Oily Skin Myths Solved!

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There are many myths surrounding oily skin. Stop moisturizing, only use oil-free products, always use a toner, carry around blotting papers—the list goes on! And while most imagine that they have oily skin, quite often it’s not actually the case. The first question you should ask yourself: Do you really have oily skin, or just a little shine in the summer time? “You can label your skin ‘oily’ if it becomes an oil-slick within an hour of washing your face,” says Washington D.C.-based dermatologist Elizabeth Tanzi, M.D. “Otherwise, it’s more than likely you have combination skin.” We needed more information, and luckily, Dr. Tanzi was more than happy to solve some oily skin myths for us.

MYTH NO. 1: Don’t moisturize oily skin.

Many people with slightly oily skin think that they need to dry it out, and forego any extra moisture. This isn’t the case. By using a harsh cleanser and not applying moisturizer, your skin will start to produce more oil, perpetuating and even worsening the vicious cycle of sebum production. “Stay away from heavy moisturizers that contain shea butter and petrolatum,” says Dr. Tanzi. “They can cause excess sebum production on oily skin types.”

MYTH NO. 2: Only use oil-free products.

It is purely a myth that girls with oily skin should use oil-free products. Although they may say oil-free on the label, most of the ingredients will contain some sort of oil. “Look for shine control products to combat oil instead, such as blotting papers or skin primers,” explains Dr. Tanzi. “They don’t have to say oil-free specifically.”

MYTH NO. 3: You must use a toner or astringent to balance skin.

All skin types can follow their cleanser with a toner or astringent, but it’s not a must-do for oily complexions. If you enjoy the tightening benefits of a toner, “look for a formula that contains glycolic acid to cut through the grease—and only use it on your T-zone,” advises Dr. Tanzi.

Oily Skin Tips

  • “If you truly have oily skin, use a cleanser that contains salicylic acid,” suggests Dr. Tanzi. It will help minimize excess oil production.
  • Most combination skin experiences some shine, especially in the summertime! “Summer humidity triggers oil production like crazy,” exclaims Dr. Tanzi. Carry blotting papers (we love Tatcha’s gold-leaf flecked versions) to minimize shine throughout the day.
  • Always, always, always moisturize! By moisturizing daily, you will regulate your oil production so it doesn’t overproduce sebum. Try different moisturizers to see which formula your skin prefers, but don’t skimp!

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