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What Causes Oily Skin and How Can I Stop It?

What Causes Oily Skin and How Can I Stop It?

What Causes Oily Skin and How Can I Stop It?

Oily skin can be aggravating and disheartening for teenagers and adults alike. It can make the skin look shiny and greasy, and when the oil comes into contact with dead skin cells, plugs pores and contributes to the production of spots.

Oil is produced in sebaceous glands. Those with oily skin have overactive glands that produce excess oil, also known as sebum. The glands are mostly found in the face, neck, head, back and chest, so these areas are often most affected.

This post discusses the causes of oily skin, and most importantly, how to prevent it.



Skin type, like many other traits, is caused by genetics. Much like if you have dry or sensitive skin, oily skin is hereditary.

This means that if your parents have oily skin, then I’m afraid you probably will too.


During puberty, increased androgen levels tell your oil glands to produce oil, but for some, the glands produce too much oil.

Hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy and menopause can also cause oily skin as hormone production causes oil glands to release extra oil.


Emotional and physical stress can also contribute towards oily skin. When you become stressed, the level of cortisol, your body’s stress hormone, rises, resulting in an increase in oil production.

Even those who do not normally have oily skin can temporarily develop stress-related acne due to increased oil production.


In spring and summer, a rise in temperature and humidity can cause an increase in sebum.

In autumn and winter, the air becomes dry, causing the skin to dehydrate, and the glands to overproduce oil to compensate.


Washing your skin more than twice a day leaves it dry and irritated. This causes your skin to overcompensate and produce more oil than it needs to.

The same can be said for using the strongest products or scrubbing your skin too forcefully. Although it may seem that you need to wash or scrub more to get rid of oils, it will just make your skin worse.

Pore-Clogging Cosmetics

Wearing oily or heavy makeup can trap oil, block your pores, worsen spot breakouts and make your skin even more oily.

This is because many products contain comedogenic pore-clogging ingredients such as cocoa butter, isopropyl myristate and soybean oil.


Don’t Over-Exfoliate or Over-Cleanse

Scrubbing too hard and over-cleansing will worsen your skin and cause it to produce more oil.

Instead, cleanse gently and don’t cleanse more than twice a day or exfoliate more than 2-3 times a week. Try the Dermalogica Oily Skin Kit to cleanse and decongest pores, refresh and hydrate your skin.

Use the Correct Cleanser

Don’t use harsh or strong cleansers as these will irritate the skin, causing it to produce more oil. It is important to use cleansers and products that suit your skin type, as these are designed to work for you.

Try a foaming cleanser with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, or our Dermal Clay Cleanser, which contains bentonite and kaolin to remove excess oils, refine skin texture and remove dead cell debris.

Use Oil-Free Products

Using oily products will make your skin shinier, so avoid oil-based, pore-clogging ingredients in your cosmetics and moisturisers (although it may seem that your skin has enough moisture, it still needs moisturising).

Instead, use non-comedogenic products that are powder-based, oil-free and light, such as the Dermalogica Oil Control Lotion or Oil Clearing Moisturiser. These products will not block pores or cause spots.

Use Blotting Papers

If your oily skin is bothering you throughout the day, then you can try blotting papers.

Simply dab the sheet onto your face to absorb any excess oils and reduce shine.

Try a Masque

Using a masque once a week can absorb oil, smooth the skin and calm your face.

Try our Skin Refining Masque which contains clay, making it ideal for soaking up oil, cleansing your pores and removing impurities.

See a Dermatologist

If your oily skin is leading to acne or you are struggling to control it, you could see a dermatologist.

They may recommend laser treatments, chemical peels, oral medications, stronger creams or hormonal treatments to regulate the production of oil and reduce oily skin and acne.

Hopefully, through following these simple tips your oily skin can become a thing of the past. Now that you know what causes your oily skin, you can try these preventative methods to reduce the shine, clear acne and feel confident in your skin.

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