, Skip the Sugar!
While most people think of sugar as damaging to the waistline, it has even more of a negative impact on skin.
When digested, sugar triggers a process called glycation. It occurs when sugar is transformed into blood glucose for energy. If we are unable to use all of the glucose that’s available, it attaches to protein cells, forming molecules called advanced glycation end products, or AGEs, which appropriately contribute to the aging proves.
The proteins sugar is most attracted to are collagen and elastin, the two protein fibers that keep skin looking firm and elastic, so it bounces back rather than sags.
AGEs not only made collagen more fragile and less able to keep skin looking good, they also damage the body’s ability to generate antioxidants, leaving skin more vulnerable to sun damage.
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