Fact or Fiction: Oily skin should not be moisturized.

Written by Lydia Sarfati, president and founder of Repêchage

Clients with oily skin constantly fight the battle of reducing the shiny- and greasy-looking appearance of their skin. This skin type often shudders at the thought of putting an emollient on their skin for fear of increasing the oily and slick look they are trying to diminish. However, oily skin still needs to be moisturized.

Oily skin is characterized by having excess oil or sebum. The purpose of sebum is to support the skin's acid mantle and help create a barrier to prevent moisture loss from the skin. It does not, however, provide moisture to the cells, helping only to lock it in.

Too much sebum causes dead skin cells and debris to become blocked in the pores, which, in turn, leads to breakouts. If the skin is over-cleansed and the essential moisture barrier is not restored, the skin can get dehydrated, causing dead skin cells stick together on the surface on the skin and block the oil from coming through. This reaction causes sebaceous cysts underneath the skin. Furthermore, dehydrated skin can manifest fine lines and flakiness.

If a client has oily skin, their treatment should focus on achieving the right balance and understanding that while the oils must be controlled, the skin must also be properly hydrated. The key to achieving a proper moisture balance is understanding the ingredients and products that are being used. If a client has an oily skin type, they are likely using products with alkaline substances that are drying out their skin. These drying products can also alter the acid mantle that protects the skin, making it more susceptible to dirt and bacteria. To stop the over-drying of their skin, they should use a soap-free face wash that still has enough power to help balance their oily skin. Zinc oxide and porprhyridium micro-alga, a unicellular seaweed, are ingredients that can work together to help regulate oil production, moisturize and protect the skin, matte the complexion, and leave the client feeling beautiful and fresh faced. Astringents and clay masks can also be used to help control oil production.  bottles

These steps, however, must be followed by a hydrating product that contains hydrophilic ingredients. They should also use lightweight moisturizers, gels, creams, and serums that contain hyaluronic acid, phlorotannins, vitamins, and minerals and work to prevent dehydration and lock-in moisture. These actions will help keep the client's skin healthy and hydrated, arming professionals and clients with another tool to combat excessive oils.

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