How to Increase Sebum


Sebum is oil made by sebaceous glands. It collects around hair follicles and spreads to the surrounding skin. Sebum works together with skin lipids and sweat to create what is referred to as an acid mantle. An insufficient amount of sebum makes skin susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections while too much of it can result in acne. The proper balance both protects the skin and keeps it well hydrated.

Things You'll Need

  • Vitamins A, B1, C, E
  • Chromium
  • Folic acid
  • Ginkgo biloba
  • L-arginine
  • L-tyrosine
  • Magnesium
  • Nitric acid
  • Selenium
  • Zinc
  • Apricots
  • Fruit and vegetable juices
  • Legumes
  • Liver
  • Nuts
  • Papaya
  • Persimmons
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Wheat and whole grain products
  • Water
Woman with long, healthy hair.
Woman with long, healthy hair. (Image: puhhha/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Remove comedones like acne, blackheads, pimples and whiteheads. Blocked comedones won't allow skin ducts to release enough sebum, which can lead to acne, bacterial infections and other skin problems.

Young girl with acne.
Young girl with acne. (Image: Image Source/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Step 2

Stimulate androgen production by increasing the effectiveness of the sebaceous glands. This can be achieved by using vitamins and supplements as well as by eating the right foods. Vitamins A, B1, C and E, chromium, folic acid, and Ginkgo biloba are believed to increase androgen. Supplements like L-arginine, L-tyrosine, magnesium, nitric acid, selenium, and zinc can help as well. Good food options include bananas, figs, and raw oysters that are believed to increase androgen production.

Raw oysters.
Raw oysters. (Image: Serge_Bertasius/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 3

Work with a physician to balance estrogen and progesterone. In some cases, hormone imbalance can affect the amount of sebum produced. Children at puberty through their teen years often produce too much, which can lead to acne. Older individuals--especially women of menopausal age and beyond--find an imbalance often leads to insufficient amounts of sebum production.

Work with physician.
Work with physician. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Valueline/Getty Images)

Step 4

Use medications that increase sebum production. These include levonorgestrel, medroxyprogesterone, phenothiazines and testosterone. Avoid medications that can affect sebum production like antiandorgens, isotretinoin and oestrogen.

Medication. (Image: Medioimages/Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Step 5

Eat nutritious foods believed to help sebum production. These include apricots, foods with anti-oxidants, beta-carotene, brewer’s yeast, legumes, liver, natural fruit and vegetable juices, nuts, papaya, persimmons, potatoes, sweet potatoes, wheat and whole grain products. Avoid foods that lead to the wrong type of oil production and skin inflammation. These include certain dairy products, foods containing iodine, processed foods, refined carbohydrates, salt, seaweed, shellfish and trans-fats.

Eat apricots.
Eat apricots. (Image: Blue Jean Images/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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Tips & Warnings

  • Stay away from foods that could cause allergic reaction or clogged pores, such as alcohol, chocolate, iodine and wheat products.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep skin pores open and to flush away toxins that can lead to skin issues.
  • Cleanse the skin regularly to keep pores unclogged so that sebum can seep through naturally. Use all natural skin cleansers or water-based products.
  • Certain illnesses like adrenal conditions, anorexia or bulimia, nodules, ovarian, pituitary and testicular conditions and Parkinson’s disease naturally decrease sebum production.


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