Are some parts of your face shiny and greasy, while other spots feel normal or even dry? If so, then you probably have combination skin — different skin types in different areas of the face. Here’s an easy routine for your combination complexion.
What is combination skin?
Combination skin is part oily, part dry. Typically, the oily areas are located on the T-zone, which consists of the forehead, nose and chin. Cheeks are usually more on the dry side, but the degrees of oiliness and dryness can vary. The T-zone also tends to have larger pores and is prone to breakouts, while the cheeks may feel rough and irritated.
The “tissue test”
Not sure if you have combination skin? Take a tissue and press it against your face. If there's oil on the tissue where it touched your T-zone, but no oil where the tissue touched your cheeks, you most likely have combination skin.
If you’re still not sure, consult an esthetician or dermatologist.
Causes of combination skin
- Hormonal changes can lead to changes in skin's oiliness or dryness. Teens and young adults tend to have oilier skin, especially in the T-zone. But, with age, hormones change and the oil production may decrease. Also, hormones change due to menstruation and the birth control pill, which can make skin oilier in certain areas.
- Lipids also play a role in combination skin. These proteins affect skin's softness and feel. When lipids aren't evenly spread throughout the skin, certain areas will feel drier and rougher, while other areas may feel soft but oily or greasy. The organization of lipids in skin is due to genetics and hormones.
- Weather can exacerbate combination skin. Dry, cold weather can cause skin to lose moisture and become irritated. Conversely, hot humid weather can increase oil production. This can affect your T-zone as well as your cheeks.
Caring for combination skin
Combination skin requires special care to balance the oily and dry areas of the face. Here’s your simple, step-by-step skincare routine.
Exfoliate. Regular exfoliation sloughs off dry, dead, rough skin cells, which leaves the skin looking luminous and fresh and helps products penetrate into the skin. If you don’t exfoliate the skin, dead skin cells build up and block pores, causing blemishes and blackheads.
- Cleanse. People with combination skin often have difficulty finding a cleanser that works for their unique skin needs. Formulas designed for oily skin may dry out the delicate skin on the cheeks, while formulas designed for dry skin may cause breakouts and oiliness in the T-zone.
For the perfect solution, use a foaming or gel cleanser to get rid of dirt and oil without irritating or drying out your skin.
Moisturize. Combination skin needs balance, and part of that balance means properly moisturizing your skin. Moisturizing is especially important for drier areas of the face, but your entire face needs hydration.
You may choose to use separate moisturizers — a lightweight one for the T-zone and a heavier one for cheeks — or a special moisturizer designed for combination skin. Pay careful attention to dry areas, as they may require more frequent moisturizing than oily areas.
Generally, experts recommend moisturizing dry areas twice a day and moisturizing oily areas once a day. Keep in mind that your individual skin has unique needs, so you might want to adjust your moisturizer, including how often you use it, where you need it and how much you need.
Protect. Like all other skin types, combination skin needs protection from the sun. UVA and UVB rays can damage skin, so use oil-free sunblock all over your face daily (and on any other exposed areas).
In addition to your basic skincare routine, you might need additional products to treat any special concerns.
- Try a mask. Incorporate a mask once a week to treat specific issues. Try using a hydrating mask on dry areas like the cheeks, and a deep cleaning mask on the oilier areas. Or consider a mask designed for combination skin like Pevonia Balancing Combination Mask, which removes impurities to help prevent breakouts, and also moisturizes the skin.
- Fight breakouts. If you experience breakouts, which may occur around the T-zone, use acne treatment products with salicylic acid, which are gentler on the skin. For problem skin, try Murad Acne Spot Treatment.
- Consider essential oils. Try mixing a few drops of chamomile, lavender or ylang ylang into your regular moisturizer. These particular oils have natural balancing and antibacterial properties. But, skip the oils if you have sensitive skin or are pregnant.
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