Oily, acne prone skin is a really challenging skin care need that millions of us face each year. Managing oily skin and its many associated issues year-round can be a challenge, but with your dermatologist’s help, you’re far from alone.
The oil that our skin produces is called sebum. Produced by the sebaceous glands that are themselves contained within hair follicles, sebum is a major component of our skin’s healthy barrier against water and other environmental factors. But too much of a good thing is a bad thing in the case of sebum. When our skin produces too much oil, it runs the risk of accumulating in the pores themselves. When excess oil mixes with the dirt and dead skin that builds up on its surface throughout the day, it can block our pores. Blocked pores keep producing oil and form the whiteheads or blackheads that we know as acne. While it’s not always a direct correlation, generally speaking, the oilier your skin, the more acne you’re likely to have. Acne is an inflammatory condition that can negatively impact our self esteem and self worth. It’s unsightly, and many people have trouble coping with how it affects their appearance. Besides that, acne can also cause other problems like skin infections or long-term scarring. Regardless of how you feel about your oily skin and acne, you’re looking to make it better, right? Here are some of our best tips for managing oily skin year round.
We mean it when we say that acne and excessive oil is a concern year-round. In the winter, when many people are struggling with dry skin, acne prone people will have to balance dryness and oiliness. Even the most oily skin might feel the burn of that cold winter air. If that’s the case, opt for a moisturizer that’s a bit heavier. It’s very important to adapt your skincare routine to the season you’re in, and that’s especially true if you have acne. In the summer, with humidity being much higher in the warm air, you’re not going to need as much in terms of moisturizer. You may need to seriously dial it back as things heat up. Pay attention to the products you use and only use non-comedogenic products. These are cosmetics that are designed to be pore safe, meaning they won’t contribute to clogging. Make sure to take extra care to cleanse but not over-cleanse your skin during the summer months as sweat and dust can be especially intense.
There are some other common oil-producing things we can avoid to keep our skin manageable. If you’re not already aware of this common trigger, stop using oil-based cosmetic products. These exist for people with very dry skin types and are not right for you. They will only make matters worse. Another big acne trigger is your diet. Some of the links between food and acne are not well understood yet, but here are some things you’re better off avoiding if possible. Milk, especially skim milk, is linked with acne. It is believed to be related to the hormones contained within it interfering with our own hormones. Foods that are high in sugar or carbohydrates are also linked to acne because they raise our blood sugar. When that happens, hormones responsible for oil production may be produced in higher quantities. People associate oily, fast food and chips with acne, but it’s not the oil that causes acne. Cooking oil doesn’t have the same effect as sebum does on our skin when it’s ingested, so oily foods won’t themselves cause it. If these foods are high in carbs or sugar however (and they often are), then you’re going to see acne for that reason, not because of how it was cooked.
Acne is common in teens because oil production is in part caused by rushes of hormones. These hormones are not something we can control in our teen years or while pregnant, for example. There are certain aspects of our lives that are beyond our grasp, and hormones are one of them. They’re usually doing exactly what they should be doing, and while they’re not fun, they’re there for a reason. You can treat the acne itself, even if you can’t (and shouldn’t) try to interfere with the hormones that are working behind the scenes.
Oily skin doesn’t have to stop you from living your life. Get a handle on your acne and oily skin year round with a little help from the people at Northeast Dermatology Associates.
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