Oily Skin Overview

Oily Skin Care

You can't prevent your sebaceous glands from producing oil, but that doesn't mean you have to walk around with a shiny face either. Oily skin can be controlled -- you just have to learn how to do it. By making a few small changes to your daily skin care routine and avoiding some common mistakes, you can take control of your oily skin.

If you have oily skin, it may seem like a good idea to wash your face more often, but this could just make matters worse. When your skin is irritated, your body's natural reaction is to produce more oil, so if you start washing too much, your skin will dry out and your sebaceous glands will go into overdrive [source: Bouchez]. The same thing can occur if you use harsh cleansers that strip oil from your skin, so use a mild oil-free cleanser and gently wash your face no more than twice a day[source: Lehrer]. After cleansing, use an astringent or toner that contains alcohol to help remove excess oil [source: Bouchez].

If over-the-counter cleansers and toners aren't giving you the desired results, talk to you dermatologist. Prescription treatments for oily skin come in the form of topical solutions and oral drugs, and Retin A, Differin and Accutane are some of the most commonly prescribed medications [source: Bouchez].

Check out the links below for more information on oily skin.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • Advanced Dermatology, P.C. "Large Pores: Surprisingly common facial problem." September 22, 2009. (Accessed 10/06/2009)http://www.advanceddermatologypc.com/news/?p=320
  • Balch, Phyllis A. "Prescription for nutritional healing." Google Books. 2006. (Accessed 10/06/2009)http://books.google.com/books?id=2s_q2y_J3rwC&pg=PA603&dq=oily+skin&client=safari#v=onepage&q=oily%20skin&f=false
  • Benabio, Jeffrey MD, FAAD. "20 Interesting Facts About Skin." The Dermatology Blog. February 6, 2008. (Accessed 10/06/2009)http://thedermblog.com/2008/02/06/20-interesting-facts-about-skin/
  • Bouchez, Colette. "Oily Skin: Solutions That Work - No Matter What Your Age." WebMD. October 19, 2007. (Accessed 10/06/2009)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/oily-skin-solutions-that-work
  • Gordon M.D., Marsha & Alice E. Fugate. "The complete idiot's guide to beautiful skin." Google Books. 1998. (Accessed 10/06/2009)http://books.google.com/books?id=nE0bz0HYOogC&pg=PA29&dq=oil+skin+pores+sebum#v=onepage&q=sebum&f=false
  • Lehrer M.D., Michael. "Oily skin." Medline Plus. October 28, 2008. (Accessed 10/06/2009)http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/002043.htm
  • Reader's Digest. "1,801 Home Remedies: Trustworthy Treatments for Everyday Health Problems." Google Books. 2004. (Accessed 10/06/2009)http://books.google.com/books?id=2vUVoa8as5sC&pg=PA297&dq=oily+skin&client=safari#v=onepage&q=oily%20skin&f=false
  • Poirot, Lissa. "A Wrinkle in Time: Preventing Damage to Aging Skin." (Accessed 10/22/09)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/features/how-life-affects-aging-skin
  • Roh, M., M. Han, D. Kim & K. Chung. "Sebum Output as a Factor Contributing to the Size of Facial Pores." January 23, 2007. (Accessed 10/06/2009)http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/550465
  • University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics. "Winter Dry Skin." 2005. (Accessed 10/06/2009)http://www.uihealthcare.com/topics/skinhealth/winterskin.html
  • Vinakmens, Kristen. "Myths and truths about your pores." Best Health Magazine. August 2009. (Accessed 10/06/2009)http://besthealthmag.ca/look-great/skin/myths-and-truths-about-your-pores
  • WebMD. "The Mind-Skin Connection." (Accessed 10/22/09)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/effects-of-stress-on-your-skin
  • WebMD. "Understanding Acne: The Basics." (Accessed 10/22/09)http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/understanding-acne-basics

More to Explore