If you’re seeing some extra shine on your skin, it could mean you’ve been taking really good care of your skin, and it’s very healthy and radiant. Or maybe, and probably most likely, you have oily skin.
The thing is, oily skin is not always a bad thing. Our bodies naturally produce oil as a way to keep our skin hydrated, which then prevents dry skin. However, it is when an excess of oil builds up that our skin becomes too oily, and this too can have various effects on us.
Let’s look at how oily skin forms and how it can affect us, as well as what factors may be contributing to excess oil production on our skin.
What Is Oily Skin?
The oil produced by our bodies comes from sebum — a substance made of fatty acids, cholesterol, and other natural chemicals in our body — and it is produced from the sebaceous glands under our skin’s surface.
Like we mentioned above, the oil or sebum produced helps to protect our skin by moisturizing and keeping it hydrated. This helps to prevent our skin from drying out due to environmental factors, which then helps us avoid all the negative effects of dry skin — itchy and flaky skin, redness, and cracked skin that can bleed.
Still, too much oil is not a good thing either. Excess sebum can mix with the dead skin cells and lead to your pores getting clogged, which then increases the chances of acne breakouts. It can also feel uncomfortable to have oily or greasy skin. So what are the causes of oily skin?
Oily skin can sometimes be due to genetics. Chances are if either of your parents has oily skin, you will likely develop overactive sebaceous glands as well. There’s not much you can do to prevent oily skin if you were born with it, but what you can do is take steps to keep your oil levels in check. For example, you might need to wash your face more often than most other people, or get some blotting papers and carry them with you wherever you go.
Changes in your body’s hormones can be another potential culprit of causing oily skin. The hormones primarily responsible for producing oil are called androgens, and when they fluctuate, it can cause an increase in the production of sebum. Some instances when this can occur include puberty, a few days before female menstruation, during pregnancy, and also during menopause. Extra hormones can also be released when you are feeling more stressed, or when you are down with an illness, so more oil will also be produced.
Geographic Location And Seasons
Where you live can also be a contributing factor to oily skin. If you live somewhere with a hot and humid climate, you probably will have oilier skin more often than someone else who lives in a cooler and drier environment — though they will have a higher chance of getting dry skin than you do. If you live somewhere with four seasons, the same rule applies — in summer when it’s warmer, oily skin will be more common as you sweat more, and in winter you’ll be more prone to dry skin as low humidity causes the moisture on your skin to evaporate more quickly.
Your pores can stretch due to a few reasons — skin ageing, body weight changes, and previous acne breakouts, to name a few. These cause your pores to expand, which produces more oil and adds to your oily skin condition. When you have stretched out and enlarged pores, it also becomes easier for sweat, dirt, and dead skin cells to build up, which can lead to acne breakouts too.
Wrong Skincare Products
Using the wrong skincare products can also bring about oily skin. If you have oily skin, be sure to read the labels on your products, and see if it is recommended for you to use. Do not mistake products that support use on combination skin — a skin type where a person has both oily and dry skin at the same time — as being applicable for solely oily skin either, as there are different properties and ingredients that might be counterproductive to get rid of your excess oil.
Overdoing Your Skincare Routine
Washing your face regularly can help reduce oil build-up, but did you know if you overdo it, it may make things worse in the long run. When you overwash your face or exfoliate too much, you will strip away not only the excess but all the oil on your face. This will not only cause your skin to become dry, but it will also cause your sebaceous glands to work overtime — they start to produce more sebum to make up for all the oil you washed away. Make sure you only wash your face twice a day, or if you’re really feeling greasy, try using blotting papers instead to remove the excess oil.