Oily Skin? It Might Be Due to Your Lifestyle

Oily Skin? It Might Be Due to Your Lifestyle


The pesky oily skin… the most dreaded of all the skin types. Many of us have faced similar problems or had the same experiences — like pulling out our pack of blotting papers every hour to pat the sides of our nose and look in disgust as we see the patches of oil on the sheet. Or excusing ourselves to the bathroom to check that our foundation hasn’t totally run off our face and patting on some powder should any shiny spot be in sight. And the age-old joke that you could fry an egg on our foreheads given the sheer amount of oil present. It never fails to crack a laugh from all the other dry-faced people. Having oily skin sucks. 

The thing is, oily-skinned people are kind of resigned to the fact that they just didn’t win the genetic lottery. It’s genetic. I can’t do anything about it, it’s a comforting thought to tell yourself and others. It’s none of my own fault that my skin is oily, the universe just didn’t want me to have perfect skin like the rest of you. However, that’s not entirely true. While oily skin very much can be genetic, and chronic oily skin probably is a result of genes, it isn’t entirely true that we can’t do anything about our oily skin at all. There are actually many ways in which we induce our oil glands to produce more oil, and we might not even be conscious of it! So let’s look at the reasons apart from genes that could be causing your skin to be oily. Chances are, you’ll relate to at least one of these. And if you do, you’re welcome! You can now take steps towards achieving less oily skin.

1. You’re really stressed out

Stress and sebum production come hand in hand. When you are stressed, a hormone called cortisol is released to help your body respond to whatever stressful situation is at hand. Cortisol’s side effect, however, is increased sebum production. Cortisol prompts the sebaceous glands to secrete more sebum, causing an increase in oil in the skin. This is also why you tend to get more breakouts when you’re stressed, because of this increase in sebum production. When there is more oil lying on the surface of your skin, you’re more likely to get acne and breakouts, which might make you even more stressed, and lead to more oil production… and more breakouts… Unfortunately, it’s a vicious cycle and stress does have a really bad effect on the skin! Even those who don’t have naturally oily skin can see an increase in oil when they are stressed. So if you work in a high-stress environment, or have deadlines and projects coming up, you are more likely to experience increased oil on your face. Try to take it easy, and let yourself be more relaxed. It isn’t easy to not be stressed but being under constant pressure isn’t good for not just your skin, but for your well-being too! If you’re feeling the onset of stress, take a breath, and refocus yourself.

2. You’re washing your face way too much

For some of us, the sight or feel of some oil on our face is enough to send us to the bathroom to scrub it off. After all, the best way to get rid of oil is well, to get rid of it right? Not really. Unfortunately, there is a paradox when it comes to oil production and reducing oil. The sebum glands will produce oil no matter what, and they can increase oil production if receptors in the skin detect a loss of oil. So if you’re washing your face very regularly, like multiple times a day, to get rid of oil, the chances are you’re probably doing the very opposite of what you’re trying to achieve. Overwashing leads to stripping the skin of oil, and the receptors will take that as a sign that there isn’t enough oil in the skin and stimulate the glands to produce even more. So if you have been washing your face more than twice a day, it’s probably a good idea to stop and stick to just washing it twice, in the morning and at night.

3. Your diet contains too much dairy products

We all love a cuppa coffee in the morning, preferably a nice, creamy latte to start the day. We also love stuff like cheese and yogurt, and basically anything with some sort of milkiness to it. Unfortunately, dairy isn’t your skin’s best friend. Dairy contains almost 60 different hormones, including testosterone and progesterone, which are androgens, male hormones that are also responsible for increasing sebum production in the skin. If you are someone who currently drinks and consumes a lot of dairy products, it will probably be best to cut down on it. If you can’t have black coffee because the taste is just so bitter and foul, consider switching to non-dairy milk such as almond, soy, or oat milk in your coffee. It is equally yummy, has no dairy, and also fewer calories so it’s a win-win!

4. Your makeup is causing clogging in the pores

We all love that dewy, glassy skin that brands and marketers love to push at us. That healthy glow is something we all strive for, and buy whatever brand of foundation promises us a radiant complexion. However, these foundations are probably not the right ones if you have oily skin, and in fact, they could be the culprit for clogging your pores! Many foundations and concealers contain oil and that could be the reason for more oil on your face. Always check the ingredients and make sure the product is non-comedogenic and oil-free as much as possible. Try to go for matte-finish foundations too, if you have oily skin, as dewy foundations will truly just make you look like an oil slick. A lightweight foundation is always best, and you could also consider not using a full face of foundation and instead use concealer to spot-conceal instead. This will save you the trouble of applying foundation all over which can increase the chances of clogging.


Oily skin can be a result of our bad habits in daily life. It is important to make sure we are not over-stimulating our oil glands or introducing extra oil to the skin than necessary!

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