Condition > Oily Skin

Oily Skin | Causes & Treatments

Our skin produces natural oil in the sebaceous glands, known as sebum. This natural oil is crucial for keeping the skin healthy as it helps to lubricate the skin, preventing it from drying out or becoming irritated. It is very common for us to have a certain amount of natural oil as it keeps our skin supple and moisturised.

What Causes Oily Skin?

However, when excess skin oil is produced within the pores, your skin will look greasy and shiny, which can lead to clogged pores over time, if you do not take proper care. This would eventually lead to occasional or persistent pimples, blackheads/ whiteheads, acne flare-ups and very large or obvious pores on the skin.

The symptoms of oily skin and the severity vary between individuals. Here are some factors that cause your oily skin;

The prime factors responsible for oily skin are genetics, gender, age, diet, and weather conditions.


If you do a quick check within the family, you’re likely to find that some of your family members do suffer from oily skin. To a great extent, it is genetic predisposition that decides if you’ll suffer oily skin. This is because, larger the pore size, greater the likelihood of producing more sebum. Pore size depends upon factors such as ethnicity and family history.


Oily skin is more likely to afflict males rather than females. This is because androgens or ‘male’ hormones like testosterone are present in greater quantities in men, while women have ‘female’ hormones like estrogen.  Testosterone is associated with higher oil production in the body, while estrogen is known to lower the skin’s oil production capabilities.


During adolescence, the body experiences an all-time high rush of growth hormones which boost sebum production. Oily skin, and the prevalence of acne in adolescents, are indicators of the growth hormone’s role in excess sebum production.


Excess or continual stress leads to the release of stress-relieving hormones, which also provoke the sebaceous glands to produce oil in higher quantities. Dermatologists point out to that excess stress is known to aggravate acne conditions.


Oily foods and those that are rich in simple carbohydrates, are a potential trigger for sebum production. While simple carbs are known to boost growth hormone levels, thus increasing oil production in the body, oily foods add to the sebum levels of the body.


Humidity provides the right conditions for sweating and oil production. Therefore, people living in humid zones are more susceptible to oily skin. Similarly, summer season is conducive for sweat and oil production in the body.

Ironically, excess cleansing is also considered a major factor in causing your skin to go oily. The excessive cleaning leads to irritation of the skin, which in turn switches on the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum to compensate for the loss. Excessive make-up, and keeping on make-up for too long, are also seen as triggers.

Here Is How We Can Control Your Oily Skin
Dr Chiam C.T

Our Solution for Oily Skin

The basic objective of treating oily skin, is to achieve a balance. This is because excessively oily and excessively dry skin are not desirable conditions to live with. The key, therefore, is to ensure that your skin has the right amounts of oil content. Here are some Tips on how to Control Oily Skin – Dos and Don’t

Basically, there are three approaches to treating oily skin.

  • Topical Treatment

    This approach involves using medicated applications on the affected areas of skin. You can do it at home with the help of creams or solutions. At clinics, common procedures include medical chemical peels - like glycolic or salicylic acid peel.
  • Lasers Treatment

    A variety of lasers, such as Q- switch ND: YAG, Long pulse ND: YAG, and Erbium YAG fractional laser are used to target the sebaceous glands and reduce the amount of oil they produce. These lasers are an alternative treatment for acne, because they clean the skin and help to increase skin cell turnover. Other devices such as Light Therapy can also help to control these oil glands, making them less active. This, in turn, may produce fewer acne breakouts.
  • Energy-Based Treatment 

    Another alternative treatment is the RF Microneedling treatment that uses Repeated Ultra-Short Pulsed (RP) technology to target abnormal blood vessels that treat pigmentation, vascular lesions, and other skin discolouration. It targets the dermis layer of the skin, which can help repair the skin, minimize the pores, lighten the appearance of acne scars and control the overactive oil production.
  • Injectables-based Treatment

    The skin surface is injected either with Botox in extra-small dosages, to decrease the transmission of nerve or chemicals to the sebaceous glands. Polynucleotide injections are another option in this treatment category. Derived from salmon DNA, these injectables are perfectly biocompatible with human skin. Apart from downtimes as low as 24 hours, polynucleotide injections help in skin rejuvenation, and reduction of fine lines on the skin.