It’s one of those First World problems I should be ashamed to admit to, but I hate how the summer sun and humidity turns my already-oily skin shinier than polished formica.
On the grand scheme of things, shiny skin shouldn’t be that big of a deal. After all, no one has ever died from it.
However, it can be embarrassing and downright annoying.
Excessive shine can make even the most confident among us seem nervous. For those of us prone to sunburn or who flushing easily, the combination of red shiny skin can make us appear we are suffering from a fever. That excess oil tends to act as a magnifying glass making every little enlarged pore, pimple, and other skin perfection far more noticeable. (It can also aggravate existing breakouts or cause new ones.)
While most of the time it isn’t a huge deal, there may be times such as job interviews or even a night out on the town where we may want to put our best shine-free faces forward.
Here are my favorite tips for keeping the excess oil at bay even on the hottest and steamiest of days.
1. Don’t reach for the soap and harsh toners.
It may seem paradoxical but excess washing and drying can actually cause oily skin to become more oily due to the rebound effect. In a nutshell, removing that protective layer sends a message to the skin that it is time to crank out even more oil. It may also lead to dryness and irritation. (Swapping one skin care woe for another is seldom a good thing.)
Therefore, treat the skin gently and carefully and instead pay close attention to the products you’re using on your skin which leads me to #2.
2. Check the labels on your sunscreen.
By now, all of us know that sunscreen should be part of our daily grooming regime. However, many common sunscreen ingredients only add to the oil factor. Usually, anything containing oils—be it plant or mineral—or shea butter is going to be too greasy and contribute shine factor. Also, don’t go by labels alone. I have purchased sunscreens promising to be “non-greasy” only to leave me looking like I dosed myself in oil.
The best approach I have found is to wear a sunscreen for an hour or so and see how my skin reacts.
Some stores have samples or testers while many chain stores allow consumers to return sunscreen even if they have been opened. Check and see before buying a new product.
3. Don’t reach for the powder.
Many women automatically think powder is the way to go to combat shine. However, much like some sunscreens, some powders—especially pressed ones—contain ingredients that only make things worse. (Again, oils tend to be the main culprits.) Plus if you’re male, powder may not be an option for you.
While many cosmetic lines sell special blotting sheets to sop up excess oil, I have found that plain, unbleached tissue paper like the kind that lines gift boxes works just as well if not better, (Plus, it is so much cheaper.)
Simply cut it up or tear it into squares and carry it with you in a handbag or a pocket.
4. Put on a mask.
Clay has a reputation for soaking up excess oil but milk of magnesia—the same stuff taken for an upset stomach—works even better. It’s completely safe to apply to skin and best of all, per ounce, it tends to be a lot cheaper than cosmetic clay masks. (Be sure to use plain, though, and not the flavored versions.) Just apply a thin layer and wash off completely. This should keep the shine at bay for a couple for at least a few hours.
While shiny skin is hardly life-threatening, it nonetheless can be annoying. Fortunately, there are ways to combat it that require little effort and little time. The latter is especially important because ideally each of should be spending the majority of the time we have enjoying summer instead of fussing over skincare woes.
And while these things won’t permanently stop the shine, they can help temporarily allowing our personalities shine on and not our noses, foreheads or cheeks.
Author: Kimberly Lo
Editor: Renee Picard
Image: Hernán Piñera at Flickr