11 Surprising Reasons Why Your Skin Is Oily

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Oily skin is characterized by the appearance of an oily and shiny complexion.

If these circumstances last for many years, the pores on the skin may get covered by excess oils. And that can manifest itself in the form of acne.

If this sounds like something you might be going through, and struggled against, then welcome.

Today I would like to make you understand what causes oily skin. So that once you understand what CAUSES it, you can get to set the issue right.

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So. Without further ado, here are the main causes of oily skin:

1. Genetics

Genetics is one of the main causes of oily skin. The presence of large sebaceous glands is a hereditary attribute and gets passed down through genes.

As per the Journal of Dermatological Science, pore size and sebum output rate vary across different ethnic groups.

While Asian people have smaller pore sizes and lower density, African American skin is characterized by large pore size which leads to the production of more sebum. All of this, has something to do with genes.

Read: How Genetic Factors Affect Skin

2. Age

People in their 30’s do not have the same skin type as they had when they were teens. And middle-aged people in their 50’s or 60’s have significantly different oil content too, as compared to their younger days.

This is because our skin produces less sebum as we age. Aging skin starts losing protein, such as collagen. And our sebaceous glands slow down as we age.

Ever noticed that people who have aging skin also have dry skin? That’s because of a lack of collagen and sebum.

Aging skin also has fine lines and wrinkles because of the same reason. That’s why you should re-assess your skin type and skincare routine as you grow older.

Read: Effects Of Aging On Skin

3. Environment

Hot and humid weather stimulates the secretion of sebum, which leads to the production of more oil on the skin. On the contrary, skin dries out in arid or cold climates.

4. Medication

Usage of oral contraceptives and hormone replacement medication can cause oily skin. Many medicines are known to have dehydration as one of the side-effects.

This makes your glands produce excess oil, to counter dehydration.

5. Diet

We are all aware of the many benefits of eating right. But if you have oily skin, you should know that consumption of high glycemic foods is one of the potential oily skin causes.

Glycemic foods are the ones that contain sugar, and a high amount of refined carbohydrates.

So, beware. Eating these too frequently can lead to excess sebum production, and thus, an oily appearance on your skin.

Read: How Diet Affects Your Skin

6. Hormonal Changes

Hormones and oily skin are closely related. In fact, Androgens (male hormones) are the hormones that cause oily skin on the face.

Androgen production in the human body fluctuates at different times, mostly during puberty, just before menstruation, during pregnancy, and during menopause.

Read: How Hormones Affect Your Skin

7. Cosmetics Usage

While makeup is a great tool to cover up acne, oil, and breakouts, choosing a WRONG product can make your skin oilier than it really is.

For example, if you have oily skin, and if you choose a product that is meant for dry skin, you would end up exacerbating your condition instead of making it better. And vice versa.

Other than a ‘wrong choice’ of cosmetics, ‘poor quality cosmetics’ can also cause lasting damage to the skin and cause oily skin.

That is why, it is important to make a CORRECT choice when it comes to choosing the product you decide to put on your face.

While choosing products for oily skin, opt for labels such as “oil-free and non-comedogenic”.

When removing makeup, choose a good quality toner to remove the residue from cosmetics usage.

Do not forget to apply a good sunscreen before stepping out of the house.

Read: Products That Can Save Your Skin From Being Excessively Oily

8. Over Washing

Just because your face is looking shiny, you end up washing your face over and over again.

Scrubbing your face too hard can strip your skin of the much-needed moisture, and can cause the sebaceous glands to produce more oil. You should use gentle facial cleansers while washing your face.

ReadBest Face Washes For Oily Skin

9. Skipping Moisturizer

If you have oily skin, you will not want to slather moisturizer on your face. But, that is a mistake. It is a myth that a moisturizer is bad for oily skin.

In fact, there are a lot of benefits of using a moisturizer for oily or pimple-prone skin. Moisturizers are very important if you are using drying acne treatments like – Retinoids – such as Retin-A and isotretinoin, or the antibacterial agent benzoyl peroxide.

See other posts on this blog to know how moisturizer is not a bad thing for oily skin. So, choose an appropriate moisturizer. Many moisturizing products are created especially for oily skin. They are light, fast-absorbing, and don’t leave your skin feeling too oily.

10. Lack Of Sleep

Not catching enough sleep at night? If you do not get enough sleep, you are depriving the skin of nutrients – replenishment that it gets by resting.

Lack of sleep affects the moisture levels in your skin and lowers your body’s pH levels. Low pH creates unnecessary redness, leaving the skin uneven and trigger breakouts.

This is why, if you don’t get ample sleep, your skin looks less youthful and less shiny.

Read: How Sleep Affects Your Skin

11. Stress

Our skin produces excess oil in times of stress. Stress and tension are one of the causes of oily skin on face.

Ever noticed that you break out more when you are stressed? It is because our body produces more hormones like cortisol, which tells the glands to make more oil.

Read: How Stress Affects Your Skin

Want to control oily skin but don't know where to start?


Grab this 21-step FREE checklist with essential tips to help manage oily skin with ease.


We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time 🙂 Powered by ConvertKit

So, there it is. These were the main causes of oily skin. If you know more or disagree with something, please do leave a comment. Read other posts on this blog to know how to tame oily skin, and how to take care of your skin in general.

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3 thoughts on “11 Surprising Reasons Why Your Skin Is Oily

  1. I have had severe oily skin since I was a kid. Just recently I have noticed that I don’t produce as much oil, and the cooler weather definitely makes it a lot easier to deal with the oily skin issues.
    Not long ago I have started making a lot of do-it-yourself face cleansers and incorporating products that are easy to pronounce and helpful to my skin. One ingredient that I have always used is Tea Tree Oil. This helps oily skin tremendously–not just for pimples, but for prevention as well. I make an acne face wash that uses castile soap (I have tried the unscented version, but also the tea tree version), tea tree oil, frankincense essential oil, and grapefruit essential oil. It has helped tremendously.
    I think that I have been using it for a few months now, and I have only had 1 issue with a breakout. Not only does it help my skin, but it is refreshing to use, too.

    1. Hi Michelle, thanks for sharing your story. I agree that cooler temperatures really help with oily skin. I absolutely love tea tree oil as well. In fact I have some DIY recipes on this blog using tea tree oil for oily skin. I hope you find some articles on my blog helpful in your oily skin and acne journey.

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