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Post in Beauty Advisors

Oily and flaky skin? What do I do?

My skin is often flaky and oily at the same time. Sometimes it's really dry with skin flaking, and at other times it's oily. I breakout with blackheads and whiteheads all over my face. I have lare pores on my cheeks (beside my nose and inbetween my eyebrows).

I tried doing the skin test: where you wash your face, wait and then see how your skin looks and feels. My skin felt tight around my mouth, eyes and forehead, but when I looked at it, it wasn't dry or oily. However there was really minimal flaking on my nose and forehead.  

I don't know what to do! My skin is really confusing and I can't seem to get the right products (skincare and makeup). Someone help me? Thanks a lot. 

Re: Oily and flaky skin? What do I do?

Definitely exfoliate a few times a week!  Kate Somerville's is very highly rated and I use it myself.  It's also quite expensive (but worth it) but a smaller trial tube is offered.


For a moisturizer I recommend one from Clinique - either Moisture Surge or Superdefense SPF 25 as they are both great for combination skin types and have different formulas for different skin type combinations.!keyword=combin...



Re: Oily and flaky skin? What do I do?

How often do you exfoliate?


What is your current skin care regimen and what do you use? Do you have any sensitivities or preferences for formulas?

Re: Oily and flaky skin? What do I do?

I exfoliate every other day. Currently I use the Body Shop's Tee Tree Oil. But it's not working for me at all. I don't have any sensitivities or prefrences for fomulas.

Re: Oily and flaky skin? What do I do?

What are you using to exfoliate and aside from the Tea Tree Oil from TBS, what other products are you using for day/night?

Re: Oily and flaky skin? What do I do?

I use the Seaweed Pore-Cleansing exfoliator (TBS), and the toner that comes along with it. I use the Cetaphil moisturizer for day and night. 

Re: Oily and flaky skin? What do I do?

Do you use any other face wash aside from the exfoliator?

Re: Oily and flaky skin? What do I do?

I use the Tea Tree Oil Facial Wash

Re: Oily and flaky skin? What do I do?

After going over the products and their ingredients, with your skin type and issues here's what I can tell:


Tea Tree Oil Facial Wash -- contains sulfate, sulfates are detergents that provide the lathering sensation, but in excessive use, can dry out and strip skin of essential oils necessary to maintain proper balance. Though tea tree oil is a great natural antiseptic for acne prone skin (especially for those with sensitivities for stronger acne medications), the wash may be drying your skin out.


Tea Tree Oil Exfoliating Wash -- Exfoliating every other day may be over-doing it on your skin. Try to exfoliate just 1-2x a week. Though I understand the idea behind "scrubbing to get rid of dead/flaking skin, ergo, you link more exfoliating to less dry skin", exfoliating too often can throw the balance of your skin off by causing your skin to overproduce an abundance of skin cells because of the constant removal, sending signals to your skin of "Hey, we need to generate more skin cells to replace what's being taken away". For acne prone or break out prone skin, physical exfoliants can run the risk of being too rough or coarse, leading to irritation and inflammation as particles are tear and grinding at the skin and active break out areas. If you prefer physical based scrubs, try to go for one with gentle jojoba beads (Peter Thomas Roth Blemish Buffing Beads) or soft particles like sugar polymers (not granuals) like Boscia's Facial Smoothing Polish. Don't press or apply force/pressure when exfoliating, the physical particles are stimulating enough on their own, too much pressure and you can be tearing and ripping at the skin's delicate surface. Bostongirl made a good point with chemical based exfoliants. Chemical based exfoliants are acids or enzymes extracted normally from fruit or other sources. Glycolic acid (fruit enzymes) are the most commonly used and also clasified as an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA), other AHAs include lactic acid (dervitatives of milk proteins), and mandelic acid (derived from almonds). Beta hydroxy acid (BHA) is most commonly found sourced from salicylic acid, which is the most common acne fighting ingredient as it works to also purify pores. Willow bark/willow herb offer natural sources of salicylic acid. Look into PTR's Complexion Correction Pads (also available in a gentle formula) or PTR's Anti-Aging Gel Cleanser (combins AHA/BHA) for was of exfoliants that can be used at least once every other day. Chemical based exfoliants are more balanced and more suited for frequent use as they promote healthy cellular regeneration compared to physical scrubs which just remove topical layers of dead skin.


Tea Tree Oil Toner -- The second listed ingredient is alchol denat, which is indeed a type of drying alcohol to the skin rather than a beneficial one. Try Murad's Clarifying toner, which is alcohol free and contains witch hazel (a natural astringent that will keep pores clear/clean) and is packed with conditioning ingredients too as to not dry out the skin.


Cetaphil -- Cetaphil itself is great as a very basic, simplistic moisturizer, but if you're trying to combat issues at hand, it won't benefit you any because it's not meant to really assist or tackle those issues. It's one of those products that "won't make skin better, but won't make it worse either" in your case, so it might be better to find other moisturizers that will help you get a hang of the problems. PTR's Clini Matte SPF 20 lotion is great to mattify and control oil, minimize the appearance of pores, and give a vitamin/anti-oxidant boost to skin. It's important to use SPF in the day, especially if your skin is combating issues and problematic, when you don't use SPF, you leave your skin vulnerable to more/premature damage and harm. For night, look into either Ole Heriksen's Vitamin Plus (gives great hydration without a heavy formula) or the Invigorating Night Gel (light weight and helps combat dryness). 


P.S. Boscia's Black line has a great t-zone/refining serum, so does Murad's Vitalic line you might want to check out to keep pores clear of blackheads and break outs!

Re: Oily and flaky skin? What do I do?

Congratulations! You have oily, sticky skin. (Congratulate me, I have it too!) The good part about this is your skin is full of moisture so you're less likely to develop early wrinkles and lines. The bad part about this skin type is that it breaks out easily and can look dry.


There are 3 specific issues with your skin you need to address:


#1 - Sticky Skin: You're breaking out largely because your skin doesn't flake off the way most people's do. It takes longer for your skin to shed the dead skin cells, creating blockages in your pores and thus creating whitehead and black heads. For this problem, look for skincare that has a retinoid (Vitamin A) in it. It will slowly "reprogram" your cells to slough off dead skin quicker. It takes 3 months to kick in so be very patient, and don't overdo it! Increase usage slowly. You will see more flakes than you ever have before, but that's a good thing, it means your skin is starting to respond to the treatment.


#2 - Oil: Oil clogs pores. Clogged pores mean blackheads and white heads. You never want to dry out your skin to reduce oil. This will only communicate to your skin that it is dry and needs to produce more oil. For this problem, look for non-comedogenic (non breakout forming) light moisturizers and use it daily. The only way to really combat oil issues is by balancing it out with moisturizer. More artificial moisture, less natural oil moisture!


#3 - Exfoliation: Skin flaking means dead skin is staying on your face too long. You need to remove it so the retinoid and moisturizers can penetrate the skin's surface. For this problem, look for skincare that exfoliates skin with acids, a face wash or mask. A combination of AHA's and BHA's work best because they target both the inner and outer layers of the skin. I would stay away from physical exfoliators (washes with little particles in them) they can tear up your skin. A word of caution, do not mix the AHAs/BHAs and the retinoid together (it will mix up your normal skin pH balance). Instead use a face wash AHA/BHA exfoliator and a retinoid cream. Or use them on different days.


I would stay away from as much make up as possible when you're trying to get your skin balanced. As you know, makeup can really clog pores and dry you out. But if you have to wear it, stay clear of salicylic acid in makeup, it will dry you out more. Only wear noncomedogenic makeup, I've had great luck with Lorac and Makeup Forever. Hope this helps!! xox

Re: Oily and flaky skin? What do I do?

Thanks for the amazing reply! Do you have any product recommendations (for my skincare routine)?

Re: Oily and flaky skin? What do I do?

I was reading over this thread, and I believe I have the same exact problems with my skin. As far as #2 is concerned, I recently got one by Neutrogena and have been using that twice a day, morning and evening. As far as the #1 recommendation and #3 recommendation, I have no idea what actual products to get. I'm a novice to the facial care stuff. I believe the face wash I've been using is drying me out even more, and am looking for a face wash for the shower and then whatever other products I should be using to repair my skin. I was using Neutrogena oil-free redness soothing acne wash. I'd prefer to get products that fit a budget but if the only good ones cost more I'll submit! Smiley Wink


And as far as makeup is concerned, I generally don't wear a lot in general but I've wanted to start again and recently I'd gotten Neutrogena's SkinClearing oil-free makeup in Natural Ivory. Of course, right on the front it says it has salicylic acid. You mentioned not to use makeup that has that in it. Should I avoid it completely forever or only while I'm repairing my skin?

Re: Oily and flaky skin? What do I do?

B0ST0NGRL is spot on there. I definitely agree with the limiting of harsh facial scrubs. I have very similar skin to you - I hesitate to call it combo skin since my skin is sooo oily, but in the winter it tends to get very dry and flaky around my cheeks/chin and it is so annoying. Although I think mine was half due to weather, half due to using too harsh of products. I do also have noticeable blackheads on my nose and cheeks as well as little tiny acne bumps (not too noticeable but quite a few) on my forehead and some on the cheeks and chin. So here are some things that helped me re-hydrate my skin while reducing oil production and controlling my breakouts. I will always have little tiny bumps but I generally don't get any big whiteheads while using these products.


Josie Maran Argan Oil

-This was a life saver. I never thought a facial oil would be for me but this is great on those extra-parched/blotchy/tight/itchy/flaky days. I started with this first to bring my skin back to normal hydration. Put about 3-4 drops on your fingers and rub around your entire face when its still a little damp after washing. This is more of a nighttime treatment - I don't recommend for day unless you don't plan on wearing any make-up. It's fine if you are hanging around the house because it will make you look a little shiny.


Origins Checks and Balances fash wash

-Does a good job of cleaning the oily skin while not stripping the dry skin too much. Great for combo skin. I use this with my Clarisonic (which I now only use every other night or so) or on its own. Sometimes I will swap it out for an acne gel cleanser if I feel my skin is looking worse.


Origins Charcoal, Drink Up, and Drink Up Intensive masks and Proactiv Refining mask

-Charcoal masks are great at helping to combat oil production. I will usually do that once a week during my sunday pamper day followed by the drink up mask. It's always a good idea to follow a drying mask with a hydrating one. The drink up intensive mask is a heavy duty overnight moisturizer. As we are going into summer I wouldn't recommend purchasing that one now but it was great for me at the height of winter. I would pat it on over my argan oil and I think that combination really helped me reset my skin from the state you are describing. Also, I have found that my skin responds very well to sulfur based acne treatments like the proactiv refining mask. I will usually save that one for a separate day. But I do love my masks Smiley Happy


La Roche Posay Effaclar Duo

-I use this as an acne treatment. It's 5.5% benzoyl peroxide. I can't say its a holy grail product for me... it hasn't completely eliminated my acne but it seems to prevent me from getting any major white heads. Its kind of pricey so what you are using probably will do. I think I am going to go to the dermatologist and try to get Retin A or something like that again so it will have acne and anti-aging benefits. Like B0ST0NGRL said, a retinoid or chemical exfoliant is probably better but note this will also cause flaking so I generally don't put it on my cheeks where I don't get breakouts to not cause unnecessary dryness.


Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Gel

-This is a product that I highly recommend for transitioning into summer. It's a gel so its great for oily skin. It's pretty basic so I feel it interferes less with other products I use. I use this over Ole Henrickson's Truth Serum during the day. The truth serum is worth checking out - it's really brightened my skin and has helped to reduce acne scarring on my cheeks. I was thinking about investing in a chemical peel coming up but I am going to keep using this first!



-I am obsessed with bareminerals. It doesn't cling to the dry patches, and it doesn't break down under the oily patches. And as the oil comes through it looks dewy for a while (before I get too oily) and then I just pat the oil away and it still looks great. For the past 2 months I have been on a quest to find a liquid foundation... I have been using Tarte's 12 hour primer BB cream as a quick fix before I go work at a hospital (clings to dry patches though - so only could use once I normalized my skin again) but I found I really liked the finish of that BB cream (note this one is a little more sikly [read: silicone-y] than others... I like the texture personally). So I tried to find a liquid foundation - checked out all the matte ones like Lancome 24 hour, Givenchy's matte one... and they all oxidized/turned orange-y or broke down on my forehead. And bare minerals is all natural and doesn't irritate my skin. Definitely worth checking out and it really covers up the redness of the acne without looking like I am wearing too much make-up. I find it also doesn't suffocate my skin the way a liquid would.


Other side notes... I generally only wear a separate sunscreen if I plan on doing more than walking from my car into a building. Neutrogena has some good ones. I just recently purchased La Roche Posay's SPF 50 mattifying primer. Smells like sunscreen but works decently. Otherwise I just use Bare Minerals oil control primer which is also very good.


Alright, sorry for the novel, let me know if you've tried any of these or have some things that work and don't work because I know I'll be back in this position come November!


Re: Oily and flaky skin? What do I do?

Oil production can be a sign of dehydrated skin and/or irritated skin.  Step away from the physical exfoliations!  I stopped all Clairisonic and scrub use, and I now use Murad's Pomegranate Mask twice weekly for mild chemical exfoliation.  The fruit acid in it along with lactic acid makes the dead skin cells slough off without being aggressive.  Use a gel cleanser in the morning and a calming, milky cleanser at night.  Use toners that are alcohol-free.  Use oil-free foundations.  Personally, I use Renee Rouleau's skin care, Murad's mask, and Tarte's 12-Hour foundation, which is unbeatable.

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