What causes oily skin?

It’s not what you think…

Traditionally, the best skincare advice for oily skin revolves around changing the products you apply to your skin. Such skin care products often claim to manage oily skin by reducing the excess sebum production that results in a shiny or greasy appearance, clogged pores, pimples and thick skin.

This manner of thinking sustains the skincare and beauty industries, with unhappy people more than willing to do what it takes to manage skin’s natural moisture, and reduce the excess oil production.

As a skin health expert and nutritional therapist with ten years of clinical practice, I know that the key to managing what causes oily skin is about so much more than salicylic acid, exfoliation, oil free moisturizer and a consistent skin care routine.

Whilst these things can be helpful, they form part of a much larger puzzle for combating oily skin and can only be truly effective when considered alongside your liver function, not just a healthy lifestyle.

Best Nutrition For What Causes Oily Skin

Your skin is influenced by three essential metabolic pathways: the blood sugar levels, liver function and gut microbiome that form your metabolic health.

Understanding the function and role these three pathways play in the quality and condition of your skin cells will allow you to see oily skin as the result of the dietary and lifestyle choices that you make, not just your skin type.

By taking steps to tackle the root causes of your oily skin you MUST address the quality of foods and drink that you consume along with your regular eating behaviours – by doing so,  you will be able to relieve oily skin and achieve naturally balanced, oil free skin throughout the day.

There are many ways to balance your oily skin naturally, and my nutrition advice should be used in partnership with a regular skin care routine to address your skin health at a cellular level rather than instead of.

How To Treat Oily Skin?

In this article, I want to explain what might be preventing you from reducing the excess oil produced and achieving the hydrated, younger looking skin you desire.

You will gain some valuable advice nobody else will tell you about how to help improve your skin health and learn about the metabolic pathways causing your oily, congested skin.


Oily skin, which can be made worse by the makeup and skin products we use, but oily skin is a tremendous indicator of what’s going on inside our body. Interestingly, despite what skincare brands would have you believe, investing your money in active ingredients and ‘revolutionary’ skincare products can only enhance what you already have.

Some of these recommended products contain ingredients not recognised by your skin cells and therefore can be a massive waste of time, energy and money, particularly as they can lead to the overproduction of sebum causing oily skin.

I also find it interesting that some of the best skincare advice for oily skin encourages people to purchase specifically designed products for their so-called ‘skin type’. This can only be counter-productive, seeing as our skin cells change daily depending on our lifestyle and metabolic health.

In some instances, the ingredients in the products recommended for oily skin can even trigger conditions that can alter our natural sebum regulation and result in a skin pH imbalance. This will prompt an overproduction of sebum and cause congested, clogged pores, acne breakouts, dull and thicker skin.

Great article about how to maintain skin pH balance 3-Step Method to Younger Looking Skin

The best skin health advice for what causes oily skin is to improve your liver function.

When you have oily skin, this can usually be due to a build-up of toxins in your body resulting from poor liver clearance.

To improve the appearance of oily skin, spend some time cleansing your liver, and you will notice the quality of your skin health improve – within days!

Your liver’s job is to clear out toxins and help your body absorb nutrients from the food you’ve eaten.

When overloaded, your liver will excrete the toxins through your skin cells.

This leads to excess sebum production because the sebaceous glands are trying to control oil production by protecting themselves against what they believe are harmful substances in their environment.

Excess sebaceous gland activity acclimates around the T-zone, [main lymph drainage point] causing the skin to adapt and create big open pores in order to hold more sebum.

Too much oil production in the T-zone can cause dry skin on areas of the face, resulting in a dehydrated appearance. This will then stimulate the overactive sebaceous glands to produce more oil in an attempt to control oily skin.

Do you have a sluggish liver? 10 Signs Your Liver is Struggling

How to address your liver function and improve your oily skin

  1. Stop the consumption of fake foods (artificial ingredients and trans fats)
  2. Remove toxic ingredients (Phthalates) in your makeup and skincare products
  3. Regulated pH balance on the skin by not using foaming face wash exfoliators: Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) or Sodium Laureth Sulfate (SLE)

I have done a video not using foaming face wash https://youtu.be/9ScVu6-JhXY

If you don’t the consequences are you will experience the following symptoms:

  • Oily
  • Congested skin
  • Large open pores
  • Thick
  • Dull skin

What Is The Best Advice For Oily Skin? 

To improve oily skin, we need to make sure that we’re doing what we can to reduce our consumption of toxins, cleanse the liver and balance the skin’s pH.

To achieve these aims, it would be best if you involved yourself in regular liver cleansing and took the time to look at what you are eating and what you are putting on your skin.

The liver is the organ that takes care of cleansing toxins from your body. If your liver is not operating well, it will be challenging for any skincare product to show the best results. ​You want the body to eliminate toxins naturally rather than expelling them through your skin cells and producing excessive sebum.

The three most effective ways to improve liver function: 

  1. Take a look at the ingredients in your food as well as your skincare products
  2. Enjoy fresh lemon and ginger in hot water every morning
  3. Take a break – enjoy a 3-Day Cleanse

The liver modifies any toxin to eliminate it from the body; however, when the liver is overloaded, it will utilise your skin to assist in the elimination process.

The liver’s ability to function is affected by various ingredients. These include artificial sweeteners, any form of sugar substitute and the trans fats found in processed baked goods such as pastries, pies and cookies. Drinks such as diet soda, squash and/or cordial can also affect how your liver works.

Therefore, removing the artificial ingredients and trans fats, or as I like to call them ‘fake foods’, from your diet, is a powerful way to support your liver function.

These fake foods are more toxic than alcohol. Your liver recognises them as such and begins trying to break them down and destroy them. As a process, this puts a lot of strain and stress on your liver function, and as a consequence, it will try to excrete toxins through your skin. This manifests initially as an oily forehead, before creating large open pores to cope with the excess sebum. Blackheads will appear when the sebum oxidises, as the skin struggles to eliminate toxins via your skin cells due to a pH imbalance caused by exfoliation products.

A simple way to support your liver function is to enjoy fresh lemon and ginger in some hot water first thing in the morning. Once you have got used to that, you can start having this before every meal.

As well as cleansing your skin, you should look to naturally exfoliate with fruit acids such as AHAs, BHAs and PHAs, which are all types of hydroxy acids. Alternative products that contain SLS and SLE create a natural imbalance in your skin’s pH, resulting in the overproduction of sebum. The complete opposite to what you want when you have oily skin.

Learn about my full 3-step method 3-Step Method to Younger Looking Skin

In summary, the efficiency of your liver function is the key to addressing oily, dull, dehydrated and ageing skin. The best advice for improving oily skin is to cleanse your liver and reduce its need to excrete toxins via sebum. It would help if you also focused on how your metabolic health pathways influence the quality of your skin health.

If you are looking to reduce your oily skin and clogged pores, you should balance the pH on your skin. When the pH of your skin is maintained between ph 4 and 6 the demand for more sebum is reduced, breaking the cycle of excessive sebum production and the need for large open pores.

Start Your Journey Towards Better Skin Health 

In conclusion, when looking for your next solution to oily skin, take a moment to think about what is causing your skin to be greasy. Why does your thick skin have so many open pores? What is causing your pimples to flare up?

Your liver function will improve by consuming hot lemon and ginger water before each meal, removing the fake food from your diet, and looking at the ingredients in your skincare products. Doing the things listed above will help cleanse your liver naturally and allow it to excrete toxins via your kidneys and digestive system rather than your skin.

Oily skin is just one example of how our skin can make us aware of the effects of our dietary intake and how it influences our skin health.