what causes oily skin
Beauty | Skincare

What Causes Oily Skin + How You Can Fix It Fast

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oily skin treatment

There is nothing more frustrating than oily skin. Your makeup doesn’t last, your skin looks greasy and you’re even more prone to breakouts. You look at others that don’t have that constant shine on their skin and wonder “what gives?” So, what causes oily skin, anyway?

Turns out, there are a lot of causes of oily skin.

Today, I am going to teach you all of the different reasons why you have oily skin and how to treat oily skin. First, the most important thing to do is to take a look at these causes of oily skin and see if any of them apply to you. If so, the fixes are usually pretty simple.

How To Tell If You Have Oily Skin

Luckily, it’s pretty easy to tell if you have oily skin.

  • large pores
  • prone to breakouts
  • shiny or greasy looking skin
  • blackheads or clogged pores

Why Is Skin Oily

Believe it or not, oily skin can actually be a good thing! I know it doesn’t seem like it when you’re constantly blotting your skin, but oily skin is actually less prone to wrinkles! I don’t know about you, but I’d take oily skin over wrinkles any day.

Each of your pores has it’s own oil gland. These oil glands produce oil that will help moisturize and protect our skin. So, your skin does need some oily to be healthy. Normally your skins should produce just enough oil to moisturize and protect it and you shouldn’t be able to tell.

The issue is when our oil glands produce too much oil. That’s when we get that shiny appearance and extra breakouts.

So, remember, you do not want to strip your skin of all it’s natural oils! Doing so will only cause your skin to be even more oily because it will overcompensate to make up for the lost oil.

What Causes Oily Skin + Treatments

why your skin is so oily

There are many many different reasons why your face is oily. Some of them are fixable and some are not. However, oily skin is very manageable and typically with the right skincare routine and lifestyle, you can treat oily skin and make it less oily.

Oily skin is very complex and there are a lot of factors that can make your skin oily. So, let’s dive in and see what could be causing your oily skin.

Your Skin Is Actually Dehydrated

Dehydrated skin is actually one of the most common causes of oily skin. When your skin is dehydrated, that means it does not have enough water and moisture.

This causes your skin to overproduce oil to try and keep your skin moisturized. Remember, your skin needs moisture to be healthy.

Many people, myself included, find that they actually have more normal skin instead of oily skin! When you start treating your skin better, it will produce less oil and you might actually realize you have dry skin!

The fix? Use a gentle cleanser, add a hyaluronic acid serum into your routine and make sure you’re using a good moisturizer.

See my easy guide on getting rid of dehydrated skin.

Weather

I don’t know about you, but my skin is always more oily in the summer when it’s hot and humid! The climate you live it plays a huge part in your skin.

Here in the south where humidity is so high, means that my skin will always be more oily. If you live in a colder, drier climate, chances are your skin won’t be as oily because of the weather.

The fix? Well, you can’t control the weather. This is one of the causes of oily skin that you just have to accept.

Hormones

Certain hormones can trigger oil production throughout your cycle. If your oily skin seems to be worse certain days throughout the month, chances are it’s because of hormones.

Stress can even be a factor here! When you’re stressed, your hormones cause your skin to be more oily and can lead to even more breakouts.

The fix? Hormones are also hard to control, but many people have good luck with birth control or spironolactone making their skin less oily.

Genetics

Yes, your genetics play a role in oily skin too! If your family has oily skin, chances are you will, too. Genetics are responsible for how active your oil glands are and can be a big cause of oily skin in many people.

The fix? Unfortunately, you can’t change your genetics. The best thing you can do it make sure you have a good skincare routine.

You’re Stripping Your Skin

If you normally don’t have oily skin but for some reason your skin has been oily lately, you might think why is my skin so oily all of a sudden? Typically, it’s because you are not treating it correctly.

Using too many harsh products will strip your skin of its natural oils, leading your skin to over produce oil to compensate. Remember, your skin needs some oil to be healthy!

You should not focus your routine on super drying products that are designed to get rid of oily skin. Those types of products will actually make your skin even more oily.

The fix? Use a gentle, sulfate free cleanser, avoid alcohols in your skincare ingredients and go easy on acne products (benzoyl peroxide, retinols, bha, etc), and consider washing your face less.

You’re Not Moisturizing Enough

oily face treatment

Yes, even if you have oily skin you still need to moisturize twice a day! So many people with oily skin don’t do this. Keeping your skin moisturized will prevent it from having to produce so much oil. In fact, not moisturizing is one of the biggest causes of oily skin.

So many people are under the impression that you don’t need to moisturize oily skin. But you should still moisturize oily skin! Remember what we talked about earlier?

The fix? Use a heavier moisturizer, or more hydrating products like hyaluronic acid or lightweight serums. More moisture means your skin won’t have to produce as much oil to naturally hydrate your skin!

Large Pores

Unfortunately, large pores tend to mean you have oilier skin because your sebaceous glands are more active. Pore size is also tied to genetics and not something you can change or reduce.

The fix? However, there are ways you can make your pores seem smaller! Practice good skin care and exfoliate regularly with a chemical exfoliant.

Using The Wrong Skincare Products

One of the best things you can do for your skin is use well formulated products. And that means making sure your skin care products are the right fit for your skin. Using the wrong skincare products can make your skin oilier.

For example, if you use a heavy moisturizer meant for dry skin, that moisturizer is going to be too greasy for you and it will make your skin appear even more oily. Yes, oily skin does need hydration and moisture, but usually in smaller amounts and with lighter ingredients. 

Likewise, if you have dry skin and use a very light moisturizer, your skin will not get enough moisture, which can cause your skin to produce oil to compensate.

The fix? Stick with lightweight serums and moisturizers made for oily skin and stay away from heavy ingredients like oils and butters.

Your Makeup

what causes oily skin

Does your skin only get oily if you wear makeup? Chances are it’s your makeup that’s causing oily skin! Makeup can either be too heavy for you skin, or too drying.

Some foundations have oils, butters and silicones that are heavy and end up being too greasy on your skin. Other times, your foundation could have mattifying/drying ingredients in it like alcohol, fragrance, clay or salicylic acid. These ingredients suck all the moisture out of your skin, which causes it to be oily.

The fix? If you think your makeup is causing your skin to be oily, look at the ingredients and see if there’s anything listed above. Try switching up formulas or brands. If you use a powder foundation, try a liquid and vice versa. Makeup is so individual it takes some experimenting to see what works best for you.


Although oily skin can be frustrating to deal with, remember it’s also a positive because that means less wrinkles! Treating oily skin really comes down to how you care for it and your skincare routine. Make sure your skincare routine top notch and if you’re following the rules in this post you should see a decrease in how much oil your skin produces.

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