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May 2017
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There are two types of oily skin: oily skin that looks waxy because of stagnant sebum in the follicles, called asphyctic, and skin with excess flowing sebum, which is defined as oily.

Asphyctic skin

Asphyctic skin, which is common in teenagers, is caused by a combination of a change in secretion and a structural change. Hyper-secretion of a ceroid type, which invades follicles, and hyper-keratosis of the stratum corneum can be seen, as well as blackheads and spots on the skin’s surface, masses of sebum in the follicle sacks which prevent normal lubrication of the skin, making this skin type particularly sensitive to infections, and it looks thick and is dry. Acne often occurs on this skin type. Asphyctic, oily skin requires softening and sebum-normalising products and hygienic and purifying treatments.

Oily skin

Oily skin is shiny, greasy to touch and its follicles are dilated and it looks like orange peel, and when there is too much sebum it is called seborrheic. The increase in the secretion of sebum and the changes to its quality are caused by endogenous, endocrine, digestive and nerve factors. This type of skin imperfection is often accompanied by excess sweating and it is the combination of these two types of hyper-secretion that makes the skin look sweaty and greasy with dilated pores and follicles. The glands are hyper-trophic, more active than normal and they produce sebum which has an abnormal composition.

Normal sebum is made up of a mixture of free fatty acids (some of which are called skin because of their specific nature), triglycerides, free and esterified cholesterol and squalene. The ratio of these components must stay within limits and, in fact, if it the percentage of unsaturated fatty acids changes in favour of saturated fats or if the amount of free cholesterol changes in favour of esterified cholesterol, the sebum loses its hydrophilia and self-sterilising characteristics and functions. There are many microorganisms on the surface of seborrheic skin and, since, in this case, the sebum is lacking in free cholesterol, it loses its hydrophilia characteristic and becomes hydophobic. As a result of this, the balance between fats and water is compromised and the consequences can be seen on the skin’s surface: the lipid film on the skin becomes lifeless precisely because of this lack of water.

Seborrhea caused by endocrine factors
This is typical during adolescence because of the hormonal imbalance caused by the activity of the glands that regulate sexuality and the pituitary and thyroid glands. The result is the production of abnormal sebum, and some scholars even believe that the function of the sebaceous gland changes and transforms from being a secretory function to a synthesis functions with steroidal substances like squalene and cholesterol. This change would cause an increase in the flow of sebum and the production of sebum that is lacking in cholesterol.

Seborrhea caused by digestive factors
In this case, the sebaceous gland tends to expel excess fats present in the blood due to hepatobiliary dysfunctions. It is possible to stop the situation getting worse by trying to eat well and not consuming too many fried foods, margarine, chocolate or hams, which are contraindicated for this particular condition.

Seborrhea caused by nerve problems
The nervous system influences the activity of the sebaceous gland and some particular conditions, such as nerve traumas, anxiety and being very emotional, transmit impulses through the nervous system and cause alterations to the functioning of the skin glands, especially those on the forehead and scalp. Nervous people are often affected by excess sweating and abundant sebaceous secretion.

If excess sebum production is caused by physical or nerve problems, it is a good idea to see a dermatologist, then, if necessary, an endocrinologist, dietician or even a psychologist who, only after an attentive diagnosis, will be able to prescribe the best treatments to correct the organic or emotional dysfunction that causes this skin condition.

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