As someone who suffers from acne and oily skin I was constantly being told that the only way to simultaneously defeat both is to strip my skin of moisture so that I can dry the acne and oil. My stupid and misinformed self listened to this advise without realizing the repercussions. Of course at the time I thought it was logical to dry out my skin. It was even like basic math!
Oily skin + stripping washes and serums= no oil. And a happy me!
Why: I cannot stress the importance of maintaining your skins moisture levels! Even with oily skin, it is important to maintain moisture levels so that the ph is not thrown out of whack. Even more, stripping the skin causes your body to produce more oil which in turn causes more acne.
Needless to say I was on a merry-go-round of sucking my pores dry and oil slicks, which in turn aggravated my skin, causing it to become red and flaky, dry in some areas and disgustingly oily in most others. I remember when I could wipe my face with a napkin and see oil and flakes of skin on it. ewwwww. Unfortunately it took just a little too long for me to realize that this was the culprit that was perpetuating my acne and making me feel like I was losing the battle for clear and healthy skin.
I know it seems tempting for us oily skin types to want to dry out our skin, and its even hard to break the habit, but I can promise you that this is a habit worth quitting! Our bodies are made to regulate themselves, basic science, and when we strip our skin of moisture and nutrients our bodies try to overcompensate for it, therefore producing more oil in an attempt to regulate it.
What you can do:
- Opt for gentle cleansers: Cleansers are used to gently clean the skin, and if used aggressively it can aggravate the skin causing acne, irritation, and redness
- Use a Witch Hazel Toner: Witch Hazel is strong enough to clean the skin but gentle enough to not strip it. It has calming properties to lessen the aggravation and also helps bring the ph levels back to normal
- Moisturize: Yup! I mean it! Add a light weight moisturizer to your skin after cleansing and toning. This will help your skin maintain its elasticity and moisture levels so your skin does not produce more oil. Additionally moisturizing can reduce irritation as long as you do not rub it on.
- Translucent powder/Blotting paper: This is a step that can definitely help throughout the day. Although it is purely optional, I found that this can really help with oil throughout the day, especially the hot and humid ones. On summer days heat does cause your body temperature to rise which stimulates sweat production to cool off the body. This is normal and natural, but an easy fix!
- Facial Mists: I use this exclusively for summer when my body gets hot. I spray my face with a face mist that is oily/acne skin type specific to cool it off and to add some additional acne fighting benefits.
- Milk of Magnesium
No matter what skin type you have, an SPF should be worn to prevent pigmentation. I will go over the importance of an SPF in another blog post, but I used to never wear it and now I do it religiously! An SPF of 15 or above is all you need! Do be aware of the ingredients though, since some may cause breakouts. I will post recommendations for facial SPF’s in my next post.
Since I know there are an overwhelming amount of products being sold, I have added my personal favorite and trusted brands for you to try!
- Cleanser: Just Natural Skincare Acne Face & Body Wash, Acne.org Cleanser, PanOxyl, Noxema
- Witch Hazel: TN Dickinson’s Brand or Generic
- Moisturizer: Clinique Moisture Surge (you can get a sample from Clinique), Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing GEL, Belif Hydra Sebum Control Essence or Belif Oil Control Moisturizer. Some moisturizers also include an SPF *An Essence is a liquid/water formula the dries quickly*
- Supergoop Defense Refresh Mist,The FaceShop Bee Venom Mist *If you are allergic to bee stings do not use!
SPF: Clinique, Neutrogena Healthy Defense, Clear Skin SPF.
I hope this helps clarify why you should not strip your skin and the importance of maintaining your skin’s natural balance. Give it a week or two and I bet you will see and feel a huge difference! Comment below to tell me how this worked out for you!