Oily & Greasy Skin

Oily & greasy skin is a common concern with many people. Each & every skin type will produce either sebum or oil, this is controlled by the sebaceous glands. These glands are microscopic exocrine glands in the skin that secrete an oily or waxy substance called sebum, which works to waterproof & lubricate the skin.

A young woman looking worried about her oily skin

Oily & Greasy Skin

What Causes Oily & Greasy Skin?

Sebum or oil is produced to keep your skin soft & supple. Some skin types will produce too much sebum, which can lead to oiliness & a greasy feel – a leading cause of acne. There can be many factors for skin becoming oily, with the two main factors being genetics & hormones.

Oily/greasy skin is known medically as seborrhoea & is caused when excess skin oil is produced within the skin’s pores. Puberty & other life events can cause hormones to fluctuate resulting in increased levels of androgen. Androgen is a male hormone that is present in both males & females, which signals the maturation of the skin’s sebaceous glands. When these glands mature, the production of the skin’s natural oils will increase.

The higher the amount of androgens present, the more sebum is funnelled through the pores. If more sebum is produced it will simply sit on the surface of the skin creating an oily sheen. Any excess oil can become trapped in the pores and combine with any dead skin cells and bacteria on the surface of the skin & inside the pores. This can create pimples, blackheads & other blemishes to form.

Genetics can also play in a part in the condition of your skin. Many hormonal changes can be dependant on genes as well as hormones. During pregnancy & puberty your hormones are likely to fluctuate, with genetic & hereditary factors also influencing how your skin will react.

Benefits to Oily and Greasy Skin

It might not feel like it, but having oily skin isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some experts believe that oily skin can help your skin to age more slowly. Your skin will produce a natural oil to lubricate your skin, which can also help to prevent fine lines & wrinkles. If you suffer from excessive oil on your face, then with the proper skincare routine you can reduce the amount of oil on your face & bring it down to a level more beneficial to your skin.

How to Stop Oily & Greasy Skin

Although oily skin can fade over time there are always ways to treat it, from simple lifestyle changes to using products designed to remove excess oil.

One of the easiest ways to reduce the amount of excess oil is to wash your face every morning & night. This will not only get rid of unwanted oil but also any dirt & bacteria that you have picked up during the day/night.

Getting the right amount of sleep is also important not only for your health but also for the look & appearance of your skin. Not enough sleep can result in insulin resistance. If your body sees an increase in insulin it can result in the creation of the IGF-1 hormone, which stimulates production of sebum, resulting in oily skin. 

Stress can also be connected to insulin resistance & can worsen breakouts. By exercising regularly, practicing forms of meditation you can reduce stress. These small changes should reduce your stress levels & help to lower the amount of sebum produced.

Protecting your skin is an important part of keeping it looking as healthy as possible. Sun damage is one of the main causes of problems with your skin but by using any form of daily SPF will help protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays, however, with greasy or oily skin it is important to use sun cream that is labelled oil-free.

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