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African-American women, like women of all types, can suffer from acne and oily skin. While oily skin can be difficult to control, it is not impossible. Don’t let your oily skin and an unruly T-zone get you down. Be proactive and combat oily skin with a few simple changes to your beauty regimen.
What Causes Oily Skin
Oily skin is caused by a number of reasons and can be controlled by topical treatments, by certain medicines and through your diet. In most cases, acne is caused by an overproduction of facial oil, by an abundance of dead skin cells or by bacteria. When oil, dead skin and bacteria build up in the pores, whiteheads and blackheads are sure to follow. Outside of dirt and debris, acne can also be caused by hormones and high levels of stress.
Wash Your Face Regularly
The first step toward getting your oily skin under control begins with simply washing your face. Avoid using harsh cleansing products that can irritate the skin. The Mayo Clinic recommends that oil-prone individuals “wash areas with a gentle cleanser and use oil-free, water-based skin care products.” Also, be sure to wash your face with warm water instead of hot. Hot water tends to overdry the skin, and your oil-producing sebaceous glands will work double-time to re-moisture it. This in turn leads to an increase in facial oil production, which will just compound your skin problems. African-American women should be especially conscious of making sure they wash along their hairline. Women of color often use heavy pomades, sprays and gels to manage and condition their hair. You may find you might need to wash your hairline more frequently to remove excess oils and styling products that build up around the face over time.
Toners, Astringents and Masks
Some people prefer to use toners, astringents and facial masks to help combat the effects of oily skin. Astringents like alcohol and witch hazel can help to remove oil but are not long-lasting remedies. Some experts warn against using some varieties of astringents because they can be too harsh and cause redness, dryness or irritation. If you are looking for a natural remedy to get rid of excess oil, try a mud mask. Masks made from clay, mud or henna can work miracles on the face by absorbing dirt and bacteria from your pores. These types of facial masks can be purchased at the drugstore or you can go to a natural foods store to purchase a mud base and make your own mask at home. In addition to blasting away oil deposits, mud masks can improve your skin’s clarity and tone and make the skin more flexible.
Hair and Beauty Products
African-American women who have oily skin may want to buy makeup and beauty products that are designed for people with oily skin. For best results, opt for products labeled "water-based" or "non-comedogenic” and avoid using any products that feel oily or greasy. You may need to trade out your cosmetics, sunscreens and hairstyling products if they seem to be contributing to your skin problems. Also, be sure to remove makeup before going to bed. Going to sleep with your makeup on can clog the tiny openings of the hair follicles and contribute to acne. Additionally, make sure to clean your cosmetic brushes and applicators regularly.
Change Your Diet
When all else fails, feed your skin from the inside. The best way to maintain healthy skin is though your diet. Your skin shares a correlating relationship with what you eat and drink, so be sure to drink lots of water and eat fruits and vegetables that are high in vitamins and other nutritious content.