Oily and acne-prone skin can be frustrating and challenging to deal with. However, with the right skincare routine and products, you can manage and control your skin’s oil production and reduce the likelihood of breakouts.
In this article, we’ll cover some essential skincare tips and recommendations for those with oily and acne-prone skin, as well as some natural ingredients and DIY solutions.
We look at the following:
- What is oily skin?
- Causes and Characteristics of Oily and Acne-Prone Skin
- 11 Natural Ingredients to Combat Oily and Acne-Prone Skin
- 8 Skincare Solutions for Oily Skin
Whilst this article focuses on oily skin, we’ve written a series of articles about the skin that you might want to take a look at after reading this one.
Understanding How Your Skin Works can be found here. Learning skin anatomy & physiology: the key to formulating for different skin types is here.
In addition to those two, you’ll find an article about dry skin here, an article about aging or mature skin here, and also an article about sensitive skin here.
What is oily skin?
Skin that is defined as oily/acne-prone is described as being shiny, oily, or slick looking, often accompanied by large, darkened pores and acne blemishes. It occurs when the skin produces more oil (sebum) than is required for the skin to be in optimum condition. The skin can become congested and the pores more pronounced/easily noticeable. The T-zone may be particularly impacted – forehead, nose, chin and sometimes the cheek area directly below the eyes.
Acne is defined as “a chronic inflammation of the pilosebaceous units, producing comedones, papules, pustules, cysts and scars”. Beyond the face, acne may affect the neck, chest, back or upper arm area.
Causes and Characteristics of Oily and Acne-Prone Skin
Oily skin occurs when your skin produces too much sebum, a natural oil that helps lubricate and protect your skin. When your skin produces too much sebum, it can clog your pores and cause breakouts.
Acne-prone skin is characterized by the presence of pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads. It can be caused by a variety of factors, including hormones, stress, diet, and genetics.
Factors which typically contribute to acne are: oil production, dead skin cells, clogged pores and bacteria, but we’ve included a more exhaustive list below of several possible causes and aggravators of oily and acne-prone skin:
Overproduction of sebum:
This is often due to hormonal levels and activity.
Lack of moisture in the skin:
Although it may sound counterintuitive, if the skin is lacking moisture it can respond with an excess production of sebum. Oily skin can be dehydrated; this is why moisturizing ingredients with humectants can help to balance sebum production in some cases.
Lack of exfoliation:
In some people, skin cells accumulate and contribute to clogged pores causing acne breakouts. Exfoliation removes dead skin cells to reveal new, younger cells underneath, and helps to remove impurities and debris that may be clogging skin cells. (It is important not to over-exfoliate skin, which may aggravate and inflame the skin, leading to further acne breakouts.)
Overuse of harsh detergents:
Avoid the temptation to over-wash oily or acne affected skin, as it will strip the much-needed natural oils which protect and keep the skin hydrated, balanced and healthy.
Overuse of comedogenic cosmetics:
Such as foundation or concealer, which may clog the skin resulting in acne.
Poor diet or lifestyle choices:
Not consuming enough water, poor nutrition choices, poor personal hygiene, excessive stress or lack of regular sleep/insomnia, could all contribute to acne blemishes.
Hot, humid climates:
This may contribute to acne and clogged pores from increased perspiration and sebum production.
What are the best natural ingredients for oily and acne-prone skin?
You’ll be pleased to know that there are many natural ingredients that can help balance oil production and reduce the appearance of blemishes. Often the challenge formulators have is choosing which ones to use, but that is part of the science, art and practice of natural skincare formulation.
Students of our Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation learn to deliberately select the right ingredients for the right sort of products, that are tailored to suit specific skin types, needs and preferences. And when they select their ingredient they follow a tried and tested product design process that helps them to come out with the right result that also conforms to their values.
You can find out more about this in a couple of articles we wrote on that very subject: The Complete Guide to Natural Skincare Ingredients and Raw Materials and The Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation: A Complete and Comprehensive Curriculum.
In general you should try to look for ingredients that have antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties. Some of the best natural ingredients for oily and acne-prone skin include tea tree oil, witch hazel, aloe vera, green tea, and jojoba oil. We’ll look at these and a few more next 🙂.
11 Natural Ingredients to Combat Oily and Acne-Prone Skin
Tea tree essential oil:
Tea tree oil is beneficial for oily skin because it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce acne breakouts and soothe irritated skin. Tea tree oil can also help to regulate oil production by removing excess oil and impurities from the skin.
It works by penetrating deep into the pores and dissolving the buildup of oil and dead skin cells, which can lead to clogged pores and breakouts. Additionally, tea tree oil has a drying effect on the skin, which can help to reduce the appearance of oiliness.
Witch hazel is a beneficial ingredient for oily skin because it has astringent properties that help to remove excess oil and impurities from the skin, tighten the pores, and reduce the appearance of oiliness. It works by constricting the blood vessels and tissues, which can help to reduce inflammation and redness associated with acne breakouts.
Additionally, witch hazel has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe and calm irritated or inflamed skin, making it a great option for those with oily, acne-prone skin. However, it’s important to choose a witch hazel product that is alcohol-free, as alcohol can be drying and irritating to the skin, especially if it is already oily or sensitive.
Aloe vera is beneficial for oily skin because it has astringent properties that help to tighten and tone the skin, without stripping it of its natural moisture. Aloe vera also has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe and calm irritated or inflamed skin, making it a great option for those with oily, acne-prone skin. It’s also a humectant that attracts water to the skin helping to keep it hydrated and balance sebum production.
Finally, aloe vera contains antioxidants that can protect the skin from environmental damage, and it can help to hydrate and soften the skin without clogging pores.
Read more about Aloe Vera in Natural Skincare in our article, The Power of Aloe Vera in Skincare: The Multi-Purpose Ingredient Transforming Skincare Products.
Green tea is beneficial for oily skin because it contains antioxidants called catechins that have anti-inflammatory and sebum-regulating properties. The catechins in green tea can help to reduce oiliness by regulating the production of sebum, which is the natural oil produced by the skin. This can help to prevent clogged pores and acne breakouts.
In addition to that, the anti-inflammatory properties of green tea can help to soothe and calm irritated skin, while also reducing redness and inflammation associated with acne breakouts. Green tea also has astringent properties that can help to tighten and minimize the appearance of pores, making it a great option for those with oily, acne-prone skin.
Jojoba oil is a beneficial ingredient for oily skin because it closely resembles the natural sebum produced by the skin, which can help to regulate oil production and prevent excessive oiliness. By applying jojoba oil to the skin, it can help to trick the skin into thinking it has produced enough sebum, leading to a reduction in oiliness.
Additionally, jojoba oil has a non-greasy texture and is easily absorbed by the skin, making it a lightweight and non-comedogenic option for oily skin. Jojoba oil also has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe and calm the skin, making it a great option for those with oily, acne-prone skin.
Take a look at our article, Jojoba in Natural Skincare and Haircare: Properties, Functions, and Benefits for more information.
Rosehip oil can be beneficial for oily skin because it is a lightweight, fast-absorbing oil that does not leave a heavy or greasy residue on the skin. It is also high in linoleic acid, which can help to regulate sebum production and reduce excess oiliness.
What’s more, rosehip oil has anti-inflammatory properties that can soothe and calm the skin, making it a good option for those with oily, acne-prone skin.
Read our article, 9 Natural Benefits of Rosehip Oil for Your Skin for more information.
Chamomile essential oil:
Chamomile essential oil is beneficial for oily skin because it has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties that can help to reduce inflammation and irritation, while also preventing bacterial growth that can lead to acne breakouts. Chamomile oil can also help to balance oil production by regulating the sebum levels in the skin. This can help to prevent clogged pores and reduce excess oiliness.
Chamomile oil has a calming effect on the skin, which can help to reduce stress-induced breakouts. Chamomile oil also has a hydrating effect on the skin, which can help to prevent dryness and soothe the skin.
Lavender oil essential oil:
Lavender essential oil is beneficial for oily skin because it has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce acne breakouts and soothe irritated skin. Lavender oil can also help to balance oil production by regulating the sebum levels in the skin. This can help to prevent clogged pores and reduce excess oiliness.
Additionally, lavender oil has a calming effect on the skin, which can help to reduce stress-induced breakouts. Lavender oil also has a soothing and hydrating effect on the skin, which can help to prevent dryness and irritation.
Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica):
Madecassoside, centella asiatica’s active ingredient, has been shown to reduce skin inflammation caused by high levels of acne-causing bacteria. Inflammation can disrupt the skin barrier making skin even more susceptible to further acne, redness, inflammation and dehydration.
Reducing the inflammation caused by acne can break this cycle, strengthening the barrier and reducing acne and its associated symptoms such as inflammation, irritation and redness. It’s one of the main gotu kola benefits for skin, but it’s not the only one!
Find out more in our article, The Benefits of Centella Asiatica (Gotu Kola) for Skin.
Salicylic acid is beneficial for oily and acne-prone skin because it exfoliates deep within the pores to unclog them and prevent breakouts, while also reducing oil production and promoting a clearer, smoother complexion.
PHAs, or polyhydroxy acids, are a type of chemical exfoliant that are beneficial for the skin because they gently remove dead skin cells without disrupting the skin’s natural moisture barrier. PHAs also have humectant properties, meaning they attract and retain moisture, helping to hydrate and plump the skin.
Additionally, PHAs have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits, making them suitable for sensitive and acne-prone skin.
To find out more about PHAs, read our article, Formulating with Polyhydroxy Acids (PHAs) in Natural Skincare.
Remember to always research your ingredients first and check for any contraindications that might mean they are not suitable for you to use. Also, always patch test new ingredients and products and consult with a skincare professional if you have any concerns or questions about your skincare routine.
8 Skincare Solutions for Oily Skin
So, we’ve looked at the causes, characteristics of oily skin and have some of our top ingredient recommendations, we’ll now look at what could be some good solutions to combat and alleviate oily skin.
- Use a gentle, oil-free cleanser: Instead of harsh cleansers, go for unscented, mild cleansers with natural hydrating and soothing ingredients to remove excess oil and impurities. Check out our articles, The different types of natural (non-foaming) cleansers you can formulate and Formulating Your Own Cleansers: A Step-by-Step Guide to Developing Effective, Safe, and Sustainable Cleansers For All Skin Types
- Exfoliate regularly: Use gentle exfoliators such as AHAs, BHAs, PHAsor Salicylic acid to remove dead skin cells and unclog pores.
- Moisturize daily: Use a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer to hydrate your skin without clogging your pores.
- Use sunscreen: Protect your skin from the sun with a lightweight, oil-free sunscreen.
- Include a toner in your routine: Use a toner with astringent properties to help tighten and refine your pores.
- A weekly mask: Use a clay mask once a week to help absorb excess oil and impurities.
- Use spot treatments: Clarifying spot treatments with salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide to help reduce the appearance of blemishes.
- Avoid touching your face and picking at your skin to prevent further breakouts.
Why Making Your Own Skincare Products is Better than Buying Products
Oily and acne-prone skin can be challenging, but with the right skincare routine and products, you can manage and control your skin’s oil production and reduce the likelihood of breakouts. With the right knowledge and techniques, you can achieve healthy, glowing skin, even if you have oily and acne-prone skin.
Making your own skincare products allows you to control the ingredients and customize your formulations to suit your specific skin concerns. You can avoid harmful chemicals and preservatives that may be present in commercial skincare products, and you can save money in the long run. By making your own skincare products, you can also experiment with different natural ingredients and find the ones that work best for your skin.
The School of Natural Skincare’s online Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation course is an excellent resource for anyone interested in making their own skincare products. The course covers everything from the basics of natural skincare to more advanced formulation techniques.
You’ll learn how to formulate your own cleansers, moisturizers, masks, and more, using natural and organic ingredients. The course also covers the business side of natural skincare, so you can turn your passion into a profitable venture.
There are some bonus classes that come with it that’ll help you to Formulate Natural Skincare Products with AHAs and BHAs and Formulate Face and Body Washes with Natural Surfactants.
This means you’ll be able to formulate your own complete range of natural & organic skincare products from scratch like the professionals, without having to follow other people’s recipes!
To find out more about the Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation, go to the course page here, and download a copy of the course prospectus here. You might also like to take a look at our article, The Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation: A Complete and Comprehensive Curriculum.
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