What causes unpleasant skin oil?
Oily skin is the result of the production of sebum, a compound produced in the sebaceous glands. Overproduction of this substance causes excess oil in the skin, giving it an often unwanted appearance and feel. Doctors conclude that activity of the sebaceous glands is controlled largely by genetic factors and a person's hormones, rather than a more external factor like their diet.
Skin oil levels can be influenced by a whole host of factors including hormones, weather and stress. For this reason, it is important to be keenly observant of one's current skin condition. To this end, Dr. Au cautions, "products used for skin oil in the warm and humid summer months may be too harsh during the winter. Pads and blotters can be applied to areas of excess oil, including the nose, forehead and chin. Avoid rubbing the pads to skin, but instead hold it on skin giving it about 15 seconds to soak up skin oil."
"The goal of these products is to remove oil without triggering the production of more. It is a good idea to be gentle when removing oil and to steer clear of products with high alcohol content, as they can stimulate greater oil production in skin," adds Au.
At home solutions:
There are several at-home steps that can be taken as a first line of defense against oily skin. These strategies, when employed together, can produce great results of sufferers of excessive skin oil.
Use a gentle, oil-free moisturizer regularly. Maintaining proper skin hydration can reduce the body's production of oil.
Cleanse sensitive skin with a mild, non-oily facewash or cleanser. All products used on oily skin should be non-commedogenic and used in the morning, evening and after excessive sweating due to exercise. Often gels work better on oily skin than creams, which tend to be oil-based. Apply the cleanser as needed with fingertips.
Masks. Using clay and facial masks can be a great way to alleviate excess oil, but only apply these products to specific problem areas and only do so occasionally.
Stay away from abrasive cleansers and avoid over-washing. Frustratingly enough, over-washing can lead to even greater oil production because it stimulates oil production glands. Harsh washing and scrubbing of the face has this same impact on oil production, which is why Dr. Au suggests that "if basic cleansers are not sufficing to remove excess oil, adding an acid such as benzoyl peroxide saliclylic acid, glycolic acid or beta hydroxy acid can all help alleviate the symptoms of oily skin." These products are traditionally marketed toward sufferers of acne, but are also effective on oily skin.
Dr. Au adds that oily skin can lead to even more unpleasant skin complications like breakouts. Acne can be treated by any of the many topically applied medications that are on the market, including antibiotics, retinols, retinoids, benzoyl peroxide and other prescriptions available at your dermatologist's office.
Sonoa Au, M.D., has a special interest in laser and cosmetic dermatology, in addition to general dermatology.
Advanced Dermatology P.C. and the Center for Laser and Cosmetic Surgery (New York & New Jersey) is one of the leading dermatology centers in the nation, offering highly experienced physicians in the fields of cosmetic and laser dermatology as well as plastic surgery and state-of-the-art medical technologies.www.advanceddermatologypc.com.
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