Thinking Out Loud

…on all things wise and wonderful.

Why Me? 7 Common Causes of Oily Skin


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You run your hands over your face, at any time during the day, and you feel a sticky, greasy film. Doesn’t this just annoy you and make you address an angry question to the Gods- “Why Me?” These heart-felt lamentations are a common utterance for people with oily skin. You burn with jealousy when your best friend tells you how she never had a pimple in her life, or threaten to get violent every time she asks you why you need to wash your face so often! Worry not, fellow oily skin friend, these feelings are experienced by most people who suffer from oily skin.

To answer your angry question of why you’ve been discriminated against, I’ve listed down a couple of factors that cause oily skin. You’ll realize that some factors are beyond your control, but at the same time, there are quite a few that are within your control. Hence, by caring for your skin properly, you might just be able to rid yourself of the problem of oily skin.

7 Common Causes for Oily Skin

Genetics: If there is a history of oily skin in your family, unfortunately, there’s not much you can do about it. You’re genetically programmed to have larger sebaceous glands (these glands secrete an oily substance called sebum to lubricate skin) and hence, there will be a greater amount of sebum secreted which makes your skin oilier that normal.

Overuse of cosmetics and skincare products: It’s good to use skin care products to cleanse and moisturize your skin. It also makes sense to use cosmetics to cover up flaws and marks. However, over cleansing, over exfoliating, or scrubbing your face with too much pressure will negatively affect your skin. Similarly, using cosmetics that are very oily or leaving makeup on overnight will damage your skin.

Environment: Blame it on your surroundings! No, seriously. Excess humidity makes you sweat and this results in excess sebum secretion. Dust and dirt present in the atmosphere stick to oily skin and clog your pores, leading to acne, blackspots and whiteheads. It is true that you cannot avoid travelling, but what you can do is cover your entire face with a scarf, keeping only your eyes open. This will prevent dust particles and pollutants from sticking to your skin.

Medication: Certain medicines, like birth control pills and hormone replacement medication, trigger an excess secretion of sebum. Similarly, most medicines cause dehydration and this sends your sebaceous glands into hyperactive mode as they try to compensate for the lack of moisture.

Stress and Improper Diet: You’ve often been told that junk food causes oily skin. Here’s why: These foods have a high glycemic index which leads to overactive sebum production. Similarly, stress to triggers oil production. When faced with a stressful situation, your body responds by producing more androgen hormones, and this leads to extra oil production.

Hormonal Changes: Fluctuations in hormone levels will result in oily skin. Our oil glands are controlled by hormones. So, if hormone levels go up, like during puberty, pregnancy, menstrual cycles or menopause, there will be a greater production of oil as well.

Sun tanning: Sun tanning dries your skin and this makes your sebaceous glands secrete more sebum. Also, tanning triggers an injury response. This means that your sebaceous glands start producing more oil in order to protect the skin’s surface.

Well, as you must’ve realised, a couple of these causes are easy to deal with. All it takes it a little time and effort. With a good skin care regimen in place, you can deal with oily skin and prevent the occurrence of repeated breakouts and other problems. Here is an interesting article I came across that has easy tips on dealing with oily skin.

Click on this link to check out some easy-to-do tips:


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