The Regimen

Does Over Drying Push Oil Glands Into Overdrive?

Does Over Drying Push Oil Glands Into Overdrive?


There’s a widely held belief that if you strip skin of oil, it will cause your skin to overproduce oil as a result. This is a misconception based on faulty logic rather than facts.


Skin doesn’t ramp up oil production to compensate for dryness. It only feels that way. Regardless of how much you dry your skin with cleansers, acids, and other products, your skin will continue produce oil at its normal, genetic rate. But because you have stripped away your skin’s natural protective layer and reduced skin’s ability to retain moisture, the newly produced sebum will sit on the surface initially making skin appear oilier. Additionally, because your skin has become dry and tight, new sebum will, by contrast seem more pronounced and give the impression of being excessive.


The real reason to avoid over drying and stripping the skin is to avoid disrupting the skin barrier. When you weaken the skin barrier, you create inflammation, redness, irritation, and skin becomes vulnerable to bacteria. It’s these things, not what you perceive as excessive oil, that worsen conditions like acne. In fact, sebum is an important element in the skin barrier. It’s part of the acid mantle that keeps skin protected and hydrated.



So what does affect the rate of sebum production?

Hormones mainly, and hormones are regulated by genetics, environmental conditions, metabolic conditions, stress, and diet among other things.


Bottom line: Sebum is part of your skin’s natural defense system. You can reduce it, but you can’t eliminate it. If you try too hard to get rid of it, you will irritate and damage your skin and oil will return at its regularly scheduled rate.



Moisture for oily skin

If you’re treating acne, it can be easy to over dry skin. To put some of that moisture back and support a healthy skin barrier, try Vivant’s Totaloe Calming and Hydrating Gel. It’s an oil-free formula with the healing and anti-inflammatory properties of whole leaf aloe and niacinamide, plus antioxidant and cell-supporting sea algae extract and green tea extract. Fast absorbing, reparative and rejuvenating hydration that won’t clog pores or make skin feel greasy. 


Subscribe to get our latest newsletter on email