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Q: Hi Sheri,
With the warm weather already here, my skin’s oil production seems to be going into overdrive, as usual. I have tried everything in an attempt to control the shine and get rid of it, but nothing seems to work. I’m stressing out that major breakouts are not far off. What can I do to remedy this once and for all?
|A: Hi Catina,
I’m going to tell you to do a few things that are going to sound unconventional and counterintuitive.
First, I want you to embrace your oiliness and stop fighting it. Believe me, all of the mattifying lotion in the world is only going to give you an extremely short and temporary fix, and overzealous cleansing is only going to make it worse.
Second, I want you to consider yourself lucky to have this skin type. Have you ever complained to someone with dry skin about your overabundance of oil? Ever get the feeling that they want to hit you? Well, they do. Why, you ask? Because all they see is moisture, and anti-aging, and glowing, vibrant skin, while they have to deal with flaky, dry skin that likely doesn’t seem all that youthful anymore. And, to be honest, it is a lot more difficult to “cure” dry skin.
I also think it’s important for us to address the causes of oily skin. It’s pretty safe to say that overactive sebaceous glands are the result of both genetics and hormonal fluctuations. While there’s not much to be done about genetics, if your skin is really giving you a lot of trouble, I would recommend checking out the book, The Hormone Diet by Dr. Natasha Turner, ND. It’s a wealth of knowledge about all that our hormones do, and it’s really quite fascinating to learn how external and internal factors can affect the balance inside our bodies that we often take for granted (or don’t even notice).
Now, back to you and your skin. I, too, used to wrestle with oily skin, back in the ‘90’s when it was all about looking super matte and powdery. There were even times when I took a certain cosmetic company’s advice and rubbed loose powder all over my face in a circular motion. I think it was called a powder wash, and, looking back, I think I must have looked insane. I scrubbed my face raw with foaming and gritty cleansers, and used “toners” that had nothing to do with toning. There was no product for oily skin that I didn’t try. And, for some odd reason (insert sarcasm here), my skin just became more and more problematic and oily, not to mention the irritation and redness associated with using a gajillion products every day.
You see, I didn’t understand the benefits of my skin’s natural oils. I didn’t know that they offered extra protection when out in the sun and wind, and that my skin probably wouldn’t age as quickly. And I certainly didn’t expect them to make me feel more attractive by providing a “glow.” Thankfully, I finally learned that not all oils are bad, and that some are actually good for oily skin.
This is where skincare becomes very important, and, like hormones, it is a very delicate balance. When it comes to taking care of our skin, we often get excited by all of the products available to us and want to use them all. Or, we find the whole thing totally overwhelming and ignore it. Neither of these scenarios is appropriate. Overuse of products, especially those geared toward oiliness and acne-prone skin, often remove too much natural oil and cause your body to produce even more. This is not a fun cycle, and you need to address it with simple yet effective skincare.
Here’s what I recommend:
Toning: There is no need to use a harsh toner loaded with alcohol and other drying agents. Again, they can just make the problem worse. Instead, try a natural spray toner or floral water. Carry it around with you to keep your skin fresh and rejuvenated throughout the day.
Treatments: I like to use a good clay masque every week to help keep my skin clear. Natural clay treatments detoxify the skin by drawing out impurities, and they soothe inflammation and stimulate circulation, leaving skin fresh and glowing. I also recommend carrying facial blotting papers, especially during the humid summer months when oil production ramps up. Blotting papers are saviors.
So, there you have it: a very simple skincare regime that is effective and feels good to use. A few last words: Drink lots of water, eat your leafy greens, embrace a balanced diet, get enough sleep, don’t go to bed with makeup on, exercise, and try to limit stress. Sounds complicated, but it’s really not. Once you begin to treat your skin how it should be treated, you’ll find that it (and you) will be a lot happier for it.