Oily skin, especially in the T-zone of the forehead and mid face, is very common and frequently associated with acne-prone skin. This makes a-lot-of sense since the overproduction of oil is one of the first steps in the development of acne.
Excessive oiliness can be very frustrating and difficult to treat. Many oily skin sufferers try to dry the skin by applying surface treatments that absorb the oil or cause the skin surface to exfoliate faster than normal in hopes of ridding the skin surface of retained oil.
Although at first this can seem to be helpful, this strategy can backfire and actually cause the oil glands in the skin to over-react to the dryness by producing even greater amounts of oil! Frustration can build as this ping-pong effect of oiliness and dryness goes back and forth and back and forth. So what can be done to stop this cycle?
Understanding the causes of oily skin
First, it’s important to understand the basics of excessive oil production. Normal skin pores contain oil glands that produce the oily substance called sebum. Sebum serves a very important role in keeping the skin hydrated and healthy. When sebum is overproduced, such as in acne, the skin becomes very oily and bacteria can overgrow…an unpleasant combination!
Fortunately, there are medications that are very effective in treating both of these undesirable effects simultaneously.
Treating oily skin with Spironolactone
Spironolactone is a pill that fits the bill for preventing oily skin. Originally developed as a blood pressure medication, spironolactone also has the ability to block the hormones that trigger the oil glands to become overactive. This not only stops the over production of oil, it also stops acne in its tracks–a double header!
Spironolactone is prescribed quite often at the Advanced Acne Institute to treat stubborn “hormonal pattern” acne in women who have not achieved good results from other treatments. It can completely clear acne-prone skin, and the extra benefit of reducing excessive oil production makes this medication a winner for patients frustrated by an oily complexion.
But it gets even better–oily skin sufferers also comment on how they love the effects of spironolactone on preventing their hair from becoming greasy. The bottom line is that spironolactone can be a win-win when it comes to preventing oily skin as well as offering a chance at a clear complexion.
Treating oily skin with isotrentinoin
Another winning treatment can be found in a medication called isotretinoin, also known by its original brand name, Accutane. This effective treatment also gets to the heart of oily skin by deactivating the overactive oil glands. As a result, acne doesn’t stand a chance and clear skin is the rule with Accutane treatment.
However, Accutane is so effective in preventing oil production, the skin actually goes to the opposite extreme. The skin can become overly dry instead. This, as well as other potential side effects, makes Accutane less desirable as an oily-skin remedy. However, the possibility of using Accutane at lower doses can, under the right circumstances, offer a reprieve from difficult-to-treat acne as well as the frustration of a relentless oily complexion.
The importance of proper skin care
Finally, the need to use proper skin care is important in maintaining oil-free skin. Using a skin care regimen that is overly drying and harsh can lead to temporary relief of excessive oiliness but ultimately leads to a rebound effect where the oil glands sense the dryness and begin to produce even greater amounts of oil to compensate.
An understanding of this phenomenon is critical to designing an optimal skin care regimen. Instead of trying to go head-to-head with the unruly oil glands by using overly drying skin care treatments, a more effective option is to outsmart the overactive glands by maintaining skin hydration which can trick the oil glands into reducing excessive oil output.
Hydrating Base, for example, is a proprietary skin conditioning lotion developed at the Advanced Acne Institute to provide and support skin hydration in sensitive acne-prone skin. By sealing in moisture, Hydrating Base can help to calm the skin surface and help to prevent over-active oil glands from producing excessive oil.