5 Ways to Balance Oil Production & Zap Spots Naturally.
5 Ways to Balance Oil Production & Zap Spots Naturally
— Elle discusses the key steps in bringing your skin back to balance.
✎ Elle McLeman
Imbalanced oil production can be caused by many things. It can be a result of diet, hormones, weather, stress and change in seasons. While there is plenty you can do to help minimise the effect these stressors have on the skin there is also plenty you can do topically to help bring the skin back in to balance.
1. Hydration Hydration Hydration
An imbalance in oil production, whatever the cause, means that our sebaceous glands over produce sebum, leaving the skin feeling like you’ve been hit with a second puberty. Extra oil production can clog up your pores leaving you with those pesky friends, spots. In order to get that oil production under control you need a little extra hydration. I know it might seem a little counterintuitive to add more oil or moisturiser to skin that is already over producing but hydration is the key to balancing out your skin’s oil production.
Hydration is important for all skin types not just those that are dry or dehydrated. Adding extra moisture to imbalanced skin helps to trick the sebaceous glands in the skin into thinking that there is enough oil on the skin and they stop overproducing the skin’s own oils. Overtime the sebaceous glands in the skin become used to producing less oil and reduce the overproduction, balancing out the skin’s natural oils.
The big trick with balancing the skin’s oil production is knowing which oils and moisturizers are right for you skin. Often our first experience with hydration products as people with oily/combination skin results in the use of products that are far too heavy for our skin type and leave us with clogged inflamed pores and breakouts so it makes sense that people with this skin type will be a little weary of oils and moisturisers. So let me walk you through the best oils and moisturisers for when your oil production is a little out of whack.
2. Not all oils are created equal
Jojoba oil is actually considered to be a wax, and as such is closest oil to the skin’s natural sebum. This makes oil balancing easy as the skin is tricked into thinking that the jojoba oil on the skin is something it has already produced and stops over producing its own sebum. Just like there are some types of oils that are better at balancing than others there is also some jojoba oils that are better than others. Check whether the jojoba oil you are thinking about is a pure seed oil or if it is a seed oil extracted using a carrier oil, as the carrier oil used can often be a little too heavy for the skin.
Squalane, like Jojoba, is an oil that is perfect for balancing out the skin’s natural oil production. Squalane is a naturally occurring component of the skin’s natural sebum. Derived from olives, this simple oil prevents irritation and helps to rebalance oils and rebuild the skin’s natural barrier, an important part of keeping oil overproduction at bay, particularly when we have over cleansed the skin.
When looking for a moisturiser for combination/ oily skin, something light is best. Look for moisturisers that contain lighter oils such as Squalane, Jojoba or a moisturiser with an Aloe Vera base such as Odacité’s Time Delivery cream. These lighter formulations keep the skin hydrated without being too heavy, letting the skin breathe and naturally process impurities.
When our skin is over producing oil there is often the temptation to cleanse the skin a little more in order to remove the excess oil. Just like adding moisture to the skin is important for balancing oil production, making sure we don’t strip the skin is important too. Using a cleanser such as a cream cleanser, a gentle foam or gel helps to keep the skin’s natural oils intact.
Stripping too much oil from the skin can cause the skin to over produce further in order to replace the oils lost through cleansing. So as tempting as it may be to get in there with a strong foaming cleanser, something a little gentler will help to balance out the skin.
4. Zapping those pesky little spots
Similar to balancing out oil production, when treating spots you don’t want to further imbalance the skin. For the most part, conventional products designed to treat spots dry out the skin. While this is effective in the short term at removing that one pimple you often find that new ones pop up in their place. This is because drying out the skin can perpetuate the inflammation cycle started by the pimple and when the skin is inflamed, it is less resilient and more likely to sprout some friends for that pimple you just got rid of.
So, gently does it when it comes to keeping pimples at bay. There are a couple of things we can do to zap those spots without the use of chemical based treatments such as benzoyl peroxide and highly concentrated salicylic acids.
Investigate the reason you are breaking out, it could be a product that is too heavy for your skin, too much stress, or a hormonal imbalance. It is worth going to see a naturopath in order to figure out what might be causing you to break out. While this process can be a little slow it will help to reduce breakouts in the future and help you to understand your skin a little better.
In the short term…
Stimulate blood flow.
Blood is healing, it carries natural anti-inflammatory compounds, oxygen and other nutrients that can help fight a breakout. Stimulating blood flow to the skin helps to heal active breakouts, improve lymphatic drainage and get the skin back to working a little more efficiently.
You can stimulate blood flow by facial massage or through products such as Odacité’s BI+C serum or a warming mask.
One of the most significant contributors to breakouts is dead skin. Breakouts usually form when excess oil and dead skin cells clog your pores. Gently exfoliation with an enzyme or light acid base can help to remove build up from the skin. Josh Rosebrook’s Active Enzyme Exfoliator is a great place to start.
If you need a quick fix for a pesky spot, sometimes something a little stronger is preferable. Look for natural blemish treatments that contain diluted essential oils such as lavender or tea tree oil. Lavender is a natural anti-inflammatory and tea tree helps to kill bacteria present in the blemish.
However, essential oils are highly concentrated, so as tempting as it may be to try and hit the spot with something strong, it is best to use a formulated treatment such as Sodashi’s Blemish Treatment or make sure you are diluting the essential oils with a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, as when undiluted they can dry out and further sensitise the skin.