Read Oil About It
You’ve tried salicylic acid.
You’ve tried hyaluronic acid.
In fact, you’ve tried so many acne-repair acids you have a mini-pharmacy in your bathroom.
You’ve tried all the scrubs, washes, serums, tonics, and creams on the market.
Maybe your face is just doomed to be an oily, acne-prone mess.
But hey, you’re a fighter!
You can’t give up that easy. Thankfully, your fairy face-mother is here. We have a few remedies you might not have tried yet, and the best part: they’re all natural!
1. Don’t touch!
Our first tip requires no equipment or products, isn’t that nice?
When you have oily skin, it may be tempting to touch your face and wipe away some of the shine - or worse, pick at acne that has formed there. Neither of these are good ideas, but for different reasons.
When you use your hands to wipe away face oils, you’re actually introducing more oils to your skin! Your hands contain their own natural oil, and constant touching only makes your face greasier and therefore more prone to acne.
As for acne, picking at it is one of the worst things you can do to your face. Not only does it create unsightly marks and scabs, but it introduces a whole host of bacteria to your already vulnerable skin. Broken skin and open pores will absorb the bacteria from your hands, acquired through everyday life by touching objects and eating, and in turn create more acne.
The best thing you can do to fight oily skin is to not touch it, and use blotting papers or clean tissue to absorb oil instead of the back of your hand.
2. Witch Hazel
No, you won’t get magical powers from this.
Witch hazel, also known as Hamamelis virginiana or winterbloom, is a North American plant that has been used for hundreds of years as a natural skin remedy. With powerful astringent properties, it is excellent at healing inflamed, damaged, or oily skin.
It dissolves excess oil on the skin without drying it out or causing irritation, and is great at spot-treating acne as its forming. Witch hazel is less harsh than tea tree oil, another popular facial astringent, which may cause irritation in users with sensitive skin.
You should probably dilute it with water, and avoid store-bought witch hazel products that use alcohol. Alcohol will dry your skin out too much, and actually cause your skin to produce even more oil to combat that dryness.
Simply dabbing a clean cotton ball in witch hazel and using it to gently wipe your face will remove oil buildup and bacteria from your face. Try this in the morning to prep your skin for makeup or moisturizers, so you know you’re working with a clean surface.
3. Exfoliate … less?
You heard us.
Exfoliating is great for removing bacteria and dead skin cells from your face, as well as built-up oils, but there is such a thing as exfoliating too much.
You really should only be exfoliating your face 2 to 3 days a week, and never multiple times in one day. Too much exfoliation irritates your skin, and can inflame acne.
Not only that, but it will disrupt your skin’s natural hydration process, and often cause it to overproduce oil to compensate for the irritation.
When you exfoliate, it is very easy to damage your skin by scrubbing too hard or using a product that is too abrasive.
We highly recommend using oatmeal or almond flour as an extra-gentle exfoliant, and mixing it with a bit of tea tree oil and aloe vera for acne treatment.
When you desire a more intense exfoliation, something like sea salt would be your best bet - just make sure to moisturize afterwards because salt will dry your skin out too much.
What about acne that has already appeared, or when your skin needs a dose of antibacterial goodness to fight an emerging breakout? That is where honey comes in.
Honey has been harvested and used for thousands of years - no, really. Beekeeping records have been found in cave paintings from 7000 BC!
And for good reason, because honey has a whole host of uses beyond just being a food sweetener. Notably, its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties make it perfect as a skincare product.
Honey cleanses bacteria from your skin gently, without leaving behind deposits of oil in your pores or stripping them completely.
The anti-inflammatory components reduce redness in acne that is already forming, and areas that may become swollen or inflamed from irritation. It draws out excess fluid from pores, which in turn reduces swelling.
We suggest using only raw honey for your skin, as processed honey contains added sugars and preservatives that will only cause breakouts and harm your skin’s natural pH level.
5. Moisturize naturally.
Of course, you should moisturize your skin.
“But my skin is already moist from all the oil!” We know, it seems counterproductive, but daily moisturizing can be the best treatment for oily skin.
Sometimes, oily skin is just the product of over-drying it with harsh chemicals, too much exfoliation, or a poor moisturizer.
However, not all moisturizers are made the same. Many store-bought moisturizers contain synthetic silicones, which moisturize the skin by creating a barrier on top of it.
This sounds good, but in practice it actually serves to seal in bacteria and teaches your skin to to produce less oil than it should be producing. This makes for skin that is either overly-dry, or skin that is coated in silicone that is hard to fully wash off without using harsh astringents.
Instead, use a natural moisturizer! Natural oils like coconut oil and cocoa butter moisturize skin without trapping bacteria against it. They are also free from common irritants that can inflame the skin or cause extra acne to appear.
Moisturizing keeps your skin from over-producing oils without causing dry, flaky spots or aggravating wounds.
Oily skin doesn’t have to be a life sentence.
Being conscious about the kinds of products you use, how frequently you use them, and how your skin reacts to them is half the battle. The other half is making sure your skin is maintaining a healthy balance between oily and dry.
The best thing you can do is distance yourself from synthetic products, which don’t get along too well with your skin’s natural state, and be gentle - even when it feels like gentle isn’t enough.