Many women try different foundations, concealers and powders with just one goal in mind: to find a product that will keep their oily skin from shining throughout the day.
Why is your skin oily?
Oily skin is caused by overactive sebaceous glands. These glands, which are located under the skin’s surface, normally serve to protect the skin against bacterial infections by excreting oil through the pores. But consuming oily foods and using oily products on the skin and hair can cause even more oil to be created on the skin.
Nialah Ali, an esthetician since 1999 and a wellness coach for 25 years, says that other factors besides diet and beauty products may also result in excess oil production, such as medication, genetics and hormone levels. “Most people who are oily have been oily all of their lives,” says Ali. “If they have had oily skin from the time they were a teenager up until now, most of the time it is because of genetics or diet.”
Ali says a woman should ask herself, “Was she born with oily skin, or did she get oily skin in her teenage years, or is it something she has acquired recently?” Sometimes excess oil can be caused by the use of certain beauty products. Ali suggests avoiding products that contain petroleum and mineral oil, and wearing hair pulled back away from the face.
Ali also stresses the importance of maintaining a healthy diet for radiant skin, as eating oily or processed foods can increase the skin’s oil production. But if you have always eaten healthy foods, then your oiliness could be the result of other factors, such as fluctuating hormone levels due to menopause or pregnancy, or as a side effect of certain medications.
Because of the wide range of factors behind oily skin, Ali stresses the importance of first getting to the root of the problem and determining which factor is the culprit in order to come up with the best solution.
Cutting the shine
For some women, oily skin may not be the result of diet, but rather of genetics or some other factor that may not be easily controlled. In these cases, products to help keep your face shine-free are essential.
Even though your skin may be oily, you will still need to invest in a great moisturizer to help enhance your skin’s appearance and elasticity. Celebrity makeup artist Neema Ali of Kreating Faces LLC says, “You want to use a moisturizer because you should have something to protect the skin.” Moisturizer also acts as a barrier against pollution, wind, and other products you use on your face.
Ali emphasizes choosing a moisturizer that has SPF protection and that lists water as its first ingredient. “You always want to make sure water is the number one ingredient – especially if you have oily skin – and not oil,” says Ali. “Usually the first ingredient in the product is the main ingredient laying on the skin.”
For picture-perfect skin, try using a primer before applying your foundation. A good primer will keep your skin shine-free and give your makeup a flawless look. “It’s going to set the skin and prep it for the makeup; it is also a pore minimizer,” says Ali. Apply the primer after moisturizing to minimize the appearance of pores and to soften and protect your skin.
Ali recommends a water-based, matte foundation for oily skin. Matte foundation is generally both oil-free and water-based, which helps the skin appear shine-free once it dries. “A matte foundation is going to minimize the pores, and it has a pore-minimizing agent in it that is going to block out oils that come in,” she says.
“If you use liquid [makeup], you always want to set with a powder,” says Ali. Applying powder after foundation may be necessary for full coverage, but if you already use a powder foundation, then applying powder to set your foundation may be overkill. Loose powder is best for oily skin.
Good skin starts within
There are many wonderful products that can help you conceal oily skin, but for beautiful skin from the inside out, both Nialah Ali and Neema Ali stress the importance of maintaining a healthy diet. Neema Ali says, “Just be mindful to everything you put inside; everything that is going in is going to be coming out of the skin.” And according to Nialah Ali, “Beauty starts within – your health on the inside is the most important thing you can do for your skin.”
Alvieann is a recent graduate of the University of Georgia with a degree in Journalism and minor in African American studies. She is a writer and an aspiring journalist with her eyes set on covering news stories that will inspire and inform others.
Faith A. Coleman, MD