If you have oily skin, what ingredients are most important to look for in a face mask?
People with oily skin usually have overactive sebaceous glands (oil glands). To balance them, we need to look for ingredients that deliver a cooling and calming effect. This includes things like burdock root, dandelion root, calendula, peppermint, lavender, and Saint John’s wort. Those herbs not only balance your skin's oil production, but also have an antibacterial effect which helps to prevent breakouts. As we know, people with oily complexions are prone to acne because excessive oil creates the perfect environment for pathogens inside of your pores. Salicylic acid, which is naturally found in willow bark, or fulvic acid, a 100% all natural acid derived from certain types of soil, both have a beneficial blend of trace minerals and electrolytes. They also have strong skin-purifying and exfoliating effects. These ingredients will visibly minimize the appearance of pores and smooth your skin by removing excessive dead skin cells from the surface. Balancing the microbiome of our skin also helps to reduce excessive oil. Conventional skincare products often have harsh chemicals that damage the "friendly bacteria" (known as probiotics) that live on our skin's surface and support our skin's protective function. Skincare products with a blend of live probiotics helps to restore your skin and balance oil production. Other helpful ingredients that help to decrease excessive oil and support the health of your skin are zinc oxide and powdered pearls (which are discussed further below!).
What ingredients should you avoid? People with oily complexions should avoid ingredients that can over-dry their skin. By over-drying your skin, you can stimulate increased oil production because your skin naturally compensates when there is a lack of moisture. Stimulating this response can cause it to produce too much oil. Products like sulfate-based cleansers and other products containing alcohol are good things to eliminate. I would also avoid using straight oils on your skin. Some people like to use oils, like coconut oil, in place of moisturizers. While coconut oil does have an antibacterial effect on your skin, it is still an oil and is going to make your face even shinier and clog your pores. Instead, I would use an oil-controlling serum on your T-Zone or other breakouts, and use a very light, hydrating, and water-based moisturizer (that contains less than 20% oil) on your entire face. I've created skin elixirs that are a lighter version of a moisturizer with all the benefits of a serum, so that each person's complexion can benefit from the right level of hydration and ingredients. For those with oily complexions, I would recommend trying Vitamin C Elixir or Mermaid Elixir as your light moisturizer!
How often should you apply face masks if you have oily skin?
People with any complexion can apply face masks daily. You can buy masks from your favorite skin care company or simply make them using whole foods! Clay-based masks are helpful for oily complexions because it absorbs excessive oil. Also, masks made from keifer, yogurt, or kombucha, which are all rich in probiotics, help to balance your skin's microbiome and calm irritation (See Probiotic Polishing Mask above!). If you want to make your own masks, egg whites help tighten the skin and smooth the texture. Also, stock from boiled artichoke can be used in calming and healing compresses which will soothe your skin and balance oil production.
Do you have any particular products you recommend?
I recommend my award-winning Oil Control Formula, which has been a best seller for over two decades. Oil Control Formula minimizes pores, reduces oily shine, cools your skin, and helps prevent breakouts. Use once or twice a day along the T-zone area or over the entire face after cleansing your skin. It will help tame, sanitize, and prevent skin congestion and irritation. Oil Control Formula contains skin-restoring fulvic acid, white willow bark extract (which provides naturally occurring salicylic acid, an essential for minimizing acne), soothing aloe vera and detoxifying burdock root. This cocktail of powerful natural ingredients will help to soothe skin inflammation, reduce acne, minimize enlarged pores, calm rosacea, and prevent future breakouts. Oil Control is multi-tasking crowd-pleaser that is essential to your skin care regimen.
After applying healthy skincare products, the worst thing to do is apply chemical-filled makeup that congests your pores and does not allow the skin to breathe. Sadly, this is what most people do! To avoid that, I suggest people use my Crushed Pearl Powder Foundation because it is not talc- or mineral-based makeup. The crushed pearls nourish your skin with proteins and minerals, while also absorbing excessive oil. They also do not dry your skin like other powdered foundations! In fact, crushed pearls help keep an appropriate level of hydration in your skin for a dewy and vibrant complexion. Blending crushed pearls with zinc oxide and natural pigments creates not only an effective makeup product, but it also acts as an SPF layer by protecting your skin from sun exposure.
Elina Fedotova is the Founder, Formulator, and CEO of Elina Organics, an award-winning cosmetic chemist, and licensed aesthetician. She hand makes her professional skincare line in her laboratory using holistic principles and organic ingredients from around the world. In 2007, she founded the Association of Holistic Skin Care Practitioners (AHSCP), a nonprofit organization that provides ongoing training and education for skincare professionals.