Figuring out what kind of skin type you have seems like such a big investigation. There's dry, combination, oily, acne-prone the list seems to go on forever. While dry skin may be easier to identify, distinguishing between oily and combination skin can leave even the best detectives scratching their heads. So, how do you know if you’ve got oily skin? We've got some handy clues to help you crack the case wide open! When it comes to choosing the perfect products for your skin, it's crucial to understand your skin type and its unique needs. 

girl with blue eyeshadow holding tbh skincare spot treatment, how to tell if I have oily skin

How to tell if you have oily skin:

Keep your magnifying glass handy and look for some of these telltale signs. Oily skin loves to show off its natural shine all over. If you find yourself battling both a shiny T-zone and cheeks leaving you with an overall sheen that could rival a disco ball, chances are you've got oily skin. You may also notice pesky breakouts tend to pop up on both your cheeks and the notorious T-zone cue the dramatic music! The great news about oily skin, if it brings you any comfort, is that it acts as a permanent natural moisturiser, so you’ll find you suffer less dehydration that can lead to fine lines developing.

So what’s the difference between oily and ‘combination’ skin? Combination simply means your skin features both oily plus another type of skin across different areas. Most combination skin features an oily T-zone, while your cheeks may lean towards normal or even dry territory. It's a balancing act that keeps your skin guessing!

If you can relate to a few of these descriptions, chances are your skin leans towards the oily or combination side:

  • A shine on the skin that feels slick to the touch
  • Pores that are visibly open or clogged, typically concentrated on the oilier areas of your face
  • The presence of whiteheads and blackheads, and quite regular blackheads on the nose, chin and forehead
  • Regular breakouts
  • A tendency to experience pimples not only on your face but also on your chest and back
  • Skin that appears dull 
  • Oily hair that demands frequent washing to keep it looking fresh (oily skin = oily scalp!)

How do I know if I have oily or dry skin?

If you’re still a bit unsure, let's do a quick checklist to help you figure it out: Dry skin tends to produce less oil, normal skin strikes a perfect oil balance, and oily skin means your oil factory is on overdrive! With all that excess oil, it's no surprise that dirt and bacteria tend to find their way into the mix, leading to those pesky blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples that are oh-so-common with oily skin.

What are the signs of oily skin?

Ah, the signs of oily skin the ultimate secret agents of shine! Picture this: you've got a glow that could blind a bystander, but not in a glamorous way. No, we're talking about the kind of shine that makes your face look like it just took a dip in a frying pan. Your makeup? It's on a constant mission to slip and slide off your face like an Olympic ice skater. And those breakouts they love to crash the party uninvited, leaving their greasy footprints all over your cheeks and T-zone. But fear not, my oily-skinned friend! Armed with the right knowledge and a stash of oil-absorbing superheroes, you'll conquer the world of excess shine and embrace your skin's unique radiance. And remember future you might just thank you for all that extra long-term natural moisturisation that helps prevent fine lines! 

girl with pink eye shadow and dark curly hair washing her face with tbh skincare anti-bacterial cleanser ,  how to tell if I have oily skin

What causes oily skin?

Okay, so the question on everyone's lips what really causes oily skin? Just like why you put some oil in your pan before cooking, oil is produced by the skin to keep it lubricated so that your skin’s natural barrier can function properly. We all know how important the skin barrier is, right? It keeps moisture locked in and protects against external bacteria. We’re going to get a bit technical, but bear with us. Sebum (oil) is naturally produced by the skin, and it contains oil as well as triglycerides, free fatty acids, wax esters, squalene, cholesterol esters, and cholesterol. Oily skin occurs when your body produces an excess of sebum. This then causes your sebaceous glands to increase, which results in an increase in pore size. Excess skin cells and sweat can also contribute to the appearance of oily skin when not cleansed properly.

For more information on how to cleanse properly, read here.  

How to reduce oily skin

Now, here's where things get tricky. Many detectives-in-training make a common mistake: using products formulated for oily skin that are actually very harsh and drying. Uh-oh! That's a recipe for disaster. We don't want to strip away all the natural oils and leave your skin feeling like a barren desert. No, no, no! The best prevention for oily skin is finding a strong skincare routine that works for you and keeps your skin hydrated - and sticking to it. 

Cleansing with oily skin

We recommend washing your face regularly to prevent congestion from building up on your skin. Cleansers that are well suited to oily skin will lift away excess oil, bacteria, and debris that oil can get trapped inside your pores. Make sure you stay away from oil based cleansers and makeup removers as well. We would recommend using a gentle micellar water like this Bioderma one, paired with the tbh anti-bacterial cleanser, morning and night. 

Moisturising with oily skin

It might seem counterintuitive, but moisturising oily skin is an absolute MUST. Skipping this step in your skincare routine can actually lead to more oil production in your skin (who knew!). Moisturising is one of the key ways you can regulate oil production in your skin. If you do not add moisture to your skin, it will become dehydrated and start to overcompensate by producing more sebum (another fancy word for oil). The thirst trap moisturiser is a great option for oily skin. When it comes to oily skin, here is what we’d suggest your routine should look like:

In the morning:

  1. Start off by cleansing your skin with the anti-bacterial cleanser 
  2. Follow this with the rebound serum
  3. Hydrate with the thirst trap moisturiser
  4. And then to protect your skin from the sun, apply skin shady SPF50+

For nightime:

  1. Begin by cleansing with your anti-bacterial cleanser 
  2. Treat any active breakouts with the acne hack spot treatment 
  3. Let the acne hack spot treatment soak in to the skin by leaving for 5 minutes, before applying serums and moisturisers over the top
  4. Follow up with rebound serum
  5. Lastly, hydrate your skin with the thirst trap moisturiser

girl with pink eyeshadow, glitter under her eyes and red lipstick holding tbh skincare thirst trap moisturiser over one side of her face and smiling,  how to tell if I have oily skin

Does oily skin look bad?

Absolutely not, bestie. Let’s switch up your perspective, because oily skin can actually be a blessing in disguise. Yes, we know that oily skin can lead to visibly large pores and acne, but let’s look on the bright side…

As we mentioned earlier, oily skin can be a secret weapon against ageing! You see, those wrinkles and fine lines are often caused by a lack of collagen in the skin. But guess what? Oil actually plays a role in collagen production and helps to lock in hydration. So, the next time you reach for that powder to tame the shine, remember that your skin's natural oiliness might just be keeping those age-related signs at bay. Embrace the glow, bestie!

To bust some more oily skin myths, read here.