Lifestyle Habits Causing Oily Skin

Lifestyle Habits Causing Oily Skin


Oil gets a bad rep because it’s the substance that acne and pimples are made of. However, oil and sebum are actually what keeps our skin soft and supple. However, as with all things, there’s an optimum balance and too much of something can be a bad thing. Having more oil doesn’t mean your skin will be smoother and more elastic, in fact, it probably results in having oilier skin and hence higher potential for acne and pimples! Furthermore, that oily, greasy feel on the skin is quite uncomfortable and people don’t like to feel or look too oily.  

The most instinctive way to combat oily skin is to get rid of all the excess oil. People reach for products like scrubs or those that contain drying agents that can help get rid of the excessive sebum on the skin. The best defense is offense, so usually, people with oily skin will aggressively fight the oiliness but remove the oil. Unfortunately, just as too much oil is an imbalance, removing too much oil is also creating an imbalance that can in fact result in more oil being produced! When there is too little oil in the skin, the skin will instead produce even more oil, the exact opposite of what you are trying to do! 

In fact, your lifestyle and skincare habits might be to blame for causing added oiliness! Here are 6 reasons your skin might be getting oilier:

You are overwashing your face

Washing your face is an important and necessary step in your everyday routine to cleansing off the dirt and grime accumulated throughout the day. It might seem like you should be washing your face more to remove the oil on the skin, till you can feel no more oil left on your skin. However, that’s probably a bad sign. In fact, 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.

You aren’t moisturizing enough

Since your skin is oily, you might see no need for a moisturizer since moisturizers are primarily for locking in moisture that people with dry skin lack due to a lack of oil in their skin. However, you might actually be exacerbating the oil production by skipping your moisturizer. Moisturizer essentially adds moisture to the skin by creating a barrier over the skin. By keeping moisture levels up with a moisturizer, the skin will sense a balance in oil production and hence slow down the production of sebum and oil, decreasing the oil produced.

You are using products that are clogging your pores

You should steer clear from any products that can block the oil glands, hair follicles, and pores. Breakouts occur when there is a clog in these glands, follicles, and pores, and using products that cause clogs combined with a general oiliness of the skin will lead to a higher chance of acne and pimples forming. Hence, you should check your makeup and skincare products to see that they are not comedogenic, which means they do not clog the pores. Look out for non-comedogenic products that will avoid blocking up the pores. This will definitely help control the breakouts you get in relation to your oily skin.

You are using products that dry your skin out too much

Salicylic acid is a really popular ingredient for oily skin as it helps to dry out pimples and the skin, hence removing the excess oil that you so dread. However, it is also very important that 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 use 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 are cleansing your face too aggressively

Cleansing brushes such as Clarasonics are very effective and useful at thoroughly cleaning the skin. However, this can also be a cause for overly oily skin. By cleansing your skin too aggressively, you are probably stripping the skin of more oil than you think, resulting in the opposite effect of extra oil production. Similarly, scrubbing too hard or using face scrubs that are very grainy and abrasive can lead to even more oil production. If you do own an electric cleansing brush, try cutting down on the usage to once a day or every couple of days. Save the scrubs for once or twice a week, and don’t be too aggressive, just gentle massage it to exfoliate and get rid of the dead skin cell buildup.

Your makeup is clogging your pores

Makeup products can be a big culprit in why your skin is so oily. Many makeup products, especially foundations and concealers, contain oil and hence contribute to the build-up of oiliness on your skin. The best way is to find products that are oil-free and hence will not block the pores and add even more oil.


Oily skin is a pretty tricky skin type to deal with. It all boils down to a balance, not washing or cleansing your face too much, and using targeted products to help control oil production. Since sebum production can also be caused by hormonal changes, you could also try alternatives such as prescribed birth control pills to keep the oil at bay. Remember that trying to remove oil often leads to the opposite effect, so do everything in moderation!

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