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What is sebum and how to control it?

What is sebum and how to control it?

Our sebaceous glands sit below our pores and naturally produce sebum to coat our skin, in a similar way to how our tear ducts produce moisture for our eyes. We need this oily, waxy substance to moisturise and protect our skin, but excess levels of it can lead to visible imperfections such as blackheads and blemishes.

So why do some people produce more sebum than others? Over-production of this natural waxy coating can have various causes, from a change in climate and temperature, to genetics, and hormonal changes in puberty and pregnancy. Although most of these causes are unavoidable, you can help to control excess levels of sebum with targeted skincare.

Let’s take a look at some common questions and solutions for maintaining your skin’s own sebum levels.

How can sebum be both good and bad?

Sebum gets a bit of a bad rep but it’s actually essential for healthy skin function and is mostly made up of natural fats secreted by the skin to create a protective moisture barrier. Sebum even contains chemicals that kill bacteria and can prevent unwanted bacteria from penetrating the skin. On the downside, excess levels of sebum can solidify and ‘plug’ the pores, which can then lead to skin concerns such as blackheads, breakouts and blemishes.

What is a sebum plug and what do they look like?

Sebum plugs, also known as sebaceous filaments, are collections of excess sebum which clog pores. Dead skin cells, sweat and other particles floating around in the air, which then land on our skin, also have a part to play.

These plugs can appear as clear or yellow deposits in your pores at first, turning into blackheads once the sebum is exposed to the air, leaving the pores more prominent. Though it can be tempting to squeeze these plugs out, experts recommend avoiding this as it can leave marks and scarring on the skin.

How can you remove excess sebum for flawless skin?

By using the right products and sticking to a regular cleansing routine, you can keep sebum levels at bay. Products which are effective in removing impurities but also in moisturising the skin are best for bringing balance to oily skin and achieving a flawless complexion.

La Roche-Posay’s three-step Effaclar regime provides complete, dermatologist-recommended care for oily and blemish-prone skin. The regime is clinically proven to reduce the appearance of blemishes, unclog pores and reduce pore size whilst hydrating the skin and reducing the appearance of marks.

Begin your routine by cleaning the skin with Effaclar Purifying Gel Cleanser. This gentle yet effective gel purifies the skin while removing impurities and excess sebum leaving the complexion fresh, soft and clear. Follow this with Effaclar Clarifying Toner Lotion, a micro-exfoliant, astringent toner for oily skin prone to imperfections and enlarged pores.

Finally, complete your routine with Effaclar Duo [+], a hydrating gel-cream moisturiser that gently exfoliates the skin and visibly reduces the appearance of imperfections. It also unclogs pores, controls shine and helps to reduce the appearance of pigmentation marks left by spots. If used every morning and night, your skin should appear visibly clearer, with reduced excess sebum levels.

Shop La Roche-Posay’s three-step Effaclar regime

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