Is your skin dry in some areas and oily in others? Combination skin can be tricky to tackle and often feels like a balancing act. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to this skin type, we have a few tips and tricks to help you find a happy medium. Read on to learn more about your combination skin and how to manage it.
What Is Combination Skin?
Like all skin types, combination skin is genetic. Generally, this skin type is characterized by non-uniform oil production: more active oil glands in the T-zone and less active oil glands elsewhere. As a result, it tends to display characteristics of oily skin (large pores, shine, blackheads) on the forehead, jaw and nose, and characteristics of dry skin (flaky skin, dullness, fine lines and wrinkles) on the cheeks, jawline and hairline. This contrast can be amplified by hormonal influences and environmental factors that exacerbate oily and dry skin symptoms.
Combination skin is characterized by non-uniform oil production: more active oil glands in the T-zone and less active oil glands elsewhere.
5 Signs That You Have Combination Skin
1. you have oily and dry spots.
Wash your face, leave it bare and wait one hour. Does your skin look and feel oily in your T-zone, but normal or dry on your cheeks and jawline? If so, you likely have combination skin. This skin type is exactly as it sounds - a combination of multiple skin types - and, as a result, you’ll experience both oily and dry patches on your complexion.
2. You have larger pores on your nose, chin and forehead.
Combination skin is characterized by overactive oil glands in the T-zone. As a result, the nose, chin and forehead of combination skin are more prone to clogged pores. When sebum builds inside pores, they must expand to account for the excess oil, giving them an enlarged appearance. Luckily, they can shrink back to their normal size (more on this below).
3. You experience mild breakouts and dryness at the same time.
Clogged pores often equal breakouts. Due to excess oil production, combination skin often displays occasional and mild breakouts, particularly during hormonal fluctuations like monthly menstruation. These blemishes tend to concentrate in the T-zone, where oil glands are most active, while areas around the cheeks, jawline and hairline will still feel dry.
4. Your makeup looks patchy.
Does your makeup slip off your T-zone and cling to your cheeks? Odds are, you’re dealing with a combination skin type. If your makeup is looking patchy by midday, the best fix is to optimize your skin care routine for your skin type. Continue reading for our recommended steps and solutions.
5. Your skin gets oilier in summer and drier in winter.
With combination skin, your oily-to-dry ratio tends to fluctuate with the seasons. During summer, heat and humidity cause sebum production to increase, causing the T-zone to feel extra oily and your dry spots to feel more “normal.” During winter, the opposite occurs: Environmental exposure sucks moisture from your skin and your T-zone will feel “normal” while your dry spots will feel drier.
Combination Skin Care Routine
Combination skin is the most common skin type, but it’s also one of the most difficult to treat, as you have to adopt a two-pronged approach to skin care. The goal: Control excess oil in your T-zone and amp up the moisture in your dry spots. Here are the skin care steps we recommend taking to keep your complexion in check.
Unsurprisingly, combination skin often needs a different type of cleansing at different times of day. We recommend using a gentle foaming cleanser in the morning to absorb oil and switching to a cream based cleanser at night to replenish lost moisture. Most importantly, go gentle! You want to effectively remove dirt, oil and debris without exposing your skin to harsh chemicals that can intensify feelings of dryness and trigger even greater oil production.
Clogged pores are a common characteristic of combination skin. Eminence Organics Product Support Representative Alicia Hawthorne recommends exfoliating regularly to help eliminate buildup on the skin’s surface as well as unclog and minimize pores. But, don’t go overboard. Opt for a non-abrasive exfoliant that will be kind to your complexion.
Product Pick: Stone Crop Oxygenating Fizzofoliant
Toners are built for balance, making them the perfect addition to a combination skin care routine. That said, not all toners are created equal: To keep combination skin in balance, seek out toners that include antioxidant-rich and anti-inflammatory ingredients. The best toners will minimize shine and replenish moisture to promote a healthy and balanced complexion.
Product Pick: Red Currant Mattifying Mist
A great way to tackle combination skin is by multi-masking. Made for combination skin, this technique involves applying two or more face masks to address multiple skin concerns at once. We recommend that you apply a clay mask to your T-zone to absorb oil, tackle breakouts and refine pores. Then, add a cream mask to the normal-to-dry areas of your face to replenish moisture and soften dry skin.
Product Pick: Balancing Masque Duo
When you have combination skin, it can feel as though you’re battling skin concerns from opposite sides of the spectrum. Products that replenish moisture can feel too rich for your oily skin, and those that zap oil can leave you feeling tight and dry. Adding a lactic acid treatment to your skin care routine is one way to even the playing field: This AHA gently removes pore-clogging buildup and helps skin retain moisture.
Product Pick: Mangosteen Daily Resurfacing Concentrate
With combination skin, oily and dry areas need to be treated differently. Often, the best course of action is to divide and conquer: Apply an oil-balancing moisturizer to your T-zone to control shine and a richer moisturizer on your cheeks for hydration. If you are set on using one moisturizer for your entire face, Allure suggests opting for a lightweight lotion that combines mattifying ingredients like salicylic acid with hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid.
Do you have combination skin? We’d love to hear how you tackle this tricky skin type. Share your thoughts with us in the comments below or on social media.