Your Guide to Combating Oily Skin

Janell M. Hickman
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More than just a daily annoyance, oily skin can lead to unsightly whiteheads, blackheads—and even makeup landslides. But how do you transform skin that’s as slick as a skating rink to something more manageable? Aggressive treatments can often result in lackluster (or reverse results), so buyer beware! We’ve consulted the experts to give us the lowdown on getting skin that glows not shines.

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Know Your Skin Type
“Oily skin is usually accompanied by an increase in pore size, a shiny complexion and a tendency toward blackheads, whiteheads and pimples,” shares Clinique’s Guiding Dermatologist, Dr. David Orentreich. “Combination skin has areas with characteristics of oily skin, but with other areas that look and/or feel dry and flaky—often due to the presence of common dermatitis.”

Oil Does Not Mean Acne
“[Oily and acne] does not go hand in hand,” explains Dr. Fredric Brandt. “However, if you irritate your skin due to frequent washing, then you may experience increased oil production [which can lead to acne].” Dr.Orentreich agrees, “Believe it or not, cleanliness or dirt doesn’t result in blemishes—overactive sebaceous glands do. Skin should be cleanse twice a day with a mild soap (like Clinique’s version), patted dry and treated with appropriate medication.”

Choose Your Face Wash Wisely
“Harsh cleansers actually can over dry the skin, causing the oil production to be ‘turned on’ to protect skin from over drying,” explains Anna Prilutsky, Senior Director Global Skincare Franchise R&D, Johnson & Johnson. “This creates somewhat of a cycle, so it is important to choose the facial cleanser wisely. I’d suggest using a mild cleanser twice daily like  CLEAN & CLEAR MORNING BURST Facial Cleanser or CLEAN & CLEAR NIGHT RELAXING DEEP CLEANING FACE WASH.”

Switch Up Your Routine
“Oily skin can still be dehydrated,” explains Dr. Orentreich. “This is what we refer to as the ‘oil-well in the dessert system’. Though sebum may be plentiful, the surrounding skin may be dry. Using drying products, harsh scrubs, rough cleansing brushes, toners, alcohol-based products and certain prescription drugs (like Retin-A) can contribute to dry skin. Clinique has developed an effective system of specific over-the-counter anti-blemish products with salicylic acid to help clear and prevent breakouts without over drying skin.”

Opt for Gel Moisturizers (and Primers)
“A gel is not going to as hydrating as a cream, but is much better for oily skin because they lack ingredients that clog pores,” explains Dr. Fredric Brandt. “My pores no more pore refiner primer is the perfect canvas for long-lasting makeup and well-preserved skin. It absorbs excess oil, minimizes pores, blurs fine lines, and is resistant to sweat and humidity.”

Oil-Free Isn’t What It’s Cracked Up to Be
“Using an oil-free moisturizer does not ensure that your pores will stay clear since pores may clog from your own oil production,” explains Dr. Orentreich. “A certain amount of oil is naturally produced by the skin, but excess oil can cause pimples and acne flare ups. However, using an oil-free option ensures that no comedogenic ingredients are added to the skin’s surface to assist in pore clogging.” He recommends the 3 Step System to keep skin clean—while keeping bacteria to a minimum.

Scale Back On Toner and/or Astringent
“These may feel really good on skin short term, but certain alcohol based toners and astringents may over dry skin and in turn increase sebum/oil production,” warns Prilutsky. “Within a few hours you feel oil returning. I’d suggest CLEAN & CLEAR ESSENTIALS Deep Cleaning Astringent as an alternative to drying options.”

However, There Are Perks
“Oily skin can look smoother and may appear to have fewer lines and/or wrinkles,” shares Dr. Orentreich. “It can also appear to have a natural ‘glow’ and feels softer. Additionally, oily skin is better protected against the elements—the dermis can be thicker and holds moisture better.”

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