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Harsh Skin Care Products Worsen the Problems of Oily Skin

However, using these harsh products seriously dehydrates the skin, and makes the situation worse. While oily skin does present special problems, hydration is a skin care basic regardless of your skin type.

What causes the problems with oily skin? Oil in the skin is called sebum, and is produced by the sebaceous glands. It is a natural and vital process that makes the skin supple. When the sebaceous glands are over-productive, the skin becomes too oily, which enlarges the pores. As skin cells die and rejuvenate, the combination of dead skin cells, naturally-occurring bacteria, and the excess oil then clogs the pores, causing acne, pimples and blackheads.

Harsh skin care products increase the production of each element in that combination. They irritate and dehydrate the skin, which results in a dry, flaky layer of dead skin cells to add to those that occur naturally. They remove the protective barrier from the skin that keeps out harmful bacteria, thereby increasing the bacteria population. And they strip off the natural oils, signaling the sebaceous glands to produce even more oil to restore the natural balance. You now have a worse situation than before - your pores are larger, clogged with more debris - and the skin becomes inflamed, which then leads to more blackheads, pimples and acne. It's a vicious, never-ending cycle.

What is the remedy? Keeping your face clean and hydrated is the key.

1. Wash your face two or three times a day with a mild, pH balanced soap to exfoliate the skin and prevent dead skin cells from accumulating. It's important not to wash more frequently, as that will actually encourage more oil production. The cleanser you use is very important - anything that leaves the skin feeling dry or taut shrinks the upper layers of the skin, which prevents oil from flowing through the pores and causes blockages. Heavy cleansing creams also block the pores. The best products to use are pure soaps with no artificial additives. Oil-based soaps are best, as they are capable of dissolving some of the excess oils on your skin.

2. After cleansing, use a mild astringent such as lemon, lime or cucumber juice. If you need something a little stronger, try witch hazel. Stay away from harsh astringents. A mild clay masque, such as a mixture of equal parts green clay and honey, can also be used a few times a week. Leave it on for 15 minutes, then rinse well with lukewarm water.

3. Keep the skin hydrated, and protect it from outside irritants. A good shielding lotion will accomplish both. It locks the moisture in, and forms a barrier against environmental pollutants, while keeping the pores open and the oil flowing.
Using this skin care routine will stop the never-ending cycle, make your oily skin more manageable, and may even help the underlying causes.