Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How can one tell if their face is too oily?"
How can you tell when your face is too oily? I think having an oily face contributes to my acne, but I'm not sure A) what facial cleansers really work for this purpose and B) when I am over-washing my face, which I hear is as bad as not washing at all.
Oily skin can contribute to acne. Acne is an infection of sweat pores of the face with a bacteria called propionobacterium acnes. These bacteria can only grow and infect sweat pores that become clogged, and skin oil is one of the things that can cause this blocking. There is no clinical way to tell if your face is "too oily," but if you are having acne and your face feels oily (or even not too dry), you can use facewashes (see below) to help decrease this oiliness. These creams CAN lead to over-drying, however, and you should watch out for scaling, flaking, or peeling of your skin as a sign of over-drying. While there are MANY face washes out there, they generally contain one of two active ingredients: 1) Salicylic Acid. This is a milder, drying agent that helps to wash the oil away. It would be advisable to start with a cream that contains a low concentration of this, and then to move up in concentration. 2) Benzoyl Peroxide. This is a stronger drying agent, and even has anti-bacterial properties that help to kill the p. acnes bacteria. This also comes in a range of concentrations, and you should start low and go up. Ultimately, you should seek the advice of your primary care physician or a dermatologist to help with your acne management. Stronger prescription medicines are available.