Dimming the Shine on Oily Skin
Leading Dermatologist on reducing oil, helping skin feel fresh and young
Roslyn, New York, December 2009 – Most participants in a recent series of American and German focus groups said their oily facial skin was both emotionally and socially disruptive, making them feel unattractive, self conscious, embarrassed, irritated and frustrated. The results of the focus group study were reported in the October 2008 of Health and Quality of Life Outcomes.
Up to 75 percent of teenagers and many older adults say they have oily skin, a common condition affecting both men and women, typically between puberty and about 60 years of age. But despite its prevalence, says Joshua Fox, M.D., a leading dermatologist, founder of Advanced Dermatology PC, and a spokesperson for the American Academy of Dermatology, “oily skin can usually be managed by adding just a few simple steps to one’s daily skincare regimen.”
According to the National Institutes of Health, genetics and hormones are the key factors contributing to oily skin. “The good news,” Dr. Fox says, “is that despite popular opinion, diet has little, if anything, to do with whether or not you have oily skin.” He explains that in oily skin, the sebaceous glands, located deep within the skin, produce too much oil, especially on the face, neck, chest, head and back. “While some oil is needed for the health of your skin and hair, too much oil can make skin and hair look greasy and dirty; it makes pores look large, and promotes pimples, blackheads and other blemishes.”
“Oil production can be stimulated by hormones, so anything that causes hormones to fluctuate can cause skin to become more oily,” Dr. Fox says, adding that for women, that means that more oil tends to be produced during puberty, at the start of each menstrual cycle and during pregnancy and perimenopause. In addition, oil production in men or women can be stimulated by any physical or emotional situation that causes hormone swings.
“Separately, humidity, hot weather, sun, exercise and other environmental conditions, and even some cosmetics, can make things worse,” he says. Dr. Fox says there are several basic steps people with oily skin should do daily to help reduce the shine, grease and discomfort caused by oily skin.
1. “Make sure to keep your skin clean. Dr. Fox recommends using warm water and gentle soap or a non-soap cleanser no more than twice a day.
Use only water-based or oil-free cosmetics (noncomidogenic)
3. Use only products designed for oily skin.
4. Consider using different cleansers during the summer and winter. Hot, humid weather requires a heavier cleanser, while cool dry air calls for a moisturizing product.
5. Consider prescription and non prescription astringents, face washes, masks and other degreasing agents which can help.
If these simple steps don’t provide the results you seek, Dr. Fox suggests using a glycolic or salicylic acid product with a light oil-free moisturizer containing a sunscreen. “For even more dramatic results, anyone suffering from oily skin should visit his or her dermatologist, who knows their specific skin and its challenges and can create a personalized skincare plan to reduce oil and maintain healthy-looking skin,” Dr. Fox says. “A dermatologist can also offer you topical or oral prescription treatments such as Retin A, Differin, Tazorac, Benzoyl Peroxide or Accutane that help reduce the oil or can provide laser treatments for especially stubborn oily skin which shrinks the sebaceous glands.”