Goodbye Oily and Shiny Skin. The 100-Year-Old Ingredient You Never Heard of!

May 18, 2021 4 min read

Goodbye Oily and Shiny Skin. The 100-Year-Old Ingredient You Never Heard of!

Oily skin affects millions of people worldwide and can cause a significant decrease in quality life for many people.  It can oftentimes be challenging to treat and keep under control. Oily skin requires constant care and diligence. The good news is that there are treatments available that can help.


What causes oil production?

Oily skin is caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, environment, hormones, diet, stress, use of the wrong products, and improper care of the skin.  You cannot change your genetics but some of the other causes you can control.  Stick to diets rich in anti-oxidants and that have a low glycemic index.  Meditation and exercise can help mitigate stress.  You should only use oil-free, non-comedogenic products if you have oily skin.  Finally, you must wash your face and moisturize twice a day.  If oily skin does not get moisturized, it will think it needs to produce more oil. This will lead to excess oil on the skin and worsening of your oily skin and acne.


Why do I need oil?

Oil, also called sebum, is produced in the oil glands, or sebaceous glands, which reside in the dermis of the skin.  These oil glands are attached to the pores in your skin.  When the glands receive a message to secrete oil, they do so through your pores.  Oil is not a bad thing and you need it.  It keeps your skin from getting dehydrated as well as provides lubrication and protection for the skin.


What happens if I have too much oil?

However, when there is an overproduction of oil, this can lead to greasy, shiny skin that is prone to developing blackheads and acne.  When your skin is too oily, it is hard to get products to stay in place and makeup to look good.  People with oily skin are constantly wiping their skin all day long because they are embarrassed about their greasy face and the way it makes them look.  Also, this excess oil, along with dead skin cells, get trapped in your pores.  This creates blackheads and whiteheads.  If bacteria gets trapped as well, this leads to inflammatory acne bumps.  If left untreated, acne can lead to scarring and discoloration the skin.


The Benefits of Bixa Orellana

The new kid on the block, Bixa Orellana, can help keep this excess oil production under control.  Bixa orellana, also known as achiote, is a perennial shrub native to Brazil but also grown in other South American and Latin American countries as well as Africa, India and Indonesia (1, 2).  It was discovered over 100 years ago and since then it has been widely used due to its nontoxic nature and good skin tolerability profile (3).   It is an all-natural ingredient which works gently on the skin without being harsh, making it a good choice for those who also have inflamed skin.  Here are the many benefits of using Bixa.

  • Decreases oil production by inhibiting the production of lipids produced by the sebaceous glands (4)
  • Decreases pore size (4)
  • Decreases shininess (4)
  • Fights the bacteria that causes acne (5)
  • Reduces inflammation (5)
  • Moisturizes the skin without making it greasy (4)
  • Helps modulate the immune system to help fight staph infections (6)
  • Source of vitamin E, which is an anti-oxidant that can prevent collagen degradation by the sun and wrinkle formation (7)
  • Protects against UV induced DNA damage by the sun that leads to skin cancer formation (8)
  • Has anti-melanoma activity (9)



Bixa may be a newcomer to the beauty industry, but it has many advantages especially for people with oily skin.  Oily skin can be difficult to treat.  You can modify your behaviors, but topical treatments are usually necessary.  Bixa can help control oily skin and acne in a gentle manner while delivering much needed moisture to prevent overproduction of oil and worsening of your condition.


Dr. Jennifer Trent


About the author

Dr Trent is a


  1. Vilar Dde A, Vilar MS, de Lima e Moura TF, Raffin FN, de Oliveira MR, Franco CF, de Athayde-Filho PF, Diniz Mde F, Barbosa-Filho JM. Traditional uses, chemical constituents, and biological activities of Bixa orellana L.: a review. ScientificWorldJournal. 2014;2014:857292.
  2. Raddatz-Mota D, Pérez-Flores LJ, Carrari F, Mendoza-Espinoza JA, de León-Sánchez FD, Pinzón-López LL, Godoy-Hernández G, Rivera-Cabrera F. Achiote (Bixa orellana L.): a natural source of pigment and vitamin E. J Food Sci Technol. 2017 May;54(6):1729-1741.
  3. Germano MP, de Pasquale R, Rapisarda A, Monteleone D, Keita A, Sanogo R. Drugs used in Africa as dyes: I. Skin absorption and tolerability of Bixa orellana L. Phytomedicine. 1997 Jun;4(2):129-31.
  5. Pacheco SDG, Gasparin AT, Jesus CHA, Sotomaior BB, Ventura ACSSB, Redivo DDB, Cabrini DA, Gaspari Dias JF, Miguel MD, Miguel OG, da Cunha JM. Antinociceptive and Anti-Inflammatory Effects of Bixin, a Carotenoid Extracted from the Seeds of Bixa orellana. Planta Med. 2019 Nov;85(16):1216-1224.
  6. Pierpaoli E, Orlando F, Cirioni O, Simonetti O, Giacometti A, Provinciali M. Supplementation with tocotrienols from Bixa orellana improves the in vivo efficacy of daptomycin against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in a mouse model of infected wound. Phytomedicine. 2017 Dec 1;36:50-53.
  7. Afonso CR, Hirano RS, Gaspar AL, Chagas EGL, Carvalho RA, Silva FV, Leonardi GR, Lopes PS, Silva CF, Yoshida CMP. Biodegradable antioxidant chitosan films useful as an anti-aging skin mask. Int J Biol Macromol. 2019 Jul 1;132:1262-1273.
  8. Rojo de la Vega M, Zhang DD, Wondrak GT.Topical Bixin Confers NRF2-Dependent Protection Against Photodamage and Hair Graying in Mouse Skin. Front Pharmacol. 2018 Mar 27;9:287.
  9. de Oliveira Júnior RG, Bonnet A, Braconnier E, Groult H, Prunier G, Beaugeard L, Grougnet R, da Silva Almeida JRG, Ferraz CAA, Picot L. Bixin, an apocarotenoid isolated from Bixa orellana L., sensitizes human melanoma cells to dacarbazine-induced apoptosis through ROS-mediated cytotoxicity. Food Chem Toxicol. 2019 Mar;125:549-561.

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