While healthy, vibrant skin has a natural sheen, having an overly glowing or shiny face could make it look dull and tired. If you, for instance, notice a lot of shine on your face but it doesn’t feel oily, you may be wondering what is up with your skin. You may also be tempted to change your skincare routine to combat the greasy look. 

Is Your Skin Shiny But Not Oily

Having shiny skin that is not oily could be due to a few factors. Although it is common to assume that is associated with having oily skin, this is not always the case. Continue reading to find out the possible causes for having a greasy-looking skin that isn’t oily and what you can do about it.


Exfoliation is one important key to having naturally smooth and vibrant skin. Apart from preventing clogged pores and revealing fresher, healthier skin underneath, it also enables skin care products to penetrate easily, as well as help combat signs of aging. The problem, of course, lies in over-exfoliating, which can cause damage to your skin. 

When you overdo it with exfoliation, you lose more than dead skin cells. This also compromises the skin barrier and aggravates the transepidermal water loss (TEWL) process, resulting in a dry and tight feeling. This tightness can then contribute to a shiny or oily appearance. There should be a bit of roughness on the face to enable the light to scatter and avoid shine. 

Dehydrated skin

This is related to over-exfoliation, as your skin is likely to become dry and/or dehydrated with too much exfoliation. Do take note, however, that dry skin and dehydrated skin are not the same. The former is a skin type and lacks natural oils, while the latter is a temporary condition that lacks water.  

The two common symptoms of dehydrated skin are sensitivity and tightness. One way to tell if your skin is dehydrated is by gently pinching your forehead; if you notice a crinkly and shiny effect, it probably is dehydrated. The skin may also feel itchy and display a lack of radiance. 

Other factors

Several factors can affect the way your skin looks and behaves. Some of them may cause an increase in oil production while others may deplete the skin’s water content, resulting in a less radiant and supple appearance. Things that can negatively impact how your skin appears include: 

  • Stress
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Lack of sleep
  • Harsh skin care products
  • Sweating too much
  • Not drinking enough water

How can you improve shiny skin?

Below are a few things that can help combat extra shininess and give your skin the TLC it deserves.

Remove makeup at night 

No matter how sleepy or exhausted you are, make sure to remove your makeup or wash your face. Not doing so lets the dirt, oil, and impurities linger on your skin and clog your pores. You should also know that the oil your skin produces throughout the day can mix with the makeup that has been sitting on your face for hours.  

Make sure to use a gentle cleanser and follow up with an anti-aging serum and seal it off with a moisturizer. It is also beneficial to wash or change your pillowcases regularly, especially if you’re prone to breakouts. You can also consider switching to silk or satin pillowcases that let your skin glides smoothly, preventing friction that could lead to skin creases.

Consider using vitamin A

Vitamin A or retinol is beneficial in repairing skin barrier function and maintaining overall skin well-being. Serums with this ingredient provide an exfoliating effect without the use of scrubs or abrasives. It removes dead skin cells and reduces excess sebum by increasing cell turnover.

When using retinol for the first time, be sure to start slow. Use a small or pea-sized amount at first and choose a low percentage, over-the-counter retinol. Apply it once or twice a week and gradually increase the usage as your skin adjusts. You should also only use it at night and wear broad-spectrum SPF daily. 

Don’t forget to moisturize 

Never skip the moisturizer. The right product doesn’t just seal in moisture, but also protects the skin and helps reduce sebum production. Extra sebum or oil is more likely when the skin is left too dry after cleansing, using a harsh cleanser, or over-exfoliation. Just make sure to choose a formula that is right for your skin.

Dr. Sylvia’s Hyra Pro with Moisture Lock Complex is designed to hydrate and nourish the skin without leaving any oily residue. It is a non-greasy formula that can provide intense hydration, soothe and heal the skin, and boost the skin’s radiance.

Supplement your routine antioxidants

Antioxidants are known for fighting or neutralizing free radicals, which can cause oxidative stress and cell damage. Fruits and vegetables are good sources, but antioxidants can also be applied to the skin to reduce and calm inflammation, brighten the skin, and even reduce signs of aging.

For further reading: What are Antioxidants and Why are They Important for the Skin?

Dr. Sylvia Skin Care’s 20% Vitamin C, B, E, and Ferulic Acid features potent antioxidants and anti-aging ingredients that can target uneven skin tone, lines, and wrinkles. It also has vitamins B and E that help hydrate and nourish the skin, as well as Ferulic Acid that stabilizes vitamins C and E, but also enhances their effects. 

Protect your skin barrier

Also referred to as the moisture barrier, the skin barrier is the protective film on your skin’s outermost layer. It keeps the moisture in and the irritants out, and is responsible for the appearance of healthy and glowing skin. The sad part is several factors such as genetics, aging, UV rays, and exposure to harsh chemicals can compromise your skin barrier. 

This makes it important to treat your skin right, which includes:

  • Not overloading on skincare products
  • Using gentle products
  • Avoiding using hot water when washing your skin
  • Treating it delicately; not rubbing too much or applying extra pressure when applying products
  • Protecting your skin from the sun with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher

Take control of your skin. If you have a shiny-looking face or any other skin concerns that are making you self-conscious, reach out to Cutis Medical Laser Clinics in Singapore. Book a consultation with one of our aesthetic doctors and find which treatments can help you achieve a smoother and radiant complexion. 

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