The whiteheads forming a constellation on your left cheek. The pesky blackheads on your nose. The fresh spot on your forehead...
You have but one thing to blame for them *all* and that's your very own skin oil, otherwise known as sebum. It's mixing with dead skin cells—and a slew of other things you don't want to think about —and clogging your thousands of pores. And this is what ultimately causes breakouts (Not to mention, the ever-unfortunate shiny forehead situation.)
Because summer is bound to make excess oil that much more of an issue, Rachel Nazarian of Schweiger Dermatology Group reveals what we could be doing to fuel our oily face woes.
1. Over-cleaning the skin
Okay so this is the trigger you really have control over. 'Skin that is being over-washed or over-cleansed will sense that the barrier is being stripped. And although you can over-dry your skin this way, many patients will notice their skin looking shinier as their oil glands try to balance things out,' explains Nazarian. She advises sticking to a simple gentle cleanser, and patting skin dry rather than rubbing too vigorously.
2. Non-greasy foods
It's no secret that fried, unsaturated fats are making you shiny, but dairy products can be just as guilty of clogging up pores. This is because dairy, even if it's organic, contains natural hormones. Furthermore, much like refined grains (white bread, pretzels, and rice), it's a source of sugar, which can raise your glycemic index.
3. Your hormones
Simply put: Your period has a LOT to do with it.'Your monthly hormonal cycle, which fluctuates week to week can trigger increased activity of the oil glands in the skin, even on your scalp,' she says. 'This means you may feel like your skin is getting oilier and shinier depending on time of your cycle.' Being more wary of the week leading up to/during your period is key, and hey, tucking blotting papers into your handbag can't hurt.
4. Your go-to products
I know—say it ain't so, but it's time to take a closer look at the ingredients and consistency of what you're slathering on your face. 'I see many patients that don't realise the products they're putting on their skin can be making their oiliness worse,' says Nazarian. 'Avoiding heavier products allows your skin to continue getting feedback from its surroundings and in many ways "breathe" more effectively, avoiding unnecessary excess oil production.' A good rule of thumb is looking for products that are strictly oil-free and feel light on your skin.
5. Your genes
Ah! The genetic lottery strikes again. 'The number of glands and their activity level is actually a pretty complex and specific characteristic of each individual and it's influenced by your genetics, meaning your skin may, at baseline, produce more oil, or you may have more oil glands on your face, then someone else.' Whomp, whomp. But that's why the universe invented clay masks!