SKIN shinier than an oil slick?
Having a glowy face can make sense when you’re hot and sweaty, but it can be quite frustrating when you’re dealing with oily-looking skin from dawn to dusk.
Izabela Pawlitka is a skin specialist at London dr David Jack Clinic.
She says oil, known in the art as “sebum,” is a “necessary part of healthy skin.”
Sebum is produced by the sebaceous glands, which are microscopic glands in your hair follicles.
“Tallow is a complex mixture of fatty acids, sugars, waxes and other natural chemicals that form a protective barrier against water evaporation,” explains Izabela.
She says we need sebum because it “hydrates and protects the surface of almost our entire body.”
This oil helps protect the skin, and people with oily skin tend to have thicker skin and fewer wrinkles.
On the other hand, oily skin can clog pores and lead to acne breakouts.
As for why some people are oilier than others, Izabela says everyone is different, but “it’s possible to have too much or too little sebum.”
She says, “If you have very oily skin, your body may be producing an excessive amount of the mixture of lipids (fat-like molecules) that make up sebum.”
1. Your hormones are out of whack
We all have hormones coursing through our bodies, and there is a strong correlation between some of these hormones and the amount of oil on our face.
According to Izabela, androgens are the hormones responsible for regulating your overall sebum production.
“Very active androgens like testosterone are produced by your adrenal glands and your ovaries or testicles.
“These glands are regulated by your brain’s pituitary gland. Your pituitary gland is responsible for your body’s entire endocrine (hormone) system,” she explains.
A fluctuation in these sebum-regulating hormones can lead to more sebum.
Have you ever noticed that your skin looks greasy in the run-up to your period? You’re not imagining it.
Izabela says hormone fluctuations that lead to more sebum can occur just before a woman’s period, during pregnancy, menopause and puberty.
“In addition, the hormone progesterone, although not an androgen, appears to have an impact on sebum production.”
2. You eat a pro-inflammatory diet
“What you eat not only has a massive impact on your health and overall mood, but also on your skin, hair and nails,” says Izabela.
“While it’s perfectly normal to have oily skin, it can be worth checking your diet if you’re producing excess oil, as certain foods can stimulate oil production and cause more sebum to be produced, leading to breakouts. “
Cut back on pro-inflammatory foods like chips, pastries, fried foods, breakfast cereals, carbonated drinks, and processed meats.
Instead, Izabela recommends an anti-inflammatory diet high in antioxidants, fiber, good fats, and protein.
Oily fish, fruits and vegetables, and olive oil are good anti-inflammatory foods to include in your diet.
“It’s also important for the skin to keep the body hydrated,” says Izabela.
The NHS recommends at least six to eight glasses of water a day. However, if you’re active or in warmer weather, consider drinking more.
3. You don’t sleep enough
“Getting the right amount of rest each night is important for overall health and can also have a significant impact on the look and appearance of skin,” says Izabela.
“Lack of sleep can lead to insulin resistance. A surge in insulin can lead to the formation of IGF-1, a hormone that stimulates an increase in sebum production.”
Going to bed at a time that gives you at least seven hours of sleep can not only help you avoid oily skin, it can also positively impact your overall health and well-being.
Make sure you relax before bed for the best chance of a good night’s sleep. Avoid screens, dim the lights, and write down anything that causes you stress and weighs on your mind.
That way it’s on paper and out of your head.
4. You’re stressed and don’t exercise enough
“Try to manage your stress, as numerous studies have linked it to insulin resistance and a worsening of breakouts,” warns Izabela.
She recommends staying active to overcome stress while taking care of your skin.
“Exercise reduces cortisol and can help you achieve a clearer complexion.
“Any physical activity helps because it improves blood circulation, increases oxygen uptake and lowers blood sugar levels, which has a positive effect on the skin,” explains Izabela.
However, after exercising, it is important to shower, remove gym clothes and wash your face with cleanser to prevent acne.
5. Your skin care products aren’t working for you
Certain ingredients can really help balance and combat oily skin.
Izabela says ingredients to look for in your skincare products include salicylic acid, azelaic acid, retinol, and niacinamide.
However, be careful not to wash your face too much.
This can remove too much oil, leaving your sebaceous glands in dire need of production.
Izabela also recommends wearing SPF 50 every day, regardless of your skin type.