Personal Hygiene Image Gallery
Personal Hygiene Image Gallery

Keeping your skin clean is important, but choosing a gentle cleanser for oily, acne-prone skin isn't always easy. See more personal hygiene pictures.

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Dry, sensitive, oily, normal, combination -- there's a cleanser out there for every skin type. And despite what you may have experienced, cleansers for oily skin don't have to be overly drying to be great. You just need to find the right tool for the job.

Our skin naturally produces oil called sebum -- it's normal and healthy to have some oil on our skin. It's secreted from our sebaceous glands into the hair follicles (pores) near the surface of our skin, and the amount that's produced varies from person to person. An increase or change in the levels and production of certain hormones (androgens, in addition to estrogen, prolactin and glucocorticoids), as well as heredity and stress, can add to how much sebum our sebaceous glands produce. Oily skin, just like sensitive skin, needs special treatment.

The outermost layer of our skin, also known as the stratum corneum or the skin barrier, is packed full of fatty acids, and these natural oils help to keep it healthy and supple. For example, while you might assume that washing an oily face a few times a day will help remove oil and reduce acne, it can actually have the opposite effect. If you clean your skin too often, it will overcompensate by producing more oil.

So what's the right balance? Let's look at the types of cleansers available for oily skin -- which ones are good and which to avoid -- to find out.