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What are the evolutionary advantages of oily skin?

oily skin

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#1 ascetic

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 05:53 PM

Seriously, what are they?

#2 dykim90

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 06:12 PM

there are none. its a disease not a trait that is part of evolution. it may be passed down to generations but its not an advantage however some say it gives the person fewer wrinkles later in life.

#3 pea*nut*butter

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 06:51 PM

The job of the sebaceous (oil) glands in your skin is to lubricate your skin so as to minimize the friction between your skin and your mother's when you're being born. They also protect your skin from dryness.

No joke. They seem to be overstimulated by male hormones later on in life. Acne might just be another evolutionary remnant, just like wisdom teeth and male nipples.

#4 bryan

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 07:33 PM

I haven't posted this in a long time, so it's time to do it again for the sake of any newbies out there. I can fully accept what Kligman and his colleagues say about how there probably isn't any real purpose for sebum at all. I think he hit the nail on the head when he said that the sebaceous glands are just "living fossils". Here, read this carefully:

"Sebum Secretion and Sebaceous Lipids", Stewart et al, Dermatologic Clinics -- Vol. 1, No. 3, July 1983.

Sebum is an oily substance that is secreted onto the skin surface from glands located in the dermis. Although a number of useful functions have been proposed for sebum, proof that sebum performs any of them is lacking. In furred mammals an essential function of sebum is to supply 7-dehydrocholesterol, which is converted to vitamin D by the action of sunlight and then ingested by the animal as it grooms itself. In man, however, the location of 7-dehydrocholesterol has been shown to be the epidermis rather than sebum. Sebum may act as a waterproofing agent for fur, but humans obviously have little need for this function. Kligman has specifically disproved the notions that sebum improves the barrier function of skin, that sebum helps to regulate the water content of the horny layer by forming emulsions with sweat, or that sebum on the skin surface is fungistatic or antibacterial.(21) Kligman regards the human sebaceous glands as 'living fossils' that lost their usefulness to our species as we lost our fur.(21)

(21) Kligman, A. M.: The uses of sebum? In Montagna, W., Ellis, R. A., and Silver, A. F. (eds.): Advances in the Biology of Skin. Volume 4. Oxford, Pergamon Press, 1963.

#5 bryan

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 07:45 PM

QUOTE (Spikey @ May 2 2010, 06:51 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The job of the sebaceous (oil) glands in your skin....They also protect your skin from dryness.


Nope. They have no measurable effect on dryness in your skin.

#6 spectacled_owl

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Posted 02 May 2010 - 08:08 PM

Now if only we could yank out our sebaceous glands rolleyes.gif

#7 rutgers7

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 10:12 PM

Awesome question. I've always wondered this.

Modern science has some interesting explanations for oily skin (as well as for wisdom teeth), but it doesn't have all the answers. In fact, some scientists and doctors are not candid, and are motivated by ulterior motives....mainly, money.

From bryan's post above, Kilgman asserts that sebum is a "living fossil." This could be completely wrong. In fact, by making this assertion, Kilgman is able to target a wider marketing base. If Kilgman can convince you that oily skin is unnecessary, then you are more likely to seek the services of a dermatologist. And, hence, he wins! (Of course, he could be right, but there's not enough research to say either way.)

To me, oily skin appears to help prevent the aging process. There appears to be a correlation between younger-looking skin with the amount of sebum produced. An experiment to try to verify this would be having a group judge the age of a person and the amount of sebum their skin produces.

Kilgman also disproved that sebum is a barrier. I would definitely hold off on making this assertion. Sebum might just help protect us against sun cancer. The number of people developing sun cancer has increased, as well as the number of people targeting their sebum production. It'll be hard to ascertain what's causing what.

Kilgman's work, nonetheless, is a start in the area. Even if he has ulterior motives, his work definitely helps to get the ball moving. Of course, if I was to go into dermatology, I wouldn't want to find any evidence that disproves him. His work, as it stands, would ultimately help to bring me more clients because if a person is convinced that oily skin is unnecessary and unsightly, they're more likely to see a dermatologist.

Edited by rutgers7, 04 May 2010 - 10:17 PM.


#8 rutgers7

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Posted 04 May 2010 - 10:19 PM

QUOTE (bryan @ May 2 2010, 07:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nope. They have no measurable effect on dryness in your skin.


You don't know. Be very careful to make assertions like this. You should have said, "current research in the area does not show that there is any measurable effect on the dryness in your skin." There's not enough research to show either way, and plus, this would be very hard to measure.

#9 bryan

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 06:41 AM

QUOTE (rutgers7 @ May 4 2010, 10:19 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (bryan @ May 2 2010, 07:45 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Nope. They have no measurable effect on dryness in your skin.


You don't know. Be very careful to make assertions like this. You should have said, "current research in the area does not show that there is any measurable effect on the dryness in your skin." There's not enough research to show either way, and plus, this would be very hard to measure.


I'm just reflecting Kligman's and his colleagues' views on this issue, for which I have tremendous respect. Since you seem to be new here, you probably haven't seen the excerpt below, either, just like you hadn't seen the one earlier in this thread. It's another excerpt from a review article published in a medical journal, and (again) quotes some seminal early work from the legendary Dr. A. M. Kligman MD, PhD, who seemed to specialize in debunking popular myths about sebum and sebaceous glands! smile.gif The emphasis in bold and italics is from the original article:

Journal of Investigative Dermatology. 1987 Mar;88(3 Suppl):2s-6s.
"Skin lipids: an update"
Downing DT, Stewart ME, Wertz PW, Colton SW, Abraham W, Strauss JS.

(excerpt from this article follows below, including the references...)

Sebum and Dry Skin "...skin can be healthy and have charming cosmetic properties in the virtual absence of sebum." (14)

Kligman drew attention to prepubertal children, who produce almost no sebum, to support his thesis that skin does not depend upon sebum for maintaining its barrier to water loss: "...there can be no doubt of the insignificance of sebum as a waterproofing material." (14) Our recent studies at the other end of the human age spectrum have supported this conviction. In a survey of sebum secretion rates and the incidence of dry skin among subjects aged 65 to 97, no correlation was found between sebaceous gland activity and the presence or severity of dry skin (34). Kligman recognized that sebum could mask the scaliness of dry skin without producing any actual change in the condition: "Sebum, like any oil, has some emollient or smoothing effect when a sufficient quantity is rubbed into dry, scaling skin." (14) In spite of the clear inference to be drawn from the cutaneous characteristics of children and the experimental data obtained from the elderly, it remains difficult to dispel the myth that low sebum secretion rates cause dry skin. It is a rare individual who realizes that "dry" is not the obverse of "oily".

(14) Kligman AM: The uses of sebum. Br J Dermatol 75: 307-319, 1963

(34) Frantz RA, Kinney CK, Downing DT: A study of skin dryness in the elderly. Nursing Res 35: 98-100, 1986.

#10 rutgers7

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Posted 05 May 2010 - 10:29 PM

QUOTE (bryan @ May 5 2010, 07:41 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm just reflecting Kligman's and his colleagues' views on this issue, for which I have tremendous respect.


Oh, how rude! Just because he has a few degrees...and published a few literary works doesn't mean I'm not right. Where's my respect?!?! Haha, just playing.

His work looks great. I'll definitely have to read up about it sometime. Thanks for the citation.

Edited by rutgers7, 05 May 2010 - 10:33 PM.


#11 BH749

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Posted 25 November 2010 - 02:11 PM

Edit/delete


Edited by BH749, 25 April 2013 - 01:35 AM.


#12 roderick9van

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 03:29 AM

The great advantage of oily skin is that it ages at a slower rate than other skin types.
Oily skin needs special cleansing with plenty of hot water and soap to prevent the pores from being clogged. Avoid harsh products that strip your skin of oil and encourage flakiness. They can cause a reaction known as reactive seborrhoea, where the oil glands work overtime to compensate for the loss of natural oils.

Avoid skincare products that leave your skin feeling taut and dehydrated. They cause the upper layers of the skin to shrink. This restricts oil flow through the pores leading to blockages and breakouts.

To cleanse oily skin, use oil-based products as they dissolve sebum effectively. Opt for oil-free moisturizers to maintain a shine-free complexion.

Keep your skin very clean. Limit washing your face to two or three times a day. Too much washing will stimulate your skin to produce more oil.

Choose your cleanser with care. Avoid heavy cleansing creams. Avoid the use of harsh soaps or cleansers. Use a pure soap with no artificial additives. Try an antibacterial cleansing lotion or a lightly medicated soap, and use it in combination with a water rich in minerals, not tap water. Do not use cleansers or lotions that contain alcohol. After cleansing, apply a natural oil-free moisturizer to keep the skin supple.

Use hot water when washing your face. Hot water dissolves skin oil better than lukewarm or cold water.

If your skin is extremely oily, three or four daily cleansings may be in order and little or no moisturizing necessary before you are 30 years old. After that point, the skin around your eyes and mouth and on your throat may benefit from a nightly moisturizing, plus a mere touch of moisturizer in the morning.

When cleansing, massage your face well with your fingertips, using an upward and outward motion. Be careful not to rub soap into the skin; it can clog pores.

If your oily skin is scaly, you can often correct the problem by using a deep-cleaning exfoliant on alternate nights, and following the treatment with a light coating of moisturizer.

Try using a clay or mud mask. If you have sensitive skin, use white or rose-colored clays.

Use a light antiseptic night cream from time to time if you wish, and apply a clarifying mask one or two times a week.

Choose cosmetic and facial care products specifically designed for oily skin.

Before applying makeup, use an antiseptic day cream with active ingredients that diminish sebaceous secretions. Look for benzyl peroxide in the list of active ingredients.

Use a light antiseptic night cream from time to time if you wish, and apply a clarifying mask one or two times a week.

#13 Addie

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 05:51 AM

Sebum serves a purpose in other primates (and other mammals) because they lick it off their fur to get vitamin D. We don't need it because we don't have fur, but it's still preserved as a primitive trait. Therefore we don't exactly need it: It's purpose is to plague acne sufferers everywhere. Sources: lectures in a human variation (mostly genetics) class and a primate class taught by different professors.

#14 Guest_fugleee_dumbBUNNY_*

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Posted 26 November 2010 - 07:33 AM

naah i dont think there is any, its a flaw, a mistake, shit happened, u r screwed, call it whatever,
and i dont think we are evolved at all, with all those lame diseases, errors and all shit, i think we still have a long way to normal beautiful healthy human being, and that sucks, bcs we dont have all day to wait, riight? dry.gif

#15 bryan

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 09:32 AM

QUOTE (roderick9van @ Nov 26 2010, 03:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The great advantage of oily skin is that it ages at a slower rate than other skin types.


A number of people have made that claim from time to time, but I've never seen any medical support for it. Have you?

QUOTE (roderick9van @ Nov 26 2010, 03:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Avoid harsh products that strip your skin of oil and encourage flakiness. They can cause a reaction known as reactive seborrhoea, where the oil glands work overtime to compensate for the loss of natural oils. [...]

Keep your skin very clean. Limit washing your face to two or three times a day. Too much washing will stimulate your skin to produce more oil.


You must be new here! smile.gif Washing one's skin doesn't stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. That's just an old Urban Myth which has been debunked on this forum a whole bunch of times over the years. A couple of world-class dermatologists thoroughly disproved that theory more than 50 years ago.

#16 john1234

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Posted 30 November 2010 - 10:36 AM

It's a chicken-egg question. Does oily skin prevent skin from aging? Or does aging decrease sebum production, and similarly, does younger skin tend to produce more sebum? And then there is the aesthetic factor. Oily skin looks more dewy and younger -- and since skin is skin-deep, it doesn't matter what's going on in the cellular level. If oily skin makes you look younger, then yes, oily skin does at least give the appearance of aging less.

Furthermore, oily skin is an example of a active thyroid. As you know, younger people have higher metabolism and will produce more sebum. So oily skin can be an indicator of youth as well.

QUOTE (bryan @ Nov 30 2010, 09:32 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
QUOTE (roderick9van @ Nov 26 2010, 03:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
The great advantage of oily skin is that it ages at a slower rate than other skin types.


A number of people have made that claim from time to time, but I've never seen any medical support for it. Have you?

QUOTE (roderick9van @ Nov 26 2010, 03:29 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Avoid harsh products that strip your skin of oil and encourage flakiness. They can cause a reaction known as reactive seborrhoea, where the oil glands work overtime to compensate for the loss of natural oils. [...]

Keep your skin very clean. Limit washing your face to two or three times a day. Too much washing will stimulate your skin to produce more oil.


You must be new here! smile.gif Washing one's skin doesn't stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. That's just an old Urban Myth which has been debunked on this forum a whole bunch of times over the years. A couple of world-class dermatologists thoroughly disproved that theory more than 50 years ago.



#17 03GT

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Posted 30 March 2011 - 04:56 PM

Keeps skin and hair pliable, lubcrating, and waterproofing

/thread

#18 Reti

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 05:49 PM

All genes have some cost/benefit aspect to them. If you don’t find one, you didn’t look hard enough for it. It’s a simple concept of systems science and evolutionary dynamics. To put it simply: it’s just trait perpetuance. If the trait subsists in the pool at significant levels over time, then there's some aspect of it that is improving the statistical chances of its continuance.

Assuming there’s a genetic basis for acne in the first place (which I’m not entirely certain is the case), probably the opposite of what something like isotrentoin causes.

So I would guess strong bones and flexible tendons & ligaments are the evolutionary benefit of the cost of acne in those that have the genetic predisposition for it, since isotrentinoin weakens bones and calcifies tendons & ligaments over time.

I've never broken a major bone in my body and was a very active kid. The only bone I ever broke was a little toe, and that was while I was on super doses of Vitamin A for over a year and hit it REALLY hard.

And I've always been very flexible and don't feel good unless I've stretched and gotten exercise.

I tend to think it’s not genetic, though. None of my brothers have acne, but none of them started using OTC face products like acne washes or Noxzema wipes prior to ever getting a zit. I did, as a precaution after health class in junior high. I suspect the crap in that stuff actually begins the feedback cycle that is Acne.

Feedback effects. That’s another Systems concept.


#19 Reti

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 05:53 PM

And I disagree that this is an issue of oily skin. I don't think the trait, if there is one causing anything here, is about hyper-active oil production. Only my face is oily. And my hands can get dry in the winter like anyone's.

#20 radikal

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Posted 03 April 2011 - 08:31 PM

QUOTE (Reti @ Apr 3 2011, 05:53 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
And I disagree that this is an issue of oily skin. I don't think the trait, if there is one causing anything here, is about hyper-active oil production. Only my face is oily. And my hands can get dry in the winter like anyone's.


So you get acne on your palms as well? How unfortunate, if I follow your argument correctly that is. eusa_think.gif
The face gets oily because there's an order of magnitude more sebaceous glands on the face than on other areas of the body. There are none on the palms. When they malfunction, it's visible on the face an order of magnitude more.
I will assume you didn't know that, or else you should hang out with Sir Bevedere.