Canyon Ranch Blog

Why Is My Skin So Oily?

Q: My skin always seems to be oily, even after I cleanse it in the morning and evening. What could be causing this?

A: This may surprise you, but oily skin is actually a good thing. In fact, because producing oil is the body’s way of keeping skin hydrated, people with naturally oily skin tend to have fewer wrinkles and healthier-looking complexions than those whose skin is dry. Excess oil production, however, can clog your pores, causing acne. It can also lead to shiny skin, particularly on your forehead, nose and chin—something most of us try to avoid. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common causes of consistently oily skin and what you can do about them:

  • Tanning. You know sun exposure sans sunscreen is a big health risk due to the danger of skin cancer, but you may not know that overexposure to UV rays can also boost your skin’s oil production. While sunlight may temporarily make your skin feel dry, it actually triggers an injury response in the skin. That sparks the sebaceous glands, which secrete oil to help hydrate and lubricate the skin, to increase oiliness as a way to soothe damaged skin.
  • Hormonal changes. Teenagers often have oily skin because hormone imbalances upset the oil balance in skin and boost production of the sebaceous glands. After your teens and 20s, pregnancy and the transition into menopause also cause hormone fluctuations that can make your skin oilier.
  • Physical or emotional stress. When your body or mind is pushed to the limit, your nervous system is triggered and in turn releases certain hormones—adrenaline and cortisol, in particular—that can cause an imbalance, resulting in oily skin or other skin problems.
  • Genetics. Just like your gorgeous eyes or thick hair, there’s a good chance your oily complexion is something you’ve inherited from a parent or grandparent.
  • Seasonal changes. When the weather shifts, so does your skin’s texture. While a cold winter’s day (and the central heating you crank up as a result) might cause dryness, warmer, wetter spring weather can lead to an increase in oil. When summer hits, hot weather may lead to dehydration in the skin, which also encourages oil production.
  • Some prescription medications. Certain pharmaceuticals, such as birth control pills and hormone replacement therapies, can increase your skin’s oil.

Follow these tips to both treat oily skin and help prevent an overproduction of oil:

  • Use a gentle cleanser. While it might be tempting to use an invigorating scrub, you want to be careful not to strip your skin of too much oil, because it will compensate by producing even more. Choose a cleanser that offers a more sensitive cleaning, like a foaming face wash. Or consider a gel cleanser, which helps absorb excess oil.
  • Avoid over-washing your skin. Experts agree that even if you’re using a gentle cleanser, washing more than in the morning and at night may actually increase oil production rather than normalize it. When you do wash, use warm (not hot) water; extreme temperatures can irritate skin.
  • Look for specific ingredients. Cleansers, moisturizers and medicated cleansing pads with salicylic acid, glycolic acid and beta-hydroxy acid can help remove excess oil from skin without prompting more oil production. If it’s hard to spot these ingredients on the bottle, a good rule of thumb is to choose products made for acne-prone skin, even if your excess oil isn’t making you break out. Be aware, though, that while the acids in these products can help curb oil, they can also irritate skin. Try a dime-sized amount on one area before you use a new product all over your face and neck.
  • Choose sunscreen wisely. You know that applying SPF is crucial, but oftentimes sunscreen worsens oily skin, since many creams tend to be thick and can block pores. Opt for a lighter sunscreen gel instead of a cream or lotion. You might also try a sunscreen facial powder (instead of a cream or lotion), which protects your skin and gives your complexion a matte finish.
  • Use a clay mask. While these masks help draw out oils and cleanse pores, they can be over-drying if used all over the face or too often. Apply a clay mask only on especially oily areas, such as your forehead, nose or chin. Limit treatments to two or three times a month, or before an important event where you want to look your best, such as a wedding or job interview.
  • Address your stress. If you often experience feelings of anxiety or worry, consider relaxation practices to calm your mind and body; they may also help ease oily skin. Try walking meditations or breathing techniques, or speak with your doctor about other solutions.

More: Smart Sunscreen Use
Natural Solutions for Clean Skin

What You May Have Forgotten About Skin Cancer Prevention
You hold a lot of power to protect yourself
Read More
Caring for Your Skin and Hair During Menopause
How to deal with unexpected changes in your appearance during this time of transition
Read More
The Effects of Stress on Your Hair and Scalp
From eczema outbreaks to hair loss, you may only need to look in the mirror to see just ...
Read More
What Our Beauty Expert Can’t Live Without: Q&A ...
We all wonder about the skin care products that beauty professionals use and can't live ...
Read More
Simple Solutions for Reducing Wrinkles
These tips can help your skin look beautiful, healthy and radiant with each passing year ...
Read More
Simple Skin Care for Men
Taking care of your complexion doesn’t need to be complicated
Read More
Whole Beauty Is…Making “Someday” Today
There's real beauty in making your dreams a priority—and then a reality
Read More
How Sleep Makes You Beautiful, Inside and Out
When you get enough good-quality rest, you’re able to share your best self
Read More
The Beauty Benefits of Ayurvedic Bodywork

Used for centuries to heal the body and mind, they can improve your appearance, too
Read More
Healthy Nail and Hand Care
How to protect, moisturize and treat your hands with a little TLC
Read More
Our 8 Essential Beauty Tools
Canyon Ranch favorites and how to put them to use to look and feel your best
Read More
Happy and Healthy Feet for Summer
Keep your feet pain-free and beautiful all season long
Read More
Book Online or Contact Us
Book Now Contact Us

Questions & Reservations

Tucson, Arizona +1 800 742 9000
Lenox, Massachusetts +1 800 742 9000
SpaClub®, Las Vegas +1 877 220 2688
Groups: +1 877 862 0583
SpaClub®, At Sea Queen Mary 2: +1 866 860 4662
Oceania Cruises: +1 877 329 1924
Regent Seven Seas: +1 877 329 1924
Celebrity Cruises: +1 844 860 4662