What Is the Function of Sebum (Skin Oil)? A Skincare Guide

Posted May 10, 2022 by in Beauty
Pretty Woman Looking at the Mirror

Do you suffer from oily skin problems? You’re not alone: millions of people struggle every day with finding cleansers, creams, and masks to combat skin oil and other skincare issues.

Oily skin comes from sebum, a substance that is both a blessing and a curse for our pores. What is the function of sebum? It causes many of the skin woes we experience, but we also need it to protect our skin from dryness and bacteria.

You may want less skin oil, but some products can strip too much healthy sebum from your skin. If you’re looking for effective but safe oily skincare solutions, learn everything you need to know in our handy sebum guide.

Pretty woman in bathroom looking in a mirror

What Is the Function of Sebum?

Sebum is the reason why we don’t have dry and leathery crocodile-like skin. It comes from the sebaceous glands located right next to your hair follicles.

As these glands produce sebum, this oily substance flows around the follicle and into your skin and hair. It keeps your skin and hair moisturized, and adds protection from pathogens like bacteria.

If the sebum flow is disrupted around the hair follicle, you can develop skin issues. For example, acne occurs when sebaceous glands become clogged and irritated. This traps the sebum and allows bacteria to sneak in.

Your skin becomes flaky, itchy, and even cracked without enough sebum. Too much sebum, however, and your skin feels oily and greasy.

What Causes Oily Skin?

Too much sebum production can result in oily skin. Sebum production can become overbalanced through many factors, like:

  • Genetics
  • Hormones
  • Medications
  • Age
  • Diet
  • Stress and insomnia

External factors like climate and clothing can also affect oily skin. For example, high humidity increases skin oil production and keeps the extra sebum trapped on your skin.

If you do physical exertion and/or wear tight and heavy clothing, the sweat and oils also become trapped and can potentially irritate your skin as well. There are many oily skin culprits that can be causing your issues. 

How to Get Rid of Oily Skin (Safely!)

The first step in oily skin skincare is finding the root causes(s). If your oily skin is caused by tight fabrics and damp weather, wearing loose breathable clothing will help.

Most skin oil issues come from internal factors you can’t always control, however. In these cases, skincare products will be the best solution.

If you have oily skin, it can be tempting to reach for the strong scrubbers. Avoid this temptation at all costs! It will just cause new problems for your skin.

Harsh cleansers will strip away all the sebum and leave your skin vulnerable to irritation and bacteria. It can also cause your glands to go into defensive mode and start producing even more oil.

When choosing oily skincare solutions, look for gentle and mild cleansers. They should also be free of unnecessary dyes, fragrances, and harsh chemicals like alcohol.

For example, GetGlowing Skincare offers a deep clean cleanser that removes excess oil and dead skin cells. It also uses natural oils to replenish the skin without leaving it dry and irritated.

Get Healthy and Glowing Skin in No Time 

Now that you have the answers to “what is the function of sebum?” you know how to pick the right oily skincare products. Products should gently cleanse the bad stuff without washing away all of the good stuff. 

If you need more savvy skincare tips for healthy and glowing skin, check out more of our beauty articles!