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Dr. Eva Simmons O’Brien received her MD from Yale University and is a board-certified dermatologist. With over 30 years of experience, she has worked for hospitals, established her own private practice, and consulted for organizations such as the FDA. Today, Dr. Eva runs her own practice in addition to serving as our Chief Science Officer.

Why Your Nose Is Oily And How To Remedy It

Why Your Nose Is Oily And How To Remedy It

Why Your Nose Is Oily And How To Remedy It



Oily skin can feel like a nuisance; you wash your face religiously every morning, only to look in the mirror a few hours later and see that dreaded oily sheen across your nose. 

You may have tried “remedies” for your oily skin, like using toners and medicated cleansers to try to dry out your skin, or moisturizing less, or even washing your face more frequently throughout the day. However, none of these steps address the root cause of your oily skin, and you might even be making your skin more oily in the process.

Here’s why you have an oily nose and how you can remedy it. 

Why Is My Nose Oily?

Your nose is likely oily because your sebaceous glands are producing more oil than necessary to keep your skin hydrated. The sebaceous glands beneath the pores in your skin are responsible for producing the natural oils, also known as sebum, that keep your skin healthy. These oils form a protective barrier on the skin that helps it to maintain flexibility and to retain its natural moisture. 

Though this oil production is normal, an excess of oil is what makes your skin look shiny or feel greasy. 

There are a host of reasons that you might develop oily skin or overproduction of oil:


If you’ve always had oily skin, you can probably thank your parents. Larger sebaceous glands are a hereditary trait that can be passed down as a part of your genetic code.

Overly Aggressive Skin Care

Your skin relies on the presence of its natural oils to stay healthy. If you’re using skin care products that are too harsh or abrasive, you may be causing your sebaceous glands to overproduce oils to compensate. 

Overusing coarse exfoliators or scrubbing away with a washcloth is a common culprit when exfoliating; using products with harsh active ingredients is another. 

Using a gentle skin cleanser with mild exfoliating properties or a gentle exfoliator is the better call because you’ll still strip away dirt and impurities but you won’t completely scrub your skin clean of its healthy oils.

Another skincare mistake that can make your skin more oily is under-moisturizing. It seems counterintuitive, but you still need to moisturize your skin even when it’s oily. The fact that your skin has a lot of excess oil doesn’t necessarily mean that it has enough water.

On top of that, the moisturizing step in your skincare routine helps your skin retain its moisture content, so if you skip that step your skin might produce even more oil to compensate, particularly when environmental factors come into play. 

Harsh Environmental Triggers

Extreme temperature conditions tend to trigger oil production in your skin. Hot, humid summer weather, or saunas and hot showers can all cause you to sweat. The evaporation of sweat is how your body cools itself down, but the tradeoff is that your body is ditching its moisture to stay cool. 

On top of that, your sebaceous glands secrete an oily substance that helps to prolong the evaporation of your sweat and maximize the cooling effect, which can make your skin look more oily than it is. 

On the other side of the coin, extremely dry or cold weather can have the same effect. Harsh winds and cold air can dry out your skin on contact, causing your skin to ramp up its oil production in defense. 

How Do I Get Rid Of Oily Skin?

The trick to managing oily skin is to use the right products for your skin type and the area. Many skincare brands make specific product lines tailored for sensitive, dry, aging, or oily skin, and even an oily nose - which means that you can arm yourself with products designed to meet the unique needs of your skin. 

Moisturizing daily will help to prevent your skin from dehydrating, which in turn will reduce the amount of excess oil that your glands might produce to compensate for that dryness. The best moisturizers for oily skin are those that hydrate with oil-free ingredients, which tend to have lightweight formulas that will also avoid adding extra sheen to your already shine-prone complexion. Hydrating gels with hyaluronic acid are another solid choice; these products can provide enough moisture to keep skin from drying out by strengthening your skin’s natural barriers that keep moisture locked in. 

Gentle foaming cleansers will remove dirt and bacteria from your face without completely stripping the healthy oils that keep your skin hydrated. Using a harsh cleanser can prompt your sebaceous glands to produce more oil as a protective response. As with moisturizers, oil-free products will be best for your skin. 

Cleansers with salicylic acid can also be effective at managing oil production. Salicylic acid is typically associated with cleansers designed to target acne breakouts, but studies have shown that this active ingredient can reduce the amount of sebum that your skin produces to help make your skin less oily as well.

Adding a toner to your skincare routine a few times a week can help to manage oily skin. Toner is a mild cleansing product intended to supplement your usual face wash by removing any last little bits of oil or dirt from your skin. Use a toner after washing your face to remove any last bits of dirt and grime before applying your moisturizer. Some toners are specifically formulated for oily skin and contain salicylic and glycolic acids to minimize potential shine throughout the day. 

Though these types of products should help to minimize your nose’s sebum production, none of them can guarantee that you won’t find yourself with an oily nose hours after washing your face. If you struggle with minimizing shiny skin, it’s a good idea to carry oil blotter sheets to soak up any excess oil that builds up during the day. 

Final Thoughts

Sometimes managing your oily nose is just a matter of correcting factors in your habits and environment that has caused the composition of your complexion to shift. If you’ve always had oily skin, then it might just be time to turn to new skincare products to bring a little matte to your mug. 

Whenever you switch skincare products, make sure to do your research and prioritize products that use natural ingredients whenever possible. A face cleanser that incorporates apricot oil, for example, can help to reduce inflammation and lock in moisture.

As a bonus, products with natural ingredients tend to contain fewer harsh ingredients that can irritate your skin, which is especially important when you’re trying to regulate the overproduction of oils.


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