Why you may need to take a step back from your current skincare routine

You might feel as though you are doing everything right where your oily skin is concerned. Maybe you have a bathroom cabinet filled with cleansers, toners, masks, exfoliators and mattifying makeup.

However, you may be surprised to hear that you could be doing more harm than good, and those pricey products could actually be making your skin’s oil imbalances worse.

What causes oily skin?

Skin’s oil is produced in the sebaceous glands. This oil is necessary to protect your skin and enable it to do its job effectively. Some people have naturally oiler skin, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. People with oilier complexions tend to age slower than those with drier skin,1 and oily skin can give your skin a natural dewy sheen.

However, sometimes your skin produces too much oil, which can lead to breakouts and blemishes. Hormones, diet and external factors such as pollution can all cause excess oiliness, but one of the surprise offenders might be your skincare routine.

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Beware of using too many products

Using too many skincare products can lead to your skin being unable to regulate its oil production, and end up producing too much. This is bad news as you might be frustrated with the oiliness and end up using many different products in a bid to tackle the issue, which has the effect of making it even worse! In particular, using products with sensitising ingredients such as fragrances, sulphates or artificial colours can throw off your skin’s natural balance of oils.

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Don’t over-cleanse

It might be tempting to reach for the cleanser every time you see a little shine on your face, but try to hold back. It might leave you with that clean-face feel, but harsh cleansers are actually stripping away the skin’s natural protective barrier.

Cleansing your skin too often can lead to over-drying, which causes your sebaceous glands to go into overdrive, leading to more oiliness. You should only need to cleanse your skin twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Foaming cleansers and those containing sodium lauryl sulphate (SLS) are particularly drying, so consider switching to a gel, milk or cream formulation free of SLS.

Face wipes might be your first choice for a convenient and waterless cleanse. However, try not to rely on them too often as the alcohol they usually contain can be an irritant, leading to stinging and redness. Also, the oil-stripping effect can lead to your skin’s oil glands being thrown out of balance, once again leading to an over-production of oil.

Exfoliate with care

Exfoliation is great for gently removing any dead skin cells that may be lurking on your skin’s surface. This brightens skin and leaves it looking fresh. However, never exfoliate more than 1-3 times per week, as your skin will be left over-stripped and extra sensitive. Alongside leaving it vulnerable to sun damage and environmental pollution, your oil production will once again be thrown off as the skin’s repair mechanism kicks in to replace the lost oil.

Simplify your routine

If it sounds as though you might be doing too much to your skin, don’t worry! It is easy to strip back your routine and get back to basics, giving your skin a chance to get back in control of its oil production.

Use a gentle cleanser in the morning and evening, followed by a light moisturiser. Remember, moisturiser shouldn’t make your skin oily, as they are designed to help the skin retain water rather than adding oil. Exfoliate with a product containing salicylic acid once a week, and try not to clog your pores with too much makeup or mattifying powder.

There might be a short transition period where your skin looks oilier than ever, but in a few days, your skin should be learning to regulate its production of oils, and naturally restoring its balance.

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Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.
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Sources

  1. [Online] https://www.webmd.com/beauty/features/how-life-affects-aging-skin#1.
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