Sebum – our skin’s worst nightmare, right? Wrong. Sebum is a clear waxy substance that acts as a natural barrier and emollient. It helps protect our skin and hair by moisturizing and waterproofing them, keeping them from becoming dry and cracked.
Over production of sebum causes our skin to become oily, while under-production dries our skin dry. Neither of these conditions are bad, or abnormal. However, oily skin may be the product of bad skin care habits. Our skin has a natural ability to cleanse and revitalize itself by cellular turnover and the natural moisturizing power of sebum. Most “experts” would suggest to completely stop the production of sebum in order to decrease breakouts. This only results in the over production of sebum to compensate for the lack of moisture, which leads to oily skin. Sebum does not clog our pores – dirt, make up, and dead skin cells do. Instead of stripping our skin of its natural moisturizer, a healthy skin care routine that eliminates dead skin cells and bacterial buildup will help the skin’s natural ability to revitalize itself.
Dry skin occurs with environmental changes, such as cold, dry weather. However, instead of letting our skin adjust naturally to these changes, we cover our skin with an oily film of synthetic products, which not only blocks the loss of water, but also doesn’t allow our skin to breathe. We then treat our skin with detergents and ionic surfactants that strips our skin of its natural moisture even more. As we get older, however, our skin naturally gets drier and requires more oil to keep it supple.
Using a moisturizer that has a lot of our skin’s natural qualities will help our skin adjust to these dry and oily spells. And remember, sebum is a natural, necessary characteristic of our skin. Trying to get rid of it will only reek more havoc.