men's personalized skincare

What Causes Oily Skin for Men?

We’ve put together a guide on what causes oily skin in adults, why it’s particularly common for men, and what you can do about it. 

Oily skin is one of the most common skincare concerns experienced by men, and it can be quite difficult to know how to treat. We’ve put together a guide on what causes oily skin in adults, why it’s particularly common for men, and what you can do about it. 

What does oily skin actually mean?

Oily skin often looks greasy or shiny across various places on your face—your nose, forehead, and chin tend to be the most common areas where you’ll find it. It can happen for a variety of reasons, which we’ll explore in more detail in this guide.

Oily skin is different from dry skin and dehydrated skin, although it’s possible to have skin that's both dry and oily, known as combination skin.

Signs that you have oily skin

Before we get into the details of what actually causes oily skin, let’s talk about what you should be looking for in the mirror to know if you have this skin type.

Greasy skin

You’ll probably notice that your skin feels greasy to the touch, and may appear shiny when you look in the mirror. This is caused by the extra layers of oil that your glands have produced.

Visible pores

Have a look in the mirror and check whether you can see your pores. Having larger pores means they are probably producing more sebum, the oily substance that your skin produces to keep moisturized.

Blackheads and pimples

If you have oily skin, you are more likely to end up with clogged up pores. You may notice that you regularly have blackheads and pimples appearing on your face because of a build-up of dirt and grease.

Less fine lines and wrinkles

It’s not all bad - having oil on your skin actually does help preserve it, even though it can be annoying. Because of this, you may actually have fewer fine lines and wrinkles on your face if you have oily skin.

Find out more about how to tell if you have oily skin in our guide.

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oily skin for men

Men’s skin vs. women's skin: what’s the difference?

As we briefly mentioned earlier, it’s very common for men to have oily skin. In fact, men’s skin is generally much oilier than women's skin.

Men’s skin tends to be much thicker and heavier, which means that it is much more likely to be oilier. On average, men also have twice as many active sebaceous glands than women do, which means that there are a lot more pores producing sebum.

Oily skin doesn’t affect older adults as much as young men. Teenagers have an even harder time, as oil production peaks during puberty, partly due to growth hormones.

Being prone to oily skin also means that men have a tougher time with issues like impurities and acne. This is because the pH of men’s skin is lower than women’s as a result of the overproduction of sebum.

Causes of oily skin in men

Oily skin can occur for different reasons, although some of these are much more common than others. Take a look below at some of the biggest causes of oilier skin for men.

Severe stress and anxiety can cause oily skin, as well as a number of other negative health effects, of course. When you become stressed, your body produces cortisol, the ‘stress hormone’ which causes oily skin over time. 


Sometimes, your skin can actually become oily because it’s dehydrated. When you have severely dry or dehydrated skin, your pores start producing more oil to compensate for the lack of moisture.

Using the wrong skin care products 

Even though you’re probably using them to help take better care of your skin, certain skincare products can actually leave you worse off than before. 

At Bottlecode, we’re always helping men to choose the right products for their skin type. If you’ve got oily skin and you’re not sure which skincare products to choose, let us give you a hand. 

There are certain ingredients that you should avoid in your skincare products if you are prone to oilier skin: 

Oils with a high level of oleic acid

Skincare products that contain a lot of oil can be great for men with dehydrated skin, but aren’t great for those with oilier skin. 

Coconut oil, hazelnut oil and sunflower oil can be particularly heavy, so opt instead for oils that contain linoleic acid or alpha-linolenic acid — the oils often lacking in oily skin types. These include Rosehip oil, Evening primrose oil, and Hemp seed oil.

Ingredients that remove natural oils

Removing your skin’s natural oils temporarily is largely pointless, and may even leave your skin flaky over time. Try to avoid products containing alcohol, Sodium lauryl and laureth sulfate.

Occlusive ingredients 

Occlusive ingredients work by creating a ‘second skin’ to keep skin moisturized. This is great for men with dry skin, but if you already have oily skin, this extra layer can just feel heavy, sticky, and greasy. Occlusive ingredients include mineral oil, waxes, and Paraffin Lanolin.

Washing your face too much

Washing your face each day has a lot of great benefits, like getting rid of dirt, clearing away dead skin cells, and preventing clogged pores.However, washing your face too often can actually cause your pores to overproduce oil to compensate for the lack of natural oil which is washed away. To avoid drying out your skin too much, it’s best to stick to washing twice a day with warm water.

People who live in hotter climates tend to have oilier skin, as the higher temperatures encourage the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum.

It’s probably not practical to leave the country for your skincare, so we recommend just following the steps to treat oily skin below instead.

I have oily skin - what should I do next?

Dealing with oily skin isn’t always easy, and because men have several different skin types, you often have to spend time finding what’s right for you. However, if you know the right steps to take you can effectively tackle the problem over time.

We’ve outlined the steps you should take as part of your everyday routine to help avoid oily skin below.

Washing your face the right way

As we mentioned earlier, washing your face too often can actually lead to having oilier skin, as your pores overproduce sebum to compensate for a lack of moisture. It’s also important that you do this the right way.

When you wash your face in the morning and the evening, use lukewarm water, making sure that your hands are perfectly clean beforehand. Pat your face dry with a towel afterwards, being careful not to rub across your skin.

Remember to moisturize

Moisturizing may seem counterintuitive if you are having trouble with oily skin, but it’s actually very helpful. Moisturizers keep your skin hydrated, which stops your pores from overproducing oil to compensate.

Watch out for the weather
As explained earlier, hotter weather is likely to make your pores produce more oil, as higher temperatures lead to more sweating. However, you should also watch out for the sun in general, and make sure that you apply SPF when you go outside. 
Try and avoid stress

This is easier said than done, of course, but it’s worth pointing out that your lifestyle can play a big role in your skincare routine. Stress can cause an increase in sebum production, leading to oilier skin.

Finding the right products for oily skin

Even if you’ve got the perfect skincare routine, it can be hard to pick the right products for your skin type. If you need to find skincare products that are great for cleansing, toning or moisturising, and kind to oily skin too, Take a look at our guide.