Oily skin and pimples are a daily problem for many people. However, a precise definition is very difficult, because everyone has a different feeling for pure and impure skin. Some people already feel slightly oily skin as annoying, others understand it more of a manifestation, as it is present in an acne.
In the jargon you would probably understand a sebum overgrowth under a greasy skin. Sebum ( term: sebum ) is produced by the sebaceous glands and serves the skin as a natural protective film. Excessive production is called seborrhoea.

Pimples, on the other hand, are called comedones in technical language. These are clogged sebaceous follicles, which emptied of whitish content when pressed. This is not pus, but sebum and horny cells. Also pustules can be regarded as pimples. These skin symptoms are inflammatory and contain pus. However, the distinction between comedones and pustules is only relevant for the dermatologist. Both look the same for the person concerned.

Causes of oily skin and pimples

The cause of a greasy skin with pimples is a so-called seborrhoea, which is an excessive sebum production of the skin. Sebum contains mainly skin fats, which is why the skin usually appears shiny in these areas.
The sebum is produced by sebaceous glands of the skin. These are located on the hair follicles and are stimulated by various factors, including hormone levels, to produce sebum.
High concentrations of the hormones, which are mainly responsible for the expression of the male sexual characteristics, namely the androgens, lead to an increased sebum production and thus to a greasy skin. This mechanism is also one of the causes of oily skin in acne.

In women, the appearance of the skin often worsens the week before menstrual bleeding. That, too, is due to hormonal causes.

In the case of acne, a keratinization of the skin continues to play a major role in the development of pimples and blemished skin. This disorder clogs the sebaceous glands and causes blackheads.
The increased content of fats on the skin favors the proliferation of bacteria, which in turn promote the development of pimples and blackheads. There are many other factors that may be involved in oily skin and pimples. These include, for example, the climate, diet, or the use of certain medications. Many medications such as glucocorticoids, some psychotropic drugs, androgens and anabolic steroids, and some antibiotics can promote oily skin and pimples.

The influence of nutrition is controversial. It is often difficult to prove a connection.
Genetic factors play a role in the formation of oily skin and explain why some people are more affected and others less affected.
Impure skin can also be caused by incorrect care or poor hygiene.
A common cause of bad skin are makeup residues that are not removed. Make-up removal at the end of the day is very important, as otherwise blemishes may develop. Also the regular cleaning of make-up applicators and brushes must not be neglected.

Relationship between diet and oily skin

Diet is a very controversial topic when it comes to oily skin and pimples.
Small fluctuations in the skin are normal and everyone experiences them in his life: sometimes you have just a few small pimples. These then quickly dissipate again.
However, some people suffer from regular and severe blemishes. With such skin symptoms one speaks then of an acne.

However, the influence of nutrition is highly controversial. Some sources see a connection between a particularly high-fat, simply said "unhealthy", diet.

Others, however, do not see this as the cause; because the final scientific evidence is missing. Rather, it is an interaction of various, including hormonal, climate-related and genetic factors that lead to a greasy complexion with pimples.
The consumption of fatty foods, dairy products or chocolate is therefore not the direct cause of oily skin.

Ultimately, therefore, no clear recommendation can be made. If you personally notice that the appearance of the skin deteriorates after eating various foods, you can try to leave them out.


Blackheads are uncomfortable for many people. In the jargon they are referred to as comedones and occur especially with acne.
But even people without a pronounced acne have small blackheads. Most often they are found in the so-called T-zone, which consists of forehead, nose and chin. Blackheads are clogged sebaceous follicles. Excessive keratinization clogs the follicles and causes blackheads.
One distinguishes open from closed blackheads. Closed blackheads empty whitish contents when printed from the outside.
Open blackheads appear as black spots on the face. This is because the horn plug in the blackhead oxidizes on contact with oxygen and appears dark.
Blackheads can also occur in the entire face with oily skin and are then perceived by most sufferers as very disturbing.
There are several ways to remove blackheads. Probably the most hygienic option is the removal from the dermatologist or trained beautician, which makes sense especially with many blackheads. In home use, exfoliants can help against mild blackheads.

Big pores

The skin type and the condition of the skin is to a large extent dependent on the predisposition. Unfortunately, the predisposition or genetic makeup can not be influenced. Whether or not the skin is more prone to a greasy complexion and large pores is also largely due to hormonal fluctuations.
Therefore, certain fluctuations in the skin are quite normal and often evaporate again after a short time.

In principle, large pores are caused by the fact that the channels of the sebaceous glands in the skin are widened by an increased production of sebum as well as excessive cornification. In some people this is more, in others less so. With good hygiene, however, you can counteract these processes of the skin something.

Be sure to always cauterize before going to bed and rid the skin of debris. Even people who do not make-up should clean their skin of the "daytime residues" in the evening. However, the jungle of products on the market often makes it difficult to find the right one for themselves. It's best to seek advice from a dermatologist.

Products containing fruit acid or sage and witch hazel may help to cleanse the pores. However, people with sensitive skin should be careful with fruit acid products - they can also irritate the skin


Oily skin shines and feels slightly greasy. In the area of ​​the T-zone (forehead, nose and chin), a slightly greasy skin is present in almost everyone.
However, in a severe case, other areas of the face, such as the cheeks or temples, are also affected. In addition, blackheads occur, which can show up as whitish small hemispheres or as typical blackheads with a black dot in the middle.

Diagnosis of oily skin and pimples

Oily skin and pimples are not a disease per se and therefore do not require diagnosis. Whether a diagnosis of how acne is made depends on the extent of skin symptoms and the age of the person.

A slight acne affects about 90% of teenagers. Due to the hormonal fluctuations in puberty this is also quite normal. With strong impurities, however, a treatment with the doctor is necessary.

Also, the appearance of very greasy and blemished skin after the age of 30 speaks for a more moderate to severe expression of acne and is diagnosed and treated by the dermatologist.

Read more on this topic under: Acne - This helps best

In addition, with a right acne inflammatory skin symptoms occur. These can be small red nodules, pustules or even abscesses.

In severe cases, the skin symptoms occur not only on the face, but also on other parts of the body. For example, you may experience a purulent pimple on the shoulder, back and chest. Scars can also be left with a strong acne.

The treatment of oily skin and pimples

With blemished skin and pimples, care with cleansing skin products can help with a slight degree.

Such products usually contain fruit acid or other plant substances that are naturally acidic. These include, for example, sage and witch hazel . They can eliminate excess sebum and dead skin cells and thus counteract the formation of blackheads and "pimples". However, one should pay attention to the compatibility, since cosmetic products are not compatible for all skin types.
Products from the pharmacy are preferable to purely commercial "beauty products". With a stronger expression of the impure skin, or a correct acne, a consultation with the dermatologist is recommended. Eventually a primary care therapy is necessary.

In the case of acne, various creams containing ingredients such as azelaic acid or benzoyl peroxide are used, which cleanse the skin and have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Even mild antibiotics are used for therapy. In women, the use of an antiandrogenic contraceptive can improve the appearance of the skin. With regard to nutrition, no recommendations can be made.

Creams on oily skin and pimples

There are many different creams on the market to help against oily skin and pimples. Unfortunately, the reality is often that in the jungle of products only a few are really good.
But how do you find out which products really help?
First of all, if you have really severe blemishes, keep your fingers away from commercial products. For a professional assessment of the condition of your skin, contact a physician.

In the case of acne, the skin must be treated with compatible and effective creams and products that you do not get in the drugstore. These creams contain, for example, azelaic acid or light antibiotics.
Often, retail creams are very greasy and would even worsen the appearance of the skin. If you are only suffering from occasional, mild blemishes and are looking for a daily care for your skin, it is advisable to use water-based creams.
Consistencies like the Nivea cream that almost every person possesses are definitely too greasy. Continue to look for ingredients such as fruit acid, sage or witch hazel .

Duration of oily skin and pimples

Oily skin and pimples occur especially in the 11th / 12th year of life and find their strongest expression in puberty. Most of the time, the problem evaporates again between the ages of 20 and 25 years.
These are usually very mild forms of acne, which experience about 90% of adolescents and are due to the hormonal, adolescent fluctuations quite normal.
Even in adulthood, mild blemishes, pimples or oily skin may appear once in a while and are dependent on genetic, hormonal and many other factors. In a slight form this is also quite normal.
However, long-term strong impurities in the sense of acne require therapy. However, an exact duration can not be specified because it is a recurrent process.

The forehead, like the nose and chin, is one of the areas of the skin that prefers greasy skin and pimples. That's because there are so many sebaceous glands. These sebaceous glands produce the fatty sebum that prevents the skin from dehydration.
Sebum production is stimulated by hormones, namely androgens. Therefore, the sebum production is subject to hormonal fluctuations and is greatly increased, especially during puberty. In an increased sebum production is called a seborrhoea. The skin is then greasy and shiny. The development of blackheads and pimples is favored.

Oily skin and pimples in men

Men are on average more frequently affected by oily skin and pimples than women. This is due to hormonal causes.
Men have elevated levels of androgens in their body that stimulate sebum production, resulting in oily skin and clogged pores.
Androgens are hormones that are responsible for the expression of male sexual characteristics. Men are therefore particularly affected in puberty of oily skin, since the hormonal fluctuations in this phase are particularly large.
Even women have androgens in their body, however, the concentration is not as high as in men, which can explain some differences in the skin. However, other factors such as genetic traits, the climate, the use of certain medications and skin care also play a role in the formation of oily skin.

Oily skin and pimples in women

Oily skin and pimples are an uncomfortable topic for many women. Some are stronger, others less affected. To a lesser extent, everyone once suffers from slightly oily skin and a pimple here and there is also quite normal.
However, there are women who tend to have a more oily skin and many pimples. A correct acne is less common than in men but is still common. This is partly because women have lower androgen levels in the blood compared to men. As a result, the skin is not so prone to sebum overproduction and the overall appearance of the skin is less greasy.

However, genetic factors also play a major role in the appearance of the skin. Furthermore, climatic, nutritional and other external factors, such as the drug intake, a certain importance in the development of oily skin awarded.

Women tend to suffer from oily skin and pimples the week before their menses. Also this circumstance is due to hormonal causes. In addition to the general measures for impure skin, women have the opportunity to improve the appearance of the skin with an antiandrogenic pill such as cyproterone acetate.
These counteract the androgens and thus lead to a reduced sebum production of the skin. Furthermore, especially for women, a thorough make-up removal before going to bed is important to clean the skin well and counteract impurities.

Blemishes in pregnancy

In pregnancy, the complexion of many women improves greatly. The skin is brighter and more plump thanks to the increased levels of progesterone and estrogen. However, there are also women who suffer from impure skin during pregnancy. Debt are hormonal fluctuations. For very oily skin and bothersome pimples, it is advisable to consult a dermatologist.

With proper care products and a good cleansing of the skin, the process can be counteracted. Avoid products that are very dehydrating as they tend to increase sebum production to combat dryness. The skin can be sensitive to such products. Recommended are mild cleansing products and moisturizing skin creams. A peeling can also help to rid the skin of dead skin cells and excess sebum.

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