Friday, January 18th, 2008

NEW COLUMN ALERT! Step Into My Shoes is a new column that I am testing out that will revolve around “what if” scenarios. The point is for you to put yourself into the person’s shoes and come up with remedies for them, and offer any advice you can for them. Sometimes the scenarios might be outlandish, ridiculous, hilarious, or totally and utterly applicable and serious. You are welcome to submit your own scenarios, too! Just e-mail them to [email protected].

SCENARIO: I have incredibly oily skin. It’s like I’m my own grease pit! All I want to do is find a way to reduce the excess oil–permanently? Is it possible? I look like it’s 100 degrees outside, I’ve run ten miles, and it’s humid. What do I do? Are there any products that will tame my super slick skin? Save me!

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23 thoughts on “Step Into My Shoes – I’m an oil field!

  1. dee

    For permanence, I’d check with a dermatologist. With what all they do, I’m sure there’s a procedure they can do to minimize oil production. From an over the counter perspective, I’d say make sure whatever make-up you’re using is oil free, invest in a blot powder, and keep oil wipes on hand.(Or frequent the bathroom, the toilet covers remove excess oil, just like the blot papers you get at the make-up counters.

  2. Amy


    This sounds like a fun column! I just found your website yesterday! You look just like a girl I used to work with! Totally gorgeous looks, and I love how complete the instructions are that you give to go along with them!

    I was looking around–do you have any info about yourself? Are you a trained makeup artist? In your 20’s? Been to cosmetology school? I think that’d be a great addition.

    As for your first scenario. . . I have oily skin. I use a primer that is supposed to control oil production. Pore minimizing moisturizers work well for this too. Blotting a lot is a MUST, as is fairly lightweight makeup. Using a clay mask 1-2 times a week helps cut down on excess oil. Also, using a light moisturizer at night will help keep skin balanced–zap all your face moisture away, and your body will go into overdrive, making even MORE oil so that it will be even harder to keep up with.

  3. Ladyvonsparkle

    Hmm, super SUPER oily skin?

    I would say you should start off by switching to clay based cleansing products like Estee Lauder Sparkling clean cleaners and toner (I LOVE these products, they helped my skin out loads). Some kind of primer for oil control is probably a good idea underneath makeup, teamed with a good oil absorbing powder to use throughout the day.

    I stopped using normal moisturisers and only use Aloe Vera gel as my facial moisturiser now because it seemed to help with everything – spots, uneven tone, oil and dry patches. I use Bio Oil on really dry bits.

    Lots of fresh fruit and veg and water goes without saying. Evening Primrose Oil can help with hormonally greasy skin. Is your hair in your face? That can contribute.

    Thats about all I can think of now lol. I hope at least a little bit of it is helpful!!


  4. Tekoa

    Oh! I love what if questions!
    Firstly, get yee face to a dermatologist. Its the only way to solve the problem at the root…that you are producing excessive amounts of oil. They’ll likely suggest a Levulan (sp)? treatment. The result of this treatment is that some of your thousands of oil producing glands are shut down. Woot! Its great for acne prone skin, and it gets rid of fine lines. Levulan saved me from having to go on Accutane.

    So! Your Exxon Valdez skin is being mopped up. What products to use?
    1) MAC Prep + Prime with SPF 50. Helps keep the makeup on.
    2) Smashbox Anti Shine. Really does work!
    3) MAC blot powder.
    4) Blot papers. I like the Body Shop ones the best over MAC and Sephora. The package is just designed better.

    And that’s what I do currently. Always looking for new ways to tame the oil beast.

    • christy

      speaking of exxon valdez…if we could harvest the oil from out face and use it to fuel cars or something that’s actually useful, wouldnt that be awesome? cuz sometimes it seems my skin is oil enough to power a whole city!

  5. Monica

    Cosmedicine Medi Matte will become your new best friend then! It completely disingrates oil. I had a training with that brand a long time ago where they made us put olive oil on our hands and put the moisturizer over it. To my amazement the oil was completely gone. Plus it does have an SPF in it which is a plus

  6. I don’t have to pretend i have this problem — cause i DO have this problem! so, im not going to be much help on this because i have tried just about everything and nothing (except expensive prescriptions that aren’t covered by my health insurance) really significantly helps.

    BUT — for moderate help, i use Neutrogena oil-free acne wash and St. Ives medicated scrub every day, along with Kiehls’ astringent moisturizer and my prescription gel (i forget the name now).

    after that, i use MAC Matte, followed by NARS Oil Free foundation, set with MAC MSF Natural and blot powder for touch ups during the day. it doesn’t make the oil go away, but it keeps it relativley under control :) apple cider vinegar as a toner once a week also helps!!

  7. Tanya

    I agree with the other posters, see a good dermatologist. Change your bedding often, to help cut down on the spread of acne…if the access oil is in fact producing acne. Look into your hair care products, cut down on oily products for hair – ie silk therapy etc. Get your hair off your face, its understandable to want to cover your face with bangs to hide the acne/oil but it only makes things worse. A good natural face mask is a egg yolk, good for excessive oil, bad for factory farm egg laying hens. Oil blotter sheets rock.

  8. There are some great suggestions! My face gets oilier as they day goes on so I’m definitely going to try these tips!

  9. Nora

    I’ve been using Carley’s Clear & Smooth treatment for about 3 months now, and I’d say my face’s oil production is less. There are no quick cures for things like excessive oil production, but my switching to more natural treatments has really helped my skin. I also switched to more natural moisturizers such as olive oil (don’t worry – it’s a dry oil and soaks in within a minute) and rosewater & glycerin mixed with a couple drops of water. No overnight post-jogging cure, but a cure in the long run (and SO CHEAP)!

  10. victoria

    i don’t have to put myself in your shoes, i have oily skin myself. it’s a plus for winter but trouble in the summer. i don’t want to use too many products because it might encourage it more. i am just careful with what i use to clean my face, nothing tooooo drying but NOTHING with cream base cleansers and very light moisturizer. i mean really light, just the slightest grease from a moisturizer and i breakout at the sides of my face, i think that’s where the oil ends up so my pores get congested there. i use cetaphil for cleanser and clinique different moisturizer gel and that is it anything more that my skin gets unhappy. oh and studiofix foundation, liquid for winter and powder for summer. this is a fun column though. i wonder how it is having dry skin. maybe smaller pores but i guess you’d have to fight wrinkles.

  11. mich

    There’s genuinely oily skin, and then there’s skin that’s pumping out oil because it’s dehydrated. Mine’s the latter, so whenever I start to look like an oil field I switch to a thicker moisturizer for the next few days. Aggravatingly counter-intuitive, huh? I actually went a few years bombarding my skin with mattifying and drying products before I found out what the problem was.

  12. M.

    I also have this problem. Salicylic acid is my best friend. Use any products with at least 2% concentration twice a day. Be sure to continue moisturizing – preferably with something geared to oily skin. I’m currently using Borba’s Fiber Knit Concentrate – Clarifying. Use blotting papers instead of powder when you’re feeling greasy during the day, get a great primer (I’m still searching for the one I love the best, so I’m not much help there), and use an exfoliating treatment at least once a week, preferably more often. I just invested in a Clarisonic brush, and I’ll be posting soon to give a review on that. Good luck!

  13. Tonee

    I have an oily t-zone and I use a clay mask thrice a week. I also keep it well moisturized, using a light gel (Clarins). Recently I was told that applying a light layer of Milk of Magnesia helps with dealing with oiliness and it can be mixed with a little water before spreading all over the face. I have not tried this yet but apparently it has worked out really well for oily skinned folk, who use this mixture after moisturizing and before applying make up.

    • christy

      how exactly do you use the milk of magnesia? have you tried it out yet? i happen to have some at my house!

      • Tonee

        Hi Christy,

        I finally tried this out and yes, it did work for me! I diluted the MoM with a little bit of water before applying it on my face, and it did not leave a white residue. I used a liquid foundation on top of this and it stayed put all day. It’s probably the cheapest primer ever! Some people have had problems with it, like itching etc so don’t wear it out the first time you apply it. Hope it works for you!

  14. Dawn

    I have super oily skin too and there are ways to minimize the oil. I find that if I use one product for a while it stops working for me. So I’d like to switch it up every other month or so. I really have like 3 different cleansers with different ingredients in my bathroom.
    Though they can be a little harsh for sensitive skin, I like cleaners with Alpha Hydrox Acids( Glycolic is my personal favorite) in them because not only do they treat pimples but they also control for oil. Test your sensitivity on the back of your hand or a small part of your face before going all out.
    Facial scrubs with 1-2% Salicylic acid are great because it gets rid of dead cells on the surface and also the acid treats pimples.
    Then every now and then I use a cleanser with Benzoyl Peroxide (.5 to 2%). It helps get deep in the pores minimizing dirt and oil that can lead to blackheads.
    A clay mask twice a week is great to tighten pores and bring out impurities. and finally Oil Free toners to clean and refresh the face.
    Also use some kind of oil free moisturizer so your skin won’t dry out, which also causes oily skin.

    once or twice during the day it helps to use a blot powder to absorb oil.

    It may take awhile to get into a routine that works for you but it’s worth the time. I must say my skin is a lot less oily these days.

  15. Sarah

    I would definitely try the following…







  16. Zsofi

    i liek this new column,great that You always have new ideas around the beauty topic, i was a real beauty addict before,too,but Your sit has really teached me a lot.
    i surely will send some questions over to You 😀

  17. Regan

    I have oily skin too. It has been helped by using mineral-based makeup. I use Bare Minerals and just love it. Just using that has helped to clear up my skin. I also use Dermologica skin care. I get the trial version — it’s around $30, and has the cleanser, toner, oil control lotion and a mask. It’s also in travel-sized containers, so you don’t have to worry about it being too big to travel with. I use Neutrogena’s Oil Free Moisture lotion for moisture. I also never leave home without blotting papers. If you don’t have those, I blot with paper towels.

    As for lessening oil production, I’ve been told that the only way to stop it is with Accutane, which must be taken in conjunction with birth control pills because of the severe birth defects it can cause.

  18. Erin

    I actually have almost the same answer as to the other question- Cetaphil, don’t rinse but dab off with towel, leaving a very thin film on the skin. Also charcoal scrub by Origins, I forget the name.

  19. Rhonda

    I use Bliss Steep Clean cleansing milk followed with Paula’s Choice 2% BHA liquid at night and in the morning I again wash with Bliss Steep Clean cleansing milk and follow with Cabot Seban Solution by Cooperlabs. My skin is dramatically brighter and oil-free almost all day.