5 Oily Skin Myths
Confused? What to use, what not to use?
It’s not just teenagers who get oily skin and breakouts as many of my customers can attest to. As we get older, we can yoyo between Sahara dry skin, oily patches and spots - life can be so unfair sometimes.
"As if it wasn’t bad enough that the menopause and lack of oestrogen has dried my skin to the point of reptilian , I was horrified to keep having outbreaks of spots too - talk about insult to injury . Was sceptical that an oil would help - but on a friend’s recommendation tried this oil and it clears any outbreaks overnight! Amazing!" Justine
Here's a simple guide, what to do and what not to do if you suffer with oily, breakout prone skin.
1 - Cleansing - use a wash off, foaming cleanser to reduce oiliness
It’s a myth.
It sounds like a good idea, and it feels like it should make sense. But most of the foaming type cleansers can be very harsh on the skin, and actually work too well.
Often containing SLS or SLES, they strip the skin of all it's natural oils which is a bad thing. Mother Nature is clever, and by doing this, our skin often tries to compensate for the natural oils you have just removed and in turn produces more.
And so begins a never-ending cycle. You remove all the natural oil from your skin, your skin produces more.
Here's what to try instead
Oils are super hydrating and can balance oil production, even those of us with oily skin, and even skin prone to acne.
You've just got to pick the right ones.
Jojoba is a good bet. It’s actually a liquid wax, and is very similar to our own sebum. Perfect for gently cleansing the skin without stripping it of all its natural oils.
You want to avoid that squeaky clean feel, despite what you might have been told by the woman behind the skincare counter.
Use it on its own or find it in our Carrot & Mango Cleansing Butter.
Hazelnut oil is a good choice for oily skin. It is very slightly astringent, and makes for a good moisturising facial oil, with hydrating properties and contains high levels of vitamin B1 and vitamin B6. Find it in our Facial Essence with Rose & Marula.
2 - No Oils on Oily Skin
We tend to associate putting oil on our face as giving rise to problem skin; spots, break outs, black heads - but in fact nothing could be further from the truth.
Confused? Well the whole oil on your face thing is another of those urban myths.
Oils are super hydrating and they can balance oil production, not just for dry skin but also those of us with oily skin, and even skin prone to acne.
A high quality facial oil can smooth away fine lines, providing an anti-ageing boost to skin leaving it super hydrated and feeling amazingly soft and moisturised.
Also think about how often you touch your face with your hands - and how clean your hands are.
This tends to happen inadvertently - while we are talking, in the office, when sitting on our own.
Try and be aware of when you are touching your face - often it's a subconscious thing.
No matter how often we wash our hands, bearing in mind everything we touch in our lives, they will never be completely clean, and if you keep touching your face you can expect spots and breakouts.
3 - A Toner with Alcohol will Mattify my Skin
It can be tempting to use an alcohol rich toner to remove any oil after cleansing or in between cleanses.
However, alcohol can be very drying on the skin - and while that sounds like a good thing when your skin is oily, it isn't. Trust me. For most of us, it just means your skin producing more oil in response to all of the natural oils you have just removed.
In particular, watch out on ingredients lists for alcohols like ethanol or isopropyl, which are very stripping.
If you like to tone after cleansing, plump for a gentle hydrolat, something like rose or peppermint water, which is super gentle.
4 - There's No Need for a Moisturiser with Oily Skin
Oily skin can be dehydrated, it doesn't always follow that oily skin has too much moisture. Especially as we age, all skin needs moisture, even oily skin.
Look out for lighter moisturisers (and note that can be a facial oil). Look for oils that suit oily skin, and that are non comedogenic.
If you want to plump for a 'oil free' product, exercise caution and check out those ingredients.
Oils are not the villain they are made out to be and the right oil can make a huge difference to skin health.
5 - Oily Skin needs to be Exfoliated More Often
It feels almost satisfying, applying an exfoliating treatment and coming away with baby soft skin immediately afterwards.
Exfoliating is a good thing. For all skin types. But this should always be done gently and once to twice a week is plenty.
Just because you have oily skin, don’t be tempted to exfoliate more often. You will just end up with inflamed, irritated skin.
Sebum is the magic ingredient which determines whether our skin is oily, dry or somewhere in between. Tiny glands secrete sebum, too much and you get oily skin, too little dry skin.
Sebum is a very clever substance, it's a fatty substance, or a complex lipid. Sebum makes up our skin's acid mantle, which maintains the skin's pH level, usually around 4.7 and this acts like a protective blanket.
Sebum is also a key part in maintaining elasticity and that is why if you have oily skin, count yourself lucky, because it is likely to mean you get less wrinkles!
It's also another reason not to use harsh, stripping products on your skin.
Oily skin doesn't have to be tricky to manage. You just need to stay away from the harsher products and ignore their persuasive packaging - I would be cautious of any 'oil free' claims. Be gentle, watch those ingredients, and nurture and cajole your skin into looking its best.