Where oily skin exists, acne often follows - but it needn’t be that way. By carefully managing the needs of your skin type, you can wave goodbye to a greasy face and excess oil, and see off those pesky blemishes at the same time. Read on for your ultimate guide to dealing with oily, acne-prone skin, from what causes it to the one product you mustn’t skip in your skincare routine.
What causes oily skin and acne?
There are plenty of reasons why you might have oily skin and acne - and because skin is never that simple, you may just have one or both. Whether you were born with a shiny skin type or you’re used to an oil-free face and wondering what’s disrupted your skin, here are some potential triggers:
How to tell if you have oily skin
Unlike combination skin, where you may have some dry areas and most likely an oily T-zone, oily skin means just that - you're experiencing excess oil all over. Your skin will look shiny and may feel greasy to the touch, while your pores may look visibly enlarged, especially on your nose, chin and forehead. Larger pores will also become clogged more easily, meaning breakouts of blackheads and acne.
Still not sure where your skin sits on the spectrum? See how it feels within an hour or so of using a gentle, basic cleanser. If your bare, moisturiser-free skin starts to feel oily, it's safe to say that's your skin type.
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How to care for oily skin and acne
While oily skin has its benefits (it ages better, for one), if you’re struggling with both oil and acne you’re probably keen to get it under control. The good news is there are steps you can take to manage it. Read on for our easy guide to caring for oily, acne-prone skin - a few mindful changes and your complexion will feel clearer in no time.
Don’t touch your face
This is good skincare advice for any skin type, but if you're experiencing excess oil or acne, touching your face is a big no-no. For a start, your fingertips have their own natural oils - and the last thing you need is to add fuel to the fire. But more importantly, touching your face can spread the existing acne bacteria that's living on your skin, or spread any dirt or germs that are on your fingertips if your hands aren't completely clean - leading to more blemishes and acne.
Face-touching is usually a subconscious habit, so keep your hands clean to minimise any issues - but keeping them busy and away from your face will keep your skin happy. If you're usually dabbing your skin in a bid to reduce shine, you can also use blotting papers or pads to absorb excess oil throughout the day.
Wash and cleanse regularly
While over-washing is something to avoid as it can trigger excess oil and acne, regular cleansing is essential to keep your skin on an even keel. Washing will help to reduce the amount of oil on the skin, as well as helping to unclog pores and get rid of acne-causing bacteria.
The key is to use the right cleanser - you want to avoid harsh detergents such as SLS or SLES (as they'll dry out the skin and exacerbate your issues), and opt for nourishing formulas that keep your skin balanced.
As counterintuitive as it may seem, a double cleansing routine with an oil cleanser could be just what you need, as it effectively removes makeup and grime while conditioning the skin - so it won't feel the need to overproduce oil. Next, use a gentle cream cleanser with natural ingredients such as Camellia; rich in omegas, it leaves skin supple and won’t disturb the skin’s natural pH balance. Or, if you want something that gives you a refreshing sensation, try a foaming face wash formulated with a gentle exfoliator to unclog pores. The result? A clearer complexion, without that stripped skin feeling.
If you think the last thing your greasy face needs is extra moisture, think again. Excess oil can be caused by a lack of moisture - due to either external or internal factors - which triggers your skin to think it’s being oh-so-helpful by speeding up its sebum production. Applying a moisturiser will help to keep your skin balanced, healthy and hydrated; all you need is the right product.
Opt for a rebalancing moisturiser designed for oily and acne-prone skin types. A light, non-greasy, mattifying formula will help keep shine at bay, while natural ingredients such as Thistle Oil can help to reduce the appearance of large pores thanks to its high levels of Omega 6.
Book a skin consultation
Once you’ve got the basics of cleansing, moisturising and damage limitation in place, managing oily and acne-prone skin well will come down to a carefully curated skincare routine. The aim is to find a step-by-step regime which helps to rebalance at every stage, while also treating the existing acne and excess oil to carefully clarify the skin. Sticking to a regular routine will in turn help to regulate your skin, so long as you’re using formulas that suit your needs.
It’s a juggling act, and one that could benefit from the input of an expert; an in-depth skin consultation can help to set you on the right path and make sure the contents of your bathroom shelf will get things under control rather than sending your skin spiralling.
With a few simple steps and careful planning, you can show oily and acne-prone skin who’s boss.
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