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5 Ways to Combat an Oily Face

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There’s nothing worse than having an oily face and no, I’m not talking about a telltale manly forehead smudge after you’ve spent an hour under your ‘68 Corvette…  I’m talking about the stuff that your skin naturally produces, largely to protect itself from the elements.  But sometimes our skin doesn’t adapt well, and can produce far more oil than is helpful, which is a darn quick way to have some nasty acne issues.  Here are 5 methods to combat this complexion conundrum so that you can ensure the only visible oil on your face comes from under that gorgeous V8 engine in your Corvette.

#1: Manage Your Stress

Have you ever noticed that acne can come out of nowhere, especially when you’ve lately been dealing with stress?  Well, there’s a reason for this…

When you’re dealing with stress, the body increases the production of a hormone called cortisol, which then signals to the sebaceous glands to increase skin oil-production (just like they do during overstimulation, caused by heat, but we’ll get into that in a second.)  According to, dermatologists have known that stress has been causing acne for quite some time.  However, studies done back in 2001 were able to find direct correlation — which means that stress is a proven cause for oily skin and acne.

This proven research is yet another reason to relax and take a breather.  Your skin depends on it.

#2: Change Your Environment

For men with chronically oily skin, heat is the enemy; there’s a super interesting trick to go with this, which has to do with your refrigerator…stay tuned.

If you’re routinely in hot environments, then your sebaceous glands are constantly being kicked into overdrive.  This happens especially when you sweat, so make sure that you give your skin a chance to cool down, and wash your face with cool water and a mild cleanser. Mild is the key word here, men. If skin becomes dry due to harsh cleaners, the skin will work in overdrive to compensate for the dry skin, resulting in oil practically dripping from your pores.

#3 Get Down with Routine

Spending time moisturizing, buffing, and masking your skin can seem like a huge time suck. However, the benefits are worth the time spent – especially if you have oily skin. One of the best ways to force your skin into submission is to adapt a skin care routine that caters to your slick skin.


To keep your complexion in the clear, it’s essential to cleanse your skin every day. For oily skin, I typically recommend a cleanser that exfoliates. This will help get rid of those useless dead skin cells that are clogging up your pores. If you notice that your face is starting to dry out, reduce your exfoliating cleanser to twice per week and supplement with a mild cleanser.


Most guys can get away with skipping this step, but for those blessed (cursed) with oily skin, it’s essential for your oversized sebaceous glands. A toner will help to close the pores that produce so much grease. An effective toner will make your skin feel taught and smooth, which is a bonus.


This step isn’t reserved to the fairer sex, men. Moisturizing oily skin might seem like a counter-productive step, but it’s important for maintaining skin integrity. As I mentioned before, if your skin is overly dry it will try to compensate by producing more oil than necessary in an effort to balance the skin, successfully turning your T-Zone into an oil slick. Combat this by including a moisturizer that is formulated for oily skin into your routine. Your skin will stay hydrated while retaining that essential natural moisture.

#4: Use Tea Tree Oil

Suggesting that you guys invest in essential oils might be a stretch, but tea tree oils have several properties, which naturally combat skin problems. Hear me out.  Essentially, tea tree oil is an:

  • Antibacterial
  • Antiviral
  • Antifungal
  • Antiseptic
  • And a degreaser (sort of like dish soap)

So not only will it be able take away some of the oil that’s already on your face, but it can also kill acne-causing bacteria and will help heal damaged skin.

#5: The Old Moisturizer-In-the-Fridge Trick

Here’s one pro-tip I’ve learned over the years: store your moisturizer in the fridge.
This tips works because oily skin often occurs when the pores are too large.  Not only will the cool sensation of the refrigerated moisturizer feel absolutely fantastic, especially in the heat of summer, but it will also cause your pores to become temporarily smaller, which in turn causes less oil to escape the outer most layer of skin, the epidermis.

It also will signal to your epidermal sebaceous glands to cool it.  Yes gentlemen, that pun was intended.

#6: Products Designed Specifically to Handle Oily Skin

There are two main OTC products that can help fight oily skin and its effects.  These are benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, which combat the problem by wiping out acne-causing bacteria and keeping the skin from accumulating oil.  However, this can have a nasty side effect of triggering super dry skin…

That’s why I tend to recommend oil control products that have been specifically designed to keep the skin healthy and looking its best without causing those dry skin problems.  These are often better than antiquated OTC products, especially for dudes with very sensitive, rash-prone skin.

Your Skin Shows Your Overall Health

If you have chronically oily skin, then there’s a chance that you might need to change a few things in your lifestyle.  For instance, you might want to stick to an immune system-boosting diet, and spend less time stressing.

Savannah Hemmings

Savannah Hemmings

6 thoughts on “5 Ways to Combat an Oily Face”

  1. These oil control products work for some (lucky folk) and not for others. Notice, though, that what’s recommended more than likely costs an arm and a leg. These products come from the cosmetics industry, and over-claiming and overcharging is what they do. Caveat emptor.

  2. Folks confuse pilo erection, or hair standing up on end, & pore “size”. The two are unrelated. Most pores do not bear hair, and their size is fixed. Hair standing on end is a function of muscle deep to the skin surface. The pores that those hairs emerge from, also remain the same size, all the action is deeper in the dermis.

    1. Actually, I believe many use the term based on the tightness of the skin, which is elastic, and can change temporarily based on temperature. It isn’t too hard to see the action for yourself.
      Go into a steam room, or sauna, and see how your skin relaxes. Sweat oozes from your pores and under close inspection, they look big. Contrast this to a time when you are very cold, and you have goose-bumps. The skin bunches (there ARE hair erector muscles in the skin) and the apparent size of the pores is smaller.
      The pores may not have muscles, but that doesn’t preclude them from changing size (or at least apparent size) because there are muscles in the skin, and the skin is somewhat elastic.
      One can imagine a cave’s opening. It doesn’t have a door, nor muscles. But the surrounding landscape and earth can impact the usable size of the opening (and the actual size of the opening). The cave door isn’t changing sizes on its own, yet its size changes.
      It should also be pointed out that clogged pores can be “opened” by unclogging them, just as a cave door can be opened by moving a rock that may be in front of it.
      My point here is, some people are taking this open/close thing WAY too literally. And they tend to be using the same words (which can be found on a growing number of “dermatology” Internet sites now—as many sites simply “share” content): Paraphrased: Pores don’t have muscles and/or doors, ergo they cannot open or close.
      I think we can agree the skin can look, and feel, differently depending on water temperature—especially after an extreme change in water temperature. That seems to be what people are referring to when they talk about opening, or closing, the pores.
      Of course, I could be wrong.

      1. I agree. If you take a rubber band or tire tube and poke a hole in it. Then stretch it, that hole will then be bigger, release it and it will be smaller. That shows what happens using elasticity, which our skin is. If you don’t believe your skin is elastic sit on a ice cube and we what happens to your “marble holder,” it should contract. If not see your doctor. That is basic thermal dynamics, not muscle control needed. When things heat up they expand, even if it is very minuscule, and they contract when cold.

  3. please note (#5) that it is a myth that cold liquids will cause pores to shrink. Check dermatology websites. There are no muscles associated with human skin pores so they cannot open or close.

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