Treating Oily Skin At A Glance
- Best Results2 to 12 weeks
- Treatment RecoveryNA
- Procedure Time10 minute peels
- Skin SpecialistNurse, Dermatologist
- Duration of ResultsVariable
- Back to WorkImmediately
Treating Oily Skin
Oily skin and blackheads are commonly encountered skin problems associated with acne. During puberty excess oil production occurs, leading to greasy skin, congestion & acne. Oil production is highest on the nose, chin, cheeks, forehead, and back- areas of the highest number of oil glands.
Treatments are aimed at decreasing oil production, blocking hormone inputs, or exfoliating the upper layers of the skin.
FactsFacts on oily skin and blackheads
- Excess oil production is due to hormonal influences, and most commonly occur on the forehead, nose, and cheeks in patients with acne. In some cases, patients have excess oil without acne lesions
- A simple tablet taken twice a week can cure oily skin
- Other solutions include salicylic acid peels
- Creams including retinol & retinoids may help
- Blocking hormones can also improve sebum or oil production
What causes Oily Skin?
Everyone needs a certain amount of oil to help moisturize the skin, however, many acne-prone patients produce too much oil. Sebum or oil is produced by the sebaceous oil glands. These glands are concentrated on the face, back, and chest areas, and are activated by hormones. Excess oil production most frequently occurs around puberty- the time when hormonal changes occur.
Why do blackheads occur?
Blackheads are known as open comedones. Comedones are hair follicle openings that are enlarged secondary to plugs of dead skin cells and oil.
Blackheads most commonly occur in areas of high oil production and sebaceous glands, namely the nose, forehead, cheeks, chin, neck and back.
Blackheads are not accumulation of dirt or grime, but an exaggerated process of removing dead skin cells. The black colour is due to oxidation of a pigment called melanin.
Chemical peels can markedly decrease blackheads.
What simple skin treatments can use to help with oily skin and blackheads?
These simple solutions should be the first step in looking after oily skin.
- Wash you skin twice a day with a gentle cleanser such as Cetaphil Oily skin wash, Neutrogena Extra Gentle or QV Wash. Excessive cleaning may strip away the protective layers and cause irritation. A good cleanser is one designed to remover excess oil, whilst leaving intact a barrier of fatty acids to help maintain the function and protect the skin. An am and pm routine is best.
- Dab your face instead of scrubbing. This method is gentler on your skin.
- Avoid oil based cosmetics which may block pores. Use water based non-comedogenic make up.
- Clay of mud masks may also help, although there are no medical studies to prove they work. These treatments can temporarily pull oil from the pores and soak it up. The effects are usually temporary, leaving the oily skin fresher looking for several hours afterwards.
- Use an oil free moisturiser which is light on your skin. Oil or sebum is different compared to moisture. A moisturiser can protect your skin’s barrier function .
- Consider the use of products such as OC8 – these can help absorb oil for up to 8 hours, and decrease the shine due to excessive oil.
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How can a medical dermatologist help treat oily skin?
Dermatologists at Cutis Clinic will find an effective solution to both oily skin and blackheads. Our success rate is over 99%!
Depending on the severity of oil production, different treatments are available.
Creams for oily skin
A tailored programme using prescription creams and washes may improve excessive oil production. Specialists use a cream containing Vitamin A. Vitamin A or retinoids target the oil glands, reducing the size and oil production over time. Creams are best used in mild cases of oily skin. We endorse the use of Cetaphil cleanser for oily skin as a daily cleanser and moisturiser.
Hormonal treatments for oily skin
As oil production is related to hormones, in particular male hormones called androgens, the use of anti-hormonal medications can be successful in women who suffer for excessively oily skin. Specialists recommend the use of the pill such as Yaz, Yasmin, Estelle, Diane 35, or Juliette. We occasionally prescribe other medications such as Spironolactone or Cyperterone Acetate in higher concentrations to treat both oily skin as well as female hormonal acne.
Vitamin A tablets for oil production
Vitamin A tablets include Accutane, Roaccutane or Oratane. They can provide an excellent method of treating oily skin and blackheads. This tablet markedly decreases oil production within days. Unlike Roaccutane treatment for acne, patients with excessive oil production only need to take an ultra low dosing- in many cases one or two capsules per week! This tablet is a dermatologist only regulated prescription drug. Your medical dermatologist will discuss the risk benefit ratio of this medication.
Chemical Peels for oily skin
Glycolic acid peels using gentle fruit acids or AHAs may reduce the look of oily skin and remove blackheads. AHAs refresh the skin’s surface, and evens outs texture. Dermatologists often combine chemical peels with other treatments for optimal results.
How can a dermatologist cure blackheads?
Blackheads are due to blocked pores and represent sloughed skin cells called keratin, mixed with oil (known as sebum). Blackheads most commonly occur on areas of high oil production, including the nose, forehead areas, cheeks, chin, and back area.
Blackheads are very easy to treat, however all patients should undergo both a treatment & maintenance program.
Basic skin care entails that a simple moisturiser should be used daily, and your skin cleansed twice a day.
Chemical peels are an excellent method of treating blackheads. Depending on the extent of your blackheads, your specialist will prescribe either a Beta Hydroxy acid, or an Alpha Hydroxy acid peel. One peel can remove as much as 80% of blackheads.
Maintenance with vitamin A cream is essential to prevent blackheads from recurring. The concentration and type of Vitamin A cream will depend on your skin sensitivity & extent of blackheads.
In severe cases of blackheads associated with acne, your medical dermatologist may elect to use vitamin A tablets or in female patients a form of hormonal treatment.
Can Kleresca therapy treat oily skin?
Kleresca can treat oily skin. In the absolute majority of cases it is temporary & NOT recommend as a sole treatment.
Occasionally dermatologists may use a substance called ALA. This produces a reaction known as Photodynamic Therapy. ALA is concentrated in oil glands, and this method can decrease oil production with a higher success rate compared to blue or red light therapy by itself. This solution is far more cost effective than Kleresca. Discuss with your dermatologist the role of phototherapy & ALA in the management of your acne.
Is excessive oil production in the skin related to my diet?
Excessive oil production is genetic, hormonal & dietary. Foods with a high glycemic index such as simple sugars, processed food groups can increase oil production. Eating a health and well balanced diet may help.
Can chemical peels help with blackheads and oily skin?
In fact chemical peels are one of the best way to treat blackheads. One chemical peel coupled with extractions can remove over 80% of blackheads in one sitting. Dermatologists use either a high-strength BHA, AHA, or retinoic acid peel, depending on the severity of blackheads.
We also combine a vitamin A cream to reduce blackheads from recurring. Chemical peels are associated with little or no downtime and start from only $98.
Davin’s viewpoint on managing oily skin
Oily skin is also known as seborrhoea, and is due to both genetic & hormonal factors. Oily skin usually starts in the teens, and can be related to acne and blackheads. If left untreated, this condition improves in the mid to late 40s as oil glands start to decrease in size and number.
The burden of oily skin is often underestimated, however the solutions are relatively simple. Hormonal control is the preferred choice in women, whilst the use of low dose vitamin A taken as a tablet can markedly reduce oil production in men & women.
Chemical peels, such as AHA, retinoic & salicylic acid can reduce blackheads & temporarily decrease oil production, however most dermatologists combine this with prescription creams containing Vitamin A or anti-hormones.
In the past few years, the use of low level laser such as Blue and Red light has been advocated as a treatment for oily skin and acne. As a rule, dermatologist do not recommend this as first line management of oily skin or acne, despite the marketing claims of companies such as Kleresca. The results at best are temporarily. Occasionally we do combine red and blue light with ALA, a process known as photodynamic therapy. This can reduce the number of oil glands & acne lesions. However results using the ALA and phototherapy combination are extremely variable.
Disclaimer: I do NOT treat oily skin or blackheads as my work is procedural. For more information please see my clinical team @cliniccutis.
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