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Oil or sebum is a natural product of sebaceous glands that surround hair follicles in the skin.

This keeps the skin soft, supple and younger looking. However, some people produce more oil than others or more than they need just to keep the skin looking healthy, resulting in greasy skin and problems like acne.

Oily skin in the face usually begins around puberty or teenage years because the skin produces more oil when hormone levels increase during this period. Hormonal fluctuations also occur around the time of menstruation, during pregnancy, and menopause. However, other factors such as genetic background and stress also play a role. Although there is no cure for oily skin, there are several ways it can be controlled.

Home Treatments for Oily Skin

The best way to manage your oily face is to cleanse it twice a day using a gentle skin cleanser. Harsh soaps, wash cloths and skin buffs may trigger an increase in oil production and using these must be avoided.

If gentle cleansers are not effective in reducing facial oiliness, dermatologists recommend using over-the-counter skin products containing benzoyl peroxide, glycolic acid, salicylic acid or beta-hydroxy acids. These are also used for treating acne, which is common in people with oily skin.

Most people have a combination of dry and oily skin in various areas of their face. Instead of using skin toners all over the face, it is better to apply these only on the oily areas of the face, such as the nose, forehead and chin.

Use medicated pads containing salicylic acid or glycolic acid to freshen up the skin during the day. Blotting papers are also useful in removing facial oil and do not dry up the skin. Blot out the oil from your nose, chin, and forehead by pressing the thin cosmetic paper on the skin for several seconds.

Facial masks help reduce oil and cleanse your pores but they must be used sparingly to prevent over drying the skin. Use an oil-free moisturizer to maintain proper skin moisture without the greasy sheen.

Do not forget to use oil-free sunscreen to protect your skin from the harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays of the sun.

Adapt your skin care regimen to the season. In summer, skin can become sweaty and oily, and daily cleansing with a product containing glycolic acid may help improve your skin. However, in winter, using these products must be reduced to prevent over drying the skin.

Medical Treatment of Oily Face

If you are unhappy about the effects of over-the-counter skin products, ask a dermatologist for advice regarding the use of prescription-strength creams containing adapalene, tretinoin, or tazarotene. Your doctor may also recommend other skin treatments such as chemical peels and lasers to reduce facial oiliness and to improve the overall appearance of the skin.

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