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Does your skin get shiny mid-way through the day? Or maybe even half an hour after you’ve washed
your face? You probably have oily skin. Other telltale signs that your skin is in the oily
category include enlarged pores, blackheads, whiteheads, and, you guessed it, pimples. Not to
worry. With a few basic steps, we can help ensure your complexion is healthy, balanced, and
Our skin needs a certain amount of sebum (that’s the official name for the oil your sebaceous
glands produce) to keep it healthy and soft. In normal skin, oil flows freely and lubricates
your skin’s surface, giving you a clear complexion and keeping your skin balanced. But when your
body makes too much sebum (common during puberty or other periods of hormonal changes), you run
the risk of oily skin and, as a secondary effect, acne.
Oily skin is typically genetic, but because our skin faces so many elements, several external
factors can worsen naturally oily skin.
The environment is one such factor — especially if you live in a hot or humid climate or an area
with higher levels of air irritants or pollution. Ironically, excessive washing and scrubbing
can actually increase oil production, since your glands will try to overcompensate for the
dryness every time you strip your skin of its natural oils. Medicines that impact hormones, like
birth control pills, and increased stress levels may also contribute to oily skin. For women,
oil production can vary with their monthly cycle and then decrease during perimenopause and
menopause. For men, the hormones that trigger more oil production (known as "androgens") are at
much higher levels during puberty and teen years and tend to normalize in adulthood. Men will
also experience decreased sebum production as they age.
Oily skin and acne-prone skin often go hand-in-hand. As a normal part of our skin’s regrowth
process, we naturally shed excess, dead skin cells. If you have oily skin, those dead skin cells
can stick together and stay trapped inside your pores. This buildup clogs pores and leads to
comedones — what you probably know as blackheads and whiteheads. Once P. acnes bacteria makes
its way into those clogged pores, your blackheads and whiteheads turn into red, inflamed
How do you know if you have oily skin? You’ll have larger pores and a shine on your complexion
that appears by mid-day (if not sooner) despite washing your face in the morning.
Oily skin is common, and it can even be healthy — the more oil your skin produces the more
protected your skin is, which can help prevent fine lines and wrinkles. You won’t be wrinkle
free for life, but it is a positive side effect of an oily complexion.
Aside from helping with signs of aging, oily skin is normal as long as there aren’t any other
underlying skin conditions, and you make sure you’re doing what you can to keep your skin
balanced (more on that below).
Unfortunately, no treatment can "turn off" oil production and get rid of oily skin, but you can
help your skin look more balanced with the help of oil-absorbing products or blotter sheets.
Other habits you can practice include refraining from over-washing your face (just once in the
morning and once at night using warm, not hot, water!), using noncomedogenic (non-clogging)
makeup and skincare, and reducing stress levels.
Oil and acne go hand in hand, which is why proactiv’s skincare systems are effective in banishing
shine. One key ingredient in our products is salicylic acid, an exfoliant that encourages dead
skin cells to loosen and shed, which helps clean out all that acne-causing debris inside pores.
Without a buildup of dead skin cells, your pores may look smaller, and your skin can appear more
The good news is proactiv has decades of skincare innovation under their belt, so they’ve
developed effective products for oily skin:
All of these products and more are available when you subscribe to a proactiv acne system!
Try Proactiv Solution® — for oily and combination skin — featuring prescription-grade benzoyl peroxide to help kill acne-causing bacteria at its source.