Oily skinNature has given us a healthy skin lubricant, a water-proofing agent and a moisturizer in the form of an greasy and waxy substance called sebum.
Sebum is made of lipids (fats), wax and cell debris of dead lipid producing cells.
Sebum is produced by microscopic glands called sebaceous glands in the skin and helps in lubricating the epidermis and hair.
Sebaceous glands are distributed through out the body surface with the exception of palms and soles.
In individuals with oily skin, the sebum production is more pronounced on the face and that too on the forehead, around the nose and the chin area (T-zone) where the sebaceous glands are concentrated.
The inner side of the outer ear, neck, back and chest areas also can be problem areas.
In sebaceous glands, sebum is produced within the sebaceous cells and the greasy substance is released when the cells burst.
Apart from cell debris, sebum consists of sapienic acid, squaline, free fatty acids, triglycerides and wax monoesters.The white, waxy, cheesy substance covering the skin of newborns called 'Vernix caseosa' is mostly the secretions of the sebaceous glands of the fetus.
Causes of oily skinThis useful and welcome sebum secretion, due to various causes, gets produced in excess.
This excess sebum causes dull, thick, shiny and oily skin.
This accumulates dirt and grime and the pores get enlarged and become visible giving coarse look.
With clogging of pores, pimples and blackheads usually form.
A good thing about the oily skin is that it ages slowly and is less prone to wrinkle formation.
Many factors like, hormone levels, puberty, pregnancy, oral pills for birth-control, diet, use of cosmetics, hot and humid weather and certain disease conditions may become the causes of excess sebaceous glands activity and excess sebum production.
Oily skin causes: genetic inheritanceIn most cases, hyperactivity of the sebaceous glands is brought about by the genetic factors.
People of the Mediterranean region having olive skin with dark hair are found to have more instances of excess sebum production when compared to light colored people of Scots or Scandinavian descent.
If the parents are having hyper active sebaceous glands, then the odds are that the children will also have excess sebum production from their puberty onwards.
Except taking actions to prevent aggravation nothing much can be done in such cases as it is pre-programmed in genes.
With advance of old age such people get relief with reduction in the sebaceous glands activity.
However the health care efforts can change the conditions from a face dotted with big pores, blackheads and pimples to a glossy pleasant face.
Oily skin causes: hormones and their imbalancesHormone production and fluctuation of hormone levels causes higher sebaceous glands activity and sebum production.
There can be genetic mark up for greater production of certain hormones.
The hormone Dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a metabolite of testosterone hormone appears first at puberty in both boys and girls.
During adolescence, this androgenic hormone apart from stimulating the development of secondary sexual characteristics also causes the growth and enlargement of sebaceous glands.
This leads to sufficient and normal production of sebum leading glossy youthful appearance.
When this hormone is produced in higher levels than normal, or when the sebaceous glands become hyper-sensitive to normal levels of DHT hormone, the real problem starts and causes excess production sebum by the sebaceous glands, resulting in oily skin.
Mensuration cycle also affects and fluctuates DTH levels and causes acne prone greasy epidermis with the rise of progesterone.
Oily skin causes: pregnancy, menopause and birth control pillsPregnant women are more prone to get over active sebaceous glands and acne.
This is brought about by rapid hormonal changes the body is undergoing during pregnancy.
Oily skin and acne are at the worst in the first trimester.
With the progress of pregnancy the estrogen levels increase and the sebum eases up.
There are a few lucky women for whom pregnancy clears up their persistent teenage greasy face and acne.
Similarly during menopause the female body goes through hormonal changes and causes patches of oily skin and pimples to appear.
Especially women undergoing hormone replacement therapy should watch out for outbreaks of sebaceous glands activity and acne.
Taking birth control pills changes the normal hormone profile. In some instances it increases the androgen activity and results excess sebum production.
Oily skin causes: dietThere is a greater chances for getting oily or dry skin when our diet is not properly balanced with macro and micro nutrients.
The excess consumption of carbohydrates and fats, which we get in junk food, causes excess storage of fats in the body and obesity and trigger sebaceous glands and excess sebum production.
It is found that persons suffering from vitamin B2 deficiency develops hyper active sebaceous glands.
Oily skin causes: cosmeticsConstant and excessive use of cosmetics causes sebaceous glands to be hyper active, producing more sebum and the resultant oily skin.
Synthetic skin care products must be used with care as they can induce sebaceous glands.
Greasy cosmetics have been found to worsen the problem of oily skin.
Harsh soaps and cosmetic products based on alcohol aggravate oily skin.
Intensive use of cosmetics to remove sebum can make the sebaceous glands to produce more of sebum.
Oily skin causes: environmentHot and humid weather also induces excess activity of sebaceous glands.
Constant sweating also causes the sebaceous glands to over produce sebum and causes oily skin. Pollution also can irritate the skin and result in oily skin as an effort of the body to protect itself.
Oily skin causes: certain diseasesCertain diseases like Polycystic ovary syndrome, Pachydermoperiostosis, Forbes-Albright syndrome, HAIR-AN Syndrome, Acromegaly and Fowler-Christmas-Chapple syndrome have been found to be causes of oily skin by making the sebaceous glands overproduce.
Stress and mental tension has been found to induce sebaceous glands to produce more sebum and causes oily skin.