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Why is My Face So Oily: How To Control Oily Skin

4 mins

Akhila Jerripothula

Tackle oily skin with the first step of your skincare routine, a proper cleanser.

Have you ever had skin that was always oily and shiny no matter what you did to it? While it may be tempting to just use drying skincare products, then load up on makeup to hide the oil, that’s only going to make your oily skin worse.  

Instead, reset your routine, starting with the first step to a great skincare regiment - cleansing your face. Let's break down everything you need to know about oily skin!

What is Oil, Really?

The shiny “oil” that you’re seeing on your skin is actually called sebum. Sebum is an oily and waxy substance produced by your sebaceous glands, found in your pores.

While it may feel like a nuisance to you, sebum is actually a vital component of your skin’s make up, and works to coat, moisturize, and protect skin from outside irritants. Sebum contains building blocks like fatty acids, sugars, waxes, and other natural chemicals that fortify your moisture mantle, keeping moisture in and the bad stuff out!

As you can see, sebum isn't bad for you, and is a key part of keeping skin balanced. The oil you see on your skin at the end of the day can be a mixture of sebum, sweat, and dead skin cells, which clogs pores to cause those pesky pimples! 

What Causes Oily Skin?

How do you know if your skin is producing too much oil? If you feel like your face is constantly shiny, sticky, and you keep getting blemishes in the process, odds are you have the oily skin type. 

Some people are prone to oily skin due to their genetics. Young people are also more prone to oily skin compared to older people, as the sebaceous glands produce less sebum as you age, leading to drier skin and causing wrinkles -- all part of the natural aging process. People who live in hot and humid environments are also more prone to oily skin as opposed to those who live in dry and cold climates as well. Finally, oily skin can be caused by your skincare routine -- whether it’s the products you use or the frequency and intensity of each step. 

Now that we’ve established that some amount of oil on the skin is totally natural and is actually a good thing for your skin, things get out of hand when your skin's balance is off. Think of all the drying skincare products that strip your skin of its natural oils. This signals to your sebaceous glands to produce MORE oil, overcompensating for this dryness with even oilier skin. Yikes! This is why we look to proper skincare product to promote balance in your skin, with essential hydration.

As you can see, there are many causes of oily skin -- many of which you cannot control. The good news, however, is that you can address other causes fairly easily!

How To Manage Oily Skin

Perhaps the best way that you can manage oily skin is to take a good look at your skincare routine, and strip it down to the essentials. But that’s not all. There are other steps that you need to take to properly manage your oily skin

Here’s a list of products to bolster your skincare routine, and help you mattify your oily skin:

  • Toner: Using a toner on freshly cleansed skin can help treat oily skin. That being said, we recommend using natural astringents like witch hazel rather than strong alcohol-based astringents. 

For example, WOW Skin Science’s Apple Cider Vinegar Mist Tonic has raw apple cider vinegar, distilled rose water, aloe vera extract, witch hazel extract, and green tea leaf extract to help balance and tone the skin. 

  • Masks: Using a face mask will treat skin concerns like excess oil. These products are best used a few times a week to help balance out your skin. Look for masks made specifically for oily skin featuring ingredients like clay, charcoal, honey, and oatmeal. 

  • Moisturizer: Many people assume that if you have oily skin, you shouldn’t be moisturizing. However, that couldn’t be further from the truth! In fact, skipping out on moisturizer could actually cause your skin to produce even more oil to make up for the lack of hydration from not moisturizing. That being said, not all moisturizers are ideal for those with oily skin. So, look for a lightweight oil-free moisturizer with naturally soothing ingredients
  • Blotting papers: Blotting papers are another great product for treating oily skin. These absorbent papers are able to effectively soak up oil from the skin and help you avoid any shininess throughout the day. That being said, they do not treat the root cause, and are supplementary to your main skincare regimen. 

Cleansing Oily Skin

Now that we've gone through supplementary steps in your skincare routine, let's break down the most important and first step - cleansing! You should be cleansing your face twice a day -- once in the morning and once in the evening to remove pore-clogging impurities. 

If you’re wearing makeup, always be sure to remove it properly with a makeup remover before cleansing, aka double cleansing your skin. Using a toner will remove any stubborn impurities, and balance pH levels to prevent overactive oil glands.

While it may be tempting to cleanse your skin more often to get rid of the oil, that could actually do more harm than good -- so resist the temptation and use oil blotting papers instead to remove excess oil!

How To Properly Cleanse

Using a gentle cleanser and warm water, gently massage the cleanser into the skin with your fingers in a circular motion -- avoiding unnecessary roughness -- for about 1-2 minutes. Rinse your face thoroughly (especially along the hairline to avoid scalp acne), and pat dry with a soft, clean towel. 

Avoid using harsh exfoliators like loofahs, washcloths, etc. to cleanse your face as these can cause irritation and micro tears. Our foaming face washes come with a built-in soft-silicone brush that will gently exfoliate pores, without causing harm to your skin!

Best Mattifying Ingredients for Oily Skin

Finding the “right cleanser” for oily skin that won't dry out your skin is tough, so what should you look for? 

As it turns out, certain ingredients are better than others to absorb oil and balance out the skin. Look for active ingredients like activated charcoal, apple cider vinegar, chickpea flour, fruit and vegetable enzymes, and salicylic acid. 

Worst Ingredients for Oily Skin

Even more important is what to avoid in your cleansers. Oily skin tends to get irritated more easily and lead to more blemishes, which is why it’s important to avoid strong and irritating chemicals in your skincare products. WOW Skin Science only uses natural and effective active ingredients in our products with no sulfates, parabens, or gluten! 


Even though you may not be able to control the cause of your oily skin, there are steps that you can take to control the severity and overall appearance. 

With the right natural skin care products and routine, you can keep oil at bay and look matte all day! 


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