OILY SKIN produces more than its fair share of oil. Too much oil means enlarged pores and often some blackheads, bumps or breakouts. You probably have some shine and are looking to mattify. A top priority is to keep skin clean so oil can't build up, clog pores and lead to breakouts. The temptation is to get a bit too aggressive with your efforts. Try for consistency in your routine instead of intensity.
Three basics are the backbone of any daily routine.
Gels are a favorite for oily skin. You want to take dirt + extra oil build up off and potentially clog pores – without removing the layer of good, natural oils you need. Overly harsh cleansers can do more harm than good by stripping away the protective top layer skin needs to stay hydrated and keep inflammation away – so avoid sulphates and regular bar soaps.
You many not feel the need to lotion-up if your skin is oily, which makes sense because you have all the oil you need. Your skin can still use the hydration and nutrients. Hyaluronic acid and glycerin are great oil-free options for drawing water into the skin. Plant oils high in the essential fatty acid linoleic acid (sunflower, safflower, sea buckthorn, rosehip) give skin important ingredients it needs to function well, and has been shown to help with acne. Shea butter is the plant butter to use if you need serious hydration or have inflammation, irritation or redness. (Avoid coconut oil and cocoa butter, common pore clogging culprits).
Every. Single. Morning. Zinc oxide sunscreens give the best protection. Use one daily to hugely decrease cancer risk, and prevent the routine UV damage that shows up as wrinkles later on. Even if its cloudy or you'll mostly be inside.
Your Best Extras
Hallmarks of oily skin are shine and enlarged pores. Blackheads or acne can happen. Acne might bring redness and inflammation. As much as you feel your skin is the complete opposite of dry, even oily skin can get dehydrated (alcohol, harsh products, plane travel). Whatever your situation is, we've got the fix.
Breakouts and Blackheads
Oat, chamomile, comfrey – and the actives derived from them – beta-glucan, bisabolol, and allantoin are a few of the better known anti-inflammatories for calming inflammation and redness.
Wind-whipped, sun-soaked or dehydrated by indoor heating? Glycerin and hyaluronic acid are great for giving a boost to dehydrated skin. For full-face dryness, try a pore-safe lotion for a few days (or as long as you need it). Apply quickly after washing to keep moisture from evaporating away.
After our 20s, skin starts to change in a few ways:
- The cycle of new skin cells coming to the surface slows, and older dead skin cells hang on longer (creating dullness)
- Skin gets drier
- Skin makes less collagen, an important skin building block that gives skin structure and support
What your skin needs now is exfoliation, hydration and all the collagen it can get.
Alpha hydroxy acids (such as glycolic and lactic acid) are exceptional multi-taskers: exfoliating, brightening, hydrating and collagen boosting. They helps skin tone and texture, for a smoother look and less visible pores. AHAs cut down dead skin cell build up which can contribute to acne (yep, acne can still be an issue in your 30s and beyond). Add salicylic if blackheads are a top concern. Super sensitive? Jojoba's for you.
Skin may become less oily as time goes on and what you like in a moisturizer may change. Blackheads still need to be kept in check, though, so keep pore-safe choices like shea butter and plant oils high in linoleic acid at the top of your shopping list. Hyaluronic acid and glycerin draw moisture into skin, and can plump and soften the look of fine lines. AHA is another way to boost moisture.
Retinol (coming soon!), alpha-hydroxy acids and antioxidants are top collagen helpers for the 30+ crowd. Along with sunscreen, antioxidants help stop UV light and pollution from destroying the finite supply of collagen you've got (think green tea, carotenoids, Vitamin C).