What Causes Oily Skin?

Posted by Lauren Fellows on

Does it ever seem like your face is so shiny, someone could use it as a mirror? Or maybe a patch of acne constantly lives in some of those greasy spots?

If this sounds familiar, you’re probably suffering from an incredibly common condition: oily skin. 

What is oily skin, exactly? We all have sebaceous glands on our skin that secrete a natural lubricant known as sebum. This is what keeps us naturally moisturized and protected. 

However, when your body produces too much sebum, you’re left with oily skin. Add a little sweat to the situation as you go about your daily life, and suddenly your skin is unmanageably oily. 

There are lots of reasons your body produces too much sebum. Here are just a few of them:

  • Wacky hormones. Since your sebum production is driven by sex hormones, it makes sense that teenagers are often the victims of oily, acne-ridden skin. But puberty isn’t the only thing that can cause those androgens to go into overdrive. Stress, certain hormonal medications, pregnancy, illness, and menstruation all affect hormones -- and can easily lead to excess sebum production.

The fix: While there’s not a lot you can do about natural hormonal fluctuations, you can keep stress and illness under control by getting plenty of rest, staying hydrated, exercising daily, and trying mindfulness exercises like yoga or meditation.

  • Poor diet. Contrary to popular belief, greasy foods aren’t to blame for your shiny spots. However, certain foods do affect your skin. Sadly, the worst offenders of oily skin are tasty foods like sugar, gluten, and dairy. 

The fix: Skip the bread and ice cream and get more nourishing foods with hydrating fatty acids and vitamins, like avocados, bone broth, and green tea.


  • Environment and daily habits. Think about the daily wear and tear our lives have on our skin -- both where we’re living and how we’re treating it. Residing in either hot and humid or cold and dry climates can wreak havoc on your sebum production, and scrubbing your face too hard or over-washing it to compensate can only make things worse.

The fix: The weather has a big say in what kind of skin day we’re going to have, so be mindful of how often you’re outside on those extra cold or humid days. Be gentle with your skin and only use mild cleansers -- no harsh exfoliants!

  • Genetics. Sometimes, we’re predisposed to oily skin -- and there’s nothing we can really do about it. If your parents battled oily skin, chances are you’ll just have to manage it as best you can. 

The fix: Sorry, you can’t change your genes, but eating a healthy diet and adopting a nourishing skincare regimen can help you manage your oily skin.

You can also take your shine-control efforts to the next level with our lightweight T-zone mattifier, Oil Patrol. It’ll help absorb excess oil on your skin, priming your forehead and nose for makeup while working to fight acne. Or simply dab it on without makeup for quick and easy shine control. 

Whatever the cause of your oily skin, you don’t have to leave the house feeling greasy! Clean up your diet, get your stress under control, and tote around a reliable mattifier so you can feel confident in your own skin, 24/7.

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