How to know if you have dry or oily skin
The most effective way to learn about your complexion and skin type is to analyse it. You don’t need any fancy tools or experience, you are the best person to understand your skin type and how it appears day to day.
Top tips to know about different skin types:
- Oily skin or combination complexion appears shinier, may have big pores and feels smooth
- Dry or sensitive skin tends to feel tight after washing, looks red or has wrinkles when you gently pinch it
- Some people have different skin types in various areas of the face of the body. It’s common to have an oily T-zone - the forehead, nose and chin - and normal or dry skin on the cheeks.
One way to know what your skin type is to examine your face. Dab your face with a tissue, without makeup or products on it, and is the tissue oily or shiny? Then wash your face with a gentle cleanser and wait 30 minutes and try it again. Also, look at your skin in the mirror, how does it appear? If the tissue or blotting paper appears shiny then that area is oily. Also, oily skin types typically notice their skin feels cleaner and smoother after washing, whereas dry or sensitive skin may feel tight.
It’s important to examine your face a few hours after, as it’s normal for oily skin to produce oil later on and throughout the day. So, right after cleansing may not be the best test results, instead, check once or twice more a few hours later.
However, if you don’t notice any tightness or oil, then you likely have a normal skin type. Also, oily skin types do not necessarily have acne or blemishes, and the same for acne-prone skin. Although, they can go hand-in-hand as the built-up oil and dirt lead to more spots.
Pore size is also another good indicator, so take a look in the mirror and see if your skin appears shiny in certain areas or if the pores appear larger in the T-zone or the cheeks.MORE: What is shea butter made from and what is it good for?
What causes oily skin and what does it look like?
"Why is my skin so oily all of a sudden?"
There isn’t one answer to why skin is oily all of a sudden, or if you’ve noticed it’s been a problem for some time. There are various factors for oily skin, with some reasons being stress, genetics, humidity and fluctuating hormones. You may find that your skin changes depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle or at particular times of the month.
Also, if you use the wrong skin care products, say ones that are harsh and cause dry and tight skin, then your complexion is going to work in overdrive to combat that feeling and produce more oils. Therefore product testing and listening to what your skin is telling you is just as important as trying to get a quick fix.
Then there is the time of the year too, in warmer weather, the temperature is hotter and you may sweat and makeup can affect oil production. You’ll generally appear shinier in spring and summer due to the seasons, compared to winter and fall or autumn, where the cold weather can cause the skin to feel dry.
But there is no way to get rid of oil production forever for skin types, every person’s skin produces oil, it’s how the complexion works. Sebaceous glands produce sebum, which is an oily or waxy substance. It does this to moisturise and protect your skin from impurities and other outside properties. Although, some people see their glands produce more sebum than others which can lead to having an oily skin type.
How to get rid, prevent and fix of oily skin
Try our vegan soap infused with bentonite clay to combat oily and acne-prone skin.
An effective way to get rid of or fix oily skin is to cleanse morning and night with suitable facial soap washes - but nothing will get rid of oily skin forever. It’s just the way your body produces oil, and there is no quick fix either. Washing and looking after your complexion and using formulas that you know are good for you will help.
Apply a gentle or mild facial cleanser with warm water and look for products with glycolic acid - which helps to smooth texture - salicylic acid - which aids in cleansing pores and blemishes. Trying out different products with these ingredients for 3-4 weeks will help determine if it’s the right fit for you and helps.
Avoid over-moisturising or using thick and rich creams. One misconception is to not use moisturiser altogether, but every skin type needs to be nourished and moisturised. And if your skin is feeling tight and dry, it could lead to more oil production. Instead, try lightweight creams, or water-based moisturisers.MORE: What is a lip scrub? How to make a DIY homemade sugar scrub
How to reduce and treat oily skin
If you want oily skin to appear less shiny throughout the day, you can use tissue or blotting paper. Press the paper against problem areas of your face throughout the day, for around 15 seconds and gently remove it. The oil, dirt and sebum will stick to the oil and your face will appear less greasy.
Also, try not to use too many products at once to tackle oil production. Stick to a simple, yet effective, regime. You can try out various formulas once a month at a time, to give your face time to get used to a product and you can analyse if it works well for you. Trying out products for only a day or a matter of days won’t allow you time to fully examine if it combats your problem areas.
Avoid soaps with harsh chemicals or alcohol, and try gentle and mild cleansers. Not only that but what you put in the inside is just as important. Staying hydrated and drinking lots of water helps to nourish the skin and keep it hydrated - and allows you to use fewer products on the surface.
What hormone causes oily skin?
Generally, the fluctuation of hormones throughout the month can affect skin and oil production. There won’t necessarily be just one that is the root cause of the problem, and hormones work with each other for various reasons, so you can’t reduce or stop a certain hormone altogether in the body. It’s believed androgens can affect oil production for skin types and increase sebum production. Androgens work with other hormones throughout puberty, before menstruation, pregnancy and the menopause. It’s always present and some people who have hormone deficiency or issues, or a condition like Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) may have more androgens than others, leading to more oil production.
But it’s important to emphasise that oil production is caused by a long list of factors, from the cleansers we use on our skin, genetics, hormones and to even the weather - so one hormone won’t be the sole reason. Understanding how our skin behaves in different scenarios and times of day and year will help you know what you need to prevent it.
What to do about oily skin? What products to use on oily skin?
Effective ways to combat oily skin are to wash regularly, morning and night with a mild cleanser and to pat the skin dry. Use a toner - alcohol-free - and moisturise with a water-based formula. Try using blotting papers throughout the day to reduce the amount of oil on the face and avoid stripping the skin of its natural oils or it’ll go into overdrive and produce more oil.MORE: How does antibacterial soap work and is it better than normal soap?
How to remove oily skin naturally?
There are lots of things you can try to remove the amount of oil production in your skin naturally. The first step is to look at the items you use as part of your skincare routine. Cleanse with gentle and mild face washes, and limit products with high alcohol content. Try using items with salicylic or glycolic acid, and use blotting papers or tissue to reduce the appearance of oil throughout the day.
Continue to moisturise, but avoid oil or thick creams and instead pick up water-based moisturisers. Ensure you drink enough water and stay hydrated and listen to your skin throughout the year - say during hotter months and winter and how it behaves.
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