What Causes Shiny Skin: A Complete Guide

what causes shiny skin
Written by Allison

What causes shiny skin? A few things.

Dewy skin is in, but shiny skin? Maybe not. For those of us with oily skin or hormonally temperamental skin (hello, probiotics for acne!), that may just be a fact of life. But what causes shiny skin if your skin isn’t oily? And what can you do to stop it? We’re digging into all of the nitty gritty.

what causes shiny skin

First of all, lets talk medical issues.

The bulk of this article is going to focus on cosmetic/skincare reasons, but there are also medical problems that can cause shiny skin. What causes shiny skin and needs to be treated by a doctor? Two of the main potential issues are scleroderma and peripheral artery disease.

Scleroderma is a rare group of diseases that causes your skin to harden and tighten in patches. If you’re having patches of skin become so tight it appears shiny, see your favorite doctor as soon as possible.

Peripheral Artery Disease, on the other hand, will mostly have shiny skin on your legs. That coupled with cold feeling in the legs and loss of hair on the legs means you should visit your doctor. These, of course, are not the only medical conditions that present with shiny skin. If you are concerned about your health, a doctor is a good choice of second step.

What causes shiny skin, for oily skin types?

Those of us with oily skin may have shiny skin on a daily basis. Oil secretions tend to rear their shiny heads in the T-zone of the face. This is the forehead and down the nose and chin. Your natural oils can pop up here and make your skin appear shiny.

Feeling like your face is covered in a layer of oil? You may have to blame mom and dad. For a lot of us, genetics and hormones are the number one reason of what causes shiny skin. To beat the oily look keep blotting papers and setting powder on hand. Use the blotting papers to remove excess oil and powder to matte things down. Oily skin tends to change over time, and certain medications can also effect this.

What causes shiny skin for non-oily people?

If you don’t have naturally oily skin, and you’re in good health there are still many reasons your skin may look shiny. One of the more popular reasons is due to over exfoliation or harsh cleansers. You can exfoliate your skin (both chemically and manually) to the point that your skin gets extra dry and tight. Same things go for harsh cleansers! The tightening of the skin can cause your skin to look shiny, even if it’s dry. The key to avoiding this is to slow your roll on the exfoliation front and to apply a moisturizer ASAP. Reduce your exfoliant to something gentle and only use it once a week. Switching to a hydrating cleanser is also a good idea. Check out our list of the best exfoliators for oil skin.

Your products may also make your skin look shiny. One popular culprit is sunscreen. Many sunscreens have a shiny finish! But, you should really keep up your daily sunscreen game. To solve this you can apply a matte powder wherever necessary to dull down the shine. You get the best of both worlds: not too shiny skin, and your favorite SPF.

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About the author


Bio: She's a New Orleans based beauty writer, nail polish hoarder, and doughnut enthusiast. When she isn't camping out in her local coffee shop for hours on end, you'll probably find her taking selfies in front of every colorful wall she's ever seen. Follow along on Instagram @allisonmarieschmidt.

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