How to Reduce the Size of Oil Glands on the Face

Large facial oil glands are likely to occur in people with oily skin and big pores. Oil glands are usually microscopic and not noticeable but, in some people, they can turn into little tumors called sebaceous hyperplasia papules. These white, hard bumps will not pop like a pimple; instead they must be treated in a dermatologist's office. California-based board-certified dermatologist Cynthia Bailey recommends taking care of enlarged oil glands with a proper skin care routine and a visit to your dermatologist.

Young woman washing off her face. (Image: petrunjela/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Wash your face twice daily with a cleanser containing retinol. This helps rid your skin of toxins, unclogs your pores and can actually make the pores appear smaller. Other beneficial, over-the-counter facial wash ingredients include benzoyl peroxide, sulfur and salicylic acid. Wash your face using small, upward circles, and leave the cleanser on for at least 30 seconds. Rinse with warm water and pat your skin dry with a clean towel.

Step 2

Pour some toner on a cotton ball and swipe along your entire face. While this won't help get rid of enlarged glands, it does aid in keeping your skin free from acne-causing bacteria, dead skin cells and sebum that clog pores. Find an alcohol-free toner that contains retinoids, antioxidants and exfoliants. Follow the toner up with a noncomedegenic, fragrance-free moisturizer -- even if you have oily skin. This helps return necessary hydration to your skin so your glands don't go into overdrive trying to compensate for the dryness caused by any medication.

Step 3

Visit a board-certified dermatologist and ask about a prescription of azelaic acid. This medication helps ward off common skin bacteria such as Proprionobacterium acnes and Staphylococcus epidermidis, and is thought to normalize processes within the gland. In addition, New York-based dermatologist Dr. Neal Schultz says the prescription medication Accutane is extremely effective in reducing sebaceous hyperplasia; however, it isn't FDA-approved for this specifically. Your dermatologist may also discuss your going on an anti-androgen medication, which can reduce testosterone and suppress oil gland stimulation.

Step 4

Have the bumps from the enlarged oil glands removed with an in-office procedure. According to Schultz, giant oil glands can disappear when a strong acid applied to the oil gland turns it white, leaves a crust and then falls off in 10 days. When you have a lot of sebaceous hyperplasia papules, the doctor can use a laser treatment called photodynamic therapy. The laser activates a medicated solution around your entire face to dissolve the oil gland. This is a quick procedure with no downtime.

Step 5

Stay out of the sun. Wear a wide-brimmed hat when walking around outdoors, and slather on a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF 30. According to Paula Begoun, author of "Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me," prolonged sun exposure and damage is considered a factor in sebaceous hyperplasia. Prolonged sunlight exposure can damage your oil glands, which is why it's crucial to reapply sunscreen several times a day and use a facial moisturizer that has one built in.

Things You'll Need

  • Face wash

  • Clean towel

  • Cotton balls

  • Toner

  • Oil-free moisturizer

  • Prescription medications, if recommended

  • Sunscreen SPF-30

Load comments

Copyright © 2019 Leaf Group Ltd. Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of the LIVESTRONG.COM Terms of Use , Privacy Policy and Copyright Policy . The material appearing on LIVESTRONG.COM is for educational use only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. LIVESTRONG is a registered trademark of the LIVESTRONG Foundation. The LIVESTRONG Foundation and LIVESTRONG.COM do not endorse any of the products or services that are advertised on the web site. Moreover, we do not select every advertiser or advertisement that appears on the web site-many of the advertisements are served by third party advertising companies.