As common sense would suggest, if your face already produces enough oil to glimmer in the moonlight, slathering on moisturizer could be considered excessive. But before chucking your bottle of facial lubrication into a nearby incinerator, come along as we examine the causes of oily skin, how you can deal with it, and where moisturizer falls in the mix.
For starters, oily skin is the result of overzealous sebaceous glands, which are located in the skin, and in your case, are making too much sebum — a waxy, oily substance that generally protects and hydrates the skin. With a definition like that, sebum might seem like a case of more is better: In reality, though, too much sebum can lead to clogged pores, acne and that unsightly glimmering that I mentioned earlier.
Sadly, the hyperactive sebaceous glands that cause oily skin are most often the result of genetics and possibly hormonal changes — like the ones that happen during puberty — meaning the only real way to deal with them is with a consistent skincare routine. Which brings us back to our initial question of where moisturizer fits in. “When it comes to skincare, I always emphasize a personalized approach,” says dermatologist Rajani Katta. “For people with oily skin on their face, there’s no need to moisturize. You can if you want to, as long as you choose a lightweight moisturizer that won’t clog your pores, but it’s not necessary.”
Score, incinerator time! Actually, not quite…
Katta continues, “Just make sure that you’re paying attention to the rest of your body, because even people with oily skin on their face may experience dry skin on their hands or legs that would benefit from a moisturizer. Also, it’s important to recognize that your skin needs usually change with the seasons, and even those with oily skin may start to experience dry skin in the winter.”
Moreover, if you find a noncomedogenic, lightweight moisturizer that reacts well with your skin, occasionally using it on your oily areas could actually help reduce that greasiness. Many people with oily skin choose to use harsh products and overlook moisturizers with the hopes of drying out their skin. But overwashing and allowing for dryness can actually prompt your sebaceous glands to create even more oil in an attempt to level things out.
So in the end, taking care of your skin, oily or otherwise, is a balancing act, and it might take a while to get just right. But if you want to bring your greasy skin back to normal, make sure not to push too hard for dryness or for moisture (although a little bit of both might be good). Once you figure out what works for your skin, though, go ahead and flip a non-reflective bird to the moon — but maybe make sure nobody is around first.