Liza Goldman, Licensed Aesthetician
Oily skin tends to be a big frustration for people. From breakouts to shine, it seems oily skin can be an uphill battle. So what’s the trick? The secret ingredient? I wish there was one magic bullet to fix all of the oily skin concerns out there,but there isn’t. That said, there are things you may be doing, with the best of intentions that are contributing to your oily skin. What ingredients you use, and how, can have a significant impact on oil production and overall skin health too.
Most people begin to see an increase in oil production during puberty, some more than others. Oily skin, especially in people with a genetic predisposition, can continue throughout life. The number one complaint that I hear from people with oily skin is that they are always breaking out. So what do we do? The key is to keep the pores clean and to use ingredients that help to exfoliate and balance oil production. Let me explain. Oil trapped in your pores, combined with dirt and bacteria, is the perfect recipe for breakout. It’s a common misconception that the best way to clean out your pores and combat oil is by using toners and other products that strip off the oil and leave your skin squeaky clean. Stripping the skin of essential oils actually triggers it to produce MORE oil! In addition, when you strip the oil from your skin you are also removing water and creating dryness on the skin’s surface. This process of stripping and drying the skin leads to a buildup of dead skin cells which does nothing but hold oil in your pores and make your skin look dull. So please, put down the harsh toners….. I promise we can do better for you.
Ok, let’s start at the beginning. Washing. Face washing should be a twice daily routine using warm, not hot, water. Unfortunately, hot water also strips your skin of needed oil and water and can lead to over production of oil. Using a wash that contains a small amount of salicylic acid is a good start. Salicylic acid has some mild antibacterial properties, but more importantly, helps to exfoliate dead skin cells and increase circulation which assists in moving oil out of the pores. A salicylic acid wash is a good beginning, but some of that magic acid is being washed right down the drain so we can’t stop there.
If you have oily skin, the toning step in your routine should really be about balancing oil production. If your skin isn’t getting that done on its own, it’s time to help it out. For that I always suggest a product with a combination of AHA and BHA (alpha and beta hydroxyl acids). Doing this will increase cell turnover….bye bye built up dead skin….and continue to help moving oil out of the pores.Full pores are not what we want. They are stretched, more visible, and can actually thicken over time. Assisting your skin in this way creates fewer clogged pores and a decrease in the oil that is just sitting on and in your skin. By using the right ingredients you are helping to normalize a process that your skin has had a bit of trouble with. My go to products for this step are both by ZO Skincare, and without question, TE Pads and Cebatrol Pads are my top choices.
So what about all of the bacteria? If you are broken out, two of your best friends should be salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide actually draws oxygen into the skin which helps to kill the bacteria that causes breakouts. Can benzoyl peroxide cause some surface dryness? Indeed it can. Not to worry though, because we already have daily exfoliation covered! In addition, a gentle scrub about 3 times a week will boost your exfoliation without being overstimulating. But please, “scrub” gentlyJ.You can finish your skincare routine with a light restorative moisturizer because as we know, oily skin may still need a little moisture.
Want to treat yourself once or twice a week? Masques that contain kaolin clay and or sulfur are a great choice. Kaolin naturally absorbs oil without stripping the skin and sulfur is a detoxifier. Sulfur will aid in eliminating the buildup of dead skin cells, help prevent the spread of bacteria, assist in clearing out pores, and minimizes surface oil without taking away too much from the skin.
It is possible to achieve better overall health and balance with your skin. The right products and routine can make a huge difference, and consistency is absolutely the key. Have questions or want to get started on the path to more balanced skin?
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