The Pros and Cons of Oily Skin

Oily skin can be a challenge, especially among teenagers (and adults) who struggle with acne. Oily skin is characterized by a shiny appearance, mainly in the T-zone (which includes the forehead, nose and chin.) While those with oily skin tend to focus on the downsides, there are actually a few advantages to having oily skin. Here are some of the pros and cons of having an oily skin type and tips for properly caring for it.

Pros of Oily Skin

Sebum (oil) can be bothersome at times, but it is actually good for your skin’s health. Just a few of the upsides of oily skin are:

  • Sebum is high in vitamin E, a strong antioxidant that provides free-radical protection and anti-inflammatory benefits (Linus Pauling Institute). Lips, on the other hand, do not have sebaceous glands and therefore do not produce sebum, so they are more prone to developing skin cancer than other parts of your body. This lack of vitamin E reduces protection against free radicals and increases opportunity for cellular damage.
  • Sebum is an occlusive moisturizer, which means it forms a barrier on the skin’s surface to prevent water loss and keep skin hydrated.
  • Oily skin types age slower than other skin types because of the natural moisturizing effects and antioxidant properties of sebum.

Cons of Oily Skin

Conversely, oily skin can present cosmetic concerns for women and men alike. Typically, the most common complaints that dermatologists get about oily skin are:

  • Acne and clogged and enlarged pores are directly related to higher sebum levels. Although there has been much debate surrounding the correlation between the incidence of acne and sebum levels, it is now generally accepted by the scientific community that this is the case. It’s important to note, however, that not everyone with oily skin will develop acne and not everyone with acne has oily skin. The Baumann Skin Typing System® classifies oily skin without acne as Oily and Resistant (Cosmetic Dermatology) skin.  These “OR” skin types seem to have something genetic that protects them from developing acne.
  • Increased shininess over the course of the day.
  • Trouble finding a sunscreen that doesn’t feel too heavy or clog pores. Chemical sunscreens are formulated with oils and silicones, which is why oily skin types do better with mineral-based sunscreens specifically formulated for their skin.  Some examples include PCA Weightless Protection SPF and Obagi Sunshield.
  • Trouble finding a foundation that won’t streak or cause breakouts. Avoid facial foundations with silicones and isopropyl myristate and other acne causing ingredients. Jane Iredale Glow Time works well with oily skin.

Caring for Oily Skin

To keep acne, clogged pores and shine under control, make sure you’re using the right skincare products. The first step is to find your Baumann Skin Type, which you can do by taking the Skin Type Solutions Questionnaire through one of our Physician Partners.

Once you know which of the 16 Baumann Skin Types you have, your physician can prescribe a custom-tailored skincare routine with products that have been proven to be effective for your skin. As a general rule of thumb, people with oily skin benefit from foaming cleansers which help remove sebum from your skin. For more information about the skincare products that are ideal for your skin type, visit


Dr. Leslie Baumann, M.D. and her team at Baumann Cosmetic Dermatology believe in proof, not promises. World-recognized for both cosmetic and general dermatology, our treatment strategies rely exclusively on evidence-based, scientifically verified products and procedures that promote skin health and a natural appearance. We combine effective medical procedures with individualized instruction on proper skincare, nutrition, supplementation and lifestyle in order to maximize the health of the skin and body as a whole while minimizing the effects of aging. For more, visit Dr. Baumann’s blog for daily updates Monday through Friday, or inquire about an appointment through

May 22, 2017 Acne