The Best Way to Reduce Sebum Oil

Reign in stress with yoga, meditation or another remedy to prevent runaway sebum production.
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Believe it or not, sebum isn't a bad thing. The natural oil produced by sebaceous glands all over your body protects your skin and acts as a lubricant, keeping your skin smooth, moist and supple. However, when the glands get carried away, the oil combines with bacteria and dead skin cells to produce zits and blackheads, especially on the chin, cheeks, forehead and back. Sebum production is difficult to control, but you can take steps to minimize it.

The best way to manage excess oil is from the inside out. Practice stress management through techniques such as exercise, yoga, meditation or massage as stress affects the hormone levels in the body and leads to excessive production of sebum.

Incorporate foods such as avocados, walnuts, salmon and flax seed oil into your diet. Omega-3 fatty acids may control production of sebum.

Drink at least eight glasses of water every day to keep your skin healthy and well-hydrated.

Wash your face twice every day and after strenuous exercise, using a mild antibacterial cleanser and lukewarm water. Massage the cleanser gently into your skin with your fingers or a soft washcloth. Avoid scrubbing, which stimulates production of sebum and irritates the skin.

Keep oil blotting papers in your bag or backpack, then pat oily spots with the papers to control sebum throughout the day.

Apply an over-the-counter acne product containing salicylic acid or retinoids at bedtime. Although the products don't affect the production of sebum, the chemicals make sebum less sticky, helping the skin shed dead skin cells and unclogging pores.

Look for oil-free or non-comedogonic makeup and other skin care products, which help keep the pores clog-free.

  • Talk to your physician if you take birth control pills because oral contraceptives affect hormone levels and sebum production. Your physician may suggest alternative medications or other forms of birth control.

M.H. Dyer began her writing career as a staff writer at a community newspaper and is now a full-time commercial writer. She writes about a variety of topics, with a focus on sustainable, pesticide- and herbicide-free gardening. She is an Oregon State University Master Gardener and Master Naturalist and holds a Master of Fine Arts in creative nonfiction writing.