Oily skin is one of the most difficult skin types to control since excess sebum creates a whole bunch of issues that take plenty of time and patience to solve. Sebum excess can be caused by both genetic and environmental or lifestyle factors, as well as our age (the skin gets dryer in time). The sebum itself is not a bad thing – it helps to protect and hydrate the skin. Yet, in the case of excess, it can cause the pores to enlarge and fill up with oil and dead skin cells. When the pore gets clogged, pimples and blackheads appear. Of course, that doesn‘t always have to be the case. Oily skin doesn‘t necessarily have to be problematic, it can just be shiny and possibly lack that glowing freshness. Either way – a well thought-through skincare routine can help the owners of oily skin achieve the results they aim for.
Step 1: Cleansing and exfoliation
When washing oily skin, it‘s important not to give in to temptation to over-wash or over-exfoliate. Harsh cleansers and soaps may dry out the skin and cause it to produce even more sebum to control the dryness and recover its protective layer. Just remember the golden rule of skincare – gentleness is a crucial part of any smart skincare routine.
If you wear makeup and/or sunscreen (and you should wear sunscreen all year round) – double cleanse. First, use a micellar water/gel or hydrophilic cleanser and take off your makeup/sunscreen. Then follow with a water-based cleanser, preferably one that can also gently exfoliate your skin. Look for ingredients that can help to deep cleanse the pores, have anti-inflammatory properties, and are not irritating. Cleansers that contain glycolic acid are a wise choice here since glycolic acid is very effective yet gentle enough not to cause irritation.
Step 2: Serum
One of the best ingredients for oily skin is niacinamide (vitamin B3), therefore a serum enriched with this powerful vitamin is a great choice not only for people with oily skin but also for anyone who wants their skin to be a little bit more matte. Niacinamide can balance the sebum production and make the pores visually smaller, it also strengthens the protective barrier, protects the skin from dehydration, fights hyperpigmentation, and is a great antioxidant. Even though we can find products with various niacinamide concentrations, according to scientific research, the optimal concentration of niacinamide is 5%.
If your skin is not only oily but you also have acne, choose serums that can help you fight acne bacteria and soothe the skin. Look for serums that are enriched with AHA, BHA, and PHA acids or willow bark extract (a natural source of salicin that is used to produce salicylic acid).
It is important not to forget that dry skin also needs hydration. Serums that combine both, actives that fight against pimples, and actives that are hydrating (such as glycerin or hyaluronic acid), can help you achieve optimal results and quench your skin’s thirst.
An important detail to remember: since most ingredients that fight acne are strong and require resilience, you should be very careful in layering them. When fighting excess oils and acne, less is always more.
Step 3: Moisturizer
MATH Scientific serums are hydrating enough to skip moisturizer but if you want that extra hydration and additional silky comfort, choose moisturizers that don‘t contain ingredients that may irritate the skin: “bad” alcohols, essential oils (especially peppermint, lavender, citrus), perfumes. Also, oily skin owners should avoid oil-based skincare products (makeup as well), unless they’re recommended by a specialist.
Step 4: Sunscreen
All types of skin need sun protection since UV radiation is not only responsible for photoaging but also for the inflammation that happens within the skin. Plus, since most of the ingredients that are meant to fight acne can make the skin more sensitive to the sun, protection is crucial. Scientific research concludes that the most effective skincare products to protect your skin from the sun, are SPF creams and lotions. They are more effective than powders or sprays. Also, it is recommended to choose products with mineral filters since they protect the skin from blue light that is radiated by the screens of our devices. An SPF cream should be reapplied a few times a day for it to remain as effective as possible.