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Oily skin can be genetic, however the main cause is multi factorial. These include genes, hormones, poor skin care, stress and even diet. Treatments are directed at the cause. Some treatments such as anti-hormonal medications including spironolactione, drosperinone, and cyperterone acetate can be effective. Isotretinoin prescribed by a medical dermatologist can reduce oil production from sebacesous glands, however this medication must be respected, and side effects are common.
Here are some other tips to help reduce oil reduction-

Find the right cleanser. It might sound counterintuitive, but oil cleansers were made for greasy skin types. The oil in the face wash attracts your skin’s sebum, so you can rinse both away without stripping your face. A good cleanser with BHA or salicylic acid can be a good starting point. Neutrogena 2% salicylic acid is a good but also cost effective facial cleanser. The lipophilic nature of this cleanser means it targets the oil glands directly, dissolving excess oil. Tea tree oil cleansers can also work.

Moisturise frequently with a light product. Moisturizing is important to keep the skin’s barrier intact. This key outer layer of skin is in charge of blocking out external irritants like bacteria or UV rays and reduce water loss though the epidermis. Do not use heavy moisturizers that may clog your skin with heavy duty ingredients like shea butter or coconut oil. Look for a light moisturizer with the word non comedogenic – my recommendations are moisturizers like La Roche Posay, or The Ordinary. Skin is as individual as you are, so I cannot recommend a perfect moisturizer for your skin.

Omit toning. Traditional toners contain astrigents that my strip away the outer protective layers of your skin. Avoid products containing alcohol, menthol, and other skin irritants. Toners can temporarily reduce grease production, however they may irritate the skin long term and produce more oil as a protective mechanism for your skin.

Vitamin A can help. Consider creams such as tazoretene, adapelene or tretinoin. These work on the RAR or retinoid receptors of the skin, and decrease oil production. See my videos on how to use retinoids to help reduce skin irritation. If all else fails, a medical dermatologist can titrate oral vitamin A such as isotretinoin. This drug needs to be carefully monitored, as side effects are common.

Lasers can help indirectly target the oil glands. A carbon peel can be effective in treating both acne and oil. How do lasers work? Firstly carbon is applied a hour or more before laser. Black carbon is then concentrated in the oil glands. I then use a laser known as a QSL either a nano or Picosure pico laser to destroy the carbon. This in turn causes heat that can destroy oil gland indirectly. This is also called the Carbon Peel or the Spectra peel. Most patients require 3-6 sessions for optimal results. Low level laser emitting devices can also reduce oil production. These are best combined with ALA. ALA much like carbon can be absorbed in the sebaceous oil glands. I then use a laser light such as IPL with the 420 filter, Omnilux blue, Omnilux red, Kleresca dual blue, Lutronic 633, or Galderma Aktalite to then activate the ALA within the oil glands. This in turn reduces oil production. Most patients require 2-4 sessions for best outcomes.

Diet can play an important role in the management of oily skin, if you notice increased oil with dairy products or refined foods, sugars and food triggers, modifying your diet can help.

Blotting paper- simple, safe, short term for those emergency events.

Make up choice is important. When it comes to your skin, avoid pore-clogging foundations that feel heavy. Look for lighter textures and keywords like oil-control or mattifying. Oil control primers can also hep absorb excess oil. And if there’s only a little you want to cover up, choose powder over foundation.

I do one educational video every week. All videos are unsponsored and I tell it like it is. Please refrain from asking question like ‘what do you recommend for my skin problem’. That is why I produce these videos- namely to illustrate that skin is as individual as you are, and I can not recommend products based upon description. All the best,

Dr Davin Lim, Laser and aesthetic dermatologist. Brisbane. Australia.


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