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Oily Skin: What it is and How to Take Care of It

Oily skin refers to an oily film on the surface of the skin.

The oiliness is due to excessive production of oil by sebaceous glands or blocked pores. However, “sebum” has various functions, including protecting the skin from microorganisms and cooling down.

Oily Skin: What it is and How to Take Care of It

What is Oily Skin

Oily skin can be caused by genetic makeup or external factors such as stress level, diet, and pollution.

  • Oily skin tends to break out easily because its natural barrier is too weak.

This means that active ingredients penetrate your pores more rapidly, causing both dryness and clogged pores.

Tips to deal with Oily Skin

Skin needs daily care, but not as frequent washing; for example, do one or two cleanse per day rather than wash six times a day.

  • Do not attempt to scrub away oily patches; this will only make you feel bad about yourself instead (if you’ve tried it, you’ll understand)
  • Oily skin is often caused by excessive production of the oily substance in our skin called sebum. Sebum normally prevents your skin from drying up.
  • When kin breakouts happen, If the pores are clogged, bacteria may cause blemishes. This can lead to a vicious cycle with more oily spots and more acne.

If you feel like you need to remove excess oil on oily patches regularly (e.g., after eating oily food), splash water or use facial wipes.

Oily spots mean that the pores are clogged, which can lead to acne. Treat oily patches by gently scrubbing your face (if you have dry spots or rough texture on oily areas, use a face scrub daily). Do not get aggressive with oily patches, as this can worsen the condition of oily skin.

oily skin infographic

What Type of Products Help with Oily Skin

Acidic ingredients will help improve oily conditions because they balance off oil production through inhibition of sebum glands and thus preventing a greasy appearance. As such, it is advised against using products containing alcohol and fragrances.

  • There are effective treatments to control oily skin conditions, such as Adapalene gel, Tretinoin cream, Azelaic acid creams, etc.
  • If oily skin breakouts are really bothering you, ask your doctor for treatment. 

Oily skin looks better with matte makeup. However, oily skin can still be treated by choosing the right makeup and primers that will help mattify oily areas yet keep dryness at bay (read: oily skin makeup guide )

Those who have oily spots should avoid wearing thick foundation on oily patches as it will clog pores even more.

What is the Difference Between Zits and Pimples

Oily spots can sometimes be mistaken for zits or pimples. To identify the difference between zits (pimples) and blackheads:

Blackheads: Blackheads occur when dead skin cells mix with sebum to block pores. They look like tiny dots or small open holes in oily areas.

Zits (pimples): Zits occur due to hormonal imbalances or bacteria growing in oily skin pores. A zit forms as the acne spot becomes inflamed and appears red and swollen.  The difference between oily blackheads and oily pimples is that oily spots, although they look like a zit, do not go deep into the skin layers but sit on top of it.


Oily skin can be managed by adopting good habits such as drinking plenty of water daily for two months to flush out toxins, avoid greasy food with too much sugar, reduce stress levels through exercise, sleep well and try to go through life in as much of a relaxed mode as you can.

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