Beauty Buzz: Ask Amy

Dear Amy,

My face is severely oily. What is a good product or products to help control the oil?

Dear Rachel,

The most important thing to remember with oily skin is that you have to treat it gently. Most people assume that a strong astringent is the best way to soak up excess oil, but harsh ingredients like alcohol, witch hazel and menthol can actually make skin even oilier. The first step in controlling oily skin is to use a gentle, soap-free cleanser in the morning and at night. My dermatologist recommends Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser as a great, no-frills option. I love it because it removes all of my makeup, doesn’t sting my eyes and it’s super cheap. You can skip the toner and moisturizer – oily skin doesn’t really need it. Every other day or so, try an oil-absorbing mask like Estee Lauder’s So Clean Deep Pore Mask. If you wear foundation, always go for one that’s oil-free. I like Laura Mercier’s new Mineral Powder SPF 15 – it seems to really cut down the oiliness. When your skin starts getting shiny, try blotting papers like Clean & Clear Oil-Absorbing Sheets. And don’t forget that oily skin needs sun protection too. I like Neutrogena Healthy Skin Visibly Even Daily SPF 15. Hope this helps!

Dear Amy,

I keep hearing about microderm abrasion kits. What are they, do they really work, and, if so, can you recommend a good one that won’t break the bank?

Dear Curious,

The only one I have tried is L’oreal’s ReFinish Micro-Dermabrasion Kit. It’s a little pricey for a drugstore product – around $25 or so, and includes a topical scrub and a sunscreen that you apply afterward. The scrub contains the ingredient aluminum oxide, supposedly the same type of exfoliant used in professional microdermabrasion treatments. The instructions say to use the scrub in the morning (not sure why), and to gently massage your skin for one to two minutes before rinsing. I did notice some immediate softening of the skin, but I have to admit that it just doesn’t hold a candle to a microdermabrasion performed by a dermatologist or qualified aesthetician. After a professional treatment, your skin feels like a baby’s butt and has a noticeable “glow.” Maybe I was expecting a little too much from a do-it-yourself product, but next time, I will save my pennies and go for the real thing.