Why is my skin oily and spotty? With the growing accessibility of skin care products, expert advice and anecdotal evidence (reddit anyone?) one thing is clear- there is no ‘one size fits all’ skin care routine.
It can take a lot of detective work to figure out why your skin isn’t happy; the answer could stem from both hormones and lifestyle.
As part of the endocrine system, the skin plays a pivotal role in sending and receiving chemical messages, known as hormones. For a long time, the skin was only known as a target of hormones such as growth hormone, neuropeptides, sex steroids, and melatonin (to name a few) that cause distinct effects on the skin.
For example, the pituitary gland, considered the master controller of the endocrine system, kicks the growth development hormone into high gear during puberty. The testes, ovaries and adrenal glands release testosterone which stimulates the sebaceous (oil!) glands in the skin.
Testosterone can trigger acne by over-stimulating oil glands. Often the worst breakouts are the perfect cocktail of bacteria, sebum-filled pores and an imbalance of male hormones (androgens).
On the other hand, ovaries release estrogen and progesterone into the body, known as ‘beauty hormones’ that increase the skin’s elasticity, hydration and firmness. That ‘glow factor’ we see in so many pregnant women? Thanks progesterone! But as women age, the levels of estrogen and progesterone decrease, causing the skin to sag and thin.
Hormonal acne is on the rise, with androgens disrupting the body’s healthy functioning and leading to breakouts at any age. While hormonal imbalance can be treated through specific treatments, both oral and topical, general skin inflammation can also be attributed to lifestyle.
Stress can seriously mess with your skin. That ‘fight or flight’ feeling can trigger the adrenal gland to release cortisol, which in turn stimulates the sebaceous glands to secrete more oil and cause oily skin. Combine that with low serotonin levels and it’s easy to see why the hypothalamus hooks us up with our favorite white carb cravings to spike those insulin levels and release that post-binge bliss.
Healthy skin is also supported by a good diet and gut, lots of exercise and sound sleep.
A diet high in sugar, processed foods, dairy and simple carbohydrates such as white bread and pasta can all contribute to inflammation, which may cause acne. Many people try an elimination diet to see if certain food items are directly linked to their oily skin. Probiotics can help with a healthy gut, while omega oils (fish or flaxseed) and plenty of water help the skin flush out toxins and up the skin’s glow factor.
Sleep gives your body a chance to go into restorative mode, repairing the skin and refreshing the brain to prep for the next day’s high and lows. It also helps regulate cravings so you’re not reaching for that spike of sugar to wake you up.
Another great way to get rid of toxins in the body, release stress and help clear up oily skin is exercise. Deep belly breathing activates the parasympathetic nervous systems, relaxing the body, lowering cortisol levels and releasing endorphins. And last but not least – remember to laugh- the best stress-busting, skin-enhancing medicine of all.
Avoid touching your face or using harsh ingredients when treating acne-prone akin. Instead, focus on keeping the skin clean, gently exfoliating once or twice a week, and maintaining a healthy skin barrier with moisture-binding ingredients such as hyaluronic acid. Over-drying the skin can actually compromise the skin barrier and contribute to the over-production of sebum which causes oily skin.
Serums to Help Combat Oily Skin
Sleuthing out the right combination of skin care products when it comes to oily skin isn’t easy. Incorporate serums for oily skin that promote the healthy functioning of the skin cells and help combat the overproduction of sebum.
Try these skin care serums to help address oily skin issues:
- Matrixyl 3000® Serum, this serum contains Matrikines, an anti-wrinkle complex containing polypeptides, the messengers of collagen repair. This serum improves the skin’s overall texture, firmness and elasticity. Apply once a day for maintenance and prevention of fine lines and wrinkles.
- Vitamin B5 Serum with Hyaluronic Acid is an ideal skin care product for hormonal acne, helping to regulate oil production, reduce inflammation and stimulate the skin’s natural healing process. Apply twice a day to help maintain the skin’s healthy moisture barrier.
- Squalane Oil 100% Pure is an anti-bacterial ‘dry oil’ that helps regulate oil production in the skin and protect the skin against pollutants. Protect your skin from environmental stressors with Squalane Oil to seal in your serum(s) and hydrate, before applying your moisturizer with SPF for the day.