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Combating Oily Skin

Cheerful man with coffee scrub mask on face


Ways to deal with overworking oil glands in your face

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Shine is great. On your shoes and a disco ball, that is. On your face, not so much. We are not saying that having oil skin is all that bad. In fact, you have it better than most people with dry skin—as it keeps your skin naturally healthy and youthful. However, if your face looks like a freshly fried papad, it’s no good. Plus, when the mercury soars, the sebaceous (sebum/oil-producing) glands in your skin get hyperactive—like a kid on a sugar high—only adding to the problem. Dr Jaishree Sharad of Skinfinity, Mumbai says, “Guys have FOUR times the sebaceous glands than women. This means their skin produces more oil. Oily skin, when left unattended, can lead to clogged pores and acne.”


Before we delve into the fixes to go grease-free, it’s vital to figure out your skin type first. Dr Sharad reveals an easy test to do just that. “When you wake up in the morning, wash your face with a gentle cleanser. Wait for about an hour. Then, take a thin tissue paper and dab it over your entire face. If the tissue paper is blotchy and translucent, you mostly have oily skin. Be sure to check if your entire face is secreting oil, and not just parts of it—as most people have oily T-zones (forehead, nose and chin).” In her book Skin Talks, she also reveals those with oily skin are also prone to large pores, blackheads, whiteheads and pimples.


It can be hereditary. If your parents have oily skin, you are most likely to inherit their genes, and can have more oil glands especially on your face and scalp. Also, most of us lead hectic lives, which causes stress. Stress in-turn can increase the production of cortisol (the stress hormone), which leads to an increase in oil production in the skin. A poor diet, lifestyle and certain medicines, such as steroids can also increase the shine production.


The following steps can help you fight your oil glands from working overtime, and be grease-and-acne-free….

1. Wash your face: With a salicylic-acid-based facewash at least once a day. A greasy face’s best friend, this will unclog your pores, prevent breakouts and keep the oil in check. Make sure to not overdo it because it will dry you skin out.

2. Use a toner: To remove oil and unclog pores, and to keep your skin fresh while preventing nasty breakouts. If you’re suffering from excessive oiliness, like the ocean during an oil spill, a bottle of this stuff should be at the top of your skin-care arsenal.

3.Use a scrub: With glycolic acid. “Just scrub your face once or max twice a week. Overuse can strip your skin off its natural oils, and damage the lipid layer protecting the skin,” warns Dr Sharad.

4. Don’t skip the sunscreen: No matter what your skin type. Choose a gel or matte sunscreens or water-based ones. These are light on the skin and won’t clog your pores.

5. Use a face mist: Micellar water or oil/silicone-free face mists or sprays are not only refreshing, but also keep your skin hydrated without the greasy-feel while on the move.

6. Reduce sugar and dairy: In your diet. Your skin is what you eat. Foods with a high-glycaemic index makes the oil glands produce more sebum. Sebum is the happy place for dirt and pollutants to fester, and this will lead to acne.

7. Fight off stress: With exercise. Working out releases endorphins, the happy hormones, which reduces the production of cortisol. Also, find time to meditate for at least 10 minutes daily, which will help you keep your mind calm, cool and stress-free.

8.  Avoid oil-based products: This is a no-brainer. Oil-based serums or creamy moisturisers will only clog the pores and make matters worse.

If your oily-skin woes still persist, a consultation with a dermatologist is highly recommended.


[Image Credit: Shutterstock]