Makeover Momma
oily forehead

Your Forehead Is Oily Because Of The Excess Sebum

I already talked about the problem of oily face when you wake up, but today I'll be zeroing in on the forehead. I'll try to cover as much as I can and answer some of the questions our readers are struggling with the most. Questions such as "why is my forehead oily," "why is it oilier when compared to the rest of the face," "what is the difference between oily and shiny forehead," and "how do you stop your forehead from getting oily?"

why is your forehead oily

As you can see, that's quite a comprehensive list of questions, so I’ll waste no time going through each and every one of them.

But, first things first – Why is your forehead oilyOily skin is caused by the excess oily produced by the sebaceous glands found in our skin; and excess oily production is usually caused by our genetics, the environment we live in, aggressive or frequent face washing, cosmetics or hormonal changes.

Why Is My Forehead Oily All Of The Sudden?

One of the main, though often overlooked, causes of an overly oily forehead is none other than combination skin! You would be surprised to see how many people don’t even realize they have combination skin (oily T-zone – forehead, nose and chin).

When you look in the mirror, what draws your attention the most? Probably forehead and cheeks as they make up the majority of our face. And if you have combination skin, you will probably disregard your cheeks (since the skin there is usually normal), and you’ll focus your attention on your oily, shiny forehead!

So, next time you see yourself in the mirror and think your forehead is overly oily, check your nose and chin as well, to see if you have combination skin. And if you do, you can read our article on skincare routine for combination skin.

Regardless of your skin type, the common underlying cause of oily skin is overactive sebaceous glands. But don’t think oily skin in itself if bad. On the contrary, that oily substance our sebaceous glands are secreting helps our skin stay hydrated and healthy.

And, even those of you with normal skin, can sometimes experience localized skin oiliness (forehead for example) because the sebaceous glands become more active due to one of the following reasons:

  • Hormonal changes
  • Environmental factors
  • Medication
  • Cosmetics or
  • Over-washing

Another noteworthy cause of oily forehead is enlarged pores. An enlarged pore may produce more oil and if those pores are grouped on your forehead, you might experience this problem.

Forehead Oilier Than The Rest Of The Face/Body

One of the reasons your forehead “acts” differently when compared to the rest of our face is the fact the sun “hits” it first. Forehead, along with our cheeks, is the high point of our face, and it can “suffer” more as we age.

Sun damage, along with environmental factors, can cause sebaceous glands on your forehead to produce more sebum than those found in the skin of the rest of your face.

And, if we were to compare the skin of our face to the rest of our body, we would notice significant differences – facial skin is more exposed to the elements (sun and environment), it’s more sensitive to hormonal changes, thinner than the rest of the body, and more prone to wrinkling due to muscle movement.

Most importantly, the skin of our face has more sebaceous glands (when compared to the rest of our body), which produce more sebum. This naturally leads to an oiler skin where the shine shows more prominently.

Is There A Difference Between Shiny And Oily Forehead?

Can your skin be shiny without it being overly oily? Or vice versa? In other words, is there a difference between a shiny and oily forehead/face?

Though we can use these two terms interchangeably, I’d like to point out two main differences:

Sweat – sebum is not the only substance our skin secretes and “pumps out” into the surface. There are those (especially people who live in warmer climates), who have normal skin type, but their skin appears shiny due to the excess sweat it secretes.

Exfoliation – exfoliation is good for your skin – it’s healthy, and it will help your skin rid of dead skin cells, excess oil and dirt. And as you scrub away those dead skin cells, younger ones will pop up and naturally reflect light better than the old ones. This will cause that shiny, radiant skin effect people will compliment you on. But make sure you don’t over-exfoliate, as it may lead to skin tightness and even damage your skin in the long run.

How Do You Stop Your Forehead From Getting Oily?

Treatment and prevention will largely depend on the cause:

Medication And Cosmetics

Some medications, like oral contraceptives, may boost the oil production in your skin. Some medications may lead to dehydration, which may increase oil production as well.

Applying makeup, harsh cosmetics and skincare products may damage your skin and make sebaceous glands produce more oil than normal.

What’s the solution? – If possible, avoid medication that promotes oil production and look for non-comedogenic products.

Hormonal Changes

Hormonal changes are a well-known cause of oily skin, stimulating sebum production.

Most hormonal changes occur naturally (during puberty, pregnancy, menopause), so we cannot address them directly. What we can do is try to scrub away the excess oil for as long as these changes occur.


I was guilty of this offense so many times, growing up. My face would get super oily, and I would use the harshest soap I could get my hand on. I would then scrub my face until it was so tight I could barely smile.

I was young and did not know better… I did not know I was only making things worse since I basically forced my sebaceous cells into working overtime to compensate for the oil lost.. and produce even more of it!

What you need to do is use gentle products that will scrub away only the excess sebum and dirt, while allowing your skin to remain properly moisturized.


Igor Marcikic

I've struggled with acne and oily skin for the better part of my life. Along the way, I've picked up some valuable information, tips, and tricks, which helped me manage my "situation." This website is a way of giving back and trying to help others like me! Enjoy your stay, and feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.