Solutions for oily skin and large pores.

Hello, Dr. Irwin. I have a question regarding the way my skin absorbs moisturizer. I have combination skin with my T-zone and my entire forehead being the most oily. At night I can apply a non-comedogenic oil to my face and then apply a moisturizer afterward and my skin will absorb both of the products very well. In the morning I will wake up with soft, supple skin that isn't oily or shiny. The problem comes during the day. I will apply a lightweight, gel-based moisturizer in the morning and, no matter what, my skin will be really oily throughout the rest of the day. I've tried several moisturizers, sunscreens, serums, etc. and nothing seems to combat the oily skin that I experience during the day. Do you have any suggestions about how to combat this problem? Thanks!

Oily skin and large pores are one of the holy grails of skin care now. A number of companies are working on devices that might actually be effective, but none are on the market yet. How do we know this? Because it continues to be a main skin issue in this country and all over the world. If there was something truly effective, we’d all be using it.

Interesting factoids about oily skin and large pores:

  • The reason you wake up in the morning with better skin, is related to your quieter metabolism while you sleep, not the products particularly.
  • Pores size and oil is in our DNA and inherited from our relatives.
  • When facial oil production decreases, pore size decreases.
  • But…..our hormones, affect our pore size too.  Example – women with polycystic ovaries, or endometriosis often notice changes in pores size.
  • Oral contraceptives can reduce oil and acne in some women.
  • Accutane reduces oil and pores size. This prescription medication is only for men/women with truly cystic acne. These are the large cysts which tend to scar.
  • Spironolactone (prescription medication) tends to reduce oil and pore size because it lowers DHEA (an androgen) a little in women.
  • Certain lasers can be used to reduce oil production temporarily. The are several more now being studied.

Skin care products can help a little with oily skin and large pores.

  • The first thing is to make sure that none of your products are clogging your pores or adding to the oil.
  • See your gynecologist or primary care about checking to make sure hormone levels are normal.   Does your oil get worse before your period?
  • Try products like the Skinceuticals Vitamin B5 gel which is almost pure hyaluronic acid (hydrates with no oil).
  • Try to get some good blotting papers with rice powder like the ones Shiseido makes. You can blot with those frequently.
  • Use a cream or gel vitamin A product like Retin A gel, or even the non prescription Retinol 1.0.  These keep keep oil glands unplugged, and reduce flow a little.
  • Experiment with your diet. Only you can do this. Does avoiding sugar and junk food help?  Probiotics?
  • Use mineral powder makeups with sunscreen in them like the Jane Iredale mineral powder compacts.
  • Consider a Fraxel lite or Clear and Brilliant (also a Fraxel product), and see if you get some temporary reduction for a few months.
  • In some patients, IPL/rejuvenation treatments done regularly, reduce flow temporarily.

Hope this helps, Dr. I

Dr. Brandith Irwin, MD

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Hi, I’m Dr. Irwin. I believe that consumers deserve a medically trained and unbiased skin care advocate.

  • All our content is written and researched by myself.
  • My medical office in Seattle has treated thousands of patients for 15+ years.
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