Oily skin – causes, treatment

Oily skin

Oily skin is a dermatological condition that affects many women and men. Young women in particular suffer from this and are constantly looking for ways and means to get rid of this problem of oily skin – preferably permanently.

What is oily skin?

One speaks of oily skin when certain areas of the skin on the face are covered by an oily, greasy film at certain times or permanently.

The upper layer of the skin, the so-called horny layer or hyperkeratosis, is thickened in this clinical picture and the pores of oily skin are often blocked by the overproduction of sebum. But not only the face can be affected, other parts of the body also tend to have oily skin. If the scalp is affected, the sufferer tends to have a greasy hairline.

There are two manifestations of oily skin: on the one hand, seborrhoea oleosa, which shows the typical complexion with a light film of oil, which appears shiny and shiny, on the other hand, seborrhoea sicca, which leads to dandruff and dryness despite oily skin and causes an unpleasant sensation for those affected feeling of tightness and red, scaly patches.


But how does oily skin with that shiny, oily or scaly film even come about? At a young age, especially during puberty and adolescence, the skin produces more sebum in the glands due to the beginning hormonal changes.

Women, too, can often observe oily skin and skin blemishes shortly before or during menstruation or during pregnancy , which can also be attributed to the changing hormone status.

However, hormonal changes or overproduction are not always the cause of oily skin. Stress , the use of certain medications, predispositions, malnutrition and excessive consumption of alcohol or nicotine can also cause and promote oily skin.

There are also other diseases that have oily skin as a side effect or symptom – for example Parkinson’s or ovarian diseases.

diseases with this symptom


As already described, the pores of oily skin are often clogged by the excessive production of the sebum glands, which, in addition to the shiny and moist appearance, can lead to other problems such as pimples , blackheads and skin impurities.

During puberty, oily skin is very often associated with mild to severe acne , which those affected can hardly control themselves. They usually experiment with different means of combating symptoms or covering up symptoms, which can often lead to aggravation of oily skin if treated incorrectly.

Excessive powdering, for example, can further strain and clog affected pores and increase blemishes. Targeted drying of greasy skin can also trigger severe skin irritations, which in the worst case can lead to allergies and eczema .


When naming the complication, the whole health disorder should be considered. A complication in medicine is a consequence of a disorder or the side effect of a preparation when used to treat this health disorder. Complications can therefore occur with no treatment or with therapy.

Oily skin is a possible complication of hormonal imbalances, for example during puberty or menopause . Likewise, oily skin may again bring on complications, such as acne . Oily skin is caused by an overproduction of fat in the sebaceous glands . Complications mostly occur with an unhealthy diet. Oily skin can be a warning sign of bacterial skin infections. In order to avert any complications, a dermatological examination should follow after the first symptoms flare up.

After that, the patient should be treated with appropriate ointments in the course of eliminating complications such as oily skin. In addition, a plan for the subsequent procedure against oily skin or the triggering health disorder can be drawn up. Oily skin, on the other hand, is just one complication among others caused by various skin diseases. A health-promoting diet, abstinence from alcohol and nicotine , as well as adequate facial care can prevent oily skin. Occasionally, a low-fat diet is useful. Various preparations promote oily skin and are therefore not recommended for some skin diseases.

When should you go to the doctor?

The consolation that oily skin is less prone to wrinkles is only half-hearted for many of its owners. They suffer too much from the shiny and coarse-pored complexion. In addition, with oily skin there is a greater readiness for skin impurities . When is oily skin just a cosmetic problem? When is it a case for the specialist?

The oily shine of greasy skin is almost always due to overproduction of the sebaceous glands . This in turn is caused by androgens, male sex hormones . Not only men, but also women have androgens in their bodies, albeit in much smaller amounts than men. If the above-average activity of the sebaceous glands is mainly reflected in shiny skin, it is sufficient to cover up the unwanted shine with appropriate skin care products and possibly to visit a beautician.

The situation is different if there are too many androgens. Especially in women, an excess of this can have other unwanted effects such as a lady’s beard or other unwanted hair growth. Hormone therapy prescribed by a doctor can curb androgen production and improve the complexion. This method is often successful with skin impurities such as acne. In addition, dermatologists have numerous other treatment methods for oily skin at their disposal. He is also informed about diseases that have oily skin as an accompanying symptom. A doctor’s visit (e.g. to a dermatologist ) makes sense if you have oily skin.

Treatment & Therapy

In order to be able to treat oily skin in a targeted manner, it is advisable to regularly care for and cleanse the affected areas of the skin. In the mornings and evenings, oily skin should be cleaned with a gentle cleansing lotion, the pH of which should ideally be below 6.

Important here is the perfect cleaning of make-up residues, skin flakes and dirt, so as not to further burden the oily skin. Unfortunately, the belief that dehydrating soaps and lotions can combat oily skin is belied by the fact that dehydrated skin will only respond with even more oil production, so stay away from such products.

Oily skin also needs a light moisturizer, but it should be used sparingly and in a targeted manner. A weekly peeling of oily skin promotes a clean complexion and helps against clogged pores and the resulting problems. Special care products for oily skin are available in drugstores and pharmacies .

↳ Further information: Home remedies for oily skin

Outlook & Forecast

Complications do not necessarily have to occur with oily skin and a doctor does not always have to be consulted. If the oily skin is not treated, the course of the disease depends very much on the hygiene of the person concerned. If hygiene is very poor, the greasy skin will usually not go away on its own and will remain greasy.

Oily skin often looks unaesthetic. It can also happen that inflammation and wounds develop on the skin due to the lack of hygiene. This happens especially when an itch develops.

Oily skin can be treated with ordinary soaps and shower gels, and success is usually immediate. In a few cases, greasy skin is caused by repeated showering, as this destroys the skin’s natural protective layer. In this case, showering should not be repeated so often.

With targeted treatment, the symptom can be eliminated very quickly. In most cases, consultation with a doctor is not necessary. However, if the skin has suddenly become greasy and the symptom does not disappear after washing, a doctor can be consulted.


Unfortunately, greasy skin cannot really be prevented in a meaningful way, but daily and thorough cleaning of the endangered skin areas, targeted treatment of problem areas and the right make-up and care products can counteract and stop it and ensure that greasy skin does not affect well-being and even cloud it.

You can do that yourself

Oily skin is usually a symptom of poor or improper personal hygiene . If you suffer from oily skin, you do not have to go to the doctor immediately and you can take measures to combat this problem yourself.

If you use too many care products, you ensure that the natural protection of the skin is not maintained. In this case, the skin reacts by becoming greasy. However, since the fat cannot be absorbed directly, the skin itself remains greasy. This can also happen when a person showers too frequently or the skin comes into contact with water very frequently. Here, the oily skin can be avoided by not showering too often. Only cosmetics that are kind to the skin and are as pH-neutral as possible should be used . This does not destroy the natural protective layer of the skin.

On the other hand, too little personal hygiene can lead to oily skin. If you rarely shower or use care products, you should increase these intervals to wash the fat off your skin. Oily skin can also indicate poor nutrition. It is often caused by fatty and sweet foods when consumed in excess.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.