Five Ways to Reduce Oil Production in Skin

Updated 9/7/14: As someone with oily skin, I’m always trying to reduce oil production to keep the shine under control. While you can never make the skin stop producing oil altogether, there are definitely things you can do to slow the flow.

What I’ve discovered through my own experiences with my skin as well as working with clients hands-on for 25+ years as a celebrity esthetician is that the amount of oil your skin produces is directly tied to the hydration levels in your skin. Oily skins don’t need additional oil (which is why oil-free lotions are suggested) but you still need water in the skin. When the skin doesn’t have the water it needs, the skin attempts to balance itself by producing more oil (by stimulating the nerve endings) to compensate for the lack of water. Simply put, skin cells are like fish, they need water to live and without it, the skin doesn’t respond well.

Here are several examples to explain this concept further:

-Several years ago, a colleague sent me a sample of a gel cleanser to try. She didn’t include the ingredients of the cleanser so I didn’t know exactly what was in it, but I went ahead and tried it anyway. The next day, my skin was SO oily. I couldn’t figure out why my skin was so oily until I remembered the only thing I had done differently was to use this cleanser the night before. I contacted my friend and sure enough, it contained one ingredient that is an absolute no-no to use on all skin types—Sodium Lauryl Sulfate. Yuck! This ingredient is a strong cleansing detergent and very dehydrating, which caused my skin to produce more oil. (All of the Renée Rouleau gel cleansers are sulfate-free.)…

-Last year I flew to France to visit my husband’s family and to research French skin care. Because the cabin of an airplane has very little moisture, my skin gets extremely oily when I fly. On the flight over, I used six oil-blotting papers over the course of the eleven-hour flight to control the shine.  Two weeks later on the flight back, I only had to use two oil-blotting papers! Why was I less oily on the flight back to the U.S.? Well, I realized the day before we left, I went and had a facial.  My skin was extremely hydrated, so it wasn’t as affected by the dry cabin air, resulting in less oil being produced! (Read my French skin care investigation.)

When it comes to skin care products for oily skin, most skin care companies focus on products that simply remove the oil by using strong, harsh and dehydrating ingredients. While it will give you an immediate ‘tight’ feeling and temporarily remove the oil, it then creates a backlash hours later with an increase in oil production.

I have heard some dermatologists say that it is untrue that using products for oily skin can increase oil production, but as you can see from my personal experience above, I disagree strongly.  In addition, I’ve had hundreds of oily skin clients through the years who were not using moisturizer and only using harsh cleansers find that using gentler products and using oil-free lotion does in fact make them less oily. So for all of you oily skin people reading this, wearing moisturizer (oil-free) will actually make you produce less oil! Shocking, I know!

Here’s six expert tips to reduce oil production in skin:

1. Always use a gentle cleanser to wash your skin. Avoid the ingredients Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate in your cleaners. (See the collection of Renée Rouleau sulfate-free gel cleansers) I personally use Luxe Mint Cleansing Gel since I’m a skin type #2 in my nine skin types. Which skin type are you?

2. Use an alcohol-free toner left damp on the skin before applying oil-free lotion. (See the entire collection of Renée Rouleau alcohol-free toners)

3. Use lightweight, oil-free moisturizer like Renée Rouleau Matte Moisture—a moisturizer to reduce oil production. Avoid the ingredients Mineral Oil, Petroleum and Petrolatum in your moisturizer as these may suffocate the skin and clog the pores.

4. Blot your skin throughout the day with blotting papers or tissue paper. Truly, it’s the fastest and easiest way to get rid of oil.

5. Never leave your skin bare for longer than 60 seconds after washing, otherwise necessary water will evaporate out of the skin. (Read more about why you should never leave your skin naked.) Follow immediately with alcohol-free toner and moisturizer.

6. Use a well-formulated salicylic acid serum like BHA Clarifying Serum to remove surface dry skin cells that can keep the skin more balanced and less oily. Since salicylic acid has the capability of getting into the pore lining to remove clogged pores, it will reveal a newly refined smoothness and clarity in the skin. (It’s a celebrity favorite!)

Bottom line: If you’re someone who cleanses skin in the morning only to find an oil slick by noon, it’s definitely a dehydration issue, and don’t let anyone tell you anything different. Lastly, it’s proven that drinking water is the least efficient way to hydrate the skin so drinking water is definitely not a cure, no matter what you have been previously told.

Read: Blemish Tips You Need to Know

Which skin care products are best for you? See our nine skin types or take our Skin Type Quiz and get products recommended.

Need expert advice from a licensed esthetician? Schedule a virtual consultation to get customized advice in person, over the phone or online via Skype or Facetime.

For more expert advice check out the blog. Also sign up for our skin tip e-newsletter, follow Renée Rouleau on Twitter and Instagram and join the discussion on our Facebook page. You’ll be your own skin care expert in no time. Get the #ReneeRouleauGlow!

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Content Copyright © 2014, Renée Rouleau, Inc

PERMISSION TO REPRINT: You may use any items from this article in your print, blog, magazine or electronic newsletter. But in order to do so, you must include the following paragraph, including a link to www.ReneeRouleau.com.

"Information courtesy of www.ReneeRouleau.com, a website with skin care tips, products based on nine skin types and advice from skin care expert and celebrity esthetician, Renée Rouleau."

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Comments:

  1. Firstly, after reading your blogs I am more than eager to try some of your products. Do you ship to Australia? I’m hoping you can help me figure out what I’m doing wrong and what I need to do so help with the skin issues I’m currently dealing with. Usually I have combination/oily, somewhat sensitive, acne prone skin. I have blemishes, an uneven skin tone, acne scarring and a larger scar on my cheek. I don’t know how to treat all these issues, I figure an over load of products will only do more harm than good. Generally the summer time is the worst for my skin, I might as well not wear any makeup because it’ll slide right off however recently, and I have no idea why this is, my skin has become a lot drier and tighter than usual. I moisturise with oil free moisturizers daily and I use coconut oil at night. I’m turning 21 and I would like to use preventative anti-aging products and really take care of my skin. Get rid of the acne, the scarring, keep my skin looking youthful, hydrated and clear AND prevent wrinkles, sagging, etc. How do I do all this? Why is my skin so dry all of a sudden? What should I be using? Also I would like to start using an eye cream, do you reccommend I do so? If so, are there any particular products you recommend? Sorry about all the questions, you seem to really know your stuff and my skin could really benefit from your products and expertise. Hope to hear from you soon :) x

    Posted By: Sarah  | 

    Reply
    • Renée Rouleau

      Hi Sarah, I’m so glad you enjoyed reading my blog posts. YES, we ship to Australia! Our website accepts all international orders and in fact, we ship to Australia more than any other country. It sounds like your skin is really in need of balance. If we over dry your skin with harsh acne products, you’ll get sensitive and irritated but since a concern is anti-aging, we don’t want things to be heavy or greasy as that can cause a whole other set of issues. We want balance so your skin gets the best of everything. Here’s what I suggest you do. Look at our nine skin types here http://reneerouleau.com/Prescription.aspx and choose which ones sounds best. Based on what you have said, I’m guessing skin type #2 but definitely read them all through. You may be a skin type #4 also. If you’re confused and still need assistance, consider scheduling a personal consultation via Skype or Apple FaceTime. Visit http://www.MySkinPrescription.com for the info. Or lastly, you can email customer service at our site and they can also offer you guidance. You’ll love our line–promise! Renee

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply
  2. in the last paragraph, you’re saying if you wash your face in the morning only to find it oily again at noon it’s a dehydration issue, but drinking water will not reduce the oil production?

    Posted By: lorna  | 

    Reply
    • Renée Rouleau

      No, drinking water will not reduce oil production in the skin.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply
  3. Hi Renee,

    I have always been interested in trying your products, and it’s high time that I do. I have oily, acne prone skin and the face wash I’m currently using contains Sodium Lauryl Glucose and Lauryl Glucoside. Are these two particular ingredients like sodium lauryl sulfate; are they drying to the skin which causes more oil production.

    Posted By: Carmen  | 

    Reply
    • Renée Rouleau

      Hi Carmen,
      Those two ingredients should be just fine. But do listen to your skin, if the cleanser makes you feel tight or dry, then it may not be the right cleanser for you.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply
  4. so how do you hydrate your skin if drinking water is useless? besides moisturizing I mean.

    Posted By: lynsey  | 

    Reply
    • Renée Rouleau

      Hi Lynsey, Topical products are THE most effective ways to hydrate the skin. Moisturizers, serums and masks.

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply
  5. Hai Renee,
    I’m happy to find this blog. I’m 26 years old. Im already suffer for acne from i was in high school (abaout 18 or 19 years old) untill now. I very stressfull about my face. And i went to many dermatologis but the effect is not long lasting. Sometimes my face clear, but sometimes getting worse like now. Now i still have active acne on my face and i have oily skin becase my powder did not last long on my face, after about 2 hour or more putting my powder, my face become produce the oil out n look shiny. Now i have many acne and lot of post acne scar (red and black/dull) on my skin. It look like i have a full acne spread around my face. It horible. I not have a confidence in public and envy to see the people with flawless skin. I not dare to come out if i not using make up, at least bb cream and powder. My type of acne mostly Blackhead, whitehead, papules and pustules. Sometimes nodules are come out. Please help me the feed back, and i wanna ask, do you ship to indonesia? What products do you recomend for me? Hope to hearing from you soon. Thank you.

    Posted By: Fenny  | 

    Reply
  6. Thank you for your advice. How long i should use the skin care type #3? Should i use it forever for the maintenance?
    Thanks.

    Posted By: Fenny  | 

    Reply
  7. Hi Renee,

    A huge fan of your blogs and especially this one right now. I’ve finally realized I’ve been over exfoliating with chemical exfoliants to desperately try and prevent new breakouts…which have only led to extremely oily skin and many clogged pores(closed comedones)!! :( I’m taking your advice and only using your BHA serum as directed, a good moisturizer and a hydrating toner. How long until my dehydrated skin becomes hydrated and clogged free again?!

    Posted By: Shelby  | 

    Reply
  8. Hi Renee,

    I read all your blogs and love your expert advice:) I started out my Esthetician career in Dallas in 2003, and am now in New Braunfels, Tx. I hope to someday meet you and would LOVE to have a Facial from you one day !!!!

    Posted By: Sheryl Payne  | 

    Reply
    • Renée Rouleau

      Thank you for the kind words, Sheryl. Come visit Dallas! -Renee

      Posted By: Renée Rouleau  | 

      Reply

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