Sebum is an interesting substance responsible for waterproofing the skin and providing a barrier against transepidermal water loss, but also a nutrition source for bacterial and fungal organisms.
One of the most widely used techniques for decreasing facial oil is the use of blotting papers, especially popular in East Asian nations. Women commonly carry a small case with round or square tissue papers in Japan. These papers resemble tissue paper and are pressed into the skin on the medial cheeks and nose to absorb oil. The paper is then discarded and a fresh one used until all of the oil has been absorbed. The presence of oil on the face is considered socially unacceptable. Controlling facial oil is a challenge in the more tropical climates, such as Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore. Whether or not the use of papers can aid in the control of acne or seborrheic dermatitis is unknown; however, they are felt to be part of good facial hygiene.