Oily Skin Type

There are eight different Baumann Skin Types that have oily skin.  Oily skin is healthier than dry skin because there are antioxidants and fatty acids in sebum that protect your skin and strengthen your skin barrier.  However, very oily skin can cause a shiny face and make it hard to find a sunscreen and moisturizer that do not feel heavy or clog pores. In this blog I explain the different oily skin types and why you may have an oily face.

Oily Skin Causes

Oily skin is caused by a sebum secretion from the sebaceous gland located down inside the hair follicle. Sebum secretion is increased by genetics, hormones, stress and other factors. Exercising a lot increases androgen levels which can increase sebum production and cause oily skin (androgens are a male hormone that women have too). You may notice you have greasy skin when you work out very strenuously- the rise in androgenic hormones when working out is why oily skin occurs more when exercising. Changing diet, increased stress, hormonal changes, and an increase in exercise can cause skin to be oily all of a sudden.

where is sebum made

Oily Skin Types- Are They Healthier Than Dry Skin Types?

There are many causes of oily skin as discussed above. It is actually healthier to have a normal oily skin type than a dry skin type because sebum provides protective ingredients such as antioxidants and fatty acids to the skin’s surface. It is good to have a normal amount of sebum secretion, but not good to have an excess of sebum production.

In the Baumann Skin Typing System there are two types of oily skin:

  1. Normal Oily Skin- this is the healthiest skin type because an adequate amount of sebum is protective to skin. Sebum prevents dehydration and has high levels of Vitamin E and other antioxidants that protect the skin from pollution and the sun. It also has fatty acids that help build the skin barrier and occlusive lipids that coat and protect the skin’s surface. This skin type is sometimes called normal skin.
  2. Very Oily Skin- This skin type makes an excess of sebum leading to shininess, clogged pores and a greasy face. Using a face wash for oily skin and omitting a moisturizer can often control oil and decrease skin shininess.
oily skin types

Normal oily skin is the best skin type, however, very oily skin shines, feels greasy and has clogged pores and therefore is not desirable. The goal is to have an adequate but not excess amount of sebum on the skin’s surface. Using the correct skincare for oily skin can help you have the best of both worlds: the protective skin benefits of oily skin without the clogged pores and shininess.

Best Products For Oily Skin

The best products for oily skin will remove sebum, clear pores, and will target other barriers to skin health without adding acne-causing ingredients, heavy oils, or fatty acids that are too heavy for oily skin types. Here are our dermatologist’s tips, insights and recommended skincare for oily skin.

Skin Care for Oily Skin

This is general advice that relates only to having oily skin, so these oily skincare recommendations are best for Baumann Skin Type 10- which is the perfect skin type. This skin type does not have any inflammation, unwanted dark spots and is at a low risk of aging.

oily skin is healthy

It is more likely that you have one of the more common Baumann Skin Types that may have other issues such as acne or dark spots left from pimples that need to be addressed in an oily skin care routine. This advice is geared only towards your issues with oily skin. The best products for oily skin should target all of your underlying barriers to skin health. Once you find out your Baumann Skin Type you can get more specific advice. Here are some general tips on products for oily skin.

Face Wash for Oily Skin

Oily skin has sebum on the surface that tends to clog pores and cause blackheads. The best face wash for oily skin is a foaming cleanser. These cleansers for oily skin contain detergents that surround dirt, oil and sunscreen and remove them from the skin. There are many types of foaming cleansers for oily skin that leave skin squeaky clean such as NoLIO Foaming Cleanser.

best cleanser for oily skin

It is important for you to know that after washing your face with a foaming face wash, your skin may feel a little dry and tight for about 15-20 minutes. That is how long it takes for your sebaceous glands to produce enough sebum to make your skin feel hydrated again. This is why many people misdiagnose their skin as a dry skin type when it is actually an oily skin type. They judge their skin hydration and feel right after using a face wash for oily skin and the feeling of the skin with no sebum misleads them into thinking they have dry skin. So- one way to tell if you have oily skin or dry skin is to wash with a face wash for oily skin- specifically with a foaming cleanser- and wait 20 minutes and then see how your skin feels. If it is comfortable and hydrated- follow the skincare routine for oily skin recommendations. This seems like a great time to clear up a skincare myth about the oil cleansing method and cleansing oils for oily skin.

Oil Cleansing Method for Oily Skin

Many people claim that oils such as grapeseed, argan, lavender, or coconut oil are good for oily skin and that cleansing oils decrease the skin’s production of sebum. This is simply not true- in fact -it is a ridiculous claim with no scientific backup. Using a cleansing oil to cleanse oily skin does not cause a reduction in oil production. In fact, cleansing oils will deposits fats (called lipids or fatty acids) on the skin that will contribute to clogged pores and the greasy shiny feeling that oily skin types dislike. Only dry skin types should use cleansing oils to wash their face. Oily skin types should not use cleansing oil as face wash.

cleansing oil for oily skin

Best Moisturizer for Oily Skin

If you have oily skin, you do not need a barrier repair moisturizer; in fact, you might not need a moisturizer at all. If you have normal oily skin, a light non-comedogenic moisturizer is the best moisturizer. If you have very oily skin, using a serum that treats underlying skin issues may be enough moisturization. Oily skin types do not need a facial oil or a face cream. As dermatologists- we often see oily skin patients using heavy face creams on their oily skin and think “Yikes! This is a mistake!” because using a heavy moisturizer for oily skin can cause many problems including:

  1. Blackheads and white heads (comedones)
  2. Development of milia ((also called milia seeds)
  3. Decrease the chance that you will wear SPF (because the sunscreen will feel heavy on your oily over-moisturized skin).

Choosing the best moisturizer for oily skin depends upon how much sebum your skin produces. Our skin type quiz will correctly identify how much sebum your skin makes and how oily your skin is so that we can recommend the best moisturizer for your oily skin.

should oily skin use moisturizer

Best Sunscreen for Oily Skin Types

Oily skin types often have problems finding a sunscreen for oily skin because chemical sunscreens are always made with oil- making them feel greasy and causing skin to be shiny. If you omit a moisturizer, or use a light noncomedogenic moisturizer, you will be more likely to use a sunscreen. Our advice is if you have very oily skin, find a noncomedogenic sunscreen lotion that hydrates your skin. In other words, the best sunscreens for oily skin can also be used as a moisturizer. This saves you time and money as well as solves the biggest problem that oily skin types have- finding a sunscreen for oily skin.

Oily skin types often prefer mineral sunscreens that contain zinc oxide. These are also called physical sunscreens. If you have very oily skin, you may find that the best sunscreen for your oily skin contains dimethicone. Dimethicone coats the skin and holds in oil so the face looks less shiny. You should never rely on a sunscreen powder as your only sunscreen, but you can put a sunscreen powder over your oily skin sunscreen to help reduce the shine even further.

Skin Care Routine for Oily Skin

The first step in finding the best skincare routine for oily skin is to diagnose your Baumann Skin Type® with the skin type quiz. This is very important because over 50% of people who take the quiz are surprised that they are classified as an Oily Baumann Skin Type. So- before you spend time reading about the best products for oily skin- make sure that you really are an oily skin type. Once you confirm that you have oily skin and the skin type quiz identifies all of your barriers to skin health, we will customize a skincare routine for oily skin for your skin and lifestyle habits. The order of products that will be use don your skin depends upon your skin type, lifestyle habits and underlying skin issues. To read about the best skincare routine order you can learn more here. There are many things that our dermatologists consider when designing our dermatologist-recommended skincare routines for oily skin. Please, please take the quiz because this is where most oily skin types make skincare mistakes when they incorrectly guess if they have oily or dry skin. When you are wrong about how much sebum your skin makes, you will use the wrong skincare routine steps for your oily skin type and this will slow your progress.

 oily skin types

Types of Oily Skin

There are 8 Oily Baumann Skin Types: 4 of them are also sensitive skin types and 4 are resistant skin types. As you can see, each of these 8 Baumann Oily Skin Types has various issues that need to be addressed in a customized skincare routine. It is not enough to ony address oily skin in a skincare routine. Skincare products should also be used for the other skin issues. Also- this must be in the correct skincare routine order to target oily skin and all of the other skin problems. You can learn more about the Baumann Skin Types here. Once you know your Baumann Skin type, specific skincare advice and a customized skincare routine for oily skin will be given to you.

Is Oily Skin Healthier than Dry Skin?

Yes! Oilier skin is healthier than dry skin. The skin needs water to perform many functions, so dehydrated skin does not have the same resilience as oily skin. Dry skin has trouble adapting to changing climates, irritating detergents and allergens. Little holes in the skin barrier of dry skin allows entry of microbes such as fungi and bacteria. On the other hand, sebum puts a protective layer of fatty acids on the skin’s surface. This helps prevent water loss in a dry environment. This protective oil coat on the skin also keeps out allergens and irritants and even has antimicrobial properties against microbes such as bacteria. This is why one of the goals of our dermatologist-recommended personalized skincare routines is to turn dry skin types into normal oily skin types. The perfect skin type is skin that makes an adequate amount of oil and does not have inflammation, pigmentation, or lifestyle habits that speed aging. The perfect skin type- this is the one that we want to try to change your skin type into- is ORNT.

oily skin is normal skin

It takes time to have perfect skin- so get started now on the best skin care products for oily skin. If you truly have oily skin- you are ahead of the game- so let's work together to solve any other skin issues you have so you can be the healthiest skin type possible.

Level up your skin care knowledge with medical advice from dermatologists

Is oily skin healthier?

Sebum has many beneficial qualities such as antioxidants like Vitamin E that help keep skin healthier than dry skin.

Is oily skin good?

Oily skin may age slower but is more likely to get clogged pores.

Why is my skin oily all of a sudden?

Changing diet, increased stress, hormonal changes, and an increase in exercise can cause skin to be oily all of a sudden.

Why is my skin oily?

Your sebaceous glands are making more oil.  This is usually hormonal which can be caused by stress, exercise, or internal hormone changes.

Best References and Scientific Publications on Oily Skin

  1. Baumann L. Oily Skin in Ch. 11 of Baumann's Cosmetic Dermatology Ed 3. (McGraw Hill 2022)
  2. Baumann, L. Cosmeceuticals and Cosmetic Ingredients (McGraw Hill 2015)
  3. Baumann, L. S., Penfield, R. D., Clarke, J. L., & Duque, D. K. (2014). A validated questionnaire for quantifying skin oiliness. Journal of Cosmetics, Dermatological Sciences and Applications2014.
  4. Wu, Y., Niu, Y., Zhong, S., Liu, H., Zhen, Y., Saint‐Leger, D., & Verschoore, M. (2013). A preliminary investigation of the impact of oily skin on quality of life and concordance of self‐perceived skin oiliness and skin surface lipids (sebum). International Journal of Cosmetic Science35(5), 442-447.
  5.  Sakuma, T. H., & Maibach, H. I. (2012). Oily skin: an overview. Skin pharmacology and physiology25(5), 227-235.
  6. Endly, D. C., & Miller, R. A. (2017). Oily skin: a review of treatment options. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology10(8), 49.
  7. De Melo, M. O., & Maia Campos, P. M. B. G. (2018). Characterization of oily mature skin by biophysical and skin imaging techniques. Skin Research and Technology24(3), 386-395.
  8. Youn, S. W., Kim, S. J., Hwang, I. A., & Park, K. C. (2002). Evaluation of facial skin type by sebum secretion: discrepancies between subjective descriptions and sebum secretion. Skin Research and Technology8(3), 168-172.
  9. Wu, Y., Niu, Y., Zhong, S., Liu, H., Zhen, Y., Saint‐Leger, D., & Verschoore, M. (2013). A preliminary investigation of the impact of oily skin on quality of life and concordance of self‐perceived skin oiliness and skin surface lipids (sebum). International Journal of Cosmetic Science35(5), 442-447.
  10. Hou, X., Wei, Z., Zouboulis, C. C., & Ju, Q. (2022). Aging in the sebaceous gland. Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology10, 909694.

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