What Are Oil Blotting Sheets, And Do They Work?
The human skin is a remarkably sensitive organ prone to blemishes and damage due to environment and biology. As a result, many people deal with unpleasant skin issues throughout their lives because of their skin quality. One of the main issues people face with their skin is the oil that keeps our skin hydrated. Our bodies require consistent hydration to maintain health and elasticity, but our bodies sometimes struggle to recognize what is considered enough.
Additionally, a large portion of the human population employs cosmetic products that can disrupt the skin's chemical balance. The sheer number of factors that impact the health and quality of the human skin makes it difficult to preserve our dermal health and appearance. As a result, several products were created and marketed to reduce excess oil levels to preserve skin health.
One of the tools available for skin health is an oil blotting sheet, a cosmetic product marketed toward reducing excess skin oil. These sheets are readily available and used by a significant portion of the American population with high oil levels. These sheets, while widely offered, are not well understood by many people and have been accused of being more harmful than beneficial.
Oil blotting sheets might be unfamiliar to you if you have never had cause to use them, and understanding their issues could be even more difficult because you have never dealt with them firsthand. Therefore, the best course of action is to learn more about oil blotting sheets before you decide whether they are worth the effort.
What is Sebum?
While important, the term "sebum" is not widely used since most people prefer to use colloquialisms for most things. Sebum is the technical term for the oil our bodies produce to moisturize and hydrate our skin. Sebum is not a water-based substance and is composed of several substances that create a chemical composition. Sebum is composed of the following substances:
- Triglycerides and Fatty Acids (57%)
- Wax Esters (26%)
- Squalene (12%)
- Cholesterol (4.5%)
This composition saturates the oil and gives it the necessary nutrients to keep the skin healthy. Sebum is produced by a network of small glands found across the body called sebaceous glands. Our faces have around 900 sebaceous glands per square centimeter of skin, making these glands one of the most numerous in the human body. Unfortunately, this mixture is also highly conducive to bacterial colonization, turning excess sebum levels into a cosmetic nightmare.
Overly oily skin can become a breeding ground for bacteria that generates blemishes people prefer to avoid. This is primarily because sebum also contains a mixture of sweat, dead skin cells, dust, and other microscopic particles that can clog the pores. As a result, excess sebum can cause the skin to develop an unpleasant sheen and increases the rate of acne breakouts.
The sebaceous glands we mentioned earlier all secrete sebum independently, meaning every square centimeter of skin produces a veritable ocean of sebum. The sebaceous glands are controlled by hormones called androgens that fluctuate during periods of hormonal instability. Puberty and pregnancy are the most common causes of hormonal instability, but androgens are unpredictable hormones that fluctuate throughout our lives. Additionally, certain medications and health conditions can cause the sebaceous glands to overproduce and coat the skin in sebum.
The cosmetic issues associated with excess sebum levels make it unpleasant to deal with and have motivated many to try reducing them. This has spawned a massive cosmetic tool industry that allegedly improves the skin. There have been dozens of products marketed specifically for sebum reduction, though the effects might not be as beneficial as the advertisements suggest. One product that has seen a rise in popularity is the oil blotting sheets that brought you to this article. This leaves 2 important questions: what are these sheets, and do they work?
What Are Oil Blotting Sheets?
Oil blotting sheets are a simple cosmetic tool designed to soak excess sebum from our skin. Sebum is an essential aspect of our biology since it keeps our skin hydrated and capable of recovering from certain types of damage. Without sebum, our skin would dry out and crack from the lack of hydration. Unfortunately, there is a common issue where people produce excessive amounts of sebum that oversaturate the skin and allow certain blemishes to form.
The most common issue is that excess sebum promotes bacterial growth and can lead to acne outbreaks in certain areas of the body. Another problem is that excess sebum can cause the skin to develop an oily shine that many consider unattractive. Despite excess sebum presenting these issues, it is not something we have evolved past.
During puberty, we tend to produce the most sebum because our hormone levels are elevated, and our bodies produce more of certain substances like sebum. As a result, puberty is the period when we experience most of our skin issues, becoming less severe as we reach adulthood. Unfortunately, thousands of adults still cope with excess sebum levels and endure the blemishes.
Whether the person is an adult or experiencing puberty, oil blotting sheets are marketed to help remove the excess sebum. These sheets are simple sheets of paper designed to absorb sebum when pressed to the afflicted area. The closest analogy is that these sheets are akin to a paper towel designed specifically for sebum.
Oil blotting sheets are sold by multiple cosmetics companies like Clean & Clear or similar brands specializing in acne management. They are advertised as a highly effective tool for reducing sebum concentration on the skin at any given time. The sheets are also marketed as easy to use since you only have to apply them to the affected area and wipe. Despite the ease and alleged benefit of oil blotting sheets, there are details we must consider since the information surrounding them might be disappointing.
Do Oil Blotting Sheets Work?
Wanting to make your skin presentable is an understandable stance since it presents a sort of first impression. As a result, we become very self-conscious when acne or oily skin causes our skin to look less appealing. This can make quick solutions like oil blotting sheets very appealing to the average person since they believe it will solve their problems immediately.
Unfortunately, sometimes our desperation leads us to rush toward a potential solution without considering whether it will really help. As a result, when the "quick fix" we use fails, we are discouraged and feel that nothing can fix the issue. Oil blotting sheets fall under this category because they are not as effective as we are initially led to believe. That said, oil blotting sheets have not been tied to harmful side effects, but they are unreliable solutions for excessive sebum.
Oil blotting sheets can remove excess sebum from the immediate area, but the effects are not long-lived. They will wipe the oil, possibly spreading it to other areas of the skin, but the sebum will regenerate within a short period, and the problem will reassert itself. Basically, most dermatologists agree that oil blotting sheets do little for the skin since the sheets are essentially the same as wiping food grease from your mouth with a napkin.
The initial layer might be gone but will return when you take another bite. Because oil blotting sheets are a temporary solution that appears to work at first, many users end up with a false sense of confidence. While the skin initially clears up, when the oil returns, it reinforces the misconception that something is wrong with the user on a fundamental level.
As a result, oil blotting sheets can be considered mentally harmful for people who expect them to resolve their sebum trouble completely. While no scientific evidence supports oil blotting sheets as a tool to reduce sebum levels, there is no evidence showing that they exacerbate the issue. Several claim oil blotting sheets induce acne breakouts and clog the pores with redistributed sebum. This could be alarming to anyone dealing with large breakouts and other sebum-related issues.
Fortunately, these claims have not been supported by any evidence. Most dermatologists looking into oil blotting sheets claim the worst-case scenario is that the sheets will do almost nothing.
Therefore, if you have already tried to use oil blotting sheets and recently heard the allegations that they make your skin worse, this should be reassuring. That said, you would be best served to abandon the sheets and focus on other tools that might help reduce your sebum production. Oil blotting sheets are ineffective because they treat a symptom without addressing the underlying cause, which is crucial to dealing with excess sebum.
How to Deal With Excess Sebum
Excess sebum is a common issue that can be difficult to treat due to the contributing factors, but it is not a scenario that occurs spontaneously. There is always an underlying issue causing excessive sebum production, and only treating that issue will mitigate the effect. Oil blotting sheets are a stopgap measure that provides short-term relief from the extra sebum, but identifying the root cause of why you produce so much will help you find an effective treatment.
A shocking number of tools can improve our skin's health and reduce sebum production. Some more interesting examples of sebum-reducing tools are natural substances you have likely used before. One of the lesser-known methods for reducing sebum levels on the skin is to take advantage of green tea.
This might seem odd, but green tea is packed with nutrients that synergize with human biology and can produce amazing results when applied to the skin or ingested. Among the nutrients found in green tea are polyphenols, naturally occurring compounds found in several fruits and vegetables. Polyphenols are extremely beneficial for us and can generate a healing response in the body that can mitigate several health and cosmetic concerns.
In addition to the polyphenol concentration in green tea, it has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial effects. These effects are attributed to the epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) found in Camellia sinensis leaves. EGCG also lowers lipid levels and has anti-androgenic effects.
The presence of EGCG in green tea means it is highly effective at reducing overall sebum production in the body. EGCG especially shines for its anti-androgenic effect because androgens, hormones we naturally produce, directly affect the sebaceous glands. When androgen levels fluctuate, it can cause the sebaceous gland to go into overdrive and produce more sebum than is necessary to maintain healthy skin hydration. The EGCG in green tea can reduce the androgens to acceptable levels and reduce sebum production. As a result, green tea can be an excellent tool for addressing the actual cause of your excess sebum levels.
Finding the Right Blend
Sebum is one of the most common enemies of modern teenagers and individuals facing hormonal imbalances. Maintaining a pleasant visage is becoming more important in a society where physical appearance has high significance. Excessive sebum production is an increasingly common issue, and solutions for the problem are not abundant.
Solutions like oil blotting sheets are temporary measures that address the symptoms instead of the underlying condition. Unfortunately, this means the issue will reassert itself and lead to disillusionment when the alleged solution fails. Taking advantage of certain products that address our underlying biology can enhance our odds of a favorable solution. Substances like green tea offer significant benefits for oily skin, but finding a product focused on skincare can be challenging.
We at Teami have made it our mission to find solutions for cosmetic and health issues that regularly impact average citizens. Oily skin is one of the issues we are committed to facing through natural products that synergize with our bodies. We offer a wide range of products focused on improving the health of oily skin, including our Green Tea Detox Mask, which employs green tea extract to use its proven benefits to your advantage. The human skin is a remarkably sensitive organ, and we must work hard to care for it. We encourage you to visit our website and see which product calls to you.
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