15 Weird Things You Had No Idea Cause Oily Skin

With all of the things that have been going on in the world recently–the new U.S. government administration, the protests against it, and ways to make it better for you–chances are good that you haven’t had all that much time to think about your skin. And that’s fine! Big, tumultuous changes in society tend to distract from what you might normally feel concerned with, like your face, body, and hair.

But it’s not a sin to be concerned with your skin, either, especially if stress–which, in addition to feeling crappy, can have a deleterious effect on the physical appearance of your body–feels present in your life.  The first thing to tackle? Oil. Maybe you’ve been reaching for your blotting sheets a little more than usual, or maybe you’ve been waking up with what feels like an oil slick on your forehead and chin, despite having washed your face the night before. As it turns out, oily skin can come from a number of weird sources–so, check out these weird things that you most likely had no idea cause oily skin:

1. Harsh Cleansers

Tag your bestie! ??? #yesto #micellarwater #yestocotton

A photo posted by Yes To, Inc. (@yestocarrots) on

If you have oily skin, your first instinct might be to use whatever cleanser you think will strip it away–astringents, scrubs, heavy-duty spot creams, whatever. This might seem to work at first, since these products dry out the skin and temporarily make it look like oil goes away. but drying out the skin actually causes your skin to create more oil in an effort to protect itself. So, try to use more gentle face cleansers like micellar water or cleansing oil.

2. Skipping Moisturizer

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You also need to make sure that you’re using a moisturizer–while this might seem counterintuitive, this prevents the skin from over-drying and creating more oil. If you’re prone to oiliness, just make sure that you’re getting one that’s lightweight and non-comodogenic (this Neutrogena moisturizer is a great, affordable option at $12.99).

3. Over-Cleansing The Skin

Even if you’re using a gentle cleanser and moisturizing afterwards, you could still be drying out your skin if you’re washing it too much. Everyone’s skin is different in terms of what it can handle (I only wash my face once a day, but know people who swear by washing it in the morning and night, and also have friends who don’t wash their face at all), but try not to exceed two washes a day.

4. Blasting The Heat In The Winter

Some heat is necessary in the winter, obviously, but try not to overdo it–this sucks moisture out of the air, which dries out your skin, which makes it produce more oil. Again, it’s hard to eschew heat completely in the winter, but one thing to do is to try and turn the heat off (or way down) when you’re sleeping. This will prevent you from waking up with an oil slick on your face.

5. Or Air Conditioner

A photo posted by Mika Keijonen (@mika_keijonen) on

Too much AC in the summer can also make you look oily. Basically, just try to stay away from artificial air.

6. Having Hair In Your Face

A photo posted by Johanna M. Kallfelz (@jmk28) on

Your hair has a bunch of naturally-occurring oils in it, which is fine for your hair, but can cause oiliness and breakouts if it’s in your face too much and the oil from the hair transfers over to your face. So, just try to brush your hair back whenever you can.

7. Touching Your Face 

A photo posted by Jason (@jangusferg) on

Your hands also have oils in them, so touching too much can lead to oiliness and breakouts. So, if I may quote Arrested Development–no touching!

8. Eating Dairy

Dairy products contain natural hormones and have a high glycemic index, so eating or drinking them can cause clogged pores and shiny skin. If you must have some sort of dairy in your life, try to stick with things like yogurt instead of plain milk–the yogurt has cultures and probiotics that won’t counteract the clogged pores, but offer other benefits to your body.

9. Hormones

A photo posted by Shen (@shencorral6) on

For a lot of people, being a girl means constantly having your hormones in flux, too. Having hormones fluctuate can mean an increased oil production in the body, from anywhere to your hands to your scalp to your face.

10. Your Period

Who did this

A photo posted by gurl (@gurldotcom) on

You’ve probably noticed an extra breakout here and there when you’re on your period–this is because your menstrual cycle tends to jolt the production of sebum (AKA acne-causing oil) in the body, which leads to shiny foreheads and extra pimples.

11. Taking Extra-Hot Showers

You probably already know that taking long, hot showers isn’t great for your skin or your hair. If you need another reason to turn down the heat, know that super steamy showers could be making your face more oily, too–the heat dries out your skin, which, in turn, leads to more oil production.

12. Heavy Foundation

Super-heavy, non-breathable foundation (as well as other facial products like blush, bronzer, and highlighter) also tend to make skin look more oily, since they prevent the pores on the skin from being able to breathe. This, in turn, causes sweat, oil, and breakouts. If you don’t want to go totally bare-faced, look for a tinted moisturizer or a foundation that says it’s non-comodogenic (AKA won’t clog your pores).

13. Talking On Your Cell Phone

Pressing a phone to your face for an extended period of time can make that one spot kind of sweaty, and, subsequently, a little oily. Plus, cell phones tend to be covered with lots of germs and bacteria that, if you press to your face for to long, will be sure to make you break out. So, uh, be sure to use headphones when you talk on the phone. Or, you know, never speak to anyone on the phone ever again.

14. Stress

Not to, like, stress you out more with this, but stress tends to increase the amount of androgen hormones in the body, which, in turn leads to more oil production. I’m not going to tell you to stop being stressed (easier said than done), but maybe do some yoga? Some meditation? Light some candles? I don’t know. If you know of anything that can make you less stressed, try to do that at least once a day.

15. Genetics

Again–this probably isn’t all that helpful. But for a bunch of people, oily skin is inherited, not caused by any outside factors. So, if you know that your mom has oily skin, and your sister has oily skin, and all of your cousins have oily skin, too, chances are good that your oil is genetic. This isn’t the end of the world though–if you use mattifying lotion and carry around blotting sheets, you’ll be totally fine.

(Plus, if you have a little bit of oil on your skin, it’s really no big deal. Just think of it as free highlighter.)

Do you have oily skin? Were you surprised by any of these causes? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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