Meet the Oily Skin Patrol

Oily skin has its own special problems. Here's how to tell if you have this type of skin.

The skin looks shiny and you may have open pores, spots, pimples, blackheads or whiteheads. The oil glands go into overdrive, producing more oil (sebum) than the skin can handle. This can trigger acne, which is a common skin disorder.

If your skin is oily, don't despair. You can take steps to control the situation. Been there done that. I learned the hard way, but you don't have to make the same mistakes.

OK, ready for the serious stuff? Let's go.

It's important to balance skin that is oily. The first step is to cleanse properly, but not harshly. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser. Then rinse with lots of water -- cold if possible -- because this helps to close the pores.

It's best not to use soap for cleansing your skin. Why?

Because many bar soaps contain harsh detergents and they strip the skin of its natural oils. That can make oily skin go crazy! When that happens, the sebaceous glands produce even more oil to make up for what's been stripped by soap.

After you've cleansed your skin, use a gentle toner. This will remove dirt and impurities. You'll want to avoid products that contain alcohol, like many toners do. I remember the burning and stinging of the many alcohol-containing toners I used in the past.

Ah, but I'm much wiser now. I've paid my dues. Or rather, my skin has.

These days I use gentle and non-irritating oily skin cleansers and toners that help slow down the production of oil.

I also use a clay mask -- more on that later. Masks help absorb the excess oils but they don't interfere with the skin's normal moisture barrier. You see, oil is a good thing (yes, really!) and it's essential for healthy skin.

After you've cleansed and toned, it's time to moisturize.

What?! Did you think your skin could do without hydration? Tsk, tsk. All skin types change at some point. The weather and other factors affect the skin and so no one is born with a particular skin type.

Even if your skin is mostly oily, you will also have some dry parts. So don't be afraid of the moisturizer. But be selective. Use a light, non-greasy product, like my favorite moisturizer, which contains an ingredient that halts the production of oil.

Next, we'll talk about clay masks. These are great for oily skin and come in different colors- white, green or gray. Clay masks contract the skin and remove excess oil and impurities.

Result? The skin is smoother, clearer and less prone to spots. I'm totally dependent on my vitamin-enriched clay mask to keep breakouts at bay.

Be sure to cleanse and dry your skin before applying a mask. It's important to leave the mask on long enough for it to work properly, so follow the directions on the package.

You can use a clay mask more frequently whenever you think your skin seems spottier than usual. You know, zap zits in the making, before they get out of hand.

But oily skin isn't all bad. It has some advantages. For a start, it doesn't age as fast as other skin types so lines and wrinkles take longer to appear. Plus it has better protection against the harmful effects of sunlight. So let's hear it for oily skin!

Return from Oily Skin to Skincare Detective