Updated 25 August 2015

How to care for oily skin

Right, so you’ve got oily skin. In fact, going out into the sun causes the price of petrol to drop. Here's what to do.


Right, so you’ve got oily skin. In fact, going out into the sun causes the price of petrol to drop… Here's what to do.

The oil in your skin has an important role to play, but too much of a good thing can cause trouble in the form of pimples and even acne (yes, even in adults).

We share five tips that will help you keep the oil under control:

Tip 1: Cleanse, exfoliate and tone
Never go to sleep without removing your make-up and wash your face gently with a mild cleanser – harsh soap can increase oil production. Avoid scrubbing too hard, as this can cause irritation.

Oily skin needs a product that will gently control excess oil (sebum) and shine. Go for products with benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, glycolic acid or beta-hydroxy acid if things are getting out of hand. Be aware that some of these ingredients can irritate the skin, so try a sample first, if you can.

Exfoliate your skin every couple of days with a gentle, good-quality exfoliator to rid it of dead skin cells.

Toning isn’t strictly necessary, but a good, alcohol-free toner can remove any last bits of make-up and excess oil. The opposite can happen though: it can cause more oil production. Stop using the product if you find it makes matters worse or dries out your skin.

Tip 2: Moisturise and protect your skin from the sun
If you have oily skin, you might think that you don’t need moisturiser. This simply isn’t true: oily skin also needs protection from the harsh environment in the form of a light moisturiser. Moisturiser smooths and hydrates the skin by locking in moisture and providing a barrier between the skin and the environment.

Note, however, that over-moisturising can create clogged pores, blackheads and pimples. Only use a pea-size amount of moisturiser in the morning and evening, and consider using a specially formulated day and night cream, if you can afford it.

Oily skin, like all skin types, need to be protected from the sun. Choose a light, oil-free, SPF 30+ day cream or sunscreen. Opt for “non-comedogenic” or “non-acnegenic” products, which are less likely to clog your pores. Never leave home without applying your sunscreen.

Tip 3: Manage spots
If you only get spots or blackheads every now and then, find a product that contains benzoyl peroxide, alpha hydroxy acid or salicylic acid to treat them when they appear. Just make sure you don’t use creams or ointments that are oily or fatty, or which contain alcohol or fragrances.

For a natural alternative, try tea-tree oil, renowned for its antiseptic qualities.

And then, follow your mom’s advice: never squeeze, pick, scratch or rub your skin. Squeezing pimples only aggravates the situation.

If your oily skin results in infected pimples or acne, it’s important to see a dermatologist for a personalised treatment regimen. Don’t use facial scrubs, astringents and masks unless your doctor recommended them, because these generally irritate the skin and aggravate acne.

Tip 4: Use make-up to your advantage
Good make-up should form part of your oil-control arsenal – with the right tricks and tips, a shiny face can easily be avoided.

The first step is an oil-free, anti-shine primer. Apply this under a matte foundation to ensure your make-up sticks. Also experiment with medicated oil-control pads and blotting paper to keep the shine in check during the day.

And put that age-old make-up trick to good use: powder your nose (and the rest of your T-panel), whenever necessary. Just don’t overdo it, as too much powder can clog your pores.

Tip 5: Be adaptable
The look and feel of your skin is affected by many things: the weather, the seasons, your stress levels and your hormones. Change your skincare routine seasonally: use heavier formulas during the winter months; use lighter, oil-free moisturiser during summer.

Try new products, but don’t chop and change too much. Note, however, that your skincare needs will change with age, and so too should your products.

Read more:

DIY skin care remedies

What to eat for a healthier skin

Your lifestyle and your skin


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