A woman with oily skin

Help! Why Is My Skin So Oily All Of A Sudden?

Sudden oiliness can strike out of nowhere, but it's usually a sign that you need to make a few lifestyle changes. Here's our guide on fixing oily skin.
Updated: October 26, 2022
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Our skin can sometimes be a mysterious and complicated mistress. Even if we always do our best to use the right products and nail down the perfect skincare routine, we can sometimes wake up and not recognize the person looking back at us in the mirror.

This is particularly true when it comes to sudden bouts of oily skin. There seems to be no logical reason why the skin can go from normal and smooth on one day, to greasy and oily the next. Speaking of sudden oiliness overnight, if you find yourself waking up in the morning with oily skin, check out our article on why this is and how to stop it.

Thankfully, we’ve looked into the causes and solutions to this little problem, so your days of stressing will soon come to an end.

What is oily skin?

Our bodies naturally produce oil, it’s completely normal. Oil, or sebum, is created by the sebaceous glands in the skin. Oil is essential for ensuring the skin doesn’t become too dry and irritated, and can be a natural protective force against various environmental hazards.

Unfortunately, some people experience excess oiliness in the skin because their sebaceous glands are simply producing too much sebum. Too much oil on the skin can give us a greasy or wet appearance, potentially block pores that can lead to breakouts, and just give us an uncomfortable feeling overall. This is usually a sign of an underlying problem in the skin or a side effect of certain lifestyle choices.

The reasons why your skin is oily

If you usually have quite healthy and normal skin, waking up to excess oiliness can be unpleasant and alarming. However, the reasons why your skin has produced this level of oil can be relatively straightforward and easily fixed.

Here are some of the most common causes of oily skin.


Perhaps the biggest contributing factor to oily skin is your genetics. If oily skin runs in your family, it is very likely you will experience it too. In this regard, there’s not much that can be done about it other than finding the right products and routine to properly manage it.

Hormonal changes

If you’re getting oily skin suddenly and without warning, it’s very possible it’s being triggered by hormonal changes in the body. For example, when teenagers go through puberty, their hormones are going wild, which often leads to skin issues such as oiliness, breakouts, and acne. Similarly, pregnant women, or women who have recently given birth, can also suffer the effects of radical hormone fluctuations.


Stress can cause havoc on our body, mind, and yes, skin. Not enough people take the damaging impact of stress seriously enough. When we get stressed, either at work or because of personal issues, our body releases a hormone called cortisol into the blood. This hormone can be responsible for instructing the skin to produce excess sebum, leading to overly oily skin.

Environmental factors

What is the climate like where you live? Does it get hot, humid, and stuffy at night? The environment we exist within has a huge impact on our skin. Generally speaking, colder climates can dry out skin, whereas warmer climates can cause oiliness and sweating. Take note of your immediate environment and observe the effect it has on your skin.


On average, most people go through the day in a state of mild dehydration. We simply aren’t drinking enough water, and it’s a serious issue. For your skin, a lack of hydration can lead to dryness. To combat this, the body sends signals to the sebaceous glands to create more oil, leading to a slippery situation. Simply staying properly hydrated can go a long way in keeping the skin healthy.

How to fix oily skin

Okay, now that we’ve figured out the potential causes of sudden oily skin, it’s time to fix them! By following our simple suggestions, excessively oily skin can become a thing of the past.

Here are our top tips for reducing sudden oily skin.

Stay hydrated

This sounds obvious, but it’s incredibly important. If your body is properly hydrated, there will be no need for the sebaceous glands to produce excess oil to tackle dryness. Also, drinking enough water during the day brings a host of other incredible health benefits that you don’t want to miss out on. The average adult is recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, so pour yourself a glass now!

Use moisturizer

Staying on the topic of hydration, using a good moisturizer on the skin will work wonders to keep it hydrated and plump. Moisturizers help the skin retain water, which keeps sebum production under control. Find your favorite moisturizer and put it to good use!

Manage stress

This is easier said than done, we get it. However, being in a constant state of stress is unhealthy for your body and skin. Try and relax and de-stress in whatever way you can as often as possible. Just remember that we are a bunch of atoms floating on a blue globe in the middle of an infinite universe and life is precious, and suddenly, your little problems at work don’t seem so important anymore.

Sun protection

The sun can unleash unholy damage on our skin if we don’t take the correct measures to protect it. Make sure to use SPF products to shield the skin from the sun’s UV rays, even on cloudy days. This will reduce the chances of the sun causing dryness and irritation, and decrease the likelihood of excess sebum being deployed.


When the body produces too much oil, it’s usually a sign that something isn’t quite right. From dehydration to stress, to hormonal changes, we all need to pay more attention to our bodies and lifestyles.

By restoring balance to your lifestyle and making small daily adjustments, you can be free of excess oiliness in no time at all.

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