Aging of the skin covers many dimensions.  Wrinkles are just one of them.

Signs of Aging of the Skin include:

  1. Pigmentation
  2. Thinning of the epidermis
  3. Capillaries and vascular damage
  4. Enlarged pores
  5. Loss of firmness
  6. Uneven skin tone


The formation of wrinkles has to do with the destruction of collagen and elastin, not with oil production.  The assumption is that if you have a dry skin that somehow inherently your skin is naturally suffering from dehydration.

Studies have shown that sebum production does not influence water loss from the skin.  Anyone who has dealt with acne knows that despite having excess sebum production they also have a dysfunctional barrier and suffer from higher levels of TEWL.

Sebum despite being on the skin surface, sebum does not seem to influence barrier function [1]. Fluhr et al. studied mice who were deficient in sebaceous glands and found that the transepidermal water loss levels were comparable to those of control animals [2].  Also the ability to acutely restore permeability barrier function to normal after acute disruption was unchanged [2].

Note that skin oiliness is a property of the sebaceous glands and that skin moisture is largely a property of the stratum corneum. Low sebum secretion and high water content are considered main features of fair skin. The latter is dependent upon the rates of water movement into and out of this tissue (barrier function), as well as upon the ability of the stratum corneum to retain water [3].

Hydrated skin is soft and smooth, and reflects the optimum water content in the superficial stratum corneum.  It results from the complex and perfect interaction of water-holding substances, (i.e. amino acids produced by proteolysis of filaggrin that occurs during their slow upward movement in the stratum corneum), lactate and potassium derived from sweat as well as intercellular lipids, specially their major component ceramides that play a crucial role in providing barrier function to the stratum corneum [3]. In conjunction with cholesterol, free fatty acids and cholesterol sulfate, they form arrays of hydrophobic chains, constructing lipid bilayers with closely packed interiors which dramatically reduce their permeability to water and solutes.

So what is the difference between Oily Skin Aging?

Oily skin types tend to have thicker skins (from genetics) which means they will have less fine “crinkly” lines,  BUT they will have deeper lines (since the skin is thicker) and larger pores [3]. Particularly with larger pores, this will not allow the skin to look as smooth as someone with tiny pores, and smooth skin is one of the signs attributed to youthful-looking skin.

The confirmation surrounding aging of oily skin was found in a study that examined the relationship between facial wrinkles and structures in the skin, especially sebaceous glands.  They examined the forehead and eye area for wrinkle formation.   Wrinkle depth was measured and the sebaceous gland density was analyzed in relation to wrinkle depth, retinacula cutis density, dermal thickness, and solar elastosis degree.

A correlation was found between sebaceous gland density and wrinkle depth in forehead specimens with a lower retinacula cutis density. Wrinkles were shallower in specimens with a higher sebaceous gland density. So those with oily skin have less wrinkles on the forehead.  In addition, specimens with a higher sebaceous gland density tended to have a thicker dermis and/or less solar elastosis.

With regards to eye wrinkles however, no such correlation was found.  Those with oily skin aged just as much around the eye area as those with dry skin.

So those with oily skin don’t age better.  They just age differently.



About the Author

Jacine Greenwood is an internationally recognised educator who is known within the industry for her up to date knowledge and her ability to deliver training in an easy to understand method.

Jacine holds 6 Diplomas and a Bachelor of Nursing and her knowledge is well respected by her peers.  She is also a qualified Cosmetic Chemist.  With over 19 years experience in the industry and a background of cosmetic formulation, Jacine has an immense knowledge of current trends in research and new developments in the industry.

Jacine has been continually educating herself in all aspects of skin function and cosmetic chemistry for the past 21 years.  Jacine’s knowledge is current and has a vast knowledge of the active ingredients that are being released onto the market.

Fluhr JW, Mao-Qiang M, Brown BE, Wertz PW, Crumrine D, Sundberg JP, Feingold KR, Elias PM: Glycerol regulates stratum corne- um hydration in sebaceous gland deficient (asebia) mice: J Invest Dermatol 2003;120: 728–737.

Menon GK, Kligman AM: Barrier functions of human skin: a holistic view. Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2009;22:178–189.

Tamatsu, Y; Tsukahara, K; Sugawara, Y and Shimada, K. New finding that might explain why the skin wrinkles more on various parts of the face. 1 July 2015