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Article: Skin: what is sebum?

Peau : qu’est-ce que le sébum ?
Beauté

Skin: what is sebum?

Sebum is an essential element for maintaining good skin hydration , provided that it is of good quality and produced in the right quantity.

Sebum

Sebum is an oily substance secreted by the skin , and more precisely by its sebaceous glands.

These sebaceous glands are found in the dermis (the layer located under the epidermis) and are more or less numerous depending on their location.

Sebaceous glands are present in large quantities in the T zone of the face, which includes the forehead, nose and chin. It is therefore common to have excess sebum in the nose, which promotes blackheads. Conversely, there is very little sebum on the palms of the hands.

What is sebum used for?

What is sebum used for?

Sebum plays an essential role in the beauty of the skin and hair .

When sebum is produced by the sebaceous gland, it passes through an excretory channel to rise to the surface of the skin, where it is evacuated through a small hole called a “pore”. From this moment on, it will fulfill several functions:

  • Mixed with sweat, sebum forms a hydrolipidic film. It is a protective barrier which has the function of limiting the natural evaporation of water contained in the skin (its hydration) and thus preserves its suppleness.
  • The essential fatty acids contained in sebum allow the hydrolipidic film to maintain an acidic pH. The latter is essential to protect the skin from pathogenic germs.
  • You should know that sebum is evacuated through the same orifice as the hair, and therefore hair. Sebum thus helps lubricate and give shine to the hair, and protects it from drying out.

What is seborrhea (excess sebum)?

It regularly happens, especially during puberty, that the sebaceous glands secrete more sebum than necessary. This excessive production of sebum is called “seborrhea”.

Seborrhea is the cause of combination to oily skin. The signs of excess sebum are numerous: shine, blackheads, enlarged pores, a grainy-looking skin texture or even greasy hair. Indeed, by having oily skin, it is very likely to also have an oily scalp.

The causes of excess sebum are numerous, they can be of both internal and external origin:

  • Hormones: this is the main cause of excess sebum. Indeed, their variations during the requirement have a direct impact on the quantity of sebum produced by the skin. Androgens produced during adolescence, or progesterone produced during pregnancy, have the effect of increasing the activity of the sebaceous glands. It is therefore normal to have imperfections and shine during these periods.
  • Genetics: oily skin is generally of hereditary origin. However, their appearance can be worsened by tobacco and alcohol consumption, fatigue, stress or even the environment (sun, wind, pollution, etc.).
  • Using unsuitable cosmetic products: using a product that is too aggressive can harm the skin, which, in order to defend itself, will produce even more sebum.
  • Long exposure to the sun: if the skin is exposed to the sun for too long, it risks overproducing sebum. The sun dries the skin, therefore, it naturally reacts by increasing sebum secretion in order to prevent drying.

What are the consequences of excess sebum on the skin?

In addition to being unsightly by making the skin shiny and covered with imperfections (blackheads, pimples, comedones, etc.), excess sebum on the face (the nose, chin and forehead) risks clogging and suffocate skin pores. This prevents the removal of dead cells and promotes the proliferation of bacteria, which can develop into acne , an inflammatory disease of the pilosebaceous follicle.

Tips for regulating your sebum production

Excess sebum is the bane of combination to oily skin. Fortunately, solutions exist to regain healthy skin :

  • Pay attention to your diet: in order to regulate excess sebum, the first step is to have a balanced diet. During meals, you should favor foods that contain essential nutrients for maintaining normal skin such as vitamin B6, vitamins A and E, zinc and omega 3. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables , cereals, white meats and fish provide the skin with these essential nutrients. Foods to avoid are those that are rich in bad fats and sugars because they risk causing inflammation of the skin, such as acne for example. In addition, it is important to hydrate well by drinking between 1.5L and 2L of water per day. Too dry skin can cause excess sebum from the sebaceous glands.

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  • Have a good skincare routine: taking care of your skin is essential to keep your skin healthy and avoid overproduction of sebum. Firstly, you must clean your skin well, morning and evening, using non-aggressive and suitable products. Once a week, exfoliating is very useful for removing dead cells accumulated on the surface of the skin. After morning cleansing, apply a mattifying cream, with sebum-regulating components, to limit shine. In the evening, an AHA (fruit acid) cream is more suitable for removing small imperfections such as blackheads. If excess sebum concerns the scalp, there are shampoos suitable for oily hair that help regulate it. Finally, it is essential to moisturize your skin every day, using treatments suitable for combination to oily skin, to prevent it from drying out.
  • Let your skin rest: it is recommended to let your skin rest at least once a week, without applying makeup, to ensure the well-being of your pores and reduce sebum production.

In the event of a significant excess of sebum, it is obviously recommended to consult a dermatologist who will prescribe a suitable treatment.

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