What Causes Excessive Oily Skin?


As much as people want to have moisturized skin and those with dry skin may wish they had the opposite issue, oily skin has its own unique skin care requirements. It’s important to properly cleanse and even moisturize oily skin, but where do you even start? 

Oily Skin Causes

Oily skin happens when the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum. Sebum is the oily substance that hydrates and protects skin. It’s a mixture of dead skin cells and fat lipids that protect skin from drying out. Too much and pores can get clogged resulting in breakouts.

There are a few main causes that lead to oily skin.


Excess oil can be inherited. So if your parents had oily skin, there’s a chance you do too.

Washing Too Much

If your skin naturally produces too much oil, you may think washing it will take it away. But it won’t. It will strip the skin of moisture creating a vicious cycle of the glands to produce more. This is why it is important to gently clean it.


Oily skin can be caused by cold climates and even humidity. Both types of climates can stimulate sebum secretion, sometimes making it go into overdrive.

Skin Care Products

This includes cosmetics, cleansers and moisturizers. Make sure you are using products that are right for your skin type. Look for ones that are non-comedogenic which are made to not clog pores.

Hormones And Medications

Oral contraceptives and hormone replacement medication can either cause an oil production increase or lead to dehydration, which for oily skin can make it go into overdrive.

Any other type of hormonal changes, like puberty, pregnancy and menopause can lead to an increase in oil production.


Sugar, refined carbohydrates and dairy can lead to more sebum production and an oily-looking complexion.

What Clears Up Oily Skin?

Oily skin care requires a routine that will help keep the shine down and reduce acne, since breakouts tend to happen more to oily skin. The one perk of oily skin is that it is less likely to develop wrinkles than people with dry skin.

The first step is to make sure you are using products formulated for oily skin. Usually oil-free and water-based products are the best. From there, follow these steps:

Clean Your Face

Wash your face twice a day. Stick with a foaming cleanser rather than a creamy one since they can help clean excess oil. Make sure you don’t over-cleanse as that can make oil production increase.


These are made for oily skin and help to remove excess oil from the skin and tighten pores. They are also good to use between washings to help remove the oily shine.

Be Gentle With Your Skin

Resist the temptation to scrub. It will only irritate your skin.

Acne Treatments

Along with exfoliators, this helps reduce excess oil and improve the appearance of pores.

How Can I Make My Skin Clear From Oily Skin?

Most people have some kind of skin woe they are trying to take care of and oily skin is no different. There are some natural skincare steps you can take to leave your oily skin looking more normal (1).

Avoid Alcohol Products

While astringents are good, make sure they are natural. Something like witch hazel can have a soothing effect on the skin. Alcohol-based products will just dry it out causing the glands to overproduce oil again.

Blotting Papers

There are specially designed absorbent papers that work to pull oil from the skin. They don’t penetrate the skin so only work on the surface, but are good to use throughout the day for less shine.

Face Masks

There are certain kinds of face masks made just for oily skin. Look for ones with ingredients such as clay, honey or oatmeal.


Even with oily skin, it’s important to moisturize. Make sure it is an oil-free moisturizer that will keep the skin protected without feeling greasy.

How To Get Rid Of Oily Skin

The best skin care tips for oily skin start with using the right products. With a consistent routine, you can keep oily skin balanced. It’s not possible to just get rid of oily skin, but you can keep it under control. Keep in mind too that skin types can change during your life so while you may have oily skin now that could change.

What Is A Good Skin Care Routine For Oily Skin?

Following the right skin care routine for oily skin can make your complexion less shiny and breakouts a thing of the past. Follow these easy steps to create your own oily skincare routine.

Clean Twice A Day

Wash your face both in the morning and at night. Oily skin can tolerate more cleaning than dry skin, but you still need to be gentle with it. Even if your skin feels clean in the morning, it’s important to wash it and get rid of any skin cells that may have shed.

Tone It Up

Next, use a toner to get rid of any excess oil and make pores appear smaller.

Treat Your Skin

Whether you need to use acne treatment or a retinol product for aging skin, make this third step about your specific needs. 


Don’t forget to moisturize. Even oily skin needs a moisturizer. Make sure it is lightweight, water-based and free of oils.


Always make sure to protect your skin from damaging UV rays.

What do Dermatologists Recommend For Oily Skin?

Dermatologists have been studying oily skin for years and have their own tips on top of everything we’ve already discussed. They recommend sticking with these types of ingredients and following these simple steps.

Glycolic And Salicylic Acids

These work to dissolve oil and skin cells. Salicylic acid is naturally found in willow bark extract and can help reduce acne inflammation


Avoid oil-based sunblocks which can be too greasy for oily skin. Look for oil-free to water-based ones.

Cut Sugar

Sugar causes a spike in insulin which can lead to oily skin. People who cut sugar tend to have brighter complexions with fewer breakouts.

Clay Masks

Clay or mud masks are good for oily skin. They tend to have bentonite which can draw out debris and excess oils which can clog pores.

What Skin Care Product Is Best For Oily Skin?

Some of the best skincare products for oily skin are non-comedogenic so they don’t clog pores and are oil-free. Some companies make products specifically formulated for oily skin so look at those and check out the ingredients to see if they have any of the ones recommended like salicylic acid.

Is Moisturizer Good For Oily Skin?

It is not only good, it is necessary. With all the factors skin has to face every day like UV rays, pollution, even cleaning, moisture can be lost which causes an increase in oil production. So if you don’t moisturize, you may actually be making your skin look oilier.

How To Stop Oily Face During The Day?

You’ve done your morning facial cleaning routine and start going about your day only to look in the mirror and see your face shining and not in a good glowing happiness kind of way. This is where blotting papers or specially medicated pads can be used. These are a good part of men’s skincare routine for their oily skin too. They can be discreet enough to carry around for a quick wipe down (2).

Why Is Skin More Oily In Summer?

Temperatures and humidity rising in the summer months can encourage the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum, leading to oilier skin. There is a more concentrated number of sebaceous glands on the face which is why that appears shinier. In summer, you may need to use lighter cleansers and moisturizers too.

Supplements For Your Skin Care Routine

Healthy skin starts with healthy cells. Over time our cells can become damaged, but the body has a way of cell renewal through a process called autophagy. Old, damaged cell parts are recycled to make way for new, healthier ones.

Spermidine is a supplement that can activate the autophagy process. When cells are healthy, they operate at the highest efficiency possible. Combined with a proper skincare routine and oily skin will glow without all the extra shine.


Listen to this article:


  • Don Moxley - Director of Applied Science

    Don Moxley is the Director of Applied Science at Longevity Labs. Moxley draws upon his career as an athlete, a sports scientist, and an instructor to lead and educate on the science of autophagy and longevity.