As I start to write this blog, I realize how personally attached and passionate I am about this topic.  I have suffered from EXTREME oil production for most of my life. Therefore, struggling with the ongoing, frustrating results of chronic acne.  Believe me, I sympathize with you and want to provide a bit of education about oily skin and how to win the war! 


To start, the fact is, everyone has oil in their skin.  Under each of your pores is a sebaceous gland that produces natural oils called sebum. The area with the most oil-producing ability is the one most crowded with sebaceous glands. It’s the notorious T-Zone…nose, chin and forehead. So, why do some of us suffer from extreme oil and other’s do not?  The answer to this question is found in genetics, individual hormonal responses and the environment.  Skin is healthiest when it is neither too oily nor too dry.  Pimples, pustules and acne are caused when excessive oil mixes with the dead skin cells on the surface and clogs the pores.  One question I receive a lot is, “How do I know if I am an oily skin type?” Easy!  If you can see your pores, they are enlarged, therefore, producing oil and resulting in clogged pores… i.e.: breakouts!

Emily demonstrating the use of Oil Control Pads with her patient.


Now that we have an understanding of where the oil is coming from and whether it is considered excessive or not, what are some solutions.  One, very talked about solution is Accutane.  Accutane curbs acne by drying up your skin’s supply of sebum, calming inflammation, reducing bacteria and unclogging pores. Accutane shrinks the oil gland, physically making the pores smaller.  It also triggers skin cells to turn over more rapidly, so your skin looks better, faster.  Accutane, while being a result driven solution, has a down side.  In high, long-term doses, patients have experienced side effects of depression and suicidal thoughts.  Also, if you were to get pregnant while on it, it can lead to birth defects. Low doses, as further described below, is safe and effective for enlarged pores and acne.

What if I were to share with you that the ZO Skin Health products may be a way to control the oil and achieve the results you desire before making the decision to go on Accutane. What if I were to also share that you can diminish scarring and have smooth, firm, even tone, hydrated, glowing skin!  Would you be in?! Perhaps, you have been praying your oil-laden skin would suddenly vanish overnight and be replaced with a healthy, radiant complexion, as I did for so many years.  The goal is realistic! However, eliminating extreme oiliness must be done with care, guided by a skin specialist.https://www.instagram.com/p/Bllp-p9BVKe/embed/?cr=1&v=12&wp=878&rd=https%3A%2F%2Fmcfa.squarespace.com&rp=%2Fblog%2F2019%2Foil%2Fenemy%2Fof%2Fthe%2Fskin#%7B%22ci%22%3A0%2C%22os%22%3A1171.6849999938859%2C%22ls%22%3A1053.0199999921024%2C%22le%22%3A1168.0950000009034%7D

My answer, as I believe is yours as well (I have based by entire professional career around it) was found in Dr. Zein Obagi, MD.  His creation of the ZO Skin Health products eliminated my oily skin struggles forever!      

Two years ago (after 15 years of struggling) I trained with Dr. Obagi and had him asses my skin. He told me I was soooooo oily, prescribed my ZO daily skin regimen and added Accutane to accelerate my result (Dr. Obagi believes a SMALL dose of Accutane is enough to eliminate side effects and safely treat oil). You can also see my reaction to his diagnosis of rosacea – I plan to have an entire blog on rosacea in the future. Accutane, along with diligently following Dr. Zein Obagi’s daily skincare regimen resulted in the best skin of my LIFE and a firm understanding of the POWER of oil control.


Zo Skin Health products contain 8 principals of skin health restoration.  However, the one we are interested in understanding today is Sebum Control.  The principal of Sebum Control is minimizing excessive sebum production to treat and maintain sebum-related skin disorders (acne, rosacea, melasma), correct pigmentation problems and prevent chronic inflammation.  

Inflammation….that word seems to be the new “buzz” of today’s health talks.  We hear people talking about reducing inflammatory stimulating foods, UV light causing inflammation etc. but in our skin care products as well?!!  YES!   

Let’s get back to educating.  Inflammation – it is the body’s innate defense mechanism to keep the body healthy against internal and external assaults.  An inflammatory response in the skin occurs when tissues are injured by bacteria, trauma, toxins and heat causing cellular dysfunction resulting in alterations in skin texture, sensitivity, dyschromia, accelerated aging and poor healing ie: acne scarring. 

Acute inflammation can be beneficial. For example, in the healing of wounds to the skin, inflammation is necessary for injury repair. Normal amounts of oil on the skin creates acute inflammation ie: healthy response. However, excessive oil on the skin creates a CHRONIC inflammatory response which results are destructive to the skin ie: a chronic inflammatory response weakens your skin barrier function, which results in diseased skin!  


Emily educating her acne-prone patient on the benefits of Exfoliation Accelerator.
Emily educating her acne-prone patient on the benefits of Exfoliation Accelerator.

So, there you have it! My years of struggling with acne, how I obtained the best skin health of my life, and why I have dedicated my professional career to restoring YOUR skin health.  If you are searching for the ZO Skin Health products that will control your oil and breakouts, my two favorites are the Oil Control Pads as well as the Exfoliation Accelerator. 

  • The Oil Control Pads use 2% salicylic, glycolic and mandelic acids to exfoliate skin clogging cells and minimize oil. TIP: Be sure to use the entire pad, front and back, until it is dry – remember these pads are dosage ready, so, cutting them in half is cutting your results in half!
  • The Exfoliation Accelerator would be used in your AM regimen after your Oil Control Pads (your oil control cleanser would be the Exfoliating Cleanser and your exfoliator, the Dual Action Scrub – visit my last blog for more information on these products). The Exfoliation Accelerator uses 10% glycolic acid and lactic acid to exfoliate dead skin cells that clog the pores. All of these products and more can be purchased through my website on my online store!

I hope this subject has touched the lives of the many that struggle daily with the frustration of oily skin and acne.  Search out your ZO Skin specialist in your area for the guidance you need and answer to your daydreams of oil free skin!! 

All My Best, 


A few myth busters to ponder:  

Myth Buster #1:  Those with Oily skin age more slowly.  

Skin aging is NOT related to the amount of sebum.  It is related to the amount and quality of collagen and elastin in the Dermis. 

Myth Buster #2:  Sebum keeps skin hydrated and prevents dryness.  

Dryness is due to decreased amount of glycosaminoglycans and natural moisturizing factors.  It is also due to a compromised skin barrier function which allows increased transepidermal water loss (water loss through the skin).  

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