Oily skin: skincare plan It is often difficult to balance oily skin. Many products claiming to minimise sebum secretion only make the problem worse. Here we will tell you how you can tackle oily skin effectively. How do you get oily skin? The hormones responsible for oily skin are called androgens. These are the ‘male’ hormones that both men and women have. They sometimes cause excessive sebum production. The pores then widen as they cannot process the high sebum production. The combination of too much sebum and a thickening of the skin and inside of the pores due to dead skin cells means the sebum can’t be secreted from the pores. This results in blackheads and white bumps under the skin (whiteheads). How do you recognise oily skin? If you are not sure if your skin is oily or not, this is how you can tell: One or two hours after cleansing you face, it is shiny and by the afternoon it usually looks greasy. It is almost as if your makeup ‘slides’ over or off your face. You can see blackheads and/or spots on the oilier parts of your face. Your pores are visibly enlarged, particularly on the nose, chin and forehead (T-zone). Which products make oily skin worse? It may seem like a good idea to use products that dry out your skin, but in the long term that is not a good idea as they actually stimulate the production of more sebum. Products which cause your skin to tingle (such as menthol, mint, eucalyptus and lemon) or that contain alcohol or aromatic oils should also be avoided. Tingling means irritation and that is never good. The general principle for oily skin is that ingredients sold in a solid form (such as a bar of soap), or that contain emollient lotions and creams, can block the pores and look greasy on the skin. Instead of creams use light liquids, serums and gels. Step-by-step routine for oily skin The following essential skincare tips will help you to give your oily skin the best care: 1. Cleanse daily Twice a day, use a mild, water-soluble facial cleanser. Ideally, rinse all the cleanser off your face completely. The cleanser should not contain any irritating ingredients such as sodium lauryl sulphate and it should be fragrance-free (fragrances always cause irritation). 2. Use a toner Using an alcohol-free toner full of antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients is important. Toners containing these ingredients help your skin recover, make enlarged pores visibly smaller and remove the last remnants of your cleanser or makeup. Not doing this can lead to blocked pores. 3. Exfoliate This is one of the most important steps. Exfoliating is the best way to remove dead skin cells, reduce blocked pores and spots and to make the skin smoother. The best exfoliating ingredient for oily skin is salicylic acid (BHA). Paula’s Choice has various products with BHA in its range. 4. Use a day cream with sun protection Even with oily skin, a product with sun protection is vital for preventing wrinkles and for reducing the risk of inflammation. Choose a light protection for oily skin; you could also use a liquid foundation, combined with a face powder for a matt finish. 5. Use a hydrating night cream For the evening, choose a light, hydrating gel or serum that does not contain ingredients that will block the pores and with antioxidants and ingredients that strengthen the skin’s protective barrier. 6. Remove excessive sebum Use sebum-absorbing products regularly. This step is optional, but many people with oily skin find it beneficial. Our favourite products for absorbing excess sebum are the Shinestopper and the Skin Balancing Oil-absorbing Mask.