Having oily skin is a condition that can affect a lot of men. But, it isn't all bad. Skin that can look oily or greasy is because of an overactive production of sebum, an oily substance that helps stop your skin from drying out. Men need to artfully control this production so as not to scare it into overdrive without going too far the other way and drying the skin out.
It might sound difficult, which is why we are here to guide you through these choppy grooming waters with some helpful tips. If you can help identify the reason why your skin produces the levels of sebum it does, then you can build a skincare regime to combat it.
Sounds like a good place to start.
As we mentioned, oily skin can be a result of an overproduction of sebum. This oily substance comes from the sebaceous gland which is typically attached to hair follicles.
A sebaceous gland naturally moisturises your skin and is found everywhere apart from the palms of your hands and soles of your feet. This gland produces more sebum with age and then starts to slow down as we get to later in life.
The key question though, is why does one guy produce more sebum than another?
Unfortunately, it could just be down to your genetics. If either of your parents has faced this skin issue then there is a good chance you will too.
Dihydrotestosterone is a hormone derived from your testosterone (the sex hormone) and is a major factor for oily skin. If you ever had breakouts during puberty you know exactly what we mean. DHT forces your skin to produce more sebum.
Yes, the way you are treating your skin now could be having a detrimental effect. Sebum is looking to protect your skin, so if you are damaging it with harsh chemicals or scrubbing too much then oily skin will be the result.
Skin is the human body's largest organ and needs to be cared for. Being rough with it and stripping your skin of the natural oils it needs to look its best is will trigger an injury response and send the sebaceous gland into overdrive.
Now we know a little more about why our skin produces sebum we can start to adapt our skincare regime to control our oily skin. The below guide includes tips as well keep alterations to how we care for our skin on a daily basis to try and work with the sebaceous gland for optimum skin.
Using water that is too hot on oily skin can sometimes make the problem worse. It can end up stimulating more production from the sebaceous gland and thus creating more oily patches.
Hot water will trigger a defence mode in our bodies as it thinks the skin is under attack and therefore will produce more sebum to try to protect and nourish the skin.
Shave gels tend to dry out the skin in comparison to creams and foams. This can be a good thing if you are prone to oily skin. But, use it in conjunction with a moisturiser to rehydrate the skin and keep it looking fresh post-shave. Remember this is about balance, our skin is unique and we need to work with its quirks.
Oily skin is not a sign of overhydration, so don't stop using moisturiser. It is about choosing the right type of moisturiser instead. An oil-free moisturiser using natural ingredients will keep your skin looking hydrated without exasperating the problem.
If you have combination skin and your oily areas are the forehead and nose then only apply the oil-free moisturiser to these parts of the face (the t-zone). You can always use another product for the rest of your face.
Washing your face too many times during the day can lead to irritation and redness. The production of sebum to lubricate the face is a defence mechanism for irritation. So the fewer irritants men can inflict on their faces the better.
Overproduction of sebum can come from blocked pores. Prevent these by exfoliating twice a week. A good exfoliate will remove the top layer of skin and any dead cells, a core reason for blocked pores.
A face mask, used a couple of times a week is a great way to get some nutrients and antioxidants into the skin. Along with exfoliating, it will help unclog those blocked pores so your skin can breathe again. Look for a clay-based version which will help remove excess grease and grime at the same time.
Stress is a surefire way to increase hormone levels and get those glands working over time as a rise in hormones means more oil production. Take to time to realign your work-life balance and introduce ways to relieve tension.
The devil makes work for idle hands and this can be detrimental to your skin. In the inevitable case of a breakout try not to prod and poke your skin. If at the end of the day you notice a build-up of oil on the surface then use a toner pad to clear away the excess and not your fingers.