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The oil conundrum

Do you or don’t you put oils on your face if your skin is oily?

It’s quite a conundrum for many women who have greasy or oily skin, so if you’re one of them you’re in good company – Victoria Beckham and Alicia Keys have apparently both said that that they’ve suffered from greasy skin and acne.

Oily or greasy skin tends to look a bit shiny and has enlarged pores, it’s also prone to getting pimples, blackheads and blemishes and when you’re in your teens, acne can be a big problem as well.   There’s good news though, although you may hate it when you’re young, as you get older you tend to have fewer wrinkles, so that’s something to look forward to!

There are lots of reasons why you might have oily skin, hormones often play a part especially if you use the contraceptive pill; you may secrete too much sebum which is a common cause of oily skin and dark skin is often oily as it has more sweat glands and sebaceous glands than white skin; using oils that are too fatty on your skin will also exacerbate the problem.

Looking after oily skin doesn’t have to be difficult; the trick is to remove the excess sebum without drying up the skin.  How do you do this?

You need to use a very gentle cleanser and twice a day is plenty. If you over-cleanse or do too much peeling using products that dry out your skin, your body starts to overproduce sebum.  It’s also a mistake to use abrasive exfoliants because you strip the skin of its natural acid mantle which protects the skin from bacteria. Using the right toner [with no alcohol] can help to close up pores which means you reduce the possibility of inflammation from dust and dirt getting into the pores.

Unfortunately, there’s a myth that says you shouldn’t put oils onto oily skin.  This is both true and not true – it’s certainly true if you use oils which are comedogenic, meaning that they block the pores. By contrast, you want to give your skin the right oils so that you help regulate sebum production and your sebaceous glands can have time off! This way you help your skin move toward being a more ‘normal’ skin type.

When you’re looking for a suitable moisturiser for oily skin, read the label and see what plant oils have been included.  The important thing you need to know is what to avoid, [despite what the advertising says] and what oils will actually benefit your skin.

Oils that your skin will love are those with high quantities of omega-3 fatty acids, these are thin, dry oils and quickly absorbed – Kiwi seed, Chia seed, Thistle and Rosehip are all excellent.  The oils you need to avoid or check that they’re used in very small quantities are Olive, Neem, Macadamia, Moringa, Camelina, Coconut oil, Castor oil and also products that are paraffin based or that contain a lot of emulsifiers as these too can clog pores.

You can also use clay masks but only use the masks on the parts of your face that are oily and choose green or yellow clays which are best for oily skin.

Looking after oily skin starts from the inside – what you eat is really important.

Eating lots of saturated animal fats or highly processed vegetable oils can all exacerbate oily skin problems.  Eating chocolate, sugar, fizzy drinks and junk food is the fastest way to create inflammation, alter your blood sugar levels, interfere with absorption of nutrients and disrupt your hormones!

Wise choices in what you eat and what you put on your skin will pay you back many times over.  It’s worth remembering that everything you put on your skin is absorbed, after all, that’s why hormone and nicotine patches work and everything you eat and feed your body with will be reflected in your general health which includes the health of your skin. You are what you eat!

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