Q: I am not a teenager but I still have really oily skin. No matter how often I use a face wash, the grease won’t shift and I’m still left with blackheads and blemishes. Where am I going wrong? Do I need to use something stronger?
Our expert Ahmed Zambarakji answers your questions below:
Easy there, tiger. You’re not scouring the oven; we’re dealing with your face here. Using the most potent paint stripper of a product you can find might sound like a good way to shift stubborn grease but that kind of overkill is actually counterproductive when it comes to your skin. The harsher the product (i.e the more oil it strips away), the more it will send your oil-producing sebaceous glands into overdrive. They’ll respond to said product by producing yet more grease and perpetuating a vicious cycle that will leave you worse off than you were in the first place.
On the other hand, if you use a product that isn’t designed for your specific skin type, the oil won’t shift you’ll be left with a shiny forehead, blackheads and gaping pores. A catch 22 for the novice groomer, indeed.
What you need to find is an effective but gentle formula. For guys with sensitive skin, I usually recommend ‘clean’ brands like REN, which don’t contain any chemical nasties or potential irritants like synthetic fragrance, sulfate detergents and parabens.
Their four-strong, step-by-step ClearCalm3 Anti-Blemish range (from £18; renskincare.com) tackles the three causes of breakouts - excess sebum, build up of dead skin cells and bacteria - with bioactive formulas that won’t set off a series of side effects. The anti-microbial day fluid, clay mask and cleanser in the collection do a great job of controlling the hyperactive sebaceous glands that cause oily skin while the night serum calms breakouts, reduces redness and lightens pigmented acne scars.
Even if you don’t have oily skin all over your face, you can use products from La Roche Posay’s Effaclar range (from £12; see laroche-posay.co.uk) on specific areas like the T-Zone (forehead, nose and chin) where most guys are prone to outbreaks. Their dermatologist-endorsed formulas use the likes of LHA/Linoleic Acid, which is capable of shedding the dead skin cells that obstruct pores and end up causing blemishes.
Last but not least, get into the habit of using a toner to help seal pores after you’ve cleansed. I know it’s a hassle but, if you’re really suffering from oily skin, then you can’t afford to skip this step. Check out Origin’s Zero Oil purifying toner (£15 for 150ml from origins.co.uk), which mattifies skin with natural blotters, dramatically reducing the possibility of a passerby checking out his reflection in your forehead.
Find Ahmed at theexfoliator.com