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Natural Remedies: Oily Skin

All you need to know: Farewell to oily skin

By Hedieh Ghavidel

When the oil-secreting glands of the skin produce more oil than is necessary for its proper lubrication, the skin becomes oily. This excess oil clogs skin pores and results in blemishes.

While the hormonal changes occurring during adolescence make oily skin more common among teenagers, it can occur at any age.

Some people have skin that is oily in some areas and dry in others, a condition known as combination skin. The forehead, nose, chin and upper back tend to be more oily than other areas.

Although it is assumed that oily skin is a hereditary matter, factors such as diet, hormone levels, pregnancy, contraceptive pills, and cosmetics can also contribute to the condition.

Hot weather and humidity can also cause oil-secreting glands to overproduce oil.

Oily skin has its advantages. It is slow to develop age spots, discoloration, fine lines and wrinkles. It often does not freckle or turn red and tans evenly.

The disadvantages of oily skin include being prone to breakouts well past adolescence, having a shiny appearance, an oily or greasy feeling and enlarged pores.

What to do to avoid having oily skin:

Reduce the amount of fat in your diet. Avoid fried foods, animal fats and heat-processed vegetable oils. Try to use cold-pressed olive oil only when necessary.

Include vitamins B, C, A and E in your diet.

Soybeans, whole grains, sunflower seeds and raw nuts are good sources of zinc, which is an antibacterial agent and necessary element for the oil-producing glands of the skin.

Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits as their nutritional value and water content is necessary for the skin.

To keep the skin hydrated and to flush out toxins, drink at least 8 glasses of water every day.

Try to avoid indulging in soft drinks, or eating sugar, chocolate, potato chips and other junk foods.

Avoid smoking as it leads to the enlargement of skin pores and impairs overall skin health.

Try to keep your skin clean. Wash your face two or three times during the day but avoid excessive washing, as it will cause your skin to produce more oil.

Use hot water to wash your face as it dissolves oil better than lukewarm or cold water.

Do not use harsh soaps. Avoid using cleansers or lotions that contain alcohol.

Apply only oil-free and water-based moisturizers after washing.

Only use facial-care products designed for oily skin.

Remove dead skin cells and any impurities found in oily facial skin with a loofa sponge and hot water at least two or three times a week. Be careful not to use the sponge on areas with open sores.

Use facial masks suitable for oil control at least once a week.

Herbal tips for healthier skin:

Burdock root, chamomile, horsetail, oat straw and thyme nourish the skin and are very effective in treating oily skin.

Witch hazel has antibacterial and astringent properties and is good for absorbing oil.

Topically-applied aloe vera has excellent soothing, healing and moisturizing properties.

Lavender is good for oily skin. Use lavender water as a body mist throughout the day. To make lavender water, add a few drops of lavender essential oil to half a cup of distilled water or make an infusion of fresh lavender leaves and flowers.

Give yourself a facial sauna two to three times a week using lemongrass, licorice root and rosebuds. Simmer 2-4 tablespoons of these herbs in 8 cups of water to steam your face for 15 minutes. Splash your face with cold water afterwards.

Licorice has rejuvenating properties and can absorb excess skin oil. It can be used for facial saunas.

Papaya can be used as a fruit acid facial mask. Mash up some papaya and leave it on the skin for 5-10 minutes.

Another effective method of oil control is to apply a mixture of lemon juice and water to the face once or twice daily. After the face dries, rinse with warm water followed by a cool-water rinse.

Lemon oil has anti-microbial properties. It is used in treating oily skin and rejuvenating dull skin.

Peppermint oil is often used in oily skin products. It inhibits the growth of certain bacteria and is good for treating acne and rejuvenating dull skin.

Frankincense is an essential oil with rejuvenating and astringent properties. It is a skin balancer and is often used in anti-wrinkle creams and lotions.

Bergamot oil has antiseptic qualities that are good for treating acne and oily skin.

Cedarwood and sage oils are astringent and help with acne, oily skin, scalp problems and dandruff.

Cypress oil helps cellular regeneration and has astringent properties which help balance oily skin, control acne outbreaks and prevent blackheads.

Geranium oil is used to create a balance between oily and dry skin.

Juniper oil has a tonic and cleansing effect on oily skin and is very effective for acne.  

Article originally published on Press TV (December 29, 2008). Reprinted with permission.

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