Keeping oily skin healthy and shine-free can be challenging, especially during the summer. Higher temperatures exacerbate sebum production, making it so that even people with dry or normal skin experience a little extra shine, especially on forehead, nose, and chin (also known as the T-zone). Getting rid of all the oil is simply not possible (nor is it healthy, since sebum is meant to lubricate the skin and protect it). However, there are a few things that can effectively help to contain the shine, keeping the skin clear and healthy.
1. Alter Your Diet a Bit
While more research is needed to determine how much diet influences sebum production, studies suggest that certain food may increase it. Dairy products are considered some of the worst offenders due to their hormone content, which can boost sebum secretion by as much as 60 percent.
Reducing or eliminating dairy products from your diet may help in reducing the amount of sebum secreted by your skin, preventing your pores from getting clogged and forming pimples.
2. Use the Right Type of Cleanser
Cleansing the skin is very important for all skin types, but for people with oily skin is critical, especially during the summer. Sweat and excess sebum can transform the skin into a breeding ground for bacteria. Proper cleansing of the skin removes excess sebum, sweat, dead skin cells and dirt, preventing them from clogging your pores and causing breakouts.
Cleanse your face twice a day (morning and evening). You should also cleanse your skin after working out. Do not rely on face wipes as a method of cleansing because they do not remove all dirt and sweat properly, and they often contain harsh, drying ingredients. Use a gentle, water-soluble cleanser and rinse with clean water. The cleanser should come off completely leaving no residue on the skin. Any residue left on the skin could clog the pores and cause pimples to form. Product residue also prevents serums and moisturizers from penetrating the skin. My personal favorite cleanser for summer is Yüli's Halcyon Cleanser.
Unfortunately, many cleansers labeled as "best for oily skin" contain harsh ingredients that tend to strip the skin of all the oil. Although the feeling of squeaky-clean skin can be relieving to someone with very oily skin, these type of cleansers irritate the skin. The lack of oil may also encourage the skin to compensate by producing more sebum. Harsh ingredients that should be avoided include: surfactants (such as SLS), alcohol and fragrance.
3. Exfoliate Regularly
Routinely exfoliating the skin removes the build up of dead skin cells on your skin, which would otherwise clog your pores and lead to breakouts. Oily skin tends to have slower rate of shedding dead skin cells, so exfoliation is very useful for keeping the skin clear.
Ideally, you should exfoliate two to three times a week using a gentle product that does not irritate the skin. After exfoliating, you should always use products that moisturize the skin and protect it from the UV rays, as the skin becomes more vulnerable to sun damage.
Most dermatologists recommend using exfoliating products containing BHA (Beta Hydroxy Acid). I like the Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting BHA Liquid Exfoliant, which helps to get rid of dead skin and unclog the pores.
4. Prep With a Primer
One very annoying aspect about oily skin is how poorly it holds makeup because the sebum makes any product slide around and look greasy. If you habitually wear makeup, make sure to include a foundation primer in your routine. Most primers contain oil-absorbing ingredients, such as silica, and smoothing ingredients, like silicone, which help to create the perfect base for your makeup.
A foundation primer should be the first step in your makeup routine, after your skin care routine is complete and before applying any face makeup. The oil-absorbing properties of the face primer help the makeup last longer and better, and help to prevent your skin from getting extra shiny. A few of the highest rated makeup primers include the Hourglass Veil Mineral Primer, the Too Faced Primed and Poreless Skin Smoothing Face Primer, and the Urban Decay Pore Perfecting Primer Potion.
5. Blot, Blot and Blot Some More
The quickest, most effective way to eliminate excess oil from your skin throughout the day is to blot. Many beauty brands make blotting sheets, which are extra thin, highly absorbent papers that remove excess oil without disturbing your makeup (if you're wearing any), and without irritating the skin. They come in compact packs that can be conveniently carried in your purse or stowed in your desk. The highest rated blotting papers on the market are the Tatcha Aburatorigami Beauty Papers.