How to manage an oily t-zone

Sick of the afternoon shine and breakouts you get on the oily, slick parts of your face? You’re not alone. In fact, everyone has a t-zone and if your skin is typically oil-prone, you’re probably pretty aware of it. You might even wonder if you should treat t-zone acne differently to how you address the rest of your face.

So we’re here to clear things up by giving you the down-low on the t-zone and tips for how to manage it — so you can go from greasy to glowing, stat.

What is the t-zone?

To put it simply, the t-zone forms the shape of the letter t from your forehead to your nose and chin. But why do these parts of your face feel oilier than the rest?

Your sebaceous glands produce oil (AKA sebum) to help hydrate and protect your skin. But your t-zone produces more oil than the rest of your face because it has more oil glands, simple as that. And yes, even if you have dry skin, you still can have an oily t-zone.

More oil makes you more prone to acne since pimples form when excess oil and dead skin cells mix together, blocking your pores. Plus, as oil continues to be produced, bacteria can spread, leading to pustules and papules.

The tricky part is managing the overproduction of oil in your t-zone without overdrying the skin on the rest of your face.

The good news? You don’t have to suffer with t-zone acne and you’re about to learn how your skin care products and habits can help.

How to deal with an oily t-zone

1.) Wash your face regularly with a mild cleanser.

It may sound like a simple solution but cleansing your face with a cleanser with active ingredients helps removes excess oil, dead skin cells, dirt and bacteria.

But more washing or washing with an alcohol-based cleaner doesn’t mean less oil. Over-washing your face (and using alcohol-based cleansers) can lead to even more oil production as your skin overcompensates for the dryness.

So how often should you wash your face with an oil-free, noncomedogenic face wash such as those in the proactiv® systems?

• every morning

• every evening

• after exercising or sweating

And that’s all! If you want to wash your face when you get home to rinse your sunscreen and makeup off sooner than bedtime, you can consider that your evening wash.

2.) Use a t-zone oil absorber.

This can be a super helpful tool in your anti-oil arsenal. Proactiv’s T-Zone Oil Absorber is a lightweight moisturizer designed with shine-reducing technology. It can help absorb excess oil, visibly reduce the appearance of shiny skin and pore size and keep your skin hydrated for up to 24 hours.

Yep, it can help absorb oil without overdrying, so you can skip the overproducing oil reaction to dryness. It’s a win-win! Once you choose your proactiv acne-fighting system, you’ll be able to add this t-zone friendly product to your skincare regimen.

3.) Moisturize daily.

You need to moisturize your skin to keep it from overproducing oil, especially in your t-zone and when using potentially drying acne-fighting ingredients. To put it simply, if your skin is dry, your oil glands will produce more oil. Even if you have extremely oily skin, you’ll need a moisturizer to help your skin tolerate exfoliating ingredients and retinoids. So, moisturizing is key.

But not just any moisturizer will do. You’ll want to avoid using heavy moisturizing creams on your t-zone. Choose a moisturizer that’s noncomedogenic and oil-free. If you have oily skin or plan to be in humid weather, consider a gel moisturizer. If you have normal or combination skin, a lotion is best.

Plus, make sure to choose an oil-free, noncomedogenic sunscreen on top during the day.

Ready to turn your t-zone into the end-zone for clear skin?

4.) Use a retinoid. (Retinoids to the rescue!)

Though retinoids won’t reduce the amount of oil your sebaceous glands produce, they can help visibly reduce the size of your pores, unclog your pores by normalizing the shedding of those pore-clogging dead skin cells, reduce breakouts in your t-zone and help your skin appear healthier overall.

Lucky you! We created an acne-fighting system that stars a prescription strength retinoid, no prescription needed.

ProactivMD® helps treat stubborn breakouts and the inflammation and redness that often appear alongside them. It stars Adapalene Gel: our prescription-strength retinoid formula that works on a cellular level to clear skin, while helping restore even tone and texture by clearing acne.

Now that you’ve got your skincare products in-the-bag, what else can you do to help your overly oily t-zone?

5.) Choose powder-based makeup over oil-based cream, liquid or stick foundation.

Caring for your skin doesn’t stop with your skincare. If you wear makeup, consider switching to powder-based makeup since it can better absorb excess oil. If you’re not ready to make the switch, at least choose oil-free, noncomedogenic makeup. Translucent finishing or mattifying powder can work wonders on your t-zone if you’re trying to hide the shine.

6.) Bring along blotting papers.

Blotting papers are just a fancy term for tiny sheets of absorbent paper. They’re usually made of an extra-absorbent material such as cotton, rice or flax seed.

You can bring blotting paper, paper towels even wrapping tissue paper with you wherever you go and gently press a piece against your face to remove excess oil from your t-zone throughout the day rather than piling on additional layers of makeup, which can clog pores. If you’re in a pinch without blotting paper, toilet paper will do.

7.) Stress less. (or try to de-stress)

This one may be the hardest one of them all! But it’s worth mentioning because stress releases cortisol which causes your oil glands to produce (you guessed it) more oil. High cortisol levels can activate sebocytes, the cells that produce sebum (AKA oil). So, you may notice that you seem to break out more during times you’re overly stressed.

The bottom line

Everyone has a t-zone and some may be especially oily. The oiliness of your t-zone should dissipate as you age, but you don’t have to suffer with greasy, grimy skin as proactiv has solutions to help keep you — and your t-zone — in the clear!