Adult Acne Tip - Are You Oily or Sweaty?

Adult Acne Tip:  Is it really oiliness you're feeling? Or is it actually sweat or even increased hydration?
At this particular time of writing, it’s the end of August in Chicago.  This month has been hot and muggy.  Of course, you could be reading this during another season altogether.  But, if you’re in a hot climate, you’ll still benefit from the info I’m about to share, so let’s put aside the “summertime” designation for this post.  What I’m talking about is sweat vs oil, and what happens when you have Adult Acne and think you feel greasy when it fact what you’re feeling is perspiration.  Or, both at the same time.  So, what’s the story?

There are two types of feedback I get after a client starts an improved skincare routine.  One is feeling oily after the experiencing the routine for a week or two, the other is feeling greasy after application of sunscreen.

Oiliness after improved skincare

In my online skincare practice, improved skincare routines are being introduced very often after long-time use of products that are so harsh and drying, proper hydration is actually a completely new concept.  The person has literally never felt what properly functioning skin feels like!  New moisture actually feels greasy.  Eventually this normalizes, the person gets used to having hydrated skin, and we’re all happy.

However, a new routine can often cause an increase in surface oil, because pores are finally being unclenched and unclogged.  This also normalizes, as the skin gets used to being more free-flowing with its own oil, which now can be washed away properly without drying the skin out and making it, well, clench.

The Solution

First order of business is to inform me of what’s happening and be patient.  Stick with the routine and report any problems. 

Second, the first thing I check when someone reports an oiliness they’re not used to, is whether they’ve actually purchased the entire routine suggested to them, including treatment masks, or did they only start with the basic daily routine.  I very much understand budget issues, but trust is crucial if we’re going to be partners in getting your skin clear and keeping it that way.  An investment now will mean less trial and error, and far less makeup necessary to cover your acne.  Would you rather buy more makeup, or buy a treatment mask?

Adult Acne Tip:  Clay mask is a very important part of an improved skincare routine!

The exfoliating, hydrating and clay masks that I recommend for 2 or 3x weekly at-home facials are a very important part of controlling the oil that has become uncomfortable, albeit temporarily, and contributes to breakouts.

On a daily basis aside from your 1-2x weekly clay mask, two remedies are fabulous for taking away shine and its discomfort.  One is to add a bit of cornstarch to your SPF in your hand (about an eighth of a teaspoon to a teaspoon of SPF), or take a large makeup brush and apply a light dusting of cornstarch after SPF is fully absorbed, and then any time of the day. 

Another remedy is something I used to do all summer long when I was much more oily than I am now.  I have a policy of not wearing makeup when I work, in order for people to see what my skin actually looks like.  You know, for credibility.  

Anyway, this is very much what I was talking about before, regarding oil vs sweat.  When you’re oily, perspiration can make your skin feel much worse.  But it also adds an excellent opportunity for hydration! One of the functions of our skin’s oil is to protect the skin from water loss.  As people with oily skin, we have a unique opportunity to take advantage of perspiration that is normally evaporated in drier skin types. 

So, here’s what I used to do;  I would wash my hands in water as cold as I could find it, barely dry my hands off, and massage my face with my cold hands while “redistributing” my skin’s oils like a moisturizer.  My skin looked great, it cooled me off, and I was good to go.

Feeling greasy after sunscreen?

In the second case, the feeling of skin being greasy after application of sunscreen could be from simply being the wrong formula for your skin type.  Most sunscreens are formulated assuming dryness from a lot of sun exposure, or simply with ease of application in mind, while hydration doesn’t even enter the picture. 

How to stay matte for hours, even after sunscreen!

However, even with a non-greasy, light feeling, and hydrating sunscreen formula, you can actually experience an “oily” feeling from perspiration.  Chemical sunscreens (no, they’re not dangerous!!) work by making the skin give off heat to absorb UVB rays, which is why they actually are not appropriate for people with chronic redness problems, like Rosacea.  But for everyone else, they do a great job protecting your skin from burning and damage. 

This heat causes sweat to start accumulating on the surface of the skin.  Since your perspiration is being mixed with lotion, it feels like wet grease.  A lot. Of wet grease.

The Solution

Interestingly, the solution to this is similar to one of the solutions to general oiliness on the skin mentioned above, but is also a solution to the white cast sunscreen leaves on skin of color! 

Feeling sweaty and greasy after sunscreen is normal!  Find out what to do on the AcneWhisperer Blog.

Sunscreen must be used generously, no matter what the SPF number.  Always remember, that SPF number was arrived at using a certain dosage, and that dosage was not the size of a pea.  When you use the right amount, it can really seem like a lot, and if it’s the wrong formula for your skin, it can seem really gross, actually.  When it’s the right formula, it just feels like a lot of lotion.  After a minute or two, you start sweating and you look a bit like a ghost.

Very simple solution - wait a minute or two, and simply massage with your dry hands again.  Seriously!  Just try it.  No need to wash your hands after applying sunscreen in the first place, just massage what’s left from your hands into your outer hands and wrists, wait a minute or two and then just massage your face over again.  Sweat gets put back in your skin for hydration, and any white cast goes away.  I’ve seen this with my own eyes with my darker skin clients at the end of my facials, so I know this works!

Your acne problem has a source, and clearing your skin requires finding that source and either eliminating it or healing it.  You can start that right now by filling out my Eval by Email® Online Skincare Consultation Form created specially for ages Gen-X to Baby Boom!

Eval by Email, Virtual Skincare Coaching specially designed for acne sufferers ages 24 and up.

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