What Is Oily Skin and What Are the Symptoms?
Oily skin is a common problem among men — it is an equal opportunity problem that affects men of all ages, backgrounds, and professions.
It is, essentially, when the exterior of the skin collects too much of the body’s natural oils and becomes shiny and greasy. The issue results from the overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands. Sebum is a fatty substance produced by the sebaceous glands under the skin. Sebum is actually a good thing, as it helps moisturise the skin and hair follicles. However, when the glands become too active and produce too much, it turns into a problem — oily skin.
While there are individual differences, we can say that, on average, men tend to have oilier skin (higher sebum production) than women due to their sebaceous glands being more active.
Symptoms of oily skin include:
- ● Shiny or greasy appearance
- ● Clogged pores and blackheads
- ● Pimples
- ● Pores appearing very large
- ● Skin feels thick
There is commonly confusion surrounding whether the skin should be considered “oily” or “combination.” It all comes down to the state of the skin beside the problem area. If one portion of your skin is greasy, while another part almost seems flaky, the chances are that you have combination skin. A great example of this is when the “T-Zone” – the area from the forehead and down the bridge of the nose- is oily, while the “U-Zone” – the cheeks and chin- is dry.
What Causes Oily Skin?
So, then, what causes oily skin in men? The answer isn’t as simple as we’d like to think. There are genetic causes, but there are many other factors as well, including diet, stress, and improper skincare.
In terms of diet, the chances of oily skin becoming a problem increase when you eat a diet high in sugar, carbohydrates, and dairy. For these reasons, while each individual will vary in their sensitivity to different food ingredients, as a general rule, it is best to not over consume sugar, carbohydrates, or dairy.
Ensuring you get enough vitamin B and C, which control sebum levels, will help prevent skin problems. To get these naturally, eat a variety of fruits and vegetables. Taking a high-quality multivitamin can help ensure you're not missing anything.
When dealing with intense stress, the body produces extra hormones. These hormones cause an increase in sebum production within the body’s sebaceous glands — most noticeably on the face.
Improper Skin Care
Incorrect skincare is one of the causes of oily skin. Washing your face with a strong cleanser, scrubbing your skin, or not moisturising because you don't want it to be sticky can be counterproductive. Moreover, it is essential to carefully select skincare products and keep up with a proper skincare routine designed for oily skin.
The Ideal Skincare Routine for Men with Oily Skin
For men with oily skin, the correct skincare routine is a careful combination of cleansing, hydrating, toning, and exfoliating. In general, there’s a process that one should follow to ensure that this routine is being followed correctly — don’t worry, we’ll get there in a moment.
For those with combination skin, as we discussed above, the best care routine is one that is gracious to all areas of your skin. For example, you’d want to hydrate the flaky areas of your skin while controlling the production of oils and shine of the oily areas of the skin. This being said, it’s essential to recognise your combination skin for what it is and treat it with care.
Daily - Recommended Skin Care Routine for Oily Skin
Men’s Face Wash for Oily Skin
Over-cleaning your face can lead to an overproduction of oil. We want to remove excess sebum when washing our face, but not to the point where it dries out our skin. When our skin dries, a signal is sent to increase sebum production to protect it. Thus, we can get into a negative cycle.
The solution is to take care when washing our faces. Wash it thoroughly, but avoid scrubbing, washing too frequently, or using hot water. All these actions can remove excess sebum and make your oil troubles worse.
How to Cleanse - For Oily Skin
If you have oily skin, you may find yourself using stronger soap or cleansers to combat excess oil production. However, this can actually cause your sebaceous glands to produce more oil in the long run.
Instead, cleanse using a men’s product geared towards oily skin. Some products contain ingredients that provide a refreshing/cleansing finish and prevent the skin from becoming shiny throughout the day.
Cleansing and moisturising go hand in hand where the skin is concerned. If you’re the type of guy to skip the moisturiser because you’ve been told that it will make your already oily skin oilier, you’ll want to rethink that idea — and fast. You could be making the problem worse!
If your skin starts to feel even the slightest bit dry, it will produce extra oil to compensate, which is precisely what you don’t want. So instead of fearing the moisturiser, simply search for a moisturiser formulated for oily skin.
When To Moisturise
It’s best to moisturise as soon as you finish cleansing. The cleansing process will have left your pores open and ready to receive valuable moisture. This means that moisturiser will soak into the skin better and more quickly and have the maximum effect.
Use Oil-Free, Water-Based Products
As we said, it’s essential to use products formulated for oily skin. These products will generally be free of oils, but it’s still a good idea to read the ingredients on the bottle of whichever moisturiser you’re looking at purchasing.
In general, you’ll want a water-based moisturiser. This product will be easy on the skin, super hydrating, and leave your skin looking and feeling like a million bucks.
Toning is another method of cleansing the skin. It is also used to close large pores.
Reducing Oil and Shine
A good skincare routine starts with cleansing, then toning and moisturising. It is recommended to check the back of the product packaging for best use instructions.
Exfoliation should be included in any good oily skincare routine. People with oily skin secrete a lot of sebum, making it easy for keratin plugs and acne to form when dirt enters the pores. The solution is exfoliation, which helps the pores stay unclogged.
Following this recommendation will help to avoid skin cell and oil buildup that can alter your appearance and confidence in a negative way.
This being said, it’s also important not to exfoliate too often. Exfoliating too often can cause skin irritation and damage, as well as cause the skin to become dry, which can also be considered a problem for many people.
The ideal frequency of exfoliation is different for everyone. It depends on the skin condition and the product used. Be sure to always read the instructions for any product you use and start taking it easy at first.
Choosing an Exfoliator
A scrub that contains fine exfoliating particles works well on oily skin. Just make sure that your skin isn’t feeling sore after exfoliating. If it is, then the exfoliator is too harsh.
Clay Mask Deep Cleaning
One great, easy way to exfoliate your skin is using a clay mask. Clay masks get deep into the pores and gently remove dirt, debris, and oil.
Additional Tips for Managing Oily Skin
Oily skin often leads to acne breakouts. These breakouts are annoying, frustrating, and incredibly tempting to pick at. But we beg of you, don’t pick those spots! Picking your spots not only adds bacteria into them, which can make your flare-up worse, but it also leads to acne scars.
You can use commercial products such as acne patches to manage breakouts.
Freshen Up On The Go
If you have oily skin, excess oil is likely a problem you face on a day-to-day basis. Luckily, you can manage it with oil blotting paper or facial wipes. Oil blotting paper is precisely what it sounds like, while facial wipes is a soothing, soft paper designed to wipe away excess oil and dirt. It can also be used for a quick skin refresher after washing the face.
When paired with oil blotting paper, facial wipes become an excellent tool for combatting oils. They can prove to be a particularly beneficial product when you’re out and about, as they’re handy and discreet enough to be kept in your backpack, or in your back pocket should you need them while you’re away from home.
Keep in mind, though, that you can’t use too much oil blotting paper and facial wipes. Using too much will remove the oils that your skin needs, leading to skin that lacks the necessary sebum it needs to look healthy and vibrant.
Having oily skin doesn’t have to be a terrible thing. It can be managed relatively easily if you know how to do it and understand your skin and why it’s producing so much oil. Once you get down to the bottom of those questions, you can implement a daily skincare routine and invest in some helpful products like facial wipes, and oil blotting paper.