Is oily skin actually good or bad? Well, oily skin might not be that bad after all — and that comes from a person who has been struggling with it for a lifetime. Sure, it has some stubborn drawbacks like the annoying greasy appearance and poor makeup performance, but oily skin also has plenty of benefits that are totally worth the trouble. Fewer wrinkles, more glow, better hydration, and a firmer look are just a part of the rewards that made me a little more grateful for my oily skin.
However, these rewards only exceed the drawbacks if your skin is balanced and not excessively greasy. So, to enjoy the most benefits from your oily skin, you must keep your complexion balanced and avoid excess sebum; otherwise, all you’ll get will be breakouts, clogged pores, and a shiny look. But how do you do that? Simple, follow a skincare routine tailored to your oily skin, use oil-control products, and exfoliate regularly.
Now let’s delve into the article as we examine the benefits of oily skin.
The benefits of having oily skin
When we are concerned about having oily skin, we often don’t consider the reasons behind the excess sebum that makes the face greasier and what role it plays in the skin’s health. Hence, most people blame it for their uncontrollable oily complexions when in fact, sebum is a blessing.
This oily substance known as sebum is produced by sebaceous glands, which are found all over the body. Basically, it serves to lubricate the skin and make it more impervious to moisture, acting like a natural moisturizer. That’s why oily skin appears more hydrated and glowing — since it produces more sebum than other types. Besides, sebum carries fat-soluble antioxidants such as vitamin E to the skin’s surface, helping protect against environmental aggressors and UV damage.
So given the above, having oily skin has the following benefits:
Looks moisturized and soft
Oily skin is incredibly supple and silky, despite being prone to a slew of troubles. It appears softer and more hydrated because the sebum is an emollient and part of the natural moisturizing factor (NMF), having a key role in keeping skin plump, relieving dryness, and reducing water loss. Hence, you may not need to spend as much money on moisturizing products as someone with dry skin. Additionally, you won’t have to be concerned about your face becoming dry or flaky — though even oily skin can become dry in some cases.
Delays fine lines and wrinkles apparition
You’ve probably heard that oily skin tends to age slower. And it’s true. Oily skin produces more moisture, which in turn decelerates the aging process. Studies actually found that sebum is one of the factors that prevent wrinkles and fine lines apparition, confirming that aging signs look more superficial in parts of the skin that has more sebaceous glands. Another reason that makes oily skin less prone to aging signs is that sebum transports antioxidants to the surface, providing photoprotection and reducing the impact of free radicals on cells.
It’s thicker and more resilient
The extra layer of natural oils on your skin can protect you from smog, wind, and the sun and, over time, can make your complexion thicker and more resilient. That’s because sebum acts as a protective and moisturizing agent, helping to prevent water loss and consolidate the barrier. And since oily skin tends to be more hydrated, it better tolerates aggressive ingredients like glycolic acid and retinol and is less likely to get irritated or inflamed compared to dry skin. Even if the oil shield isn’t completely impenetrable, it certainly helps. This extra moisture is especially beneficial in the winter when the air tends to be much drier.
Stays more protected against UV damage
Sebum is 90% rich in lipids that, when secreted on the skin’s surface, have a crucial role in guarding against external damage by locking in moisture. Besides, vitamin E, which is found in the oil secreted by your skin, functions as a natural sunblock and an antioxidant that helps fight free radicals. Vitamin E molecules may be able to absorb some ultraviolet rays, but not all of them; therefore, you should think of it as a bonus rather than a substitute for sunscreen. It’s still imperative that you use sunscreen with SPF 50 to properly defend your skin.
The drawbacks of having oily skin
Acne and clogged pores are some of the dark sides of having oily skin. This is because the excess sebum can easily get trapped inside the follicles along with dirt and bacteria, clogging pores and triggering breakouts. Besides, the skin can appear shiny and greasy at first glance, and makeup has lower wear resistance. The good news is that you can easily balance oily skin and avoid pimples with the right routine. You do that by washing your face with a foaming cleanser (but don’t overdo it, as excessive washing can cause an increase in sebum), exfoliating regularly, using a salicylic acid serum, and applying a detoxifying face mask once or twice weekly.
- Makrantonaki E, Ganceviciene R, Zouboulis C. An update on the role of the sebaceous gland in the pathogenesis of acne. Dermatoendocrinol. 2011 Jan;3(1):41-9. doi: 10.4161/derm.3.1.13900. PMID: 21519409; PMCID: PMC3051853.
- Tamatsu Y, Tsukahara K, Sugawara Y, Shimada K. New finding that might explain why the skin wrinkles more on various parts of the face. Clin Anat. 2015 Sep;28(6):745-52. doi: 10.1002/ca.22571. Epub 2015 Jul 1. PMID: 26133537.