Apart from genetics, other factors — such as your daily activity, hot environments, or your hormonal stage in life — can exacerbate oily skin. Latinas are also more susceptible to hyper-pigmentation, which can mean unwanted brown spots, especially when you spend time in the sun.
So, how do you deal? Here are six ways to take your skin from slick and greasy to luminous.
1. Find a great cleanser. “When it comes to oily skin, think of cleaning a cast-iron skillet: You clean oil with oil,” says Deniz Ataman, a longtime Clarins skin care specialist and current managing editor forPerfumer and Flavorist Magazine. With that sentiment in mind, she strongly supports oil-based cleansers, such as Lotus Face Treatment Oil from Clarins. However, whether you go with an oil-based cleanser or not, Dr. Bowes recommends steering clear of anything with alcohol and going for as gentle of a formula as your skin will take, since harsh formulas may remove more oil than you need. “You don’t want excess oil [on your skin] because that can feed bacteria, but you also don’t want to strip your skin of all its fatty acids,” she says.
2. Properly clean your face, back, and chest. Dr. Bowes says she commonly meets patients who experience chronic oily skin because they never learned how to properly wash themselves. Her top advice? “Choose a gentle cleanser and use it at least twice a day to normalize oil levels.” Instead of reaching for toner every day, use it once or twice a week at most and make a leave-on cream your go-to for controlling oil production. Overusing toner can lead to overly sensitive skin — skin so sensitive it may not be able to tolerate an acne regime — so opt for a cream low in benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid. “All in all, caring for oily skin is about measure and balance,” says Dr. Bowes.
3. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. “Dehydration can stress glands to produce more oil,” says Ataman. Her favorite way to hydrate her face is to make a clay mask from to time. For daily hydration, Dr. Bowes suggests using a moisturizer that contains hyaluronic acid rather than ceramides, which can lock in bacteria and lead to pimples. Try Boots Botanics Shine Away Mattifying Day Cream.
4. Be wary of home remedies. According to Dr. Bowes, home remedies are hit or miss. The popular sugar-lemon scrub some women make at home is a good exfoliant and mildly improves pigmentation, but too much lemon juice can lead to hyperpigmentation. Yogurt masks, which contain lactic acid, can help exfoliate and make skin glow, but they, too, can be overdone. Ataman believes that exfoliating once a week “to allow dead skin to slough off” is the sweet spot. One home remedy Dr. Bowes recommends avoiding is steaming. “The high temperature can be dangerous and strip your skin of fatty acids you need,” she says. “It’s the same reason why I tell patients not to take hot showers or go in Jacuzzis.”
5. Consult a dermatologist early. Dr. Bowes blames certain brands and websites for perpetuating unhealthy fads and myths about the number of products and regimen steps required to maintain glowing skin. “Frankly, all that will make the skin worse,” she says. Rather than play a guessing game, defer to your dermatologist. And if you’re struggling with comedonal, or mild, acne (blackheads and whiteheads) at any age, see your dermatologist before it worsens and becomes harder to treat.
6. Choose your makeup wisely. When it comes to your skin, Dr. Bowes recommends avoiding pore-clogging products like liquid foundations or other products that feel heavy. She prefers mousse-based foundations for their silky layers, but says aerosolized foundations work well too. If there’s only a little you wish to cover up, choose powder over foundation. Regardless of your product, Dr. Bowes stressesremoving makeup before you go to sleep, “or even better, right when you come home, so your skin can breathe.”