A black woman with shiny skin

Do You Have Shiny Skin? Here’s The Top Reasons Why

Shiny skin is usually the result of the body producing too much oil. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to deal with this.
Updated: November 9, 2022
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Shiny skin can be a blessing or a curse. Some people want to achieve that specific look in order to appear more glowing, while others think it makes them look sweaty or oily.

If you’re not a big fan of shiny skin, this article is for you. Why do we get shiny skin, is it a sign of certain problems, and how do we get rid of it? Let’s take a closer look.

The causes shiny skin

When we talk about shiny skin, we’re almost always referring to skin that is particularly oily or wet. Oily skin is something millions of people deal with on a daily basis, and it can be quite frustrating to keep under control.

Oil is produced naturally through the sebaceous glands, and the oil itself is called sebum. Our sebum is packed full of things called ceramides, which are fatty acids designed to help build and maintain the skin’s protective barrier. This barrier is super important to the skin’s well-being, as it shields it from harmful environmental factors such as sun rays and pollution. When this oil is produced to an excessive amount, it can lay on the surface of the skin and give it that shiny appearance.

Here are some of the top reasons why your skin may be retaining too much oil.


Your genetics play a major role in how your skin behaves. If oily skin runs in your family, you’ll likely suffer from it too. Unfortunately, we can’t change our DNA, so if you’re in this position the best thing you can do is learn how to manage the oil properly.


Our hormones can change like the weather. Women who are pregnant or have recently given birth are usually ravaged by confusing hormonal changes that can have many effects on the body. One of these effects is changes in the skin’s behavior. If you had relatively clear and normal skin before either pregnancy or another event that weighs heavily on your body, these hormonal fluctuations may have contributed to the oiliness you now experience.

Anxiety & stress

People need to pay more attention to anxiety and stress. These things can be silent killers, and in our hectic modern world, more of us are tormented by them than ever. Stress can negatively impact your body and mind, including your skin. Always take the time you need to center yourself and manage your mental health.


If you have recently started taking medication, this can be influencing your skin. Talk to your doctor if you feel this applies to you.


Believe it or not, exfoliating too much can actually have the opposite effect that is intended. It can damage that protective barrier and lead to excessive dryness and tightness. Your body may then try to correct this problem by producing too much oil, which leads to shiny skin. Don’t abuse exfoliators. They are powerful products with potent ingredients.

Is shiny skin a sign of a medical problem?

In the vast majority of cases, shiny skin is natural, and normal, and isn’t a cause for any concern. Is it annoying, yes, but it isn’t dangerous. However, if you believe your shiny skin is being triggered by medication or an underlying medical issue you already have, you should speak to a doctor to get clarity.

Is shiny skin the same as dewy skin?

No. Dewy skin is a term used to describe glowing and youthful-looking skin. It is different from shiny skin as it doesn’t require a lot of oil to achieve. Shiny skin is caused by an overproduction of sebum in the facial glands. It’s important to know these differences so you don’t mix and confuse terminology.

How to reduce shiny skin

The best way to reduce shininess is to better manage the oiliness that is creating it. This means finding well-regarded products, mainly exfoliators, that can help clear up that oil and make sure pores are clear from dirt and debris. Blocked pores lead to breakouts and also trap oil, so it’s essential to keep them free.

We’d suggest looking into gels and creams that contain ingredients such as salicylic acid or glycolic acid. These will work well to better clean the face, dissolve dead skin cells, and clear away problematic elements that can clog pores. Using these products a few times a week can drastically help to manage oiliness and shine.


Shiny skin is simply a result of the body producing too much oil. This oil, or sebum, lays on the surface of the skin and generates a shiny appearance. While everyone wants dewy, glowing skin, shiny skin is different as it can make the person look sweaty and wet.

We recommend using good products to help exfoliate and dry oily skin to best manage this issue.

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This article has been reviewed by the in-field experts on our Medical Content Advisory Board to ensure everything is up-to-date and accurate.