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Ask Dr. Schultz | Skin Care Guides | Clearing the Slate: Reactive Seborrhea Part I

Clearing the Slate: Reactive Seborrhea Part I

The Theory

The theory of reactive seborrhea is that stripping your natural oil from your skin will dry out the skin and create a signal that the body should be producing more oil, thus actually making you more oily. Therefore, proponents of this idea believe you should use a moisturizing cleanser or even an oil for a cleanser to ensure that this doesn't happen.

The Truth

In reality, there is no such thing as reactive seborrhea. For this condition to occur, you would need to have some type of sensor to indicate for the body to produce more oil and this isn't the case. The only thing that dictates how much oil your skin has is the amount of male hormones you have. (Yes, even women have male hormones.) People may perceive that reactive seborrhea is occurring because the cleansing process can temporarily change the water and oil balance of your skin. While you may need to use a light water-based moisturizer to get your skin back in balance, you do not need to worry about causing an increase of oil by using a cleanser, whether it's a light one for dry and sensitive skin, or a stronger cleanser for normal, oily, acne-prone and combination skin.

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