What causes oily skin

Who does not want the perfect shine and radiating glow on one's skin? We all dream of healthy and glowing skin and do our best to maintain its shine and richness. But a little extra shine, what a nightmare! Does that mean having oil on the skin is not good? Actually no.

Our skin has tiny little pores. Under each pore, you will find a sebaceous gland that produces sebum, a waxy and oily substance. This sebum helps to keep the skin hydrated and prevents it from getting dry.

If these glands do not produce adequate oil, you will suffer from dry, scaly skin and have premature wrinkles. On the contrary, too much oil produced by these glands can clog the pores and results in acne and blackheads.

Does your skin produce excessive oil too? Yes? Here is why;


You may have noticed a constant shine or greasiness on your skin and use many blotting sheets a day to get rid of this oiliness. But this is not a solution. The genuine concern is, what causes oily skin? If you identify the cause, you will get a permanent solution; otherwise, you will constantly struggle with this issue, and it may lead to blackheads, pimples, and acne in the worst-case scenario. Here are some factors that cause your skin to produce excessive sebum;

Genetic Factors

Excessive sebum production is a hereditary factor, and oily skin problems run in families. It means if your mum or dad has such an issue, you are most likely to suffer too.

Hormonal Imbalance

Sudden hormonal change or imbalance in puberty, pregnancy, or menopause are also to blame for overly active sebaceous glands. Certain medications can overthrow your hormonal balance, and as a result, you start feeling your skin greasier and more oily than usual.

Tip: Have an eye on the possible side effects of your prescribed medicine on your hormones. 

Enlarged Pores

With fluctuating weight or advancing age, your skin loses elasticity, and your pores widen. Enlarged pores may produce excessive sebum.

Tip: Be cautious about blotting the facial skin with enlarged pores and keeping them clean and dust-free.

Using Wrong Skincare Products

Suppose you have mistakenly taken your mixed skin as an oily type or acted too harshly upon the temporary dryness on your skin by using heavy moisturizers and creams. In that case, you are most likely to suffer oily skin issues later on. Using products not customized for your skin is always disastrous and does more harm than good.

Tip: Before using any dry skin remedy or heavy moisturizer, know your skin type and carefully differentiate between temporary dryness due to dehydration or weather and permanent dry skin.

Avène Cleanance Mat Mattifying Emulsion Moisturiser for Oily, Blemish-prone Skin

Overdoing Your Skin With Harsh Scrubs And Cleansers

As it is said, excess of everything is bad; the same goes for your skincare routine. If you go overly ambitious and start washing and exfoliating your skin more than it needs, rather than curing, this will exaggerate your oily skin problem. What an oxymoron! 

The reason is, after getting a dry skin signal, the sebaceous glands produce more sebum to compensate for this dryness. Hence rather than solving your oily skin problem, you amplify this.

Tip: Don't over-dry your skin and use gentle skincare products such as Avène Cleanance Mat. It contains monolaurin to regulate sebum overproduction, salicylic acid to exfoliate the dead skin cells, and glycerin to keep your skin moisturized and prevent it from over-drying.

Poor Dietary Habits And Dairy Products

Research shows dairy products such as milk, butter, and cheese, due to certain hormones in them, can cause sebaceous glands to overproduce sebum. Using oily and fatty food may also result in oily skin.

Tip: Keep an eye on your nutritional habits and check if consuming particular food aggravates your skin problem.

Wearing Too Much Makeup

Caked cosmetics on the skin can clog and suffocate your pores. Sebaceous glands sense your foundation layer as a dryness signal and start producing more oil.

Tip: If you sense your oily skin problem is escalating after wearing heavy makeup, try to use makeup as little as possible.


If you avoid the reasons mentioned above that cause excessive sebum, most of your problems are solved. Moreover, the following are some tricks to get rid of excessive oil from your skin;

Wash And Cleanse Your Face Regularly

Wash your face with a gentle soap or face wash regularly to avoid clogging of pores and remove extra oil on the skin. Do not use soaps with added moisturizers, fragrances, and harsh chemicals.

If you are facing acne due to excessively oily skin, use soaps containing any of the following acids to reduce the oil production;

  • salicylic acid
  • beta-hydroxy acid
  • glycolic acid
  • benzoyl peroxide

Research proves that cleansers with a mild amount of sodium Laureth carboxylate and Alkyl carboxylates help relieve acne. If you are not suffering from acne vulgaris, glycerine soap with hot water will also help you eliminate oil from the skin. 

Apply Facial Masks

Several face masks containing natural ingredients prevent your skin from producing excessive oil. Some of the active ingredients are stated below;

Honey: The application of raw honey for 10 minutes makes your skin soft, less oily, and acne-free. Research shows honey acts as a natural antibacterial and has several medicinal purposes, including acne treatment.

Clay: It contains minerals like bentonite and smectite that safely reduce sebum levels. Please don't use it frequently to avoid your skin becoming overly dry.

Oatmeal: It contains antioxidants, anti-inflammatory substances, and saponin. These components gently clean your skin, reduce oil, and soothe irritated skin.

Use Medicated Pads And Blotting Papers

Blotting papers are thin papers, and medicated pads are cloth sheets with a cleanser. They remove extra oil from your skin. However, these products do not have any effect on the production of sebum. Regularly blotting or cleaning your skin with these helps your pores from clogging and getting infected.

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Apply Moisturizer

Aloe Vera is a natural moisturizer that prevents your skin from getting a dry signal and producing excessive sebum. You can also try Avène Cleanance Mat for its dual-action. It removes extra oil while keeping your skin moist and hydrated.

Treat Your Skin Gently

To save your skin from getting overly dry and prevent it from any irritation, please take the following precautions;

  • Limit your bath time
  • Pat your skin dry; after face wash and bath, pat your skin dry so that it can retain some of the moisture
  • Use gentle soaps
  • Avoid overuse of makeup
  • Use supplements to provide essential nutrients to your skin
  • Wax or shave your face gently

We hope this article helped you know "what causes oily skin?" and how you can save your skin from getting excessively oily.