Is Your Skin Oily This Season? Try This Expert-Approved Ingredient

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When the season transitions, so does our skin. In the fall, our skin may feel in constant fluctuation and during the winter, more dry. Meanwhile, allergies and pollution may cause sensitivity in the spring.

During the summer season, however, “our skin tends to be more sebaceous and oily,” double board-certified pediatric and cosmetic dermatologist, Dr. Karan Lal tells ESSENCE. This is because sweating and the sun’s radiation makes “the sebaceous glands produce more sebum in warmer temperatures.”

Below, Dr. Lal explains the expert-approved, oil-solving step to add to your routine.

How do you regulate seasonal oiliness?

If your skin feels greasy (despite your “no-makeup” makeup look), using products to help regulate your sebum production can help. “The easiest thing you can do is use a salicylic acid containing product,” Dr. Lal says. A chemical exfoliant, salicylic acid is oil-soluble, which means the ingredient can stabilize your oil production while dissolving excess oil and dead skin. 

“If you have very sensitive skin, salicylic acid washes are the best because these are for short contact use,” he says, like the CeraVe SA Cleanser or Dr. Dennis Gross AHA/BHA Daily Cleansing Gel. Otherwise, he recommends salicylic acid serum (try La Roche-Posay Effaclar Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment) as an ideal solution because the product can be left on your face.

How should salicylic acid be used in a routine?

Your morning and night routine during the summer may differ. “I would recommend using a salicylic acid containing wash in the morning,” he says, following with a dry touch sunscreen to protect the skin and mitigate the appearance of oil. At night, “I recommend using a retinol to help reduce oiliness throughout the day and also to help fight acne, which can occur with oily skin.”

What ingredients should you avoid?

If you don’t usually have oily skin, you may not be able to use the products you used in other seasons. “You really wanna avoid products that contain olive oil,” Dr. Lal says. This is a concern because oil-clogged pores tend to also lead to acne and blemishes. “While some oils are not traditionally comedogenic, they could still lead to breakouts from occlusion,” he says. “Thus, for oily skin, I would say avoid facial oils.”

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