A Complete Guide to Makeup and Skin Care for Oily Skin
We’ve all dealt with it from time to time. It’s abnormally humid outside and our makeup starts to slide off. We forget to wash our face after a good workout and we have a minor breakout the next day. Nearly everybody deals with the effects of an overproduction of oil on the skin at least once in their lives. Millions of people deal with an overproduction of oil every day, though, no matter what they’ve done or how the weather is outside. If you think you might be dealing with overzealous sebaceous glands, an in-depth guide to skin care for oily skin can help.
Oily skin can affect any part of the body, but you’ll most often notice it on your face. The most obvious symptom of oily skin is having a shiny or greasy appearance throughout the day or even when you first wake up in the morning. There are other symptoms as well, though, including skin that looks thick or rough or pores that appear large and easy to see for the naked eye, especially in your T-Zone.
Do you often find yourself breaking out? This may be an oily skin symptom as well. If your sebum problem is only mild, you may just notice occasional pimples that are persistent before they go away. On the other hand, if you have a serious oil problem, your skin could seem to break out constantly and have clogged pore or blackheads.
Consider whether these issues affect you as well. People with oily skin will often find they leave behind a “trail” of sebum. Does your makeup come off on your clothes or your pillows? Perhaps your face seems to be shiny even after you’ve just washed it. If you have bangs, they may feel greasy even if you washed your hair that morning. These are all signs of oily skin as well.
A variety of situations can cause oily skin, some of which you can change and some of which you can’t. Perhaps the most common reason for oily skin, especially if it comes on suddenly, is a shift in hormones. Many people develop acne and other symptoms of oily skin during puberty, but the symptoms subside in the late teens or early 20s. However, some people have hormonal imbalances that cause oily skin well into adulthood, especially during the two weeks prior to the menstrual cycle. This is when sebaceous glands overproduce oil, causing more clogged pores than usual.
Another common cause of oily skin is a poor skincare routine. Most commonly, this means you are under- or over-cleansing. If your skin is oily, you should wash it in the morning and evening, as well as after working out. If you aren’t doing this, you’re allowing skin to produce more oil than it needs to, mix with dirt, and create clogged pores. On the other hand, cleaning too much causes your skin to think it’s too dry and create more sebum as well, so be sure not to overdo it.
There are other causes as well, although they are usually less common. Sometimes, oily skin is due to genetics. If your parents or older siblings have oily skin, you are more likely to as well. What about your diet? If you aren’t eating plenty of healthy meals and drinking enough water, your skin is likely to show the signs of overproduction of oil. Finally, even medication you can take, such as hormone replacements or oral contraceptives, can cause your sebaceous glands to produce too much oil.
Finally, did you know that the weather itself can cause your skin to become too oily? If you live in an area that experiences all four seasons, you probably notice your skin is more oily during the warm months. People in southern states often have oily skin all year. This is because the hot weather and related humidity cause your skin to secrete more sebum than usual, which causes your skin to have more oil on the surface.
That doesn’t mean you should pack up and move north, though. Weather that is too dry or cold can cause the same problem. This is because it causes your skin to become too dry. In turn, your oil glands decide they need to make more sebum, go into overdrive, and create more than you actually need, causing oily skin.
Any part of your body can deal with excess oil, from your shoulders to your legs. However, the face is most likely to deal with the extra sebum glands. More specifically, people who deal with oily skin deal with it in the T-Zone more than in any other area. Your T-Zone is the part of your face that creates a “T.” It starts at the top by going across your forehead, and then moves down your nose, the area around your mouth, and to your chin. This area has more sebaceous glands than any other part of your body, which means it is also more likely to break out, have pores that become clogged, and see irritation from the sun, wind, or humidity.
Keep in mind that most people have a T-Zone that is oilier than the rest of their face. You should determine your skin type before following a skin care routine for oily skin. If your cheeks often feel dry, for example, you may have combination skin. A dermatologist can help you determine which products are best for you if you aren’t sure.
A solid skincare routine is essential for anyone who deals with sebum overproduction. This means cleansing when you wake up, before you go to bed, and after any strenuous workout you do. Washing in the evening is important to prevent the day’s dirt buildup from clogging your pores. Keep in mind, though, that your skin is shedding old skin and creating oils overnight, even if you washed before bed. For this reason, washing first thing in the morning is just as important.
- Use an Exfoliating Cleanser
Dermatologists recommend using an exfoliating cleanser every time you wash your face. Those created with salicyclic acid are especially preferable for removing excess oil and preventing dead skin from building up in the pores. Use your hands or a soft cloth to gently scrub your face. Avoid sponges, loofahs, or exfoliating gloves, as they can damage the skin and actually cause more oil to be produced.
- Apply Toner
After gently washing and rinsing your face, it is time to apply a toner. Toner is useful because the absorbent liquid removes traces of oil, excess dirt, or makeup that you may have missed while you were washing your face. In addition, it helps to control acne breakouts and level out your skin’s pH balance. Experts recommend a toner that includes glycolic acid, lactic acid, or salicylic acid for those who have oily skin.
- Treat Current Breakouts
If you have a current breakout, treat the acne after using your toner. In the morning, using a sulfur or benzoyl peroxide can lessen oil production and prevent your breakout from becoming more serious. During the evening, products with retinol in them create a more youthful complexion while keeping your pores clear.
- Remember to Moisturize
Next, it’s time to moisturize. Do this in the morning and before bed. Some people mistakenly avoid moisturizing, assuming it creates even more oil. In reality, avoiding moisturizer can make the problem worse. The key is to choose the right product. The best moisturizer for someone with oily skin is oil-free, water-based, and feels lightweight on the skin. Most products for acne-prone skin will meet these recommendations.
- Touch Up Throughout the Day
Finally, people who have oily skin often need to “touch up” throughout the day. The American Academy of Dermatology suggests investing in high-quality blotting papers. You can gently press them to your T-Zone throughout the day to absorb excess oil and keep your skin looking healthy.
If you have oily skin, chances are you’ve dealt with makeup that just doesn’t last through the day. It was likely because you were using products not made for your skin type. Finding the best skin care products for oily skin and applying them correctly goes a long way in ensuring your look lasts all day
Primer is essential for makeup looks on all skin types, but if you’re prone to oily skin, choosing the right one is even more important. Seek out a primer that is made to control oil production and give your makeup a matte (non-shiny) finish. Eyeshadow primer is also important, especially if you’re going for an intricate look.
Foundation pulls your entire look together in most cases, but oily skin can cause the wrong formula to slide right off. Search for those that claim to be for long-lasting wear or to be mattifying formulas. These ones are specifically made to combat shine and stay in place. Don’t use cushion compacts, which can hold onto oil and reapply it to your face later, and avoid anything “luminous,” which is just a fancy way of saying “shinier.”
How you apply your foundation is just as important. Never use your hand, which is likely to just spread oil around. Instead, use a foundation brush or blending sponge and start with a very small amount to avoid a cakey look. You can always add more as needed. Remember to wash your brushes and sponges often to avoid bacteria buildup that can clog pores and cause breakouts.
- Translucent Powder
Translucent powder can be a lifesaver for someone with oily skin. Use a big brush and a bit of powder to set your primer, and use it again after you apply your foundation. It helps to soak up excess oil and goes even further when it comes to keeping your makeup in place.
Throughout the day, sweat and oil can get into your eyes and cause your mascara to run if you aren’t careful. Stick to a waterproof formula to prevent raccoon eyes in the middle of the afternoon.
- Lip Liner
T-Zone oil can also cause your lipstick to smear or dissipate around the edges of your lips. Use a lip liner to create a solid base and keep your lipstick in place all day.
- Setting Spray
Finally, set your entire look with a de-slick setting spray. Sprays are weightless and help to control oil, combat shine, and keep your look fresh all day. Look for a spray that is long-lasting or claims to be mattifying.
A healthy diet and exercise are important for overall health, and that includes your skin health. Even if you use the beset skin care products for oily skin, you won’t see much difference if your eating habits aren’t healthy. You may not realize it, but most people eat the same 5-10 meals repeatedly. This means you need to be choosing a combination that provides the best skin health. Drink plenty of water every day and look for foods that contain the right vitamins and minerals:
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Omega-3s support the regeneration of healthy skin cells and can block inflammation. They are most common in salmon and sardines, but can also be found in almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds.
- Selenium – Selenium protects skin from the damages related to free radicals and may be able to improve acne when used in combination with vitamin E. You can find this antioxidant in eggs, brown rice, tuna, salmon, and garlic.
- Vitamin A – This regulates the skin cycle to prevent oil from becoming trapped, but keep in mind that too much of it can be toxic. Your daily intake shouldn’t exceed 10,000 IU and it should never be taken when pregnant or nursing. Find Vitamin A in broccoli, carrots, salmon, and fish oil.
- Vitamins C and E – These two antioxidants calm skin and create a healthy, oil-free glow. You can find vitamin C in citrus fruits. Vitamin E is common in nuts, sunflower seeds, leafy greens, and sweet potatoes.
- Zinc – Zinc can calm skin that is already irritated because of breakouts. You can find it in wheat germ, Brazil nuts, almonds, and turkey.
Your sebaceous glands don’t need to wreak havoc on your life. A strong skin care routine for oily skin, a healthy diet, and the knowledge of why your skin is oily and how to avoid triggers is all you need to fight oil and get the flawless face you want and deserve.