Oily skin is the result of excess sebum, which plays an important role in the health of our skin: keep it supple and waterproof and protect against bacteria, dryness, friction, and external factors. So if you want to cope with oily skin you need simply manage sebum production along with some of your daily habits.
Wash Your Face Twice a Day
Washing is the easiest way to remove excess oil from the skin. However, for oily or acne-prone skin, dermatologists recommend washing your face no more than twice a day (morning and evening). Otherwise, you dry the skin and in response, it begins to resist and produce even more sebum than it was originally.
Avoid Harsh Cleaners
Sometimes we try so hard to cope with oily skin that we choose too harsh skin care products like soaps or cleansers with sulfates or alcohol. It seems that in this way we cleanse the skin “to a squeak”. But in fact, we damage it. So sulfates disrupt the skin barrier and moisture balance, while sulfate and alcohol-containing cleaners also dry and irritate the skin. As a result, our skin again protests through the production of excess oil.
Choose Gentle Cleaners
Gentle and foaming cleanser is an excellent choice. Research has shown that this skin care cleanses pores, helps fight acne without damaging the skin barrier or compensating sebum. Even better, choose products that are labeled “non comedogenic” as they do not contain pore-clogging ingredients.
Be Sure to Drink Water
Lack of water makes our skin dehydrated and dry. That's why, just like with harsh cleaners and overwashing, our skin protests and tries to hydrate itself by producing additional oils. As soon as our body receives sufficient water levels, the sebaceous glands receive a signal from the brain that oil is no longer needed in such quantities and therefore oil production in the skin slows down.
Apply Natural Oils
It seems counter-intuitive to apply moisturizing oils on oily skin, but that's if you don't know which oils are beneficial. Grape and perilla seed oils are very light and absorb very well without leaving greasy marks and are great for acne flare-ups. Lemon oil has astringent properties and therefore narrows the large pores characteristic of oily skin and also prevents the appearance of acne.
Avoid Heavy Food
In TCM, oily skin can often be a symptom of stomach heat. This pattern appears in the body due to excessive consumption of fatty, fried, and spicy foods. The American Academy of Dermatology also claims that foods such as potato chips, french fries, donuts, burgers, sugary drinks, and alcoholic drinks stimulate sebum production and lead to acne. Therefore, try to limit their consumption as much as possible.
Lean on “Anti Oily Skin” Foods
Easily digestible and light food relieves the load on the stomach and thus expels heat from it. It includes vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains. In addition, oily skin indicates excessive dampness in the body according to TCM. Foods that eliminate dampness are radishes, pumpkins, bananas, green tea, lemon, beans, scallion, selery, garlic, and cucumbers.
Get Enough Sleep
This advice is supported by both TCM practitioners and modern science. One study has proven a direct relationship between poor sleep and acne severity. TCM says that proper sleep patterns protect us from damp-heat attacks, which we know lead to oily skin. The best time to go to bed in TCM is between 11pm and 1am. By sticking to it, you help your body detoxify and optimally reboot to wake up refreshed.
Yes, this advice is relevant regardless of skin type. But according to TCM, stress leads to dampness and heat in our body, which makes the skin oily. Moreover, it has been scientifically proven that stress promotes the production of cortisol, a hormone that triggers the production of sebum. You can't always control the factors that cause stress, but you can manage it. Meditation, yoga, sleep, walks in the fresh air will benefit your mental health and the beauty of your skin.
Wet cupping is a technique in which a skilled practitioner draws out a small amount of blood through a small incision in the skin. This ritual removes heat from the blood and body thus combating heat-related symptoms (like oily skin and acne). Besides, in TCM, acne is the result of blood stagnation caused by the same dampness and heat. Cupping, in turn, improves blood circulation and helps to eliminate toxins accumulated during dampness. The study found cupping to be a more effective acne treatment than antibiotics.
Check Your Hormones
Hormonal fluctuations is one of the main causes for excess sebum production. In addition to the stress hormone, an excess of hormones such as progesterone and testosterone can activate oil production by the sebaceous glands. Be sure to consult your physician or TCM practitioner before any treatment though.
Our body is very smart. When it shows imperfections like oily skin, it simply tells us to rethink our skincare and lifestyle patterns. We only need to listen and recognize these clues, and then healthy and beautiful skin will become the gratitude of the body for our care and attention.