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Oily skin produces excessive amounts of sebum, a lipid-rich protective substance. A good thing about oily skin is that it is usually well-moisturized due to its own protective oil. The downside is that it may look shiny or dirty and tends to develop large pores and be prone to acne.
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Oily skin routines usually include the following recommendations:
- Wash your skin twice a day with a cleanser containing salicylic acid, a beta-hydroxy acid that reduces sebum production.
- If you skin is extremely oily (e.g. oily even after basic cleansing), you can follow with alcohol-based toner with salicylic acid.
Most people should avoid alcohol-based cleansers and toners due to the drying effect of alcohol. However, for extreme cases of oily skin, it
may just do the trick.
- Generally, people with oily skin shouldn't moisturize. If you feel you have to, apply nonocclusive, noncomedogenic, oil-free moisturizer after cleansing.
- Use oil-free, noncomedogenic sunscreen whenever sun exposure is expected.
- If the above steps are insufficient and you are still producing too much oil, try treatments that reduce sebum production.
They include topical vitamin A creams (retinol, retinal or retinyl palmitate), sulfur creams, azeleic acid and retinoids (tretinoin, tazarotene, adapalene). Retinoids and high-strength sulfur creams require a prescription.
If your oil problem is so bad that you are considering prescription treatments, you should probably see a dermatologist anyway.
- Some people with oily skin may benefit from a clay/mud mask once a week.
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