Should I Use Moisturizer Even Though My Skin Gets Oily?

I love answering skin questions for my clients. The following question is asked frequently, so I thought I should share my response.

Dear Alayne,

“I get oily during the day,” a client told me the other day when I asked her why she wasn’t using a moisturizer in the evening after washing her face.

She is in her late twenties. She was only using an oil-free moisturizer with sunscreen on her skin during the day.

I said, this is a great topic for my Q/A Blog.

What is Dehydrated Skin?

There is dry skin and there is dehydrated skin.

Dry skin means lacking oil. I will answer this topic in another blog post- for now I want to answer the question about dehydration in the skin.

Dehydrated skin means lacking water.

Mostly everyone is dehydrated- no matter how much water you drink, it leaves your skin as fast it enters, yet your beloved oil glands (also called sebaceous glands) don’t know the difference.

To keep this as simple as possible, anything you use on the surface of your skin has the potential of balancing your oil glands from over producing or under producing. If you are worried about your skin looking shiny and are in a perpetual state of fear that you are going to break out, you are likely the type of person who uses products to “dry up the oil.” I was that person in my teens, using every potent astringent on my skin and wiping incessantly to dry up the oil.

What I didn’t realize is that the very action I was trying to control was actually causing more oil production.

How ironic! But it makes sense that if you are trying to dry up oil on the surface, your oil glands start making more oil to compensate for the dryness. As the oil starts over producing (the very action you are trying to avoid!), when that oil gets to the surface, BAM, that nice dry layer you created is like a coat of cement, not allowing the oil to escape, hence that bumpy surface and occasional breakout. Doesn’t this seem so obvious now that I am explaining it this way?

So your goal needs to be to keep the surface of your skin nicely hydrated so that your oil glands don’t overproduce and when they do, the oil can leave the building, aka, your skin.

Why Is Moisturizer Important for Oily Skin?

How to make this happen? USE MORE MOISTURIZER. It doesn’t have to be weighted, something light weight like glo Conditioning Hydration Cream and or an oil-free moisturizer often does just the trick, but if you are not using a moisturizer or something hydrating like a serum as part of your evening routine, your skin during the day could very well be getting oilier by the minute.

Other causes could be using too many moving parts on your skin, a serum for this, a serum for that, mixing all kinds of ingredients that don’t play nice with each other in the sandbox that is your skin. If you are having breakout problems, often backing off on the plethora of products you are using can be the first step to recovery.

Make sure your cleanser and moisturizer are doing what they are supposed to be doing before you start playing with all of the other products screaming for your attention- make sure you are on a good, solid basic system to keep your oil in check for happier and healthier skin.

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