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Defeat Your Break-outs and Maintain Clear Skin

Updated on August 23, 2017

Why Does My Face Break-out?

Break-outs occur when your skin over-produces oil. The propensity of your skin to be oily is determined by a combination of factors. These factors include age, environment, stress, diet, hormones, medical conditions, medications, lifestyle, and genetics.

Your sebaceous glands are meant to produce sebum which is part of your natural defense against bacteria and foreign matter. People with oily skin have overactive sebaceous glands. Oil from sebum pools on the surface of oily skin. Excess surface sebaceous oil can trap dirt and bacteria and clog pores causing break-outs. As the fatty acids of the sebum break down, acids formed can irritate, inflame, thicken, scar, discolor, and prematurely age your skin.

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Removing the extra oil from your skin can be a never-ending effort. Your skin produces excess oil that makes your complexion look both shiny and dulled at the same time. You wash your face. Ten minutes later your face produces more oil. You use alcohol pads, an abrasive scrub, then rinse with near scalding water. Regardless of what harsh methods you employ, the oil always comes right back. Soon your skin is irritated so much that you decide to leave it alone. Excess oil causes more irritation. Bacteria takes hold causing more breakouts. Does this cycle sound all too familiar?

Maybe part of your face is always way too oily and the rest is always too dry. This is called combination skin. This has been my problem since puberty and has become my son's problem as well. The good news is that we now treat our oily skin without over drying the rest. The same techniques we use have also helped people control their all over oily skin. It might work for you!

How Can I Take Better Care of My Skin?

Regardless of your skin type, skin tone, age, or gender, you need to know and practice the 5 basics for good skin health. With a firm foundation for good health, skin can reach its full potential to be dewy and radiant at any age.

1)Drink enough water for your body weight and activity level.

2)Eat a nutritious, varied, and balanced diet, rich in fruits and vegetables.

3)Sleep enough so that your body, including your skin, has time to repair and rejuvenate every night.

4)Strive to stay physically active while you are awake to stimulate your circulation and respiration.

5)Work up a sweat to purge your pores of dirt and rid your body of toxins.

Beyond these basics, you need good skin care products. These have to work well for your personal body chemistry but don't need to be fancy or expensive. At bare minimum, you need:

1)A gentle but effective facial cleanser,

2)Full body UV protection with special attention to your face and lips, to save your skin from sun damage, premature aging, and skin cancer,

3)A moisturizer that helps your skin be at its best, and

4)An effective toner

Apple Cider Vinegar makes for a wonderfully effective and inexpensive toner for many people.
Apple Cider Vinegar makes for a wonderfully effective and inexpensive toner for many people. | Source

How Do I Control Excess Oil Production Through OCM

Don't let your skin fool you. Those of us with oily skin need facial moisturizing every bit as much as people with dry skin do. If you have oily skin, the natural oil that pools on the surface of your face is causing your skin nothing but harm. A good moisturizer can hydrate your skin while helping to remedy your other skin problems for you as well. This article will discuss the challenges of having oily or combination skin and will give you some tips on how to win those battles armed with nothing more than the right cleanser, toner, and moisturizer.

Instead of trying constantly to remove the bad oil, protect your face with a layer of good non-comedogenic oil instead. Cleansing and moisturizing your face with oil will help break down your skin oils, dislodging blackheads and helping to unclog your pores. Your irritated face will be soothed and will start to heal. Eventually your over-active glands will start producing less and less. It sounds crazy, yes, but oil cleansing method (OCM) works as nothing else has for many people.

All across the internet, you can find testimonials and tutorials. Keep in mind that what works for one person may cause harm to another. Some swear by the use of oils more comedogenic than any you or I might trust near our faces. Before you try a new OCM variation, patch test a small area of your arm or leg first for possible adverse reactions to the oil or whatever is supposed to be added into it. A course of treatment may go well at first, but weeks later, may cause you problems. If this happens, stop at once and try something else instead. Allergic reactions can start very small at first and then become increasingly more serious.

Sunflower Oil is noncomedogenic and a versatile product for skin care.
Sunflower Oil is noncomedogenic and a versatile product for skin care. | Source

Now that I have scared you off forever, here are the steps for a simple, safe OCM treatment (assuming you are not allergic to sunflower oil when you test it first,) to give you an idea of how to start:

1)Wash hands well first.

2)Use sunflower oil on cotton balls to remove makeup and clean your face off as much as you can.

3)Wash your face gently using a squeeze of sunflower oil as "soap" with comfortably warm, but not hot, water.

4)Use a cotton ball with oil again to make sure all traces of makeup/ dirt /whatever is washed away. You might want to wash your face with oil again just to make sure.

5)When your face is clean, massage the remaining oil into your damp face gently like you would a moisturizer.

6)Using a clean towel, pat your face dry. Then remove excess oil from your hands.

That is all there is to it. Now you can go to bed, put makeup on and go out, or do anything else you need to do.

Not every oil is right for everyone, but sunflower oil is a zero on the comedogenic scale, which means it will not clog pores. It is gentle, nourishing, and contains vitamins A, D, E and K. It works miracles for many people who try it. Other good non-comedogenic candidates to try are safflower oil, shea butter, hempseed oil, and argan oil. You might want to try them all eventually to see which works best for you, or you might find one you really like and stick to it. When buying an oil be sure to get one that is cold-pressed. Some oil is extracted through a chemical process. You don't want those chemicals on your face. If you can afford it splurge for organic oil that will be free of harmful fertilizers and pesticides.

How Do I Combat Break-outs Effectively?

If sunflower oil seems to help but you still are experiencing occasional break outs, try adding a few drops of another oil to the sunflower oil to help fight bacteria. Patch test this concoction, not the pure essential oil.

Garlic oil is cheap, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and high in vitamin C, vitamin B6, and manganese. Garlic also is rumored to protect against vampires and just about any other persons interested in the occasional night out. So, if you have social plans, choose to spot treat with another essential oil instead. Sweet scented frankincense oil has anti-inflammatory properties and is ideal for calming a breakout on a date night.

One little jar lasts forever.
One little jar lasts forever. | Source

You might also like to try Vicks Vaporub to spot treat a pimples, cystic acne, or sebaceous cysts. It is not a natural product. It is not a gentle product. In fact, some of the ingredients can poison a person in sufficient amounts. The reason that I mention it is that I have tried it for spot treating and have seen minor miracles happen.

I only resort to Vicks when I have a pimple causing me pain. Usually one of two things occurs. The first is that the bump draws closer to the surface and becomes a whitehead that can be expressed with a blackhead removal tool or if it isn't hurting anymore can be left alone to heal on its own. The second thing that happens is that the bump under the skin is seriously diminished in size the next day or just gone.

Why did I first try Vicks? I had a deep sebaceous cyst about the size of a quail egg on my forehead for months that my doctor had refused to remove in outpatient surgery. I didn't fancy going into the hospital and being put under to take care of an overgrown pimple. I saw on the internet that people in that situation had good results with Vicks Vaporub. I bought a tiny jar and before bed, swabbed a little over the area then put on a Band-Aid to cover it. I did that for three consecutive nights before the cyst disappeared completely. My dermatologist was amazed.

If you decide to try it, be careful not to get any into your eyes. The fumes alone can make eyes red and irritated.

What Are Some Other Skin-care Tips?

1) Stop touching your face throughout the day. If you have to touch it, wash your hands first, thoroughly. Don't let other people touch your face, either. When someone does, wash your face immediately afterward.

2) You may be re-infecting your face with your makeup brushes. To prevent this, boil water, add some antibacterial liquid soap, and drop in your brushes. When the water cools down enough, wash the bristles out like you would paint brushes. Wash them all well, rinse them well, and then dry them with a blow drier. Do this every week or so to keep your brushes clean and free from bacteria, fungus, mold, and dust mites. Don't share your makeup or your brushes, even with sisters or best friends. Tell them you might have a contagious bacterial infection causing your skin break-outs. It may even be true.

3) Always use clean towels, especially for your face. You can drip dry or blow dry on cool or use a paper towel to pat it dry, if necessary.

4)Give new products at least two weeks of no improvement before moving on to try another. Sometimes it takes that long before your skin will start to respond. If nothing else mentioned here helps, try something like Proactive. It is somewhat expensive. Some people find that Proactive irritates or makes skin overly dry. For others it works like a charm.

5)Nothing works well for everyone. Don't lose heart. It might take some time but you will eventually figure out what works well for you. If all else fails, you will enter a period of less stress or hormonal changes that will improve your skin.

6)Don't let blemishes ruin your fun. True friends and the people who love you see only you, not those passing imperfections.

If I Have to Do So Because It Hurts, What is the Proper Way?

Good Products for Skincare

If putting pure oil on your oily skin is never going to be a solution that you are willing to try, consider instead natural sunflower oil based products. Here are a few promising prospects.

For Cleansing-

Juice Beauty Cleansing Milk combines sunflower oil, chamomile extract, and aloe for gentle makeup removal and cleansing.

For Moisturizing-

Eminence Calm Skin Moisturizer blends sunflower oil and shea butter with skin soothing chamomile extract for eye area and night-time moisturizing.

Kiss my Face Everyday 15 combines sunflower oil and healing aloe into a daily all purpose lotion with a bit of natural UV protection.

For Natural Sun Screen-

Alba Botanica Hawaiian Sunscreen combines aloe vera, green tea, and sunflower seed oil into SPF 45 natural formula. I use this daily and love it. Yes, we ladies with darker skin need sun protection too to prevent UV damage and skin cancer.

Any of these might work better for you than plain sunflower oil for revitalizing your oily skin while helping to combat break-outs.

If you have other suggestions for gentle products for oily skin that have worked great for you let us know! Also, if you have tried an OCM treatment, please tell us about your experience and results in the comments! Wishing everyone out there their best skin ever.

-Special thanks to Celeb Scoops who inspired this hub by asking the question "Any advice on getting rid of acne without making your red and sensitive?" I would not have realized that I had so much to say on this topic otherwise.

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    • word55 profile image

      Al Wordlaw 

      2 years ago from Chicago

      I love this hub Besa. I love reading it again and again. You have very beautiful skin. :-)

    • Besarien profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago

      Thanks for the pen tip, Sgt Prepper!

    • Sgt Prepper profile image

      Gunny Cracker 

      2 years ago from Elkhorn, WI

      The tip of the barrel of a retractable ball-point pen can be used in emergencies to get rid of a blackhead pimple. Simply center the tiny hole over the blackhead, push it firmly against the skin to push the puss out then smear it off!

    • Besarien profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago

      I hope it does you some good, techygran! I have heard people have had luck with both sunflower oil and the Vicks Vaporub for rosacea. That is not something which I've had first hand experience yet. Thanks for passing along this article to kids in need and people like me who never seem to finish with the curses of puberty. Let me know if you see any results with your skin! Cheers!

    • Besarien profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago

      Hello Nell Rose! I sort of wish I was old enough to stop breaking out. I seem to be just about old enough for everything else to get free-shaped and creaky. Thanks for the comment!

    • techygran profile image


      2 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      I am going to try the sunflower oil cleanse... I've never come across that before! I will also pass this information on to some others who are in the throes of that teenage curse. I wonder if it works for rocasea? Thank you! ~Cynthia

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      2 years ago from England

      Ooh wish I was still young enough to have break outs! lol! great info though as always, nell

    • Besarien profile imageAUTHOR


      2 years ago

      My mother in law just ended up in the hospital because she dehydrated herself. Some kind of purification and prayer regime or something. Whoever suggested this told her not to drink anything- of course they meant alcohol. I love her but I wish she had more sense.

    • Say Yes To Life profile image

      Yoleen Lucas 

      2 years ago from Big Island of Hawaii

      I think the part about drinking a lot of water and doing sweaty exercise is excellent! I live in Hawaii, and have noticed few teens here have problems with acne. I believe it is because in this tropical climate, they're always sweating, so that helps their skin.

      It helps adults, too. When I lived on Oahu, I drank 14 glasses of water a day. My friend from California complimented me on my skin, saying it glowed.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 

      2 years ago from North Texas

      A very helpful article for people with oily or combination skin. Thankfully, I've never had to deal with acne, but I know plenty of people who did and do and all the difficulties they go through. With so many people depending on fast food and all the additives and preservatives in food nowadays, I would expect this article to be super useful. So well written as always!

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 

      2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Great skin health tips!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 

      2 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      I put up with oily skin my entire life. It finally calmed down after I was on a natural food diet(for the most part) for a few years. In defense of oily skin, I look nowhere near my age.

    • Besarien profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      Hello Jackie! Great point about junk food! The summer I turned 17 I worked in fast food. Never was my complexion worse, eating greasy food twice a day (at least.) Thanks for stopping and adding your wisdom to the conversation.

    • Besarien profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      Hello word55! May your future forever be as smooth as your skin is now! Thanks for the great additional info on diet and for your kind words.

    • Besarien profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      Hello Frank! I am happy that you have no personal need for this hub. If you ever do though, it is here for you. Thanks for commenting!

    • Besarien profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      Hello emge! Thanks for stopping by!. I am happy you think it might be useful.

    • Besarien profile imageAUTHOR


      3 years ago

      Hi billybuc! I wrote this in response to a question. Perhaps other people answered with hubs as well. I hope your daughter finds something here that will help. Thank you for your comments and for being you!

    • emge profile image


      3 years ago from Abu Dhabi

      Practical and useful hub. Concerns most people

    • word55 profile image

      Al Wordlaw 

      3 years ago from Chicago

      Excellent hub Besa on taking proper care of the skin. Eating fruits and veggies helps or veggies, nuts and beans helps even better. Been eating this way for years. I often get compliments about my smooth skin.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      3 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I think especially for teens that staying away from greasy foods and colas would be important. There is so much more to choose from today than when I was a teen it should be pretty easy!

      Important article.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 

      3 years ago from Shelton

      Besa.. this is practical and useful.. almost makes me wish I could break-out so I can see how effective this information is..LOL very useful my friend :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Not a problem I have but oddly this is the second article today about having acne and/or a clear face. Strange.....well, I'll pass this on to our teenage daughter. She will be appreciative.


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