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Greasy skin stems from excessive sebum production by your sebaceous glands. But before you start hating on your oily complexion, sebum has its benefits. It maintains your skin’s natural moisture barriers and protects it from bacterial and fungal infections. However, excessive sebum will clog pores which will result in problems like bacteria growth, acne, whiteheads and blackheads. Here are nine reasons why your sebaceous glands go into overdrive.

#1: Hormones

  1. Imbalances or changes in hormonal activity can influence how much sebum is produced. If you have noticed your skin becoming more oily at a particular time every month, it is likely due to your menstrual cycle. Hormones known as androgen, progesterone and oestrogen all come into play during your menses. When your period approaches, androgens spike as oestrogens fall. This leads to a surge in sebum production. Once you are familiar with when your oil glands go into overdrive, switch to a beauty regime that will help control the oil and keep blotting paper with you.

#2: Improper skincare

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Using skincare products that are unsuitable for your skin can trigger oily skin and acne. If the facial cleanser you are using is worsening your complexion, it is likely that the cleanser is too harsh for your skin. Such products may cause your skin to produce even more sebum to compensate for the lack of moisture on the surface of your skin.

#3: Genes

The genetic factor strikes again. Your oily complexion could have been passed on from your parents or grandparents. But it is not a lost cause, there are plenty of skincare products and ways that can help salvage the situation.

#4: Diet

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Greasy fried foods top the list of culprits behind your oily complexion. But you may be surprised to find out that dairy products such as milk, butter and cheese can also lead to increased oil production. They contain high levels of natural hormones such as testosterone that can result in greasiness and clogged pores. The sugars in dairy products will also increase your glycaemic index and that triggers your sebaceous glands to produce more oil. If you are prone to acne breakouts, cut down on dairy products.

#5: Stress

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When you are stressed, the stress hormone known as cortisol spikes. This can lead to an increase in oil production. The surge in cortisol levels also tells your brain that you need more energy than you really need, making you crave for sweet and fatty foods. Excessive consumption of such foods will inevitably lead to a greasier complexion.

#6: Excessive makeup

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If you are guilty of applying layers of makeup in an attempt to conceal the blemishes that stem from oily skin, it is time to give your skin a break. Your makeup products could be severely clogging up your pores.  But if you really can’t do without makeup, ensure that you use non-comedogenic products and always apply them in light layers.

#7: Environment

Unfortunately, the combination of heat and humidity in Singapore serves as a trigger for sebum secretion. Even if you are in a place with a cold climate, it does not mean you are free from grease as the cool and dry weather may cause your oil glands to go into overdrive. The key is to use appropriate skincare products to cater to what your skin needs.

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If you do not usually have oily skin, it could be due to the meds you are taking. Oral contraception and hormonal medication may trigger oil production. If that is the case, don’t fret, your skin should return to normal once you’re off your medication.

#9: Age

The different stages of your life will affect your skin. Androgen, the hormone responsible for oil production, will fluctuate during puberty, pregnancy and even menopause. Generally speaking, your complexion will become less oily as you grow older.

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This story first appeared on www.shape.com.sg.

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