There is no shortage of misconceptions surrounding the causes of and treatments for oily skin. If you’re someone who is prone to oiliness, it may be difficult to distinguish good advice from bad as you search for solutions. Questions like “how many times should I wash my face?” or “should I skip moisturizing?” are common and important to understand. For those with oily skin, regimen is everything, but more isn’t necessarily more when it comes to controlling excess sebum. Certain skin care practices that have historically been labeled as beneficial for oily skin can end up doing more harm than good.
Let’s dive into the top myths and misconceptions about oily skin, clear up some of the confusion, and learn how to really keep oil under control!
MYTH #1: There's nothing you can do about your oily skin
False. Although some skin types are more prone to producing oil than others, this commonly held theory is simply not true and could have skin-damaging effects for those who believe it. Even though one cannot change his or her skin type, there are proven ways to decrease oil production and maintain a clear and balanced complexion. Changes in your skin care routine habits, diet, and product ingredients all have a significant effect on oiliness.
MYTH #2: Cleansing multiple times a day and blotting oil helps reduce oil production
When it comes to cleansing, more doesn’t equal better. Typically, you should wash your face twice a day, as well as after a workout/sweating. As tempting as it may be (as the first hour after a cleanse, skin looks + feels oil free), washing your face any more than that will cause skin to produce even more oil. Cleansing and blotting both help to reduce the appearance of oil, but only momentarily. Rather, over cleansing strips the skin of its natural oils. This dehydration causes oil glands to overcompensate and end up producing more oil than before.
MYTH #3: Oil is bad for oily skin
It’s only logical: oily skin + oil = oiler skin, right? Nope! Contrary to common belief, using the right oils on oily skin can actually help to regulate oil production! Could the cure to oil be more oil? For oily skin, non-comedogenic oils such as argan, rosehip, and sweet almond, can actually REGULATE oil by hydrating the skin and delivering deep nourishment. For those with oilier complexions, a soothing blue tansy facial oil can help calm inflammation and reduce breakouts.
MYTH #4: I don't need a moisturizer
Myth number 3 leads us to the next - and debatably most damaging - misconception. Because most moisturizers are heavily infused with oils, it’s easy for those with oily/acne prone skin to assume it’s better to stay away from moisturizing altogether. This myth couldn’t be farther from the truth! We get it - the thought of slathering a moisturizing cream all over an already shiny complexion can send shivers down the spine of someone with oily skin, but moisturizing is as important as cleansing is for all skin types. External aggressors such as UV rays, over-cleansing, and pollution can damage skin’s moisture barrier, causing the skin to lose moisture and produce more oil. Opt for lightweight moisturizers with non-comedogenic ingredients like hyaluronic acid or aloe vera.
MYTH #5: Use alcohol-based products to rid skin of oil
Using products with alcohol will definitely reduce the look of oiliness momentarily, but it does more damage than good to the skin's overall health in the long run. Using alcohol as an ingredient in your skincare routine will dry out the skin’s surface, leading to an overproduction of oil to compensate for the dehydration. Although alcohol provides an instant gratification by de-greasing the skin, this ingredient also exacerbates inflammation, irritation, and may lead to an increase in acne-causing bacteria. Solution: keep an eye out for alcohol-free products, or more milder alternatives.
MYTH #6: Exfoliate oily skin every day
Some say that aggressively exfoliating can revive and refresh oily skin. This leads us to myth number 5! Even though regularly exfoliating may work wonders on the skin (instant glow, unclogs pores, and anti aging benefits), there is no benefit to exfoliating skin every day. Exfoliating about two to three times a week is ideal for removing dead skin cell buildup and achieving a glowing, smooth look! If you are prone to redness and irritation, you might only be able to tolerate exfoliation once or twice a week. Listen to your skin and monitor its reactions to adjust accordingly! Furthermore, rather than scrubbing skin daily, opt for gently exfoliating products like toners and cleansers with chemical exfoliants such as AHA’s and salicylic acid.
MYTH #7: Sun exposure dries up oil / SPF makes you oilier
Sun exposure is never good for the skin and if unprotected, can lead to some serious UVA/UVB damage! Sunburns and other forms of sun damage dry out the skin and stimulate our sebaceous glands to product - you guessed it - more oil! Needless to say, a good, lightweight SPF moisturizer makes all the difference!