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Why Is My Face So Oily All Of A Sudden? (Men’s Guide)

It feels like puberty all over again. One morning, you wake up slicker than usual (not in a fun way), look in the mirror, and you’re greeted by the sight of a greasy, shiny face. If you’re wondering ‘why is my face so oily all of a sudden,’ don’t worry, it’s the kind of problem we all wake up to one day.

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What Is Oily Skin?

If you can drag your index finger across your forehead right now and pick up a glistening fingerprints-worth of fluid, congratulations. You have oily skin.

That excess oil on your face is called sebum. If you’re like me, it tends to build up throughout the day and leave you feeling a little bit slimy. Other guys experience excess sebum randomly, for no apparent reason.

The two root causes of oily skin are skin dryness and hormone imbalances. When your skin gets too dry, it freaks out and starts ramping up those oil glands to protect you. Hormones can also trigger those glands – that’s why teenagers are notorious for oily skin and hair.

The hard part is identifying what part of your daily routine is causing those hormone imbalances or unusual dryness.

Is Oily Skin Good Or Bad?

Oily skin keeps you hydrated and protects you from debris, but it also helps encourage acne, and it can lead to skin irritation.

It’s a mixed bag, so I don’t necessarily think of oily skin as good or bad. It’s natural, and if you ask me, it’s easier to manage than dry or sensitive skin. Plus, it’s pretty easy to tweak your skin care routine to deal with all that sebum.

One big mistake that plenty of guys make is thinking that they should opt-out on moisturizing products because they already have too much oil to deal with. That might be causing your oily skin! Without a layer of lotion to protect you from dryness, your skin is ramping up oil production to compensate.

That’s just one of many, many mistakes that guys make when treating oily skin. Don’t buy the BS that you get to opt out on a good skin care routine because of your oily skin.

Why Is My Face So Oily All Of A Sudden?

There are hundreds of reasons why your face might be oily all of a sudden. The best way to get to the root cause is to ask yourself, “Have I done anything recently that would make my skin drier than usual or throw my hormones out of balance?”

Maybe one of those things is on this list:

You’re Using Bad Skin Care Products

Or just the wrong skin care products. Or you’re using your skin care products too often. 

It’s important to have a good skincare routine with high-quality hygiene items that are made to treat your skin’s needs. But it’s also important that you don’t overuse those products to the point of irritating your skin.

Lots of guys with oily skin make the mistake of exfoliating too often or using low-quality moisturizers.

You’re Stressed

If you get stress breakouts, it’s probably because you also get stress sebum. Your body’s response to stress can trigger those hormones that tell your skin to make more oil.

Take time to cool off. Maybe with a facial?

Your Diet Is Missing Something

My skin tends to get bad around the holidays because I can’t keep my hands off that cheap halloween candy. Changing up your diet too quickly, eating too many sugars, and skipping on your veggies can all cause your skin to produce more oil.

Your Oily Face Is Genetic

It’s a lame answer, but some oily skin is just genetic. Doesn’t matter what you do. Something you inherited tells your skin that you need a lot of sebum every day.

Why Is My Face So Oily When I Wake Up In The Morning?

While you’re counting sheep and dreaming about your beautiful skin goals, your body is slowly losing moisture. You most likely have an oily face in the morning because you got dehydrated overnight, and your skin produced more oil to compensate, which can lead to annoying days you can’t help but pop your newfound pimples.

That’s also why your sebum tends to feel really thick and waxy in the morning. Not only has it had all night to build up, but it’s also a direct result of your skin trying to keep itself hydrated.

Life hack here: make sure to change your pillowcase frequently if you have especially oily skin. Reasonably speaking, there’s not much you can do besides wash your face in the morning to prevent those nightly oils, but you can prevent breakouts in the long-run by sleeping on a fresh pillowcase that will help absorb some of the oil from your skin (rather than letting it build up in the fabric over the course of a week or two).

Why Is My Skin So Oily In My 40’s?

If you thought puberty was the only time in your life when your hormones would change with age…I have bad news.

Because your hormones continue to fluctuate throughout your life, some of the luckiest guys with the best skin in the world find themselves with oily skin and large pores well into their 40s and 50s.

It’s a “your body is changing” kind of lecture but for adults. Now more than ever, it’s important that you use high-quality skin care products to help your skin age gracefully.

Why Is My Nose So Oily?

The answer almost sounds dumb – your nose is so oily because the pores along your nose are larger, so they’re able to produce more oil.

That skin from the tip of your nose to your forehead and around your eyebrows is known as your “T zone,” and it’s really, really good at making sebum. Even if you haven’t used them yourself, you’ve probably seen “pore strips” before. They’re like a little piece of strong adhesive for your skin, and lots of women use them to unclog the pores on their T zone.

The bad thing about pores strips is that, as convenient as they seem, they actually widen your pores in the long run. If you’re dealing with an oily, pore-clogged nose, it’s better to use an exfoliant, face wash, and thin moisturizer to unclog your pores over time, rather than forcefully pulling out the grime with adhesive.

How To Deal With Oily Skin

As someone with extremely oily skin, let me say, the saving grace for those of us with slick faces is that it’s a lot easier to manage oily skin than sensitivity or dryness. Here are some of the best ways to see short- and long-term results when you’re dealing with your oils:

Pick The Right Face Wash

Finding the perfect face wash for your skin is one of the best ways to manage any skin condition, including oiliness. Some of the best face washes for guys with oily skin help dissolve your oils without dehydrating you, and to top it off, they have an awesome texture.

One you find ‘the one,’ use it twice a day – once in the morning, and once at night. Any more will dry you out, causing your skin to produce more oil. Any less will let your sebum take over and cause painful acne.

Use A Heavier Exfoliant

As long as you don’t suffer from skin sensitivity or irritation, you should use a heavier exfoliant to help deal with oiliness. Lots of organic face scrubs come with natural ingredients like sugar, almonds, and even coffee to scour away dead skin and wash away sebum.

Guys with oily skin can get away with using an exfoliant 2-3 times per week, or more as needed. Lower your use if you start to suffer from redness or dryness.

Don’t Skip Out On Moisturizer

Your oils keep you hydrated. But after you’ve used a face wash and exfoliant to get rid of all that sebum, your skin doesn’t know what to do with itself. You’ll need to replace that hydrating barrier so that it doesn’t panic and break out.

 Use a moisturizer that’s good on acne so that it doesn’t clog your pores.

Adjust Your Diet

Eating less sugar and more veggies is a common long-term remedy for oily skin. But if you already have a great diet, what you might need is to supplement it with vitamins to prevent oily skin. You might not even realize you’re experiencing a deficiency until you start taking a multivitamin and see the positive results.

If you follow these recommendations, with enough luck, you’ll be able to finally stop asking yourself “why is my face oily all of a sudden?”.

Does Drinking Water Help Oily Skin?

Drinking water isn’t necessarily known to help with oily skin as quickly or effectively as any of the methods we talked about above. But it’s also not a bad idea, especially if you know you don’t drink enough water. 

Dehydration can send a message to your skin that it needs to start producing more oils to keep itself soft and protected. So drinking more water is a long-term solution to oily skin. So if you’re sitting there wondering, “why is my face oily all of a sudden?”, then drink some water.

Also consider the fact that lots of small daily choices like drinking water can change your hormonal balances and contribute to the dryness or oiliness of your skin. Rather than policing every little choice, try to make good choices on the whole, like sticking to a relatively healthy diet, taking time to exercise, and enjoying the outdoors (with sunscreen).

Having a great skin care routine is another way to stabilize your oily skin. At a bare minimum, you should use a face wash every day, a scrub every few days, and a moisturizer every day. You’ll see the most immediate and long-term effects when you start to use skin care products that are designed for your skin’s needs.

Frank Edwards is a men's grooming & style expert who is "internet famous" for being able to simplify complicated grooming routines into easy, yet effective rituals any man can do. As a professional analyst, he has spent years researching the biggest brands, products, experts, best practices, and breaking news in the space. He takes this analysis, tests it out on himself, and then documents everything in his writing. As a result, his experience-based articles are considered by some to be the gold standard in men's grooming and men's style.