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Reduce sebum production: With these 5 holistic tips you can get too much skin sebum under control!

Does your skin on your face constantly shine, like it’s just been oiled? Would you like to reduce your excessive sebum production - but without drying out your skin or unbalancing it? Don't worry: it works! Read now what you can do from the inside (and outside!) to bring your sebum production into harmonious balance - and ensure a healthy glow without a greasy shine.

Reduce sebum production | Five Skincare

Photos: ROCKETMANN TEAM and Angela Roma


What is skin sebum?

Even if it feels like it (especially in summer): sebum is not the enemy of perfect, matt skin. Rather, sebum fulfills important functions in the skin. The catch: Both excessive sebum production and too little sebum are not good for our skin. We'll explain in detail why this is.

Let's start with the basics.

  • Skin sebum (sebum) is a substance produced in the sebaceous glands in your skin. Sebum consists of various lipids, such as triglycerides, wax esters, fatty acids and squalene 1 .

  • These fats ensure supple, well-moisturized skin by preventing the loss of too much moisture across the skin's surface.

  • Not only that: Sebum transports antioxidants into and onto the skin and has a protective effect against UV light 1 .

  • At the same time, sebum has another protective function . It keeps the pH value of our skin surface stable and works like a bouncer against bacteria, fungi and viruses.

We have a particularly large number of sebaceous glands on the face (but also behind the ears, as well as in the upper chest and back area) 2 . Especially in these areas of the skin we can often struggle with excessive sebum production and an oily shine.

Grease overload? These are the reasons for excessive sebum production!

Let's keep in mind: Your skin needs sebum to stay healthy. You can't get rid of skin sebum - but you can reduce your sebum production with the right strategies (see below). What’s important is balance. Your sebaceous glands are small, sensitive ones.

In addition to a genetic predisposition , these factors can promote excessive sebum production:


Androgens such as testosterone influence the activity of our sebaceous glands. Men therefore generally tend to produce more sebum than women. In women, the concentration of this hormone is particularly high at the time of ovulation 2 . Too much skin sebum can also be an indication of hormonal imbalances .


Do you eat a lot of foods with a high glycemic index (those that contain a lot of simple sugars)? Or do you often eat meat and dairy products? These foods stimulate insulin-like growth factor IGF-1 – which in turn stimulates sebum production in the sebaceous glands 3 .


In studies, 50% of women cite stress as a trigger for acne breakouts 4 . What's behind it? High levels of stress trigger processes in our body that affect our hormonal balance, influence our sebaceous glands and can even trigger acne.


If you smoke, your sebaceous glands produce up to 3 times more sebum (!) than those of non-smokers 5 . Unfortunately that's not everything. Smoking triggers oxidative stress in the skin. Smokers' sebum therefore contains less vitamin E (an important antioxidant) and more oxidized squalene (which can clog pores).

Unsuitable care products

Alias: A drying and/or alcohol-containing facial care product . Such skincare is not recommended if you want to reduce your sebum production. Maybe you have already had this experience. Such care products initially have a degreasing effect - but not for long: the sebaceous glands react by producing even more sebum!

By the way: Even environmental influences such as the weather can be behind excessive sebum production. In summer and at high temperatures, our sebaceous glands are busier than in winter.

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Reduce sebum production: These 5 holistic strategies ensure healthy skin in balance

On the mission “Happy glow instead of oily shine” there is exactly one motto – harmony . Because this is about the golden mean: After all, we don't want too much sebum (help, oily film!) nor too little of it (dry, itchy skin - no, thank you).

Let's take a look together at how you can reduce your sebum production from the inside and get it under control naturally from the outside.

1. Change your diet if you want to reduce your sebum production from within.

Try to limit your intake of simple carbohydrates, sugar and dairy products. Both milk proteins and simple sugars affect the insulin-like growth hormone IGF-1 6 . This hormone increases the availability of androgens in the body. There is therefore a proven connection between high IGF-1 levels and excessive sebum production 7 .

However, the following can often be on your menu:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids (particularly EPA , eicosapentaenoic acid). EPA is found, for example, in algae. What makes them so great? It counteracts processes that lead to increased sebum production and prevents the skin sebum from “thickening” because it keeps it liquid. The omega-3 fatty acids DHA and alpha-linolenic acid (e.g. in linseed oil and chia seeds), which also come from algae, have been proven to have a clarifying effect on the skin, especially in the case of acne 9 . We have dedicated a separate article to omega-3 fatty acids .

  • Vitamin D . It can reduce sebum production and prevent pores from clogging. It also prevents the formation of blemishes by inhibiting the growth of the acne bacterium Cutibacterium acnes 8 . Vegan sources of vitamin D are mushrooms and chanterelles - or sunlight!

  • Foods with a low glycemic index . These include, for example, vegetables, berries and beans as well as whole grains. In general, a low-carb diet helps reduce sebum production, keeps pores clear, and prevents acne 8 . Tip: Combine pasta and other carbohydrate-rich foods with legumes. This reduces the glycemic load and keeps you fuller for longer as you give your body protein and fiber.

  • Nuts and oatmeal . They are rich in B vitamins , which have a sebum-reducing effect and prevent impure skin 8 . They also work effectively against the proliferation of Cutibacterium acnes. Tip: When it comes to oatmeal, but also other types of grain, choose the coarse versions. The body digests them more slowly and this reduces the glycemic index.

🥬 At FIVE we attach great importance to holistic skin care because we know that nutrition has a significant influence on the appearance of the skin. A sudden change in diet usually fails and is therefore not advisable. Instead, we recommend that you inform yourself and continually acquire knowledge. This way you can gradually change habits and achieve long-term results. Our article about a supportive diet for oily skin and the pimples that are unfortunately often associated with it offers you a start.

2. Reduce your consumption of addictive substances.

Cigarette consumption not only causes excessive sebum production, but also causes your skin to age faster. If you stop smoking, you can reduce your sebum production , slow down the breakdown of collagen and prevent premature wrinkles.

You should also definitely avoid too much alcohol if you have constantly oily skin. Alcohol has a diuretic effect and removes moisture from the body 10 . If your moisture balance becomes unbalanced due to high alcohol consumption, the skin tries to compensate by producing sebum.

3. Treat yourself to a harmonizing care routine with FIVE .

Currently your skin is oil-free after your daily facial cleansing, but feels like sandpaper? The fact is: with skincare that removes every last drop of sebum from your skin, you are not doing yourself any good, but are only achieving one thing - overreacting sebaceous glands that are running at full speed in sheer terror.

Instead, if you have excessive sebum production on your face, lukewarm water in the morning is sufficient for cleansing. This is how your skin learns to regulate itself again.

I recommend this holistic skin care routine for oily skin:

  1. Gentle cleansing (water is enough in the morning, you can use our mild, natural make-up remover in the evening).

  2. Oil-free care with our light facial serum . The FIVE formula with organic rose hydrolate and hyaluronic acid provides your skin with optimal moisture, is quickly absorbed and nourishes without being greasy or leaving a film.

  3. In winter you can also mix a few drops of our Balance facial oil with the serum and apply to the skin. The oils it contains have a balancing effect on sebum production and strengthen the functions of the skin barrier.

You can read all the details about the best skin care routine for oily skin in our article Balancing Oily Skin .

Here you can discover all FIVE products for oily skin!

4. Absorb excess sebum with a healing clay mask.

Admittedly, healing clay is one of the beauty secrets that our mothers and grandmothers have told us about. And its effect is still undisputed. Healing clay or clay has a degreasing and clarifying effect, but is super mild. However, you should not use them every day. It's best to make your anti-shine mask a weekly beauty ritual.

Green clay is particularly suitable for intensive skincare for oily skin. It has a strong cleansing effect, prevents impurities and ensures a matt complexion without drying it out. You can find the natural product in the health food store.

5. Avoid stress and pay attention to your well-being.

Because stress can also stimulate the activity of your sebaceous glands, relaxation techniques and conscious time out are an effective way to combat unwanted skin shine . Sufficient rest and relaxation in everyday life is not only important if you want to reduce your sebum production - your body needs relaxation phases to stay healthy, fit and productive.

The following can help manage stress :

  • Use the relaxing effects of herbs . After a long day, pour yourself a chamomile tea - or treat yourself to a soothing foot bath with lavender flowers added.

  • Do sports or go for a twenty-minute walk in the fresh air every day. Enjoy nature, listen to the sound of the wind and consciously try to leave the day's exertions behind you with every step.

  • Make sure you get enough sleep . Sleep helps us stay mentally balanced, especially in particularly stressful phases. When we sleep, our stress levels decrease - and our skin is also in the regeneration phase.

Bonus tip: Know the cause of your oily skin!

Did you know that oily skin can also be very dry? Dermatologists call this subtype of oily skin seborrhea sicca . What's special about it: It doesn't lack fat (hence the oily sheen here), but rather moisture. Intensive moisturizing care (e.g. with the FIVE facial serum ) is particularly important here.

Things are completely different with seborrhea oleosa . This skin condition is also characterized by too much sebum, but it is not lacking in moisture.

You can find out more about proper care as well as the symptoms and causes of these skin conditions in my article on the two subtypes of oily skin, which will be published in August 2023. So feel free to visit us again!

Conclusion: With a holistic approach, you can reduce your sebum production - and ensure balanced skin!

In this article I told you how you can reduce excessive sebum production from within , what role the right skin care routine plays and what your stress levels have to do with constantly shiny skin. I hope you found some helpful strategies for everyday life. If you eat a wholesome, healthy diet, treat yourself to nature-based skin care and make your well-being a priority, you can naturally reduce and get your sebum production under control.

I wish you all the best.
Your Anna

You can see the complete range of my natural FIVE Skincare (made from a maximum of five vegan ingredients) here!


1. Makrantonaki, Evgenia et al. “An update on the role of the sebaceous gland in the pathogenesis of acne.” Dermato-endocrinology vol. 3.1 (2011): 41-9. doi:10.4161/derm.3.1.13900

2. Finally, Dawnielle C, and Richard A Miller. “Oily Skin: A review of treatment options.” The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology vol. 10.8 (2017): 49-55.

3. Lim, Sunhee et al. “Dietary Patterns Associated with Sebum Content, Skin Hydration and pH, and Their Sex-Dependent Differences in Healthy Korean Adults.” Nutrients vol. 11.3 619. 14 Mar. 2019, doi:10.3390/nu11030619

4. Jović, Anamaria et al. “The Impact of Psychological Stress on Acne.” Acta dermatovenerologica Croatica: ADC vol. 25.2 (2017): 1133-141.

5. Capitanio, Bruno et al. “Acne and smoking.” Dermato-endocrinology vol. 1.3 (2009): 129-35. doi:10.4161/derm.1.3.9638

6. Schroeder, I. Nutrition and acne - what's behind it? esthet dermatol kosmetol 7, 12 (2015).

7. Kumari R, Thappa DM. Role of insulin resistance and diet in acne. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 2013;79:291-299

8. Podgórska A, Puścion-Jakubik A, Markiewicz-Żukowska R, Gromkowska-Kępka KJ, Socha K. Acne Vulgaris and Intake of Selected Dietary Nutrients—A Summary of Information. Healthcare. 2021; 9(6):668.

9.Jung, Jae Yoon et al. “Effect of dietary supplementation with omega-3 fatty acid and gamma-linolenic acid on acne vulgaris: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial.” Acta dermato-venereologica vol. 94.5 (2014): 521-5. doi:10.2340/00015555-1802

10. Polhuis, Kristel CMM et al. “The Diuretic Action of Weak and Strong Alcoholic Beverages in Elderly Men: A Randomized Diet-Controlled Crossover Trial.” Nutrients vol. 9.7 660. June 28, 2017, doi:10.3390/nu9070660

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