Oily Skin – the causes, characteristics, treatments and tips for oily, spot prone skin

Characteristics of oily and spot prone skin

Oily skin often looks coarse due to enlarged pores and has an overall dull appearance. Of course due to the over production of oil the skin usually has a shiny, greasy sheen. Some people might find that their skin is oily in a particular area, most commonly in the t-zone, the area across the forehead and down the nose and chin. This oily layer causes skin to become blocked leading to spots. The good news is that oily skin ages very well and tends to ‘dry’ out as you get older.

Causes of oily skin

There are a number of reasons why you could be suffering from oily or spot prone skin.

  • Skin types can be hereditary so you could blame it on your genes.
  • Skin is directly affected by hormone levels and your oily skin could be due to a hormonal imbalance such as adolescence or pregnancy. Taking the contraceptive pill or other hormone changing drugs could also have a direct effect on your skin.
  • There could be issues with your diet, some people are more sensitive than others to changes in their diet and a few simple alterations could make all the difference to the appearance of your skin.
  • Cosmetics can contain pore blocking ingredients that cause spots.
  • Stress
  • Hot weather conditions, particularly humid heat.

What can you do to improve the condition of you skin?

Recognising and understanding the cause of your oily skin can help you to identify possible solutions. Oil glands are very sensitive and respond rapidly to stimuli such as hormonal changes and temperature. You could try some of our tips listed below but if you have very spot prone, acne like spots it would be a good idea to get some help or advice from your doctor first.

  • Avoid milk and products derived from it. Some studies have shown that drinking milk daily could directly cause acne outbreaks. Milk contains hormones as it is produced by lactating animals. These hormones can disrupt normal balances in teenagers and adults and cause spots. Try switching to rice, almond, oat or soya milk instead (you will be pleased to hear that the same study also concluded that consuming chocolate, pizza, fizzy drinks and chips did not effect the skin).
  • Try a spot of sunshine. This helps skin strength by increasing the amount of vitamin A and D. Please proceed with caution as some conditions are worsened by heat. See if it suits you and has a positive effect on your skin.
  • Avoid tea, coffee, alcohol and sugar.
  • Try cutting down on citrus juices as they can irritate and inflame the skin.
  • You could try chilling out with a herbal tea such as chamomile, marigold or nettle. Stress can increase oil production.
  • You do still need to moisturise. This may sound ridiculous but you’re trying to rebalance your skin so following cleansing and exfoliating use a moisturiser created specially for oily and spot prone skin.
  • See 1st Holistic for more tips
  • Hot water can strip your skin of essential oils and leave it dry, this can cause the oil glands to over produce oil to replace those lost.
  • Make sure you drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
  • Don’t be tempted to wash your face more than two or three times a day for the same reason.
  • Don’t be tempted to rush in with harsh soap or anti spot treatments. These too strip the skin of oil and the oil glands, already working overtime, go into hyper mode producing far too much oil.
  • Make sure that the products that you use on your face regularly such as moisturiser, sun screen, foundation and other make up products are noncomedogenic.
  • Use a clay based mask up to three times a week.
  • If you’ve tried more gentle methods and your skin is not sensitive, you could try using an off the shelf product containing alpha-hydroxy acids. These remove the thin outside layer of dead skin cells and can give skin a smoother, fresher appearance and help to unblock pores.
  • Try taking a multivitamin but better still lower your intake of fatty, spicy food and increase the amount of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • Try making your own fresh juices.
  • You could try asking your doctor about using Retinoids. These drugs can shrink the oil glands and reduce the amount of oils they are able to produce.