Why is My Skin So Oily All of a Sudden?

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If every time you look in the mirror your face is covered in a thin film of oil and grease, your first reaction may probably be to grab your blotting paper to get rid of it. Then you might add facial powder to cover it up. But you also know that this will block your pores even more. And your makeup will still start sliding off again in an hour or two.

Having oily skin can definitely be a challenge to your normal skincare routine, especially if you’ve previously not had this problem. So if you’re wondering why is my skin so oily all of a sudden? read on to find out what might be causing it.


Why is My Skin So Oily All of a Sudden?

There are many reasons why your skin may have become oily suddenly.

The first thing to know is that it is not your fault. Many factors can result in your skin overproducing sebum.

So, let’s take a quick look at how sebum production works.

What is Sebum?

Sebum is an oily substance that is produced by your skin’s sebaceous glands, which appear all over your body and usually group around your hair follicles.

Sebum is produced in order to coat and moisturize your skin, which gives it its natural protection and prevents moisture loss.

If you think of your body’s natural oils, that’s what sebum is. See also: What are the White Things Sticking Out of Pores?

It contains a mixture of fatty acids, wax esters, sugars, cholesterol, and squalene, which work to stop water from being evaporated from your skin’s surface.

When we also talk about excess oil on the skin, it includes sebum, dead skin cells, sweat, and dirt that you pick up from the atmosphere. If your skin is very oily, then this means your body, for some reason, is producing excess fats that make up sebum.

Although most people think of oily skin only being a problem during puberty, when hormonal change is at the forefront, this skin condition can also affect people in their 20s and beyond. In general, sebum production does decline with age, though.

That said, there are several medications, underlying hormonal conditions, and other factors that contribute to making your sebaceous glands produce more than is necessary.

Endocrine imbalances in the pituitary gland, ovaries, and adrenal glands can also cause an increase in sebum production, for example.

So, why is your skin oily all of a sudden?

Read on, as we investigate what might be your issue so that you can do your best to combat your oily skin for good.

What Has Caused My Oily Skin?

If your skin now has a continuous shine that you’d rather not be there, you’ll want to know the reason why it’s not behaving as usual. There are several reasons why this may be the case. Below we’re going to look at the issues that could be causing your oily skin, and give you solutions that will help you to remedy this situation.

First, though, something that you may need to consider is the birth control pill, which is known to cause excess sebum production in some women. This is especially the case if you’re taking an androgen progestin pill, which is the synthetic version of the progesterone hormone.

So, if you’ve recently changed your prescription and have an inkling that your new birth control pill could be the culprit of your oily skin, then you need to talk to your doctor immediately.

Combination birth control pills that contain estrogen and progestin are usually recommended to help reduce excess sebum production, although your doctor should be able to suggest a different prescription that will better suit your needs.

Now let’s look at the other reasons as to why your skin is oily all of a sudden…

You Are What You Eat

This may seem obvious, but if you’ve been indulging your sweet tooth lately, this could definitely be the cause of your oily skin issue.

Although ice cream, chocolate, cakes, candies, pastries, sodas, and other refined carbohydrates taste great, unfortunately too much sugar in your blood increases inflammation in your body. This, in turn, causes sebum production to rise.

If you can’t avoid a sweet treat, then the good news is that natural fruit sugars don’t have the same effect on your blood sugar levels. Just don’t overdo it on the pineapples, mangoes, and other high-sugar fruits.

Following this strategy will help you to fight inflammation, and thus excess sebum production, from within.

Chill Out

We’ve all been feeling extra stress over the past couple of years due to the global upheaval. So if you’ve been feeling particularly anxious, this could be the cause of your skin being oily all of a sudden.

This is because a rise in your stress hormone cortisol can also cause your skin to produce excess oil on both your skin and scalp

In order to combat this, you’ll need to find something that will help to relax your adrenal glands, which produce cortisol. Meditation, yoga, coloring, or even a relaxing warm bath can help to calm your nerves.

Oh, and give yourself an occasional break from social media.

The Dry Lie

Although it may sound like a contradiction, if you’re not hydrated enough — both from the inside and outside — this can be the cause of your skin being oily all of a sudden.

For starters, adequate water levels are essential for the health of our bodies, and therefore our skin. If you don’t drink enough clean water — not sodas, energy drinks, smoothies, tea, or coffee — then your body will start overproducing sebum to compensate for that lack of moisture.

If you do drink enough water, then it could be your oily skin products that are causing the problem. For instance, if you’re using something that contains salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, which should really only be used for severely oily skin, then this can strip your skin and dry it out.

This process will cause it to produce more sebum.

Therefore, you’ll need to use a cleanser and moisturizer that have been designed for oily skin to compensate for the moisture loss (read on to find out our recommendations).

And avoid ingredients like alcohol or harsh exfoliants that interfere with the skin’s natural barrier.

Stop The Shine

La Roche-Posay’s Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Face Wash Cleanser 

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Cleanser for Oily Skin, pH Balancing Daily Face Wash, Oil Free and Soap Free, 13.52 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
  • This gentle facial wash for oily skin...
  • Cleanses and purifies skin without over...
  • Dermatologist Tested for Safety,...
  • Formulated with Zinc Pidolate: Known for...
  • Cleanse morning and/or evening. Wet face...

Effaclar is a dermatological formulation that will gently cleanse away dirt and oil while keeping your skin’s pH balanced. The refreshing gel cleanser contains zinc pidolate, which helps to remove excess oil to keep skin clear.

The brand’s exclusive water is used as a core ingredient in its formulas.aIt is highly concentrated in selenium, which is known for its soothing antioxidant properties.

Effaclar Purifying Foaming Gel Face Wash Cleanser is soap and alcohol-free, doesn’t contain any oil and doesn’t include parabens, so it’s suitable for those with very oily sensitive skin.

No products found.

Sheamoisture Face Moisturizer for Acne-Prone Skin African Black Soap with Shea Butter 2 oz
  • In this Shea Moisture Hydrating Gelee...
  • Made with Shea Butter and a...
  • Also made with Cooling Aloe, this face...
  • After cleansing and toning, apply this...
  • This gel face cream has no Parabens,...

is a lightweight gel moisturizer that contains clarifying African black soap and detoxifying bamboo charcoal to thoroughly feed your skin day or night.

Also containing soothing aloe vera gel and Fair Trade shea butter, your face will be left feeling nourished, moisturized, and oil-free after application.

This cruelty-free gel moisturizer will leave your skin blemish-free since it doesn’t contain parabens, mineral oil, sulfates, or other nasties that can cause breakouts. It has been specially formulated for those who struggle with adult acne breakouts but also works to balance excess oil production.

e.l.f., Oil Control Primer Mist, Water-Based, Mattifying, Lightweight, Hydrates, Preps, Balances Oil, Controls Shine, Enriched with Purified Water, Cucumber and Vitamin E, 1.01 Fl Oz
  • This water-based primer mist preps the...
  • Minimizes oil and shine, mattifies, and...
  • Enriched with purified water, cucumber...
  • Use before makeup application to help...
  • Cruelty-free, vegan and 100% free from...

Oil Control Mist is a water-based primer mist that will give your skin a smooth and matte finish, while still keeping it hydrated. It is enriched with purified water, cucumber extract, and vitamins E and B in a formulation that is made to prime your skin for makeup application.

The fine mist will give your skin a natural matte finish to combat shine and excess oil production, leaving a flawless canvas for your makeup.

This product is cruelty-free and doesn’t contain parabens, nonylphenol, ethoxylates, or triclosan. It’s also 100% vegan.

NYX Professional Makeup’s Shine Killer 

NYX PROFESSIONAL MAKEUP Shine Killer Mattifying Primer, Vegan Face Primer
  • Mattifying Primer: Infused with...
  • All Day Matte Finish: This vegan formula...
  • Face From Foundation To Finish: Complete...
  • Cruelty Free Cosmetics: We believe...
  • Discover NYX Professional Makeup: Try...

Shine Killer is a mattifying primer that provides all-day shine control to leave an ultra-matte finish. Infused with oil-absorbing charcoal, it will help to keep your makeup looking fresher for longer.

Shine Killer’s vegan formula dries to leave a translucent finish on application. Adding your foundation on top will give it a long-lasting matte finish, although it can also be used on its own for a more natural grease-free look.

This product is certified cruelty-free by PETA and is also vegan.


So now that you know why your skin is so oily all of a sudden, and you’ve been armed with the correct information, you can do your best to rebalance your skin’s sebum production so that you can wake up and face the day without the greasy feeling you don’t want.

Written by Kayla Young

Kayla is the founder of LuxeLuminous. She has worked professionally in the tanning industry for years. She has been interested in esthetics since childhood, and has tried every hair, skin, and makeup product ever produced (more or less).