This is for the shiny ones! We’re sharing tips and skin care products for oily skin to help fight excess sebum and get shininess under control.

Sebum and sebaceous glands

Before we dive into how to treat oily skin and what causes it, let’s take a closer look at sebum and sebaceous glands and the role they play in the skin. 

Sebum is your body’s natural oil that is produced by the sebaceous glands. It has a waxy feel and plays a role in moisturising, coating and protecting the skin and hair. Sebum is a unique composition of cholesterol, triglycerides and fatty acids, squalene, and wax.

You have sebaceous glands located across most of your body (including the scalp) that are responsible for producing sebum. 

Sebum plays a crucial role in keeping the skin lubricated, flexible and moisturised. 

When sebum production is balanced, it fulfils this role without issue. However, overactive (and underactive) sebum production can lead to problems. 

Oily skin causes

Excessively oily skin is known as seborrhoea. With this skin condition, oil glands overproduce sebum. This excessive excretion of sebum is usually found on the forehead, along the nose and sometimes on the upper chest area.

Characteristics of oily skin (seborrhoea) include:

  • Shiny, greasy appearance
  • Patches of redness
  • Areas of flakiness due to dehydration 
  • Larger pores are common with oily skin
  • Prone to blackheads and pimples
  • Makeup ‘slides’ around 

The larger pores and overactive sebaceous glands of seborrhoea are dictated by genetics. However, even if you don’t have genetically oily skin, you may experience periods of excessive sebum production. 

Hormonal changes (puberty, pregnancy, menstrual cycle and menopause) can lead to an increase in oil production and shiny skin. Additionally, some medications can also encourage overactive sebaceous glands.

Skin care routine for oily skin

The best skin care for oily skin helps mitigate the appearance of shininess and regulate oil production. Whether you’re looking for a skin care routine for oily teenager skin or struggling with seborrhoea as an adult, these tips are for you. 

Balance oil production (but don’t remove every trace of oil)

Your oily skin care routine should strive to slow down the production of oil without stripping the skin of sebum entirely. 

Using soap-based cleansers or alcohol-based toners to remove every trace of oil is counterproductive. Your skin recognises the lack of oil and goes into overdrive to produce yet more sebum to counteract the loss.

This is why a gentle cleansing balm is key - you remove excess oil and debris without sending the sebaceous glands into a frenzy to produce more. Your skin should feel soft and comfortable after cleansing, not tight and dry. 

What ingredients should you include in your oily skin care routine to balance oil production?

Research tells us that niacinamide (vitamin B3) can aid in reducing sebum so too can hyaluronic acid and Jojoba oil. As Jojoba mimics the naturally produced oils in our skin, its presence sends a message to the skin that extra oil isn’t needed. 

oily skin


Weekly exfoliation or mask treatment

The body’s natural exfoliation process (shedding of dead skin cells) is called desquamation. 

With oily skin types, this process can be hampered by the excessive buildup of sebum which ‘glues’ the dead cells to the surface. In turn, this leads to clogged pores and dull-looking skin prone to breakouts. 

If you’re frustrated with too much oil, regular exfoliation or a mask should be part of your routine. This will promote clearer pores and help keep the presence of oil in check. 

There are a few shine-saving ingredients to look for in oily skin care exfoliators and masks.

Salicylic Acid 

This beta-hydroxy acid is well-studied for its effect on seborrhoea to combat oil and control acne breakouts. Salicylic acid can deeply penetrate the pores and layers of the skin. Inside the pore, it works to dissolve impurities and excess oil, decreasing shininess and controlling sebum.

As an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) it has hydrophilic properties - which means it attracts water molecules. This aids in moisture retention and promotes bouncy, hydrated skin.

Salicylic acid isn’t generally tolerated by sensitive skin so if your oily skin is also reactive and easily stressed, this acid may be one to avoid.

Green Bentonite Clay

A go-to ingredient for absorbing excess sebum, green bentonite clay is compatible with oily skin to control shine, regulate oil production and also draw out impurities.

It can be drying, so always follow a bentonite clay mask treatment with a hydrating serum and/or moisturiser. 

Keep skin hydrated 

Myth busted: The presence of oil doesn’t equate to hydration. All skin types can suffer from dehydration; even those with seborrhoea. 

Temporarily oily skin can actually be a sign of dehydration. When skin lacks water (not oil) the sebaceous glands still get busy producing sebum in an effort to moisturise the skin.

Oil and water work as a team to keep skin plump and hydrated but they play different roles. Sebum helps seal moisture into the skin but the cells first need to be hydrated for this partnership to work optimally.

This is where humectant ingredients should play a role in skin care for oily skin as humectants draw water to the skin’s surface to rehydrate cells.

Key humectants include hyaluronic acid, glycerin, aloe vera, caprylyl glycol, and amino acids.

Rather than slathering your skin with thick, rich creams, opt for a lightweight lotion or face oil that won’t clog pores or look greasy. Hydrating serums are also an excellent way to boost hydration without exacerbating shine.  

The hydrating skin care serum for oily skin we love is our Multi-Active Hydrating Face Serum | Active Compound which is formulated with 4 weights of Hyaluronic Acid that intensely hydrates and plumps the skin.

Layering on multiple skincare products all at once can be harsh on the skin, resulting in more breakouts and clogged pores. Multi-Active Hydrating Face Serum gives your skin everything it needs in 1 simple (yet powerful!) serum. 

Don’t rule out face oil 

Lightweight and non-comedogenic face oils can be a great match for oily skin; helping to regulate sebum, soothe redness and nourish the skin barrier. 

Hemp seed oil is compatible with seborrhoea skin. Thanks to its high concentration of omega acids 3, 6, and 9, it can help trap moisture in the skin and repair barrier damage. Anti-inflammatory properties also help calm troubled skin and as hemp seed oil is non-comedogenic, it won’t block pores. 

Midday shine control 

A tip for forehead and oily nose skin care; using micellar water during the day can help prevent a midday shine-fest. You can soak a cotton pad in micellar water and dab it in shiny areas to gently cleanse the skin and soak up oil. 

If you have any questions about oily skin care with Vela Days products, reach out to our team.