Oily skin can be a right pain to deal with. As if it’s not bad enough that you break out more easily than most and have to deal with getting icky grease all over your hand if you touch your face when you haven’t taken proper care of it, you also have to contend with the fact that properly caring for oily skin can be quite a balancing act, and that a lot of the advice is counterintuitive and might not make sense. Luckily, today we’re taking a look at handy methods for balancing oily skin, so don’t despair!
It’s really easy to think “I’ve got oily skin, let me get rid of all this extra oil that’s mucking everything up. Makes intuitive sense, right? Unfortunately, intuition is your enemy here. While it’s true you do want to get rid of some excess oil, a rookie mistake many oily-skinned people make is to overcompensate for their abundance of natural oils and wash it all away. This is bad news for two reasons. For one, dry skin isn’t exactly ideal in and of itself’; it gets irritated, reddened, and damaged much more easily. Secondly; when you over-dry naturally oily skin, your skin has a habit of detecting when it’s too dry, and your pores will spew out oil even more than usual to compensate. As a result, over-drying can actually make your skin more oily than it was to begin with.
So don’t throw out your cleanser, but do select one specially balanced for oily skin that will balance rather than dry (and if you don’t have a cleanser at all, go buy one. Now.)
Go for Chemical Exfoliants Over Physical
This is a good tip for all skin types, but it applies doubly if your skin is oily. While grainy, physical exfoliants aren’t the worst thing in the world you could do to your skin, there are better alternatives. Physical exfoliants can rip and tear at your skin, break capillaries, and even spread bacteria from one enlarged pore to another—which is an even greater risk if your skin is naturally oily.
Instead, go for a gentle chemical exfoliant, like something with glycolic acid, for instance. This will allow you to simply rub in, wait, rinse off, no grainy scraping and scratching necessary. Chemical exfoliants are also more effective at removing your dead skin cells uniformly, while physical exfoliants can have a patchy effect where some bits of skin are exfoliated and others aren’t.
You Still Have to Moisturize Like Everyone Else
On the topic of balancing, not drying, do note that even relatively gentle cleansers and exfoliants can still strip away just a tiny bit more oil than would be ideal. This is why moisturizers exist—to replenish the natural oils that your skin either doesn’t have, or that you’ve stripped away in the process of cleaning your skin. Moisturizers also often contain compounds designed to protect skin from the elements—like sun, wind, pollution, dust, etc—which could cause nasty blockages and/or damage if allowed to affect your skin directly.
So, bottom line here? You oily skinned folk aren’t actually that different from the rest of us in terms of how you should care for your skin, just be sure to select products carefully and adjust as necessary, but don’t overcompensate or skip out on important skincare steps.