Afternoon Grease, How to Beat It

Afternoon Grease, How to Beat It


You wake up, wash your face, and it feels nice and clean. Then you start to apply your morning skincare routine. Toner, serum, moisturizer, sunscreen. Next is makeup. Some foundation, concealer under the eyes and on a few spots, a little bit of blush… Powder the chin, forehead, and cheeks so the areas don’t get shiny. The final touch is some finishing spray to set it all off. The morning goes by and your makeup is still intact. The skin feels fine.


By midday, you start to feel a little bit of oiliness on the skin. It’s irritating but you have blotting papers and blot away the errant oily areas — nose, chin, and forehead. T-zone, pretty common to have more oil there. However, by 3 pm you can also feel the grease buildup in your cheeks, and pretty much the rest of your face. It feels like everything is clogged, and that there is a film of oil all over. It feels gross, this afternoon greasiness. 


Greasiness as the day goes by is pretty common for people, especially if you have naturally oily skin. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling, as it feels like your pores are all clogged and full of oil. It isn’t a nice picture, and the fear of pimples and acne start to set in. Greasiness is most likely to form around the nose, in the smile lines, forehead, and chin as these are the areas with the highest concentration of sebaceous glands. It is normal for there to be a thin film of oil over the skin, as that is how our skin stays soft. However, when there is too much oil that is when it becomes uncomfortable. 


If your skin is getting overly greasy there might be a few reasons why! It is probably because your sebaceous glands are overactive, and producing more oil than it should. There are many reasons that can cause this overproduction of oil, and here are some of the key reasons:

You might be washing your face excessively

Washing your face is an important and necessary step in your everyday routine to cleansing off the dirt and grime accumulated throughout the day. And it might seem like you should be washing your face more to remove the oil on the skin. However, washing your face too often can result in the skin feeling being stripped of oil, leading receptors to believe there is an underproduction of oil and hence resulting in even more production of oil to compensate for the perceived lack of oil. Your skin will instead produce even more oil from this overwashing and aggressive removal of oil. The best advice is to wash your face a maximum of twice a day in the morning to freshen your skin and remove build-up over the night, and in the evening before bed to get rid of the dirt accumulated through the day.

The exfoliators or scrubs you are using are too harsh

Exfoliating is crucial for all skin types because it helps to slough off dead skin cells and build up that might have occurred. Exfoliating will help to remove the top layer of dead skin cells that have mixed with excessive sebum on the skin surface which leads to acne such as blackheads, whiteheads, and more severe pimples. But don’t use an abrasive, rough exfoliant with grains or beads, and if you do be very gentle to massage it into your skin. Overly harsh scrubs can also cause overproduction of oil as the skin feels too stripped of its natural oil. Opt for gentler exfoliants such as a soft washcloth or you can also try a retinoid to chemically remove these dead skin cells.

Your skincare products contain overly drying ingredients

Salicylic acid is a very popular ingredient for oily skin as it helps to dry out pimples and the skin and removes the excess oil. However, salicylic acid can overly dry out the skin. Similarly to over washing the skin, your skin receptors might instead produce more oil to combat the perceived lack of oil due to the drying properties of salicylic acid. If you are using salicylic acid in more than one product, such as toner, pads, cleansers, and spot treatments, you might want to cut down on it and just choose one. It is most effective as a spot treatment, as using it all over your skin can cause the aforementioned overdrying and hence extra oil production. Using it only in your spots can effectively dry out the acne area without stripping the rest of the skin.

You’re skipping moisturizer

Using moisturizer might seem counterintuitive for those with oily skin. Isn’t the point of moisturizer to add moisture AKA oil to the skin? Why do I need it? The goal of moisturizer is primarily to seal in moisture and water by creating a barrier over the skin. Even if your skin is oily, you still need that protective barrier to prevent moisture from escaping, otherwise, your skin might become a combination of dry and oily. Go for a lightweight water-based moisturizer that isn’t too thick or heavy as that too can clog the pores. You can also double up with an intense serum to impart lots of water and hydration into the skin, then sealing it over with a lightweight water-based moisturizer.

Your makeup products could be to blame

Check your makeup products to ensure they are non-comedogenic, which means they will not clog up your pores. Many makeup products, especially base makeup like foundation and concealers, often have oil to give it the slip and slide to apply on your face. Choose oil-free bases and pick a mattifying finish instead of a dewy or shiny one. A foundation with too much shine or dew can lead to pronounced greasiness. Carry a compact powder with you during the day so you can mattify your skin as the day goes by. This will help soak up the oil and reduce the look of greasiness.


Afternoon greasy skin can be caused by many reasons, not just oily skin! So pick the right products and check the ingredient lists before purchasing. These little steps will help you reduce the greasy afternoon look!

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