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Raise your hands if you have oily skin. Your skin gets greasy, everything is melting off your face, and your pores look like a giant crater. Oil - a.k.a. sebum - is vital for proper skin barrier function, but too much sebum can cause clogged pores and breakouts. Here are five factors that are causing your oil glands to go into overdrive. 


If either of your parents have oily skin, you might have inherited that trait. Larger sebaceous glands that produce excess oil is a huge factor. but your genetic makeup also affects how your body responds to major and minor hormonal fluctuations such as those that occur during pregnancies, menopause, puberty, etc. 


Your environment is one of the biggest influences on the state of your skin. Depending on where you live and the time of the year, you might be suffering from seasonal oiliness. During the summer, humidity and warmer temperatures increase sebum production leading to oilier skin. Alternatively, winters might be drying out your skin, forcing your sebaceous glands to go into overdrive to compensate. 


Washing your face more frequently might seem like the obvious solution to combat excess oil, but this may be the cause of your shiny oil patches on your skin. Excessive cleansing or vigorous scrubbing with a washcloth strips our skin of moisture thus causing your skin to produce more oil in order to restore its moisture barrier. Cleanse your face twice a day with a gentle cleanser, and make sure you use a moisturiser immediately after every time. 

Hormonal Changes

Workouts, stress or puberty can cause hormones to fluctuate for men and women everyday. Sebaceous glands, like many other parts of the skin, have receptors which are influenced by hormones - specifically, androgen. These androgens increase the production of sebum. When there are more androgens binding to the receptors on the sebaceous glands, more sebum is produced. This can lead to noticeably oilier skin, and may progress to acne.

Poor Diet

We get it. It’s tempting to Netflix and chill with a pint of ice cream. Sugar, gluten, refined carbohydrates and dairy tend to overstimulate our sebaceous glands and leads to oily skin. Increasing your intake of acne-fighting foods might be a good place to start to help improve your skin. Look for foods and beverages rich in omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants to keep those breakouts at bay.