What Can a Dermatologist Do for Oily Skin?

If your skin is always overly oily, you may use drying astringents, oil-free moisturizers, and oil-pulling masks — but with few results. Many people struggle with overly oily skin for years because they don't realize this is something dermatologists can treat! Here are some treatments your dermatologist may prescribe or recommend to help you manage your skin's oil production.

1. L-Carnitine

L-carnitine is an amino acid that your body produces naturally, but that you may not have quite enough of — often for genetic reasons — if your skin is always oily. This substance helps regulate your skin's production of oil and sebum. Your dermatologist may prescribe you a topical L-carnitine treatment to apply once or twice per day after washing your face. If only portions of your face are oily, then you only need to apply the treatment to those parts. Results are not instant, but most patients see a reduction in oiliness within a week or two.

2. Topical Antibiotics

Using topical antibiotics for oily skin may seem strange at first, but in some cases, this is just what you need. Your dermatologist may recommend this treatment if they observe a lot of inflammation in your skin. Often, that inflammation is actually caused by an overabundance of bacteria, and the oiliness is part of your skin's reaction to the inflammation and bacteria. Using a topical antibiotic, such as clindamycin, for a few weeks or a few months can bring bacterial levels back under control and put an end to your oiliness.

3. Spironolactone

Did you know that an excess of testosterone can cause the skin to become overly oily? If your dermatologist suspects that a testosterone imbalance may be contributing to your oily skin, they will likely ask you to undergo a blood test to confirm it. Then, to bring your testosterone levels down, they can prescribe a medication called spironolactone.

Spironolactone is an oral medication that needs to be taken daily. It should help reduce the oiliness of your skin within a week or two. Most patients need to stay on it permanently to retain its effects. Since it can lead to birth defects, most doctors require their female patients to take birth control pills alongside the drug.

If you are tired of dealing with oily skin, see a dermatologist. There are various topical and oral treatments they can prescribe to help reduce your skin's oil production and give you more control.