Soaring temperatures and increased humidity not only make us feel hot and sticky, but cause our skin to look extra greasy. Even those typically with normal skin can see a surge in oil secretions, and those who normally suffer from oily skin can see it only get worse. A shiny face can make skin look dirty and unattractive as well as lead to clogged pores and breakouts.
The T-Zone—forehead, nose and chin—produces the most oil due to the heavy concentration of sebaceous glands. “Skin oil increases in hotter temperatures because of the increased perspiration, and sweat that comes from sebaceous glands,” says New York City-based dermatologist Dr. Kenneth Mark. Sebaceous glands produce sebum, a mix of dead skin cells and lipids, and too much sebum can lead to excessive oiliness, which ultimately clogs pores.
“The best way to keep oily skin in check during the hot days of summer is to exfoliate,” says Dr. Mark. “It’s also important to switch to a cleanser with salicylic acid in it, and contrary to myth, you should get chemical peels in the summer.”
Experts agree that adding beta-hydroxy acids such as salicylic acid is the key to keeping oil under control as it exfoliates the epidermis and targets bacteria from forming within the pores. Retinoids, vitamin A derivatives such as Retin-A, Renova, Tazorac and Differin, may also be prescribed by doctors to help exfoliate the skin, speed cell turnover and boost collagen production.
While there is no immediate cure for shiny skin there are effective remedies to help keep the problem at bay, even on the most sweltering days of summer. As the heat turns up, make sure to switch to lighter water-based makeup formulas and look for oil-free gel-based moisturizers. In addition, incorporate products with oil-absorbing ingredients—talc, silica and dimethicone—that temporarily banish excessive shine by addressing the surface of the skin.
The following products and tips can help you zap the oil slick from forming and help you look your best. Keep in mind that harsh chemicals and over cleansing can actually make skin produce more oil as a defense mechanism.
Keep oil glands under control with a cleanser containing salicylic acid. SkinMedica’s Purifying Foaming Wash ($40), www.skinmedica.com, contains 2 percent salicylic acid, willow bark extract and tea tree oil, which gently cleanses away bacteria while exfoliating the skin.
If skin is a bit dry after washing, apply a lightweight oil-free moisturizer such as glo therapeutics oil free moisturizer ($36), www.gloprofessional.com. Hyaluranic acid hydrates while antioxidants such as vitamin E and copper help protect skin.
Powders, mattifying gels and oil-free primers can zap oil on the surface of the skin, keep makeup in place all day and leave a smooth matte finish. PeterThomasRoth Max Anti-Shine Mattifying Gel ($35) www.PeterThomasRoth.com is an oil-free gel that contains dimethicone for instantly flawless matte skin. Apply under or over makeup and throughout the day to banish shine.
NARS Pore-Refining Primer ($32), www.narscosmetics.com, helps keep makeup in place all day and contains mineral powders, which zap shine and leave skin with a velvety matte finish. Lentil seed extract helps to minimize appearance of pores over time and vitamins A, C and E, Bisabol, and Butterbur Root extract calm and protect skin.
Purify and Balance:
Masks are always a good option for those with oily skin as they can help remove congestion, keep pores clear and skin less shiny, even after a few days of use. Kenneth Mark Skincare Anti-Aging Mask ($55), www.kennethmarkmd.com, deep cleans pores with a blend of alpha-hydroxy acids as well as moisturizing ingredients to keep skin balanced and glowing.
If you are still greasy after switching products and makeup, Mark suggests medical grade in-office chemical peels and daily at-home exfoliating products such as Dr. Dennis Gross Extra Strength Alpha Beta Peel Pads, ($85 for 30 applications), www.dgskincare.com. These oil-fighting anti-aging towelettes contain an abundance of pore-clearing and rejuvenating ingredients for more even toned and blemish-free skin.