Whether your typical skin type is oily or not, you may find that your complexion sometimes takes on a greasy sheen in the mornings. If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Why do I wake up with oily skin?” you should know this is a common problem, and there are solutions to prevent the issue and bring your morning complexion back into balance.

At night your skin loses moisture which can cause it to dehydrate, so your glands produce extra oil to try to compensate for the loss in hydration. Beyond that, there are a number of other factors which can increase your nighttime oil production, such as genetics, poor skincare, or environmental damage.

In this article, we’ll explain the causes of morning oiliness, and provide you with several solutions for preventing the excess grease so you wake up with a healthy, glowing, oil-free complexion.

What Causes Your Skin to be Oily When You Wake Up?

Skin dehydration over the course of the night is common, and oil production is a natural reaction that aims to bring your skin back to optimal health. While some oily skin in the morning is expected, if you are experiencing excess release for a very greasy complexion, there may be other factors involved. In this section, we’ll look at some of the causes of oily skin in the morning to help you devise a plan to reduce the problem. 

Cause #1 - Sebum Hyperactivity

Overactive sebaceous glands are an issue some people are prone to, and it can lead to excess oil production during the day. At night the extra oil release slows down, which could lead to dehydration. Naturally, this leads to more oil production so you wake with a greasy face.

Some people may develop a condition called sebaceous hyperplasia, which is the overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands, leading to excess oily skin. This often occurs due to a shift in levels of hormones like androgens and estrogen. 

An increase in levels at puberty can cause this problem and it’s also typical in women after menopause and men in their later years of life. The decline in androgens and other hormones at this time should slow oil production, but in some cases, it creates small lesions in the skin which leads to excess oil release instead.

Cause #2 - Stress

If you’re still asking yourself, “Why is my face greasy?” the answer may lie in the amount of stress you experience in your life. Excess anxiety causes your body to increase levels of the hormone cortisol. 

One of the effects of this is additional oil production from the sebaceous glands in the morning and throughout the day, making you more susceptible to breakouts. There are a number of ways to prevent oily skin, and decreasing your levels of daily stress is one of the most effective.

Cause #3 - Environment

Excess oil production may be caused by environmental factors such as pollution and climate. Pollutants in the air can get into your skin, causing free radical damage and blocking the pores. This may lead to excess oil production and increase your likelihood of developing acne.

People who live in a hot, humid climate may often wonder, “Why do I wake up with an oily face? The heat can cause the overproduction of oil in the sebaceous glands, which is a natural response to an increase in body temperature.

In the winter when the air is cold and dry, your skin may be more likely to lose moisture and become dehydrated. This can lead to excess oil production as your glands try to make up for the lack of hydration.

Cause #4 - Overwashing

If you wake with oily skin, your natural response may be to double cleanse in order to get rid of the added greasiness. But did you know that this approach could actually exacerbate the problem? While you should certainly use a cleanser as part of your morning and evening routine, overwashing may strip your complexion of the key oils it requires for a healthy balance. This can lead to excess sebum production in an effort to replace the needed oil.

Cause #5 - Genetics

In some people, oily skin may actually be an inherited trait, as it does run in families. If your parents and other close relatives have this issue, there’s a good chance that you could develop it as well. As such, the answer to the question, “Why does my face get oily when I sleep?” may lie in your biology 

Cause #6 -Treatments

There are some medications and other medical treatments which could exacerbate oily skin, including birth control pills and hormone replacement, steroids, and any medication which can lead to dehydration like laxatives, chemotherapy drugs, and diuretics. If you are taking any of these, you may have to look for ways to balance the oil production or ask your doctor if there are other options that may be less likely to cause this effect.

Cause #7 - Sweat and Oil

Some people naturally sweat excessively, and sweating can also be a response to hot, humid weather. The excess liquid on your skin can blend with oils, leading to an even greasier complexion. 

If you wake up with oily ears, the sweat may be blending with sebum and ear wax to create added greasiness. At night, you can slow excess sweat production by making sure you’re not sleeping in an overheated room. Set the temperature to slightly cool to decrease sweat release at night.

How to Get Rid of Oily Skin?

If oily skin in the morning is a persistent problem, you should be aware that there are a number of solutions that can help control excess sebum production to bring your complexion into optimal balance. These are some of our best tips to help you wake up every morning without excess oiliness. 


One of the best solutions to preventing nighttime dehydration is, of course, making sure you keep your skin adequately and richly hydrated. This means drinking enough water during the day, and including rich moisturizers and other skin care products in your regimen. 

If you are prone to waking up with oily skin, start your day with a deeply hydrating clarifying cleanser like Rejuvoderm. This formula will remove the excess grease, dead skin cells, and dirt buildup while keeping your moisture levels high. It also promotes a tighter, more elastic complexion and helps balance your skin tone. 

Clean Your Makeup Accessories 

Makeup accessories like brushes and sponges can collect bacteria, dirt, and oil if you do not clean them on a regular basis, which can get into the skin and clog the pores. This leads can stimulate oil production, for greasier skin. 

You should wash your accessories daily with a good cleanser, and carry out a deeper clean every 2 weeks if you wear makeup daily. In addition, regularly clean other items that you touch frequently or that come into contact with your face, like your glasses, phone screen, and hands. Finally, follow some of our other makeup tips for oily skin.

Don’t Over Exfoliate

If you often wake with oily skin, it’s a good idea to make sure to exfoliate once or twice a week to remove excess dirt, oil, and skin cells from the pores. However, it’s important not to do this more often, or to engage in excess rubbing or scrubbing when you do carry out the treatment. Over-exfoliating removes some of the necessary natural oils from your skin. Your sebaceous glands will then respond by producing more oil to compensate for the missing moisture.

Try Face & Body Mask 

Oily skin can benefit from a deep cleansing face and body mask with natural ingredients which penetrate deeply into the pores to get rid of bacteria, dirt, and oils. There are a number of high-quality products on the market for this purpose, and you should look for one that is oil-free and does not contain any artificial or chemical additives or preservatives. 

As with exfoliating, using a mask is not something that you should overdo. Carry out this treatment once a week and it should help you wake with a glowing, healthy, balanced complexion.


Question #1 -  Why is my face oily after skincare?

If you find that after you carry out your skincare routine your face is oily, the answer may lie in the types of products you are using. Skincare that contains oils can make your skin look greasy, as they do not absorb into your skin as rapidly as some of the other ingredients. Look for formulas that are oil-free and 100% pure and natural for the best results.

Oily skin may also occur after your routine if you are using products that are not suited to your skin type. If you’re unsure, speak to an esthetician or dermatologist to determine your type and build your skincare regimen accordingly.

Bottom Line 

Waking up with greasy skin is a common problem, but it’s certainly not an insurmountable issue. In this article, we have explained the primary causes of oily morning skin and provided you with some tips for how to address the issue. 

Explore the Solvaderm collection to build the ultimate routine for keeping your oily morning complexion at bay, as well as promoting optimal skin health. Our line contains products to cleanse your skin, exfoliate pores, slow oil production, and deeply moisturize your complexion to prevent dehydration. Order your favorites today and look forward to waking up with a fresh, oil-free appearance! 

Melissa Feldman

Melissa Feldman

Melissa Feldman lives in Toronto, Canada and works as an independent research writer. She has undergraduate degrees in both Teaching and Psychology, and a Master’s degree in Immigration. Melissa is skilled at writing compelling articles and producing academic, marketing, and creative content. She writes about a range of lifestyle topics, including health, fitness, beauty and nutrition. She has more than two decades of experience reviewing and editing publications intended for both public and professional audiences.

Written by Melissa Feldman

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