Thursday, March 18, 2010

Oily skin type (O)

The defining feature of the oily skin type is - surprise! - oil production. Sebum production in the oily skinned is increased, leading to oilier skin and possible problems with acne. (Okay, the word "oil" has lost all meaning now!) There is a good thing about oily skin - we tend to age less quickly and look slightly younger than our dry skinned sisters!

The goal in treating oily skin is to reduce the amount of sebum. There is no effective topical way to completely reduce the sebum production to that of a "normal" skinned person, but we can do things to reduce the sebum production slightly (we're not using retinoids here, as they take a lot of skill to use well and we can't access the really good stuff!).

If you're susceptible to acne, then you have oily-sensitive skin and our goal is to reduce or eliminate the bacteria that can cause really awful pustules. We can use salicylic acid (or white willow bark), benzoyl peroxide, antibiotics (topical or oral), and we want lots of anti-inflammatories to reduce the inflammation and redness on your skin. (Join me tomorrow for more on the sensitive skin category...)

If you're resistant to acne, then you have oily-resistant skin and our goal is to reduce sebum production or wrinkling or other things unrelated to sebum production. As I mentioned above, there are no completely effective ways to reduce sebum production, but you can use astringents and mild cleansers to remove the excess oil without it coming back too quickly. Oils are right out for moisturizers and lotions for oily skin, but you can use water soluble esters or fatty alcohols (like cetyl or cetearyl alcohol) to moisturize when necessary. You will want to use a lot of aloe vera - it is a soothing anti-inflammatory - or hydrosols, and hydrolyzed proteins, both of which will form films on your skin and offer moisturizing without oils.

When you are making mineral make-up, you want to use things like calcium carbonate or modified starches, Micronaspheres, dimethicone treated serecite mica, talc, or clay to absorb the oils so your colours won't morph. Add a little allantoin, titanium dioxide, or zinc oxide for soothing and protecting inflamed skin.

And don't forget exfoliation! We need to lightly exfoliate our skin so the cells don't block the hair follicles, which can result in blackheads and pimples. You want to choose very mild exfoliants - a washcloth, a light facial brush, things like clay or jojoba beads. You can put these beads in your cleansers - make sure it's a thick one, not something in a foamy bottle - and for light exfoliant! I made up a nice cleanser with some very small jojoba beads - it felt amazing!

Join me tomorrow for more about skin types - sensitive skin!


aurascheme said...

I like to use plain 'ol baking soda by itself. Not sure if you could use it in a cleanser but it makes a great exfoliant!

Anonymous said...

I actually read that certain oils can help balance oily skin. I'm not sure if I read it at your blog or somewhere else, but that place said that skin can have certain kind of behaviors and get used to things like for example, moisturizers. At Dr. Hauschka's website says that is better to skip moisturizer at night to let the skin regulate itself on its own. Renee Rouleau, who's a facialist I think, says that a little stress is good for the skin because it puts it into "repair mode".
The first means that moisturizing sends a signal to the skin or something like that, that it already has enough oil so it doesn't need to produce more and therefore it might have a balancing effect on oily skin.
The second, to me means that if the skin is put under stress, for example, stripping away oils with an astrigent or a drying product for oily/acneic skin, it will put itself into repair mode and produce again the oil lost.
All this that I read lead me to think that oils could actually be good for oily skin, and that "oil-free" is a silly thing, maybe is just about picking up the right oil with the right EFAs to not cause more problems.
I also read at the forums about people that had great results using hemp seed and argan oils with no problems.
I'm not sure how true is all that, but it actually makes sense, the skin is a living organ after all, so is completely normal for it to have certain behaviors. What do you think?

Anonymous said...

I wish you had commented on this post as she had some interesting information which I had read as well and some I had not. I did read that some oils are stringent and help control oil production. From what I am getting from your post that is not necessarily so.
Confirmation one way or another or more insight would be so helpful. Thank you for your blog. It is very helpful.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I really wish you would have left your name on your comment as I have to delete it as per my blog policy unless you put your name on it in the next seven days. I'm curious why you didn't?

I'm not sure how to put this, so I'll just be blunt. I haven't commented on this comment because I didn't feel like commenting on it. Dr Hauschka's website isn't a reputable source, they're a business with the goal of making money and having you buy their things, and the stuff quoted here is not backed up by the sources I consult, like my textbooks or studies. There's a kernel of truth to it - if you use harsh detergents or cleansers on your hair or skin, you will cause the oils to produce more than if you used something gentle - but the idea of moisturizing our skin sending a signal to not produce oil is silly. We only have to put moisturizer on someone with oily skin to see that this isn't the case.

Oil free isn't emollient free, which is something I've addressed quite a few times on the blog in the past.

And I can't really comment on the idea of argan or hemp seed oils being used without problems because those are anecdotes, and you can't really argue when someone says something works for them. (I've tried, and I've given up...) There are loads of people who have oily skin who use oils and there are loads who have oily skin who don't. There are people who use catnip as a hair conditioner and others who advocate using baking soda as a shampoo. If someone wants to try something, then they can try it. But I can't really offer any feedback on it.

I find that when we trust the word of a company without doing our own research, we tend not to get the whole story. I think that is the case here, which is why I didn't comment on it.