Why Is My Skin Shiny But Not Oily?

Why Is My Skin Shiny But Not Oily?

Liudmila Busch

Sometimes getting your skin to behave can be tricky. One day it’s too dry. The next day it’s too oily. And the day after that it’s--curveball-- shiny but  not oily. If you’re wondering how this is even possible, you’re not alone. 

Today, we’re exploring what causes this weird phenomenon and what to do about it. Let’s dive in!

Why Is My Face Shiny But Not Oily? 

The first step to answering this question is to confirm that your skin is not in fact oily. This may seem like an obvious yes or no question, but factors like hormones, stress and skincare products can change the appearance and behavior of your skin. 

The most surefire way to know if you have a problem with excess sebum production, which is what typically leads to oily skin, is to see a skincare specialist. They may use something called a wood’s lamp to help you identify if oil is an issue. 

If you’re not interested in seeing a specialist, you can “self-diagnose” using oil blotting papers, which are available at most drugstores. After you use a gentle cleanser to wash your face, wait a few minutes for your skin to dry completely and then use an oil blotting paper. If the paper is coming away with a lot of oil, chances are you’re dealing with oily skin. 

Okay, It Turns Out My Skin Is Oily After All

Oily skin happens to the best of us. If you find that you have excess sebum production, it’s time to evaluate your lifestyle. Are you eating well and reducing stress? Are you using makeup that doesn’t clog your pores or irritate your skin? If not, it's time to address these things, as they can all lead to oil. 

Equally important, take a look at your skincare routine. Using harsh, preservative-laden products that strip the natural moisture from your skin can dry it out, which ironically leads to too much oil production as your skin tries to compensate. If this is what you’re experiencing, switch to something  nourishing and preservative-free  instead. 

Close up image of smiling woman

If You’ve Confirmed You Don’t Have an Oil Problem 

If you’ve confirmed that your skin is not in fact oily, but you’re still seeing a lot of shine in the mirror, there are a few possible causes: 

  1. You’re sweating a lot! This may be due to weather, physical activities, emotions, or a medical condition. If you find that you’re sweating in times or situations where a lot of perspiration doesn’t make sense, it’s time to schedule a visit with your doctor.  In the meantime, keep your skin clean and opt for a light mineral makeup to help control shine. 
  2. You may be using products like moisturizer or makeup that create a temporary shine effect. If you don’t like the way that looks, or if you don’t like the ingredients used to achieve that look, consider switching to a  gentle, natural skincare line  instead. 
  3. Your skin may actually be glowing, which is a good thing! Glowing skin is the result of an effective yet gentle skincare routine, good nutrition and excellent self care. Read more about glowing skin (and how to tell if you’ve got it)  here 
  4. You might be exfoliating your skin too frequently. When you over-exfoliate, your skin loses too much water and feels tight and dry. This tightness can create a shine effect. Newer skin cells, which are revealed with exfoliation, also reflect light more than older skin cells. There’s no magic number for how many times per week to exfoliate. In fact, you’ll likely get a different answer from every skincare professional you ask. Our advice? Start with once to twice a week and work your way up. If you find that your skin begins to look tight, shiny or dull or feels uncomfortable, it’s time to scale back. 

 woman smiling and walking down the street

How to Fix Shiny Skin 

It’s important to remember that your skin is a living organ and constantly in-flux, so it’s not abnormal for your face to shine once in a while. You certainly don’t need to attack your face with harsh products or new routines at the first sign of a shimmer. 

However, if you are seeing consistently shiny skin that also feels tight and comfortable, it may be time to replace your exfoliating cleanser with a  gentle, natural alternative  a few days per week. 

If you’re sweating a lot, it’ll be helpful to add an alcohol-free toner to your routine to help restore your skin’s pH to balance. We’ve lovingly formulated our toner with an  anti-aging galactomyces boost  so you get a little youthfulness along with your toning.

No matter what skin issue you’re experiencing, it’s important to use natural products without sulfates or other irritating ingredients. At Wild Ice, we’ve formulated our entire skincare line with cold-kept ingredients so we don’t need to use any toxic or irritating preservatives, meaning you only get  highly effective, gentle skincare  that mother earth would approve of. 

Mila Founder of Wild Ice Botanicals

Mila (pronounced 'mee-luh') is the founder of Wild Ice Botanicals, a clean & natural skincare company dedicated to using cold preservation to deliver fresh products free of chemical preservatives so that women of all ages and skin types can confidently look their natural best.