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Coping with oily skin

If you have oily skin you'll already know the downsides: shiny patches, spots and large, conspicuous pores. You have over-active, oil-producing sebaceous glands to thank for these problems, along with male hormones which sends them into overdrive. And if you suffer from oily skin you're not alone it's the most common skin type of all, especially in men whose skin is oilier to begin with.

So what goes wrong?

Under normal circumstances, your sebaceous glands play an essential role in lubricating your skin, protecting it from environmental damage, by producing a lubricating oil called sebum. But an excess of a hormone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) can cause them to produce an excessive amount of this natural oil. The result? Oily skin and with it an increased susceptibility to spots a problem that many men find worse during the summer, when soaring temperatures stimulate sebaceous gland activity.

Oily skin: the good news!

It's not all bad news though. For one thing, oily skin tends to be less prone to premature ageing because the oil protects it and keeps it supple. What's more, the problems caused by oily skin tend to recede as we enter our mid thirties and our skin's activity begins to slow.

Until then, though, you'll need a skincare routine that helps keep excess oil in check and reduces the blocked pores that lead to spots. You'll also need products that are designed for oily skin in mind like oil-free moisturisers and ones that contain ingredients to soak up excess oil to leave skin shine-free. Crucial to dealing with the problem of oily skin is to ensure that the excess grease is removed without stripping away the important natural lipids that protect the skin against environmental assault and damage.

Oily skin might be a pain and even people whose skin is as dry as a poppadom can be susceptible to the occasional oily outbreak, but there's plenty you can do to keep the grease under control. For starters you need a specially tailored skincare regime one that not only treats oily skin but also helps prevent its re-occurrence.

12 tips for dealing with oily skin:

1. Keep it extra clean. Use a mild facial wash at least once, preferably twice a day, and make sure you rinse it off thoroughly with lots of cool running water. And if oily skin is leading to spots on a regular basis try using a medicated, anti-bacterial face wash or one containing tea-tree oil, which has both antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties.

2. Try to avoid using very hot water on your face as this can sometimes make oily skin worse by stimulating further oil production. After cleansing use a toner to close pores.

3. Just because your skin is oily that doesn't mean it isn't dehydrated so use an oil-free moisturiser to keep the surface hydrated and protected. Apply once a day after shaving. If the skin is oily on just the T-Zone (nose, forehead and chin), it is referred to as combination skin. For best results, products for oily skin should be used on this area and those for normal/dry skin on the rest of the face. It might seem a chore to use two sets of products but it does get results so is well worth it in the long run.

4. Shave with a gel rather than an oil or cream. That's because gels tend to be slightly more drying and will help absorb some of the grease from oily skin.

5. To keep outbreaks of spots to a minimum try a clay face mask once a week. Clay-based ones are best if you have oily skin as they're highly effective at absorbing excess grease and grime.

6. Oily skin tends to be extra-susceptible to blemishes but if you do get a spot don't pick! If you do you'll just spread the bacteria. Use a topical spot gel on individual spots instead.

7. Use a face scrub twice a week to prevent blocked pores. This is particularly important around the beard area where you often get a build up of dead skin cells.

8. To instantly reduce the embarrassing shine that accompanies oily skin keep the skin matt with the help of a mattifying lotion like Phytomer OligoPur Purifying Shine Control Mask.

9. You may want to try a toner or toner pads on the oilier areas. These lotions are designed to cut through excess oil and refresh the skin helping to deep clean and close the pores. Try Baxter of California Oil Free Moisturiser.

10. Carry some oil-busting wipes, like Lab Series Skincare For Men Oil Control Towelettes, with you so you can combat oily skin 'on-the-go'. They're a great insurance policy allowing you to tackle any little 'oil slicks' as and when they appear.

11. Reduce your stress levels - when you're anxious your body releases hormones that speed up oil production.

12. Don't fiddle! If you're already prone to oily skin, touching it with your fingers can make it worse so try to avoid leaning on your hands and examining your skin with your fingers throughout the day

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