Oily skin. One of the main causes of acne breakouts that trouble most men. There are a zillion products out there that to sooth our skin and stop the grease but most of them do more harm than good.
What should you do if you want to have a balanced skin? Simple, just follow the steps bellow and forget greasy looking skin forever.
Part 1 – Oily Skin Care, The Easy Stuff
We will start with the easiest stuff, what Not to do if you have oily skin. Then on part 2 we will explore alternatives in detail.
1 – Stop Doing Things That Dry Your Skin
The first thing you have to do if you are struggling with oily skin is to stop making it dry. By drying your skin that you fall into a vicious cycle where your skin produces more and more oil to compensate for the oil you remove with each cleaner or whatever you use to “vanish” the oils from it. Here is a list of things that you should avoid:
Stop Washing It Again and again and again. Now, this is not actually very easy to do because at first, your face will look more oily than usual. I recommend that you start with 2 washes/day for about 2 weeks and then go down to 1 wash per day. Then stick to the 1 wash/day for about 3~4 weeks until you find your natural balance again.
Avoid Hot Water. Whether in the shower or when washing our face we all know how great hot water feels. Nevertheless, hot water dries and irritates the skin. Therefore it is something you should avoid both in the shower and face wash. If you crave that heat sensation so much, then go for a sauna session.
Ditch Harsh Chemicals and Irritating products. Unfortunately, the majority of cosmetics out there irritate the skin. From makeups and toners to cleansers, soaps, and aftershaves. What you should do is to replace them with super gentle products. It doesn’t matter if these are going to be natural or not. What matters is everything you use to be gentle to your skin and non-drying!
2 – Stop Over-Moisturising Your Skin
Oily skins are already over moisturized because of excessive oil production. Skin oils act as a moisturizer. If you do use a moisturizer and you have an oily skin, it is better you cut it off.
3 – Use Jojoba Oil to Moisturize and Hydrate if Needed
If your skin is dry and you need to use a moisturizer pick Jojoba oil. This incredible oil bears striking similarity with the human sebum (skin oil). Since sebum is the natural moisturizer of the skin, using something that imitates sebum action is a perfect choice. In fact, Jojoba oil is well known to:
- Be an effective moisturizer.
- Be good on any type of skin.
- Balances the internal constituents of sebum.
- It has high skin penetration and rejuvenating properties.
- It minimizes scars, skin marks and promotes suppleness.
- Prevents dehydration of the skin by forming a non-greasy layer on the top of the skin.
- It can clean clogged pores.
- It can restore skin’s natural pH balance.
- It has antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
- Last but not least, it has anti-inflammatory properties.
Pretty big list for just a single oil.((A review on importance of herbal drugs in cosmetics)) Many people, use Jojoba oil for acne treatment too, not just as a moisturizer. I won’t go that far, since my overall perspective is totally different, but for sure Jojoba Oil is one of the best possible moisturizers you can use for your skin, no matter your skin type or color.
Jojoba Oil, Organic, 100% Pure Cold Pressed Unrefined
4 – The Truth Behind Milk of Magnesia Mask (MoM)
Now, this is kind of classic. It has received tremendous positive reviews from people around the world, but let’s have a more thoughtful look on this oil removal trick.
It seems that MoM, indeed has the power to absorb the oil from your skin and give you a non-greasy look if you have an oily skin, but this comes at quite a cost. Even though the ingredients are not that harmful, milk of magnesia will definitely mess up with the natural pH of the skin.((pH Balance of Skin)) MoM is basic with an overall pH of 10.5. Big difference compared to the slightly acidic nature of the skin which is around 5.5 pH.((Milk Of Magnesia: The Internet Rumour, Researched))
Now keep in mind that most “experts”, suggest that you put the mask on for about 10′ minutes. I wouldn’t recommend that at all, as any product with pH larger than 8 will probably cause irritation to the skin and will also allow bacteria proliferation (due to increased pH in the surface of the skin) which may lead to infections and acne!
Nevertheless, if you decide to use MoM for oil control, make sure you apply jojoba oil after you are finished with Milk of Magnesia. Jojoba will help your skin recover faster from “the MoM shock”.
Important Note: I have searched for alternatives to Milk of Magnesia but I haven’t found any product to be better on skin health. If you find something please post it in the comments bellow so we can all know.
5 – Drink Enough Water
This is a common question, but a tough one. Water plays a critical role in keeping every organ of your body healthy and your skin is an organ too. Dehydration can lead to oily skin. So a few basics on keeping yourself hydrated.
The average man needs about 3 liters (0.8 gals) of water per day. These numbers are OK to keep in mind but also note that according to your day (level of activity and environment), your needs can vary a lot.
As stated on the Mayo Clinic website, a way to keep yourself safely hydrated is this: Drink enough fluids so that you rarely feel thirsty. Furthermore, your urine should be colorless or light yellow and its total amount somewhere close to 1.5 liters or even more.
Obviously, it is difficult to measure your urine every day, so what you should do instead, is to make sure you drink lots of fluids every day. Be close to your gender specific daily intake. Make sure your urine is the right color most of the days and that you drink water before and after exercise. If you live in climates with high humidity rise up your water consumption a bit.
For more on water consumption see the relevant article at the references at the end of this post.((Water: How Much Should You Drink?))
Part 2 – The Tough Stuff For Balancing Your Oily Skin
Now that we are done with the easy stuff, let’s see a few things that work in the long run. The things listed bellow are way more effective and should become part of your lifestyle.
1 – Nutritional Interventions
No matter what your diet is right now you should consider the following:
- Water Quality.
Since we talked about water and since you drink a lot of it every day, you should make sure that the water you drink is clean and filtered, NOT from a plastic bottle.
- Whole Food.
In general the less refined and processed, the better. If you can afford it go for organic or even biodynamic products. Always prefer to eat natural foods instead of manufactured highly processed foods. For example, prefer a fruit over a cheesecake.Note: Every rule has its exceptions, not every food should be consumed raw from mother nature and a level of processing is often mandatory. But foods massively produced in an industrial way usually suffer from Over-Processing.
- Eat Your Veggies.
This cannot be understated. It is recommended that you have at least 3 servings of salad and vegetables every day. Ideally, you should go up to 5 servings per day.
- Replace Dairy & Wheat.
Wheat and dairy avoidance is a classic that many dermatologists forget to mention. These two are also highly correlated with acne.
- Avoid High GI Foods.
Foods with high glycemic index (and glycemic load), except that it has been shown to contribute to acne development, they also cause hormonal changes. These hormonal changes such as androgen increase and Sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) decrease may lead to increased sebum production. Increased insulin concentration may also lead to increased sebum production according to one review.
- Eat Good Fats, Avoid Bad Fats.
If needed, take a supplement, omega 6/omega-3 fatty acids ideally have a ratio of 2:1. In modern western diets, the ratio of Omega-6/Omega-3 is at 10:1! Try to keep your omega-6 consumption lower and your omega-3 consumption higher in order to come closer to the ideal 2:1!
- A proper amount of omega-3 intake.
It is important in order to keep functional the membranes of your cells, including the cells of the skin. If you believe you consume lot’s of bad fats, cut them down and increase omega-3 intake.(Nutrition for Healthy Skin: Omega-3, Biotin, and Sulfur). Furthermore, an omega-3 fat increase will help you deal with any inflammatory spots you may have, improving your looks overall.
- Increase Your Zinc Intake.
Zinc is important when it comes to sebum control. If you don’t get enough zinc, a supplement will be of great help and can give you decent results really fast. Make sure you keep your daily intake at logical levels, always remember that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
Note: If you have acne, chances are that you suffer from zinc deficiency. Go run a trial with a quality zinc supplement and see if you get any better.((The Modern-Day Zinc Deficiency Epidemic)) Of course, discuss this with your doctor first. Supplements can be dangerous if misused.
2 – Lifestyle Interventions
Now that you’ve done the proper diet interventions you should start seeing improvement. If you want to see real results though, you should change a few things in your weekly and daily routines as well. Doing these small changes will help you balance your hormones, which are often the cause of oily skin and cannot be treated topically with any cream.
- Sleep for oily skinSleep is one of the most underestimated factors in good health and healthy skin. Not giving yourself a good sleep will affect your hormones, leading many times in oily skin and acne if you keep pushing yourself. But why don’t you get enough sleep? Why don’t your brain forces you to sleep?The answer lies in our adaptability as a species. The brain is a very adaptive organ and it can adapt to environments of sleep deprivation tricking you that you are good and vibrant.But how you feel and how functional you are is not always correlated. Study after study, scientists find that people who “think” they sleep enough but actually are bellow the recommended amount of hours have a serious decline in their mental performance.If you “think” you sleep enough, think again. Do you wake up without an alarm clock? Do you wake up alert and without the need of coffee?(supposed you are not addicted to it). Do you sleep more than 7 hours/night? If you answered no to one of the above you probably don’t get enough sleep.
Increase your sleep time one hour, see how it goes for a month, if you don’t like it you can always return to your semi-zombie, coffee junky state any time you want. Also try to sleep good times, going to sleep somewhere around 10 P.M. Try not to eat a few hours before you go to sleep and try to minimize any sounds that could wake you up.
- Exercise for oily skinExercise can also help you a lot. Exercise is known to increase serotonin levels, which in turn help you combat stress, which affects your hormones leading to oily skin, pimples and many-many more diseases. Exercise will also help you sleep better giving you a double boost in your everyday life.It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do as long as you pick something that is not harmful, nor extreme (Crossfit anyone?). Choose something that suits you best. A team sport will do, a brisk walk will do, burpees will do and so will free weights. Anything with enough resistance will do the trick.
- Oily Skin Care Gone BadI won’t expand on this but have in mind that many cosmetics can make your skin more oily in the long run even though claiming otherwise. Maybe they dry your skin or irritating it, causing your subcutaneous glands to produce more oil. Maybe you have a perfume that affects your endocrine system and your hormones.You should search every cosmetic you use for what effect it has on you. From perfumes to soaps, to deodorants. Everything. I know it is a pain in the ass, but you only have to do it once and the alternative of ignorance might be worse.
- Positive Psy, Mindfulness and Stress relief can lead to a clear smooth skinLast but not least, are all the tricks that will help you bring your stress levels down. Study a book or two on positive psychology. Find courses and videos online. One of the best courses that helped me a lot was the famous “Happiness 101 with Tal Ben-Shahar”, if you have stress problems it will literally change your life.Furthermore, start doing mindfulness meditation each morning can be of great help. Meditation triggers the relaxation response while training your ability to focus. Remember to get enough of quality sleep and exercise, they both contribute to stress reduction.
We’ve Reached The End Of Our Oily Skin Care Mini-Guide
That’s all of my tricks and tips for dealing with oily skin (for now). Remember that oily skin not only looks bad, it often leads to ugly zits and acne. Take the steps described above and you should never have a problem with oily skin again. If you also have acne and zits, they will probably go away too.
Share this article with your friends and family so you can all live a healthy, happy and more joyful life.