Fact V Fiction: Unmasking The Truth About Oily Skin

Deconstructing Oily Skin Myths

If your skin constantly starts to feel slick rather than smooth and greasy instead of glowing, then you’re probably managing the complexities of having oily skin. We’re delving deeper -behind the skin barrier- to provide you with science-based explanations and solutions. Rest assured there are ways of managing this specific skin type without reaching for the oil blotting sheets in your bag.

What causes oily skin

Let’s cut the shine, oily skin doesn’t mean your skin is unhealthy; it’s a very natural and common skin type. 

Sebaceous glands are the glands in our skin that produce an oily, waxy-like substance known as sebum. Although sebum keeps our skin hydrated, an overproduction can make you more susceptible to clogged pores, breakouts, and a shiny complexion. 

There’s a diverse range of reasons why some people experience an excess of sebum production. In any case, there are ways to keep your skin balanced and your confidence high.


Fact V Fiction 

Hormones can contribute to oily skin – fact!

“When androgen is in abundance (which it often is right before your period, or if you have PCOS), it will send messages to our sebaceous glands telling them to produce more oil.” -Pamela Marshall, Clinical Aesthetician

The primary androgen is testosterone which is produced by the testes in males and the ovaries and adrenal glands in females. Testosterone stimulates the sebaceous glands, and an increase of this androgen also increases the amount of oil your skin produces.

That’s why oily skin has been noted to occur during hormonal fluctuations including the menstrual cycle, puberty, pregnancy, postnatal, certain types of contraception and medications, and menopause.

Drying out your skin is the best way to reduce oil – fiction!

Skipping moisturiser, over-exfoliating, and using harsh astringents (a substance that draws water out from the skin) will paradoxically have the opposite effect! Our skin is intuitive and can sense when the pH is out of balance. This can cause sebum to overcompensate for the lack of hydration, turning your face from oil right! to oil-slick.

“Over-cleansing can strip oils that your barrier needs. Cleanse just 2x a day, and always follow with a moisturiser.”- Dermatologist, and pharmacist, Dr. Howard Murad 

Gel cleansers and light moisturisers are better suited for oily skin – fact!

Gel-based moisturisers are lightweight and water-based, which makes them an excellent choice for oily skin. They absorb quickly and provide hydration without a heavy or greasy feeling. Heavy creams with emollients -such as shea butter, olive oil, and cocoa butter- may feel too rich for oily skin and could potentially lead to clogged pores.

Exfoliation is bad for oily skin – fiction!

Exfoliation isn’t bad for your skin but over-exfoliating with abrasive particles will produce micro tears. However, introducing a BHA (beta-hydroxy acid) such as salicylic acid into your skincare regime can improve the texture of your skin.

Salicylic acid cuts through oil and exfoliates deep within your pores to remove blockages.  

“It works by increasing the amount of moisture in the skin and dissolving the substance that causes the skin cells to stick together. This makes it easier to shed the skin cells.” -MD Dermatologist, Ellen Marmur

Sunscreen will make oily skin worse – fiction!

Times are not what they used to be, and options for a variation of skin types are plentiful. Everyone should wear sunscreen to protect their skin from the harmful effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, and premature aging. 

Non-comedogenic, lightweight texture and ultra-hydrating formulas work best for acne-prone, oily skin. 

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