Friday, May 1, 2015

4 Step Skin Care for Oily Skin

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Just a suggestion you can try.

so you have diagnosed yourself with oily skin? perhaps you just want to reduce the amount of oils on your T zone area?

the number 1 cause of overly oily skin is dehydrated skin (unless you have a genetic defect/hormonal imbalance/other hidden reasons that causes you to produce more than usual), just that people with oily skin have a tendency to produce oils to combat that dryness instead of letting the skin crack up and bleed. as such, you may realize that a lot of the causes of overly oily skin mirror those of dry skin.

after you've identified possible areas you can improve internally, we can speed up the rebalancing process by using the right skin care products on the outside.

a simple night time skin care routine for you would look something like this. this is just a general template, please tweak it to your needs.

1. use a face wash to get rid of all the excess oils.

cleansing is very important if you've got oily skin. for any skin care product to do its job, it has to pass through the skin barrier. sebum is a very good skin protectant as it's water resistant, it keeps the moisture within our skin to prevent excessive water loss. the same barrier will also prevent things we apply on our skin from going in, especially if it's water based.

in the initial phase when your skin is too oily, you can use a cleanser that leave your face squeaky clean.

once your skin has balanced out, a gentle cleanser is preferred so as to not strip away too much oils (which will risk triggering your body to produce more if you don't moisturizer properly after that).

2. use a toner to return the skin to a slightly acidic pH

most cleansers are slightly alkaline - especially more so if you're using soap. healthy skin is naturally slightly acidic, therefore it's important to return the skin to a slightly acidic state after washing our face. not only does it condition our face, but it also reduce the chances of our skin producing more oils due to the pH change.

japanese toners (which they call lotions) are usually loaded with hydrating ingredients such as glycerin and hyaluronic acid, which is exactly what we want, contrary to popular belief. oily skin needs all the moisture it can get too!

3. apply a lotion that is easy to absorb for some hydration

this step will be redundant if the toner you use already contains hydrating ingredients. otherwise, a light lotion is a good option to hydrate and nourish your face.

4. follow up with a facial oil or nourishing cream

don't be afraid to experiment with facial oils. if you chose the right type, it'll sink in almost immediately thanks to their smaller molecular size, and the fat loving nature (lipophilicity) of our skin.

if you're less adventurous, pick a nourishing cream that contains a good blend of oil and water.

this step is VERY IMPORTANT because we MUST return some oils to our skin after ripping them off during the washing stage.

you must be wondering why are we returning oils after removing them? this because because by applying creams/facial oils, we help the skin return to its optimal water-oil balance. our skin NEEDS SOME OILS, the trick is HOW MUCH OIL. would you rather let your skin decide that you need an excessive amount of oils because you've stripped everything away, or would you want to trick your body into thinking that the skin has enough oils so that it will produce lesser oils in the long run?

our body is one amazing machine that tries its best to maintain our body within certain limits. this is called homeostasis. the feedback loop will register a big signal to produce oils if the skin loses too much water. the reverse is true - if it registers a healthy amount of moisture in the skin, it won't try to secrete that much oils.

once you have corrected the over production of oil, you can then change your skin care that will suit your new skin type (ideally it should move towards the normal/combination direction). don't forget - skin type changes over time!

as for the morning skin care routine,

1. face wash

it will take a while for your skin to adjust to the nourishing cream you applied at night. you will realize your skin start to release lesser oils over night as time goes by.

before your skin fully reaches the stage where it stop producing so much oils, you may want to remove some oils in the morning very gently. you can do so by using lesser face wash, or letting it stay on your skin for a shorter duration. do not remove too much oils or you'll waste all the efforts you put in the previous nights! remember, the more oils you strip away from you body, the more it will try to produce.

2. tone and moisturize

you'll only need to return your skin to a slightly acidic pH only if you washed your face with soap or cleanser. otherwise, moisturize directly.

certain facial oils/creams are nourishing AND absorbs quickly. pick those for busy mornings when you are in a rush for time.

3. oil control product

if you wear makeup, priming your face with an oil control product may be useful to keep your makeup in place. what they do is to soak up some sebum in place of your make up.

if you haven't read how everything can affect oil production in our skin, make sure to check out the 4 things you should know if you have oily skin, as well as 6 possible causes of oily skin so that you can tweak this basic skin care to your needs.

i don't have oily skin personally, and the above skin care steps are only based on my theoretical understanding of how oily skin works. if this works for you, great! if not, it's time to make some changes and see what works for you! treat everything like a scientific experiment and we will be able to learn from both a failure and success.

skin care is just like make up to me, it's a journey of self exploration, discovering what works and what doesn't for ourselves. the only comforting thing to know when one thing doesn't work is that somewhere out there, something will work for you. we just have to find it.

one possible tweak to the suggested skin care routine for people working in an air-conditioned environment is this:
the surrounding is drying out your skin and leaving you looking super shiny at the end of the day. you will then need to use a more hydrating product on your face to battle that dryness in your office, instead of washing your face a few more times to get rid of that excess sebum. always treat the problem at its root!

title photo credit: trending image

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