Editor’s Note: This article was updated on January 30, 2017; first published November 5, 2014.
Oils produced by sebaceous glands beneath the skin are part of a natural process to keep the skin lubricated. However, sometimes these oils are produced in excess because of a number of underlying reasons, making the skin oily. Excessively oily skin can lead to acne, irritation, and reddening. Oily skin is the result of genetics and sometimes may also be aggravated due to hormonal changes, menopause, pregnancy, stress, use of birth control bills, weather change, bad eating habits, and several others.
Although oily skin cannot be changed altogether, you can always implement basic skin care and focus on what you eat. Food plays a huge role in the appearance of skin and hair. While some foods trigger oil production by the glands, several others assist in the prevention of excessive oil secretion, thus keeping blackheads, pimples, sweat, and other skin issues at bay.
Most people have a combination of oily and dry skin—it is oily in some areas and dry in others. Also, the amount of oil could vary throughout the day, as some people experience oily skin in the morning and dry skin at night. By using appropriate anti-aging skin care methods and following a certain diet, it is also possible to get glowing skin that is balanced—neither too oily, nor too dry.
Foods to Avoid If You Have Oily Skin
Avoid foods that are high in saturated fat to keep oily skin at bay. Some common sources of saturated fat are dairy products, red and processed meats, chocolate, and fish oils.
Consuming excessive amounts of cheese, butter, and cream will trigger oil production, making the skin oily. Milk has several benefits and is a good skin care ingredient, and so is clear butter. However, excessive amounts of these ingredients will lead to breakouts and other health conditions.
Red and Processed Meats
All kinds of red meat including pork, veal, and lamb are high in saturated fat, which increases fat and cholesterol in the body. This triggers oil secretion which shows on the skin. Such meats are also not good for trying to lose weight either. Have grilled chicken, eggs, and fish in moderation.
Cakes, cookies, and other confectioneries are filled with butter, oil, refined flour, sugar, and other ingredients that are high in saturated fats. These increase bad cholesterol (LDL) in the body, and indirectly trigger oil production by the glands.
Deep Fried Foods
Although fried foods can be very appetizing, eating deep fried foods everyday is not a good idea. They are high in trans fats. The oil present in these foods can not only cause oily skin and pimples, but also clog arteries and increase the risk of cardiac diseases.
Although plain cocoa can be consumed, eating chocolate often leads to oily skin. High in sugar and calories, chocolate leads to oily skin and if high in trans fats, it may also cause skin breakouts and obesity issues.
Alcohol and Sugary Drinks
Alcoholic drinks cause excessive sweating. The sweat combined with the oil on the skin’s surface blocks pores, leading to acne and pimples. Sugary and fizzy drinks contain loads of added sugar, which produces oily skin and increases blood sugar levels in the body.
Avoid ready-to-eat packaged foods as they contain added chemicals and preservatives. Processed foods are often subject to quick methods of cooking like deep frying, which make them high in fat content. This not only increases cholesterol levels, but also triggers oily glands, enabling them to produce more oil on the skin’s surface. These foods are also high in salt which can cause water retention.
Anti-Aging Foods for Oily Skin
Eating fiber-rich and water-rich foods is the key to balanced skin and an overall good health. Make sure they have enough nutritional value as well.
Cucumbers are cooling, high in antioxidants, and provide hydration. Cucumber contains 95% water and has many minerals and vitamins, especially vitamin K. This results in supple, clear skin. Cucumber juice can also be applied externally to help get rid of oil on the face.
Most fruits when eaten whole and raw provide an ample amount of water, fiber, and vital minerals and vitamins. They help to increase the levels of vitamin C in the body. They also help to detoxify the body and remove excess oils and toxins. Try eating oranges, grapefruits, papaya, apple, pomegranate, and other fruits on a daily basis.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Omega-3 fatty acids have anti-inflammatory properties and help to keep skin healthy and glowing. Soybeans, avocados, tuna, nuts, and salmon are foods rich in omega-3. Include them in your diet regularly for great looking, oil-free skin.
Drinking plenty of water every day is the simplest and most important step to curb oily skin. Water flavored with citrus fruit juices can be also consumed. In addition to making the skin hydrated, it also flushes out toxins and oil which reduces the appearance of dull, oily skin.
Green Leafy Vegetables
A healthy, balanced diet balances the production of oil by the skin glands. Thus, consuming a diet rich in green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and fenugreek contains an adequate supply of nutrients, vitamins, and minerals to help correct body processes. A healthy body also implies glowing skin and hair.
Pulses and Lentils
A good source of protein, pulses are great for combating oily skin and can be easily added to a daily food plan. Protein is an essential nutrient for skin, hair, and overall health. They promote good health and also help to balance oil in the body for clear and glowing skin.
Skin Care Tips to Treat Oily Skin
- Ensure you wash your skin with a good, oil-free face wash at least two times a day to unclog blocked pores, and wash away excess oil and dirt that accumulates on the surface.
- Foods rich in vitamin B2 prevent excess oil accumulation on the face, so include foods like beans, nuts and kernels in your diet.
- A good beauty tip is to choose an effective skin care routine by using oil-free essentials like cleansers, exfoliators, serums, and toners.
- Avoid stepping out without a good sunblock as the sun causes the sebaceous glands to secrete more oil, making the skin’s surface oily.
- Use natural homemade remedies to treat oily skin like egg whites, rose water, yogurt with oatmeal and honey, tomatoes, cucumber juice, lemon juice, and cool aloe pulp are all great options.
- Be calm as stress activates the androgen hormones and triggers oil production; practice calming and meditation techniques everyday.
- Be sure to remove all makeup with a water-based makeup remover before going to bed; combined with the oil on the skin, it will lead to pimples, acne, and skin breakouts.
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