Oily Skin Treatments

Treating Oily Skin At A Glance

  • Best Results2 to 12 weeks
  • Treatment RecoveryNA
  • Procedure Time10 minute peels
  • Skin SpecialistNurse, Dermatologist
  • Duration of ResultsVariable
  • AnaestheticNA
  • Back to WorkImmediately
  • Cost$

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

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.

Oily Skin

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.

  1. 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.
  2. Dab your face instead of scrubbing. This method is gentler on your skin.
  3. Avoid oil based cosmetics which may block pores. Use water based non-comedogenic make up.
  4. 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.
  5. 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 .
  6. 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.

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.

AviClear is a new laser due in Australia in 2023. It offers a highly effective, fast, side effect free method of permanently reducing oil production. 3 sessions, one month apart.

AviClear is the most exciting acne treatment as it targets the fundamental cause of oily skin, namely overactivity of the sebaceous gland.

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 at Cutis Dermatology.

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