When you look in the mirror, can you see your reflection on your forehead? And is it driving you towards strong cleansers and toners to try and reduce the shine? The bad news is, you’re doing it all wrong. The good news is, it’s easy to change.
Ironically, the best way to reduce oily skin is not to try and get rid of it. If you use harsh cleaners, over-wash your face or use hot water to try and steam the oil away, then your skin will produce twice as much oil to protect itself.
The oil your skin produces isn’t bad on its own. It’s made of fats that keep your complexion healthy and the skin barrier strong. As you age, oily skin is good as it slows down the aging process. But too much sebum is also linked to blocked pores and acne.
To help you cope with the challenges of oily skin, here’s a natural and gentle approach to daily skincare.
Wash your face, gently
You should be washing your face twice a day, at most. Wash gently with tepid water, and use a natural cream cleanser, not any form of soap or lather. Although harsh cleansers make your skin feel oil-free and squeaky clean, they actually are harming your skin and stripping it of good oils as well as bad ones. Be gentle.
Don’t scrub at your face
Scrubs can cause damage to the skin, especially if you’re over-zealous. If you must scrub, use a gentle one. Another approach is a natural peel, especially one based on fruit acids. You can try mashing papaya and applying that to your skin - it has alpha-hydroxy acids that are a powerful exfoliator.
Pat dry, don’t rub
When drying your skin, pat it gently rather than rubbing it briskly with a towel. To much friction will only irritate and damage the skin barrier.
Apply treatments once or twice a week
Everyone is different; what works for a friend may not work for you. Here are some natural options to try on nights in front of Netflix.
Honey: Antibacterial, antiseptic and calming, a honey face treatment is quick and easy. Spread a thin layer on the skin and leave for 10-30 minutes. Wash off with tepid water and pat your face dry. This may help your skin retain moisture without oiliness.
Cosmetic clay: These masks are much gentler than peel off masks, but still help to treat skin problems such as oiliness. Apply a cosmetic clay, such as French green clay, and leave it on until it dries. Remove with water and pat dry.
Oatmeal: Your favourite breakfast is just as good for your skin as it is for your diet. It’s calming, soothing and contains polysaccharides that keep moisture in without encouraging oil. Make a oatmeal powder, mix with honey, avocado, papaya or yoghurt, then apply to your face for 10 minutes. Wash off and pat dry.
Even oily skins need to moisturise. In particular, apricot kernel oil is a great natural moisturiser. While it seems counterproductive to apply oil to oily skin, give it a try – we think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Apricot kernel oil is non-comedogenic with a lightweight texture that allows it to be quickly and easily absorbed by the skin. Find a moisturiser that features apricot kernel oil.
Your diet makes a difference
A diet high in fruit, vegetables and heathy fats from nuts and avocados will help your skin to glow. Conversely, a diet high in processed foods, sugar, salt and fried food is linked to dull, oily and acne-prone skin.
Reduce makeup use
It can be tempting to pile on the makeup to try and bury the oily/spotty problem, but it will only make your skin worse in the long term. Choose water-based makeup products, not oil based, and look out for non-comedogenic foundations.
You can buy these from makeup stores and pharmacies. They allow you to blot oil from your skin during the day. It’s a temporary fix, but it allows you to feel confident again. A cheaper route is to blot gently with a clean tissue.
Be patient and don’t panic
While there are ways to reduce oil on your skin, it may take time to find the approach that works best for you. As well as washing gently and moisturising, try various treatments and see what makes a difference. And remember that oily skin ages better than normal or dry skin, so that’s something to look forward to!