Steamy summer days can be a challenge for all skin types, especially oily, but did you know that excess oil may actually be helping you age more gracefully?
Sebum, your body’s natural oil, can cause breakouts and excess shine, especially in the sweltering summer, but before you scrub away the oil, consider this, your natural sebum is vital to moisturizing, lubricating and protecting your skin and hair. In fact, many dermatologists believe that oily skin ages better with fewer lines and wrinkles, a more even complexion and even fewer dark spots.
The Original Natural Moisturizer
Sebum emulsifies with sweat to create the acid mantle, the thin layer of moisture that forms a protective barrier on your skin. The acid mantle keeps skin soft and supple, slowing the evaporation of water and moisture. Oily skin is thicker and more plump because the acid mantle is stronger allowing your skin to retain water better. After menopause, sebum production naturally slows, so skin that may have once been too oily, may be just right now.
Skin-loving Vitamin E is produced right in your own oil glands. By virtue of having more sebum, oily skin has more Vitamin E goodness. A natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, Vitamin E neutralizes free radicals giving you greater protection against sun damage and other environmental stressors. This free radical busting vitamin boosts the effectiveness of sunscreen and naturally reduces the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
A Better Clean
While you might be inclined to strip away all of the oil on your face, it’s important to note that overcleansing can disturb the delicate pH balance of the protective acid mantle, inviting dryness, irritation, even bacteria. If your skin feels tight after washing, you’ve probably overdone it. Look for pH-balanced cleansers with Alpha Hydroxy Acid or Glycolic Acid, which are kinder to more mature skin, yet still effectively wash away skin-dulling debris.
Even though oily skin is naturally moisturized, it’s important to still use a lightweight oil-free moisturizer or you risk sending oil production into overdrive as skin tries to compensate. Moisturize with Retinols at bedtime to control oil production and boost cell turnover. Alpha Lipoic Acid, a potent antioxidant more powerful than Vitamins A or C, also regulates oil production. A favorite of famed dermatologist Dr. Nicholas Perricone MD, Alpha Lipoic Acid also provides the added bonus of refining pores by sweeping away pore-clogging impurities and visibly minimizing pore size.
Shiny Happy People
With that extra oil usually comes too much shine. But before you completely blot it out, remember that young skin is dewy and fresh, so a little bit of shine is actually a good thing, giving you a naturally youthful glow. To temper the shine, opt for primers and mattifying lotions. Blotting papers are great for on-the-go touch-ups. For makeup, choose oil-free loose powders over creamy foundations which can slide off oily skin. And shimmery makeup is best left to winter when there’s less shine to compete.
The acne of your youth is not the same as the breakouts in later years. And products designed for the teen market, like Benzoyl Peroxide, are simply too harsh for mature skin. Anti-inflammatory treatments with Salicylic Acid can dry up the pimples. Be sure to get a lower strength of less than 1%. A clay mask can also safely deep clean and soothe irritation, drawing out impurities and reducing acne-related redness. Acne typically decreases as we age, but if you’ve noticed an uptick in breakouts and redness, it might be time to visit your dermatologist. Rosacea, in addition to hormonal fluctuations, can be behind your adult acne.