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Quick Tips: How to Cleanse Oily Skin

For some people, oily skin comes and goes. For others, it's a fact of everyday life. The teenage years can cause a spike in oil production, as can hormonal changes, such as those brought about by pregnancy and menopause. But hormonal changes aren't the only cause. Factors as varied as humidity and exposure to cigarette smoke can also affect the oiliness of your skin.

The benefit of oily skin is that it keeps skin looking young. The disadvantages can include everything from a tendency toward acne to large pores and a T-zone that makes it hard for makeup to stick.

When it comes to cleansing oily skin effectively, you don't need expensive products. Drugstore brands work just as well as pricier picks, according to dermatologists, who recommend products free of waxes and oils.

You may be tempted to use hot water and harsh products to strip away oils, but that's the opposite of what works to keep oiliness at bay. When your skin senses that you're drying it out, it goes into overdrive to produce even more oil to balance things out. You can't game the system that way. Use warm water and a gentle cleanser even though it seems counterintuitive.

Another myth that won't serve you well: Scrubbing is the best method to clean oily skin. Scrubbing does the same think that scalding water does -- triggers the oil glands to increase oil production. A weekly deep-clean is a good idea, however. Try an exfoliating wash containing oatmeal and a clay mask. Toner is only needed for people with very oily skin, and it only needs to be used once a week. While many people drop a lot of money at spas on facials and microdermabrasion, the resulting softness is temporary -- and in 80 percent of people, these treatments cause breakouts [source: WebMD].

If cleansing isn't cutting it ("it" being excess oil), topical creams may be able to help. Your best option is to talk to a dermatologist, who can help you identify areas for improvement in your skin care routine and make recommendations about products. He or she may even suggest prescription treatments if you need them.

Many people flock to day spas to rid their skin of impurities through pricey treatments like facials and microdermabrasion. Although skin may temporarily feel softer, the benefits of these treatments end there. These treatments only clean off the top layer of skin and even result in breakouts for a whopping 80 percent of people [source: WebMD]!