Oily skin is the result of the overproduction of sebum from sebaceous glands. These glands are located under the skin’s surface. Sebum is an oily substance made of fats. Sebum isn’t all bad since it helps protect and moisturize your skin and keep your hair shiny and healthy. Too much sebum, however, may lead to oily skin, which can lead to clogged pores and acne. Genetics, hormone changes, or even stress may increase sebum production.
Oily skin and acne are challenging to manage. Still, home remedies often reduce symptoms without the use of prescription drugs or expensive skin care regimens.
It seems obvious, but many people with oily skin don’t wash their face daily. If your skin’s oily, you should wash your face twice a day — but don’t overdo it. Avoid harsh soaps or detergents. Use a gentle soap such as glycerin soap instead.
These thin, small papers won’t prevent your sebaceous glands from going into overdrive, but they’ll allow you to blot excess oil from your face to help minimize shiny, greasy skin. Blotting papers are inexpensive and available over the counter. Use as needed throughout the day.
Honey is one of nature’s most revered skin remedies. Thanks to its antibacterial and antiseptic abilities, it may benefit oily and acne-prone skin. Honey is also a natural humectant, so it helps keep the skin moist but not oily. This is because humectants draw moisture from the skin without replacing it.
To use honey to treat acne and oily skin, spread a thin layer, preferably raw, onto your face; let it dry for about 10 minutes, and rinse thoroughly with tepid water.
Cosmetic clays, also called healing clays, are used to help absorb skin oil and treat many skin conditions. French green clay is a popular treatment for oily skin and acne since it’s highly absorbent. French green clay comes in powder form. To make a spa-worthy French green clay mask:
- Add filtered water or rose water to about a teaspoon of clay until it forms a pudding-like consistency.
- Apply the clay mixture to your face and leave it on until it dries.
- Remove the clay with warm water and pat dry.
Clay masks removed with water are much gentler on your skin than peel-off masks.
Oatmeal helps calm inflamed skin and absorb excess oil. It also helps exfoliate dead skin. Oatmeal, when used in facial masks, is usually ground. It can be combined with yogurt, honey, or mashed fruit such as bananas, apples, or papaya. To use oatmeal on your face:
- Combine 1/2 cup ground oats with hot water to form a paste.
- Stir in 1 tablespoon honey.
- Massage the oatmeal mixture into your face for about three minutes; rinse with warm water, and pat dry.
- Alternatively, apply the oatmeal mixture to your face and leave it on for 10–15 minutes; rinse with warm water, and pat dry.
Egg whites and lemons are a folk remedy for oily skin. Both ingredients are thought to tighten pores. The acid in lemons and other citrus fruits may help absorb oil. This is not a good choice for people with egg allergies. According to a 2008 study, lemons have antibacterial abilities.
To make an easy egg white and lemon face mask:
- Combine 1 egg white with 1 teaspoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice.
- Apply it to your face, and leave it on until the mask dries.
- Remove with warm water, and pat dry.
Ground almonds not only work to exfoliate your skin, but they also help sop up excess oils and impurities. To use an almond face scrub:
- Finely-grind raw almonds to make 3 teaspoons.
- Add 2 tablespoons of raw honey.
- Apply to your face gently, in circular motions.
- Rinse with warm water, and pat dry.
You can also make an almond face mask by grinding the almonds into a paste before adding the honey. Leave the mask on for 10–15 minutes. Rinse with warm water, and pat dry. Do not use if you have a nut allergy.
Aloe vera is known for soothing burns and other skin conditions. According to the Mayo Clinic, there’s good scientific evidence that it helps treat flaky skin caused by oily patches. Many people use aloe vera to treat oily skin. You can apply a thin layer to your face before bedtime and leave it on until morning. Aloe vera is known to cause allergic reaction on sensitive skin. If you have not used aloe vera before, test a small amount on your forearm. If no reaction appears within 24 to 48 hours it should be safe to use.
Tomatoes contain salicylic acid, a common acne home remedy. The acids in tomatoes may help absorb excess skin oils and help unclog pores. To make an exfoliating tomato mask:
- Combine 1 teaspoon sugar with the pulp of 1 tomato.
- Apply to the skin in a circular motion.
- Leave the mask on for 5 minutes.
- Rinse thoroughly with tepid water and pat dry.
You can also apply just tomato pulp or tomato slices to your skin.
Although the idea of applying oil to oily skin seems counterproductive, jojoba oil is a folk remedy to treat oily skin, acne, and other skin problems. It’s thought that jojoba mimics sebum on the skin to “trick” sebaceous glands into producing less sebum and help keep oil levels balanced. There’s no scientific research to support this theory, though. Still, a 2012 study found that applying a mask made of healing clay and jojoba oil two to three times weekly helped heal skin lesions and mild acne.
A little jojoba oil goes a long way. Using too much may worsen oily skin. Try massaging a few drops into clean skin a few days a week to see how you react. If you like the results, apply daily.
When oily skin is caused by genetics or hormones, it’s tough to prevent. Practicing consistent skin care and avoiding unhealthy foods such as fried foods, foods high in sugar, and processed foods may help.
It’s tempting to use heavy cosmetics to cover the effects of oily skin, but this can make the condition worse. When oily skin acts up, reduce the use of makeup, especially foundation. Choose water-based products instead of oil-based. Look for products labeled noncomedogenic that are less likely to clog pores.
Many people claim home remedies for oily skin work. Most remedies aren’t well-researched. The success of a home remedy is dependent on many things such as your specific situation and the quality of the products you use.
It is possible to develop allergies to remedies you have been using for a while. If your skin becomes sensitive to any product, discontinue use.
If a home remedy worsens symptoms, stop using it, and contact your doctor or a dermatologist. You should also seek medical help if oily skin symptoms such as acne are severe, since they may lead to infection or scarring.