10 natural ways to manage oily skin

Before we tell you how to deal with oily skin, it’s worth pointing out that oil in the skin is actually a good thing. 

The sebaceous cells, located under your skin, produce sebum – an oily, fatty substance – to protect and moisturise your skin and keep your hair healthy. However, the sebaceous glands can overproduce oil due to things like genetics, hormone changes, or stress. That leads to very oily skin, which can cause acne and clogged pores.

Any teenager can tell you that acne and oily skin are hard to manage. But don’t go straight to the pharmacy – many acne creams contain harmful chemicals and can exacerbate your skin’s problems over time.

Natural solutions are much better and there are plenty of home remedies that will help get your skin back in balance. Here are 10 of the best ways to manage oily skin without leaving home:

1. Keep your skin clean

This one is very basic, but you’d be surprised how many people don’t wash their face daily. If you have naturally oily skin – or are having a breakout – you should be washing your face twice a day.

Don’t attack your skin with harsh soaps or detergents though – this will strip away too much oil, leading to overproduction of sebum. Instead, try gentle cleansers like Okana’s foaming cleanser, which is made with natural apple juice.

2. Use blotting papers to reduce oil

Blotting papers are a simple and inexpensive way to keep oily skin in check throughout the day. These small, thin papers are gentle on the skin. They don’t strip away healthful oils. Instead, they gently remove excess oil and grease.

You can easily pick these up from any chemist and keep them around the house or in your bag for when you’re out and about.

3. Bathe your face in honey

Honey is one of nature’s most celebrated skincare solutions. It’s packed with antibacterial and antiseptic properties, meaning it can help to clear your skin of bacteria that cause acne or make it worse.

Using honey to treat oily skin or acne is very simple. Just spread a thin layer of raw honey onto your face, give it 10 minutes or so to dry, then wash it away with warm water.

4. Use the healing power of clay

Some clays have amazing properties that allow them to absorb excess oil from the skin or even treat skin conditions. French green clay is especially revered for its absorptive qualities. 

This is a great, all-natural way to treat acne or oily skin and it comes in a convenient powder form. Clay masks are much gentler on your skin than peel-off face masks.

Here’s how you make an absorbent face mask using French green clay:

  • Take a teaspoon of the clay powder and add filtered water or, ideally, rose water. Mix until it takes on the consistency of pudding.
  • Apply the mixture to your face and let it dry out.
  • Once the clay is dry, wash it away with warm water and pat your face dry.

5. Soothe your skin with oatmeal

Oatmeal is great for lowering cholesterol and giving you long-lasting energy, but did you know it’s also a powerful skincare product?

Yep, your grandma was right to feed you porridge all the time – and if you ever threw it at your siblings as kids, you may have been doing them a favour. When applied directly to the skin oatmeal can calm inflamed skin, absorb excess oil, and even exfoliate your face!

Many of your favourite porridge ingredients can also boost it’s skincare properties – try adding yoghurt or mashed fruit to the recipe below:

  • Stit hot water through half a cup of oats to form a paste.
  • Mix a tablespoon of honey through – plus other ingredients, if you like.
  • Massage the resulting porridge onto your face for around three minutes. Use gentle circular motions, always pushing upwards. Then rinse with warm water and pat dry.
  • You can also apply the mixture then leave it for 10-15 minutes before rinsing it away.

6. Make an egg white face mask

Mixing egg whites with lemon juice is a simple way to make an effective face mask at home. 

Both egg whites and lemons tighten pores, and the protein in egg whites is great for your skin. The acid in lemons can help absorb oil and also has antibacterial properties, according to researchers.

Making an egg white face mask is simple:

  • Separate an egg white from its yolk
  • Combine the egg white with 1 teaspoon of fresh lemon juice.
  • Apply the mixture to your face and let it dry and harden.
  • Wash your face with warm water and pat dry.

Just make sure not to use this option if you have an egg allergy.

7. Try ground-up almonds

If you’re looking for a natural way to exfoliate your skin and remove excess oils, ground almonds are a wonderful option. They’re full of nutrients and protein, and so easy to apply.

You can create your own almond face scrub like so:

  • Grind up raw almonds until you have three teaspoons worth of powder.
  • Mix this up with 2 tablespoons of raw honey.
  • Apply the resulting mixture to your face gently, using circular motions.
  • Rinse your face with warm water and dry gently.

If you want to make an almond face mask, just add a little water while grinding to create an almond paste before adding honey. Apply the mask and leave the mask on for 10–15 minutes before rinsing it off.

Obviously, you should avoid this remedy if you’re allergic to nuts.

8. Soothe your skin with aloe vera

Aloe vera is known for soothing burns and other skin conditions, and it’s also a popular option for helping with oily skin. 

The Mayo Clinic reports that there is solid scientific evidence behind using aloe vera for both flaky skin and skin that is too oily. If you want to use aloe vera, simply apply a thin layer to your skin before bedtime and leave it on overnight. 

If you’ve never used it before, test a small amount on your forearm first. In rare cases, aloe vera can cause allergic reactions. Check the test spot over the next couple of days – if there’s no reaction, go ahead and start using aloe vera,

9. Try Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed with salicylic acid, which can absorb excess oil from your skin and help unclog pores.

You can create an exfoliating tomato mask in a few easy steps:

  • Combine a teaspoon of sugar with the pulp from 1 tomato.
  • Apply the mixture to your face using gentle circular motions, like a massage.
  • Leave for 5 minutes.
  • Rinse your face and feel the benefits.

You can also simply slice a tomato and apply the sections to your face directly.

10. Fight excess oil with jojoba oil

Using an oil to offset oily skin may seem strange but it can work. Often, your sebaceous glands are overproducing sebum in response to skin that has become dry or damaged. 

Jojoba oil is thought to mimic healthy sebum on the skin, effectively calming your sebaceous glands down and getting things back in balance.

The science on this is inconclusive, but a 2012 study did find that clay face masks with jojoba oil helped skin lesions and acne to clear up when applied 2-3 times a week.

Don’t use too much oil though, just a few drops of jojoba is enough. So long as you don’t have a reaction to the oil, you can apply a small amount daily for clearer skin.

Preventing oily skin

Sometimes oily skin is the result of genetic factors or hormonal changes. In these cases, it can be tough to prevent or reverse, but the problem can be minimised with healthy lifestyle choices, such as:

  • A consistent skincare routine using organic skincare products.
  • Avoiding fried foods
  • Limiting intake of sugars and processed foods

It’s very important not to use heavy cosmetics to try and cover up pimples or other effects of oily skin. This might save your pride in the moment but it can exacerbate the problem!

In fact, when your skin is inflamed or oily, you should reduce your makeup use – especially foundation – to avoid clogging pores. 

While most skincare home remedies are safe, you can develop allergies or sensitivities over time. If you notice your skin becoming sensitive to a particular remedy, stop using it and swap it for something else.

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