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What Is Sebum and How Does It Affect Your Skin?

A young woman cleansing her face with micro-foam cleanser

We all know that feeling: you wake up after a good night's sleep and your skin looks great. But, one day later, you have oily skin that is congested. What the heck is going on? Sebum production may be to blame. Sebum is the oil that your skin produces to keep itself healthy and hydrated. But, when it's overproduced, it can lead to clogged pores and acne. Learn more about sebum and how to control its production in this post. 

What is sebum?

No matter if you are into skincare or not, you have probably heard about sebum. It is an oily substance that is produced by the sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands are located in the skin and they are responsible for keeping the skin healthy and hydrated. Sebum is composed of lipids, waxes, and fat. It has an important role in protecting the skin from external aggressors, such as bacteria and UV rays. Sebum is also responsible for giving the skin its natural glow.

Sebum and age

Sebum production changes throughout our lifetime. It is highest during puberty and declines as we get older. This is why teenagers are more likely to suffer from acne than adults. During puberty, the body produces more hormones, such as testosterone. These hormones stimulate the sebaceous glands, which leads to an increase in sebum production.

Why is sebum important for your skin?

The disbursement of sebum all over the body supports the skin's health in several important ways. Firstly, sebum provides a layer of protection on the skin's surface. This lipid barrier helps to lock in moisture and keep out environmental irritants, bacteria, and other potentially harmful microorganisms. Sebum also contains antimicrobial properties that help to keep the skin free from infection. Finally, sebum helps to keep the skin supple and soft by keeping it lubricated and hydrated. dry skin skincare moisturize Sebum has an important role in protecting the skin from external aggressors. It is also responsible for giving the skin its natural glow.

How does sebum affect your skin?

Sebum has an important role in keeping your skin healthy, but when it's overproduced it can have the opposite effect. When there is too much sebum on the skin, it can lead to clogged pores and acne. The overproduction of sebum is often caused by hormonal changes, such as during puberty or pregnancy.

Sebum and acne

When the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, it can lead to clogged pores and acne. If you have oily skin, you may be more susceptible to developing acne. That's because excess sebum can mix with dead skin cells and bacteria, which can clog pores and lead to breakouts. If you are struggling with acne, it is important to talk to a dermatologist about the best treatment options for you. There are a number of topical treatments, such as retinoids and salicylic acid, that can help to control sebum production and reduce acne breakouts.

How to reduce sebum production?

If you are struggling with excess sebum production, there are a few things you can do to help control it. First, it is important to cleanse your skin twice a day with a gentle cleanser. This will help to remove dirt, oil, and makeup from your skin. Be sure to avoid harsh cleansers that can strip your skin of its natural oils, as this can actually increase sebum production.  After cleansing, apply a light moisturizer to your skin. This will help to hydrate your skin and keep it healthy. Be sure to use a non-comedogenic moisturizer, as this will not clog pores. If you are struggling with excess sebum and acne, you may also want to talk to your dermatologist about prescription topical treatments.

Sebum and dry skin

Dry skin can also be a side effect of overproducing sebum. When the sebaceous glands produce too much oil, it can actually lead to dehydrated skin. This is because the excess sebum can prevent the skin from retaining moisture. If you have dry skin, you may want to consider using a face oil or moisturizer that is specifically designed for oily skin. Also, a lack of sebum can cause different skin conditions. For example, dry skin is a common side effect of sebum reduction. In some cases, people may experience an increase in wrinkles and fine lines due to the loss of moisture in the skin, just as well as seborrheic dermatitis, dandruff, and a dry scalp. Some people may experience dandruff and a dry scalp due to the lack of sebum.

How to boost sebum production?

If you have dry skin, it means probably that you need more sebum. To help increase sebum production, you can try using a face oil or serum that contains ingredients like jojoba oil or squalane. These ingredients are similar to the natural oils produced by the skin and can help to boost sebum production. You can also try using a humidifier to add moisture to the air and help keep your skin hydrated. And if you use hot water while showering or cleansing your face, be sure to follow up with lukewarm water instead, as this can help to prevent your skin from becoming too dry.

Healthy diet and sebum

Diet is also very important when it comes to controlling sebum production. Be sure to eat plenty of healthy fats, like omega-3 fatty acids, as these can help to regulate sebum production. You should also limit your intake of refined sugars and processed foods, as these can trigger inflammation and lead to the overproduction of sebum. Instead, focus on eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. 

Exercise and sebum

Exercise is also important for controlling sebum production. When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting and stress-reducing effects. Stress can actually trigger the overproduction of sebum, so keeping your stress levels in check is important for keeping your skin healthy. Exercise can also help to improve circulation, which can deliver oxygen and nutrients to the skin and promote healthy cellular turnover.

Comments

7 comments

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Shraddha Bhatt 22/09/2022
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Exercise is so important for controlling sebum production and I am a living proof of that.. But also, it is extremely important to know that a good and balanced skincare routine is contributing a lot to achieving that specific goal..

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erika 22/09/2022

In reply to by Shraddha Bhatt

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Hi there! Thank you for sharing! Stay tuned for more useful tips coming soon! :)

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Fusae Ozaki 23/09/2022
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Great educational article. I have learnt a lot from it. Thank you for sharing.

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erika 23/09/2022

In reply to by Fusae Ozaki

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Dear Fusae, thank you for the kind words! It makes us so happy to hear you learned from the article! Stay tuned for more interesting tips and tricks as our team is always working on preparing something new for you :)

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jonita 24/09/2022
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Does Niacinamide serum regulate sebum production? Does Niacinamide serum regulate sebum production?

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Eliana 30/09/2022
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Thanks for this informative and useful article.

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Lumispa review 11/01/2023
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Exercise is so important for controlling sebum production and I am a living proof of that.. But also, it is extremely important to know that a good and balanced skincare routine is contributing a lot to achieving that specific goal..

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