Fixes for Oily Summer Skin

In many parts of the country, along with increased temperatures come increased humidity levels. And anyone with oily or acne-prone skin knows high humidity is no friend to their skin. Hazy, hot and humid weather leads to an increase in oil production from sebaceous glands.


Sebaceous glands are intimately linked with hair follicles and deliver sebum to the surface of the skin through the pores. Sebum is a complex mix of dead skin cells and lipids (fats). These fats lubricate the skin and protect it from dehydration and the environment.  But sometimes there can be too much of a good thing. On the face, the greasiest spot of all is the T-zone which has the highest concentration of sebaceous glands.


Here are some tips to keep oily skin in check during the summer:


Clean the slick. The best cleansers for oily or acne-prone skin are those with glycolic acids. Additionally, salicylic acid can penetrate the lipid layer and get down deep in the pore to exfoliate dead skin cells and dissolve oil. If cleansing twice a day doesn’t do the trick, look for a toner with salicylic or glycolic acids. When using these products, take extra precautions in the sun since the skin will be slightly more prone to burning.


Absorb the grease. If excessive oiliness occurs within hours of washing your face, consider adding a mattifying lotion under makeup (or choose a makeup with mattifying properties).  A mattifying product is one that contains ingredients, such as talc or silicone polymers, to absorb the oil like a sponge. These lotions can help makeup go on more smoothly and stay in place even on the stickiest of days. Need a touch-up during the day? Try oil-blotting rice papers.


Powder your nose. If oily skin is a problem, switch out your daily moisturizer with SPF to a powder-based sunscreen. Most powder sunscreens contain the mineral zinc, which also has anti-inflammatory properties (helpful if you have acne along with your oily skin). Several products have a built-in brush so they are portable and perfect for touching up throughout the day, without smudging makeup.


Mask it!  Once or twice a week, use an at-home clay mask with glycolic acids to help de-grease and soothe summer-stressed skin. The oil control after a clay mask treatment can last for days.


If all else fails, call in reinforcements. Dermatologists have many oil-busting, in-office treatments and prescription medications to help keep problem skin in check throughout the summer. Chemical peels and laser or other light-based treatments can be helpful, depending on the problem. 


Summer is the season to relax and unwind; the last thing you want to worry about is your skin. Hopefully these tips will help keep your skin looking its best, even when the humidity is at its worst.


Added to Skin Care, Seasonal Health, dermatology on Tue 06/28/2011