6 Can’t-Miss Signs Of Combination Skin And Simple Solutions
It’s difficult enough to find suitable products when you have one skin issue, such as acne or sensitivity. If you have combination skin, coming up with the right routine can seem impossible.
One cleanser might reduce unwanted shine, but provoke flakier, dryer patches. A hydrating moisturizer will soothe your dryness but likely worsen your oiliness.
We discuss six classic traits of a combination complexion and guide you on how to treat and manage it, including suggested products.
6 Common Symptoms of Combination Skin
The majority of people have a combination skin type. Despite that, it can be tricky to identify—it isn’t as clear-cut when your skin behaves two ways at once.
1. Oily T-Zone, Dry Everywhere Else
The so-called T-zone is your forehead, nose, and chin—it’s typically oilier than anywhere else on your face.
However, if the rest of your skin looks normal or parched while your T-zone is glistening, you probably have combination skin.
2. Larger Pores in Oily Areas
Noticeably enlarged pores are a trademark characteristic of excess sebum (oil) production. You might notice a marked contrast between pore size on your T-zone versus your cheeks.
3. Trouble Moisturizing
Moisturizers that aren’t specifically formulated for combination skin can set you back on your quest to achieve a balanced complexion.
Ultra-hydrating or normal formulas will soothe your dry cheeks, but overwhelm your T-zone. On the opposite end of the spectrum, oil-reducing moisturizers won’t suffice for the areas prone to dryness.
4. Breakouts with Dry Patches
Combination skin breakouts won’t be uniform. Naturally, oily skin is more susceptible—whereas the dry areas will be less affected or not impacted at all.
5. Dandruff and Seborrheic Dermatitis
Dandruff and seborrheic dermatitis, a type of skin condition that can affect the face, usually go hand-in-hand. If you deal with dandruff and your T-zone is both shiny and flaky, you may have SD.
6. Heat-Provoked Shine
Higher temperatures will hit oily combination skin hard. You might find your T-zone gets shinier faster during the summer months or produces more oil than usual.
How to Treat Combination Skin
If most of the descriptions above resonate with you, you probably have combination skin. We outline simple practices to treat oiliness and dryness and sustain a balance:
1. Wash Your Face
A cleanser is vital to eliminate oil and debris that can encourage zits and pimples. Remember to opt for gentle formulas that won’t irritate dry skin.
The Purity Made Simple Cleanser by Philosophy works to unclog pores, tone, and hydrate. For a thorough cleansing, try a brush like the Precision Pore Cleansing Pad by Sephora.
philosophyPurity Made Simple Cleanser
SEPHORA COLLECTIONPrecision Pore Cleansing Pad
2. Keep Moisturizing
Don’t give up on moisturizing—your dry skin will thank you for it. Choose ingredients that reduce oil production, like green tea extracts. Hydration should be supplied by lightweight substances rather than heavy, pore-clogging ones.
This Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer by Boschia works for all skin types and contains marine complex to nurture red, sensitive skin.
3. Shrink Your Pores
With persistence and the right compounds, you can diminish the appearance of visible, outsized pores.
Aside from the aesthetic benefits, smaller pores will hold less sebum—allowing you to better manage your oily combination skin.
The Vinopure Natural Salicylic Acid Toner by Caudalie is antibacterial and purifying to penetrate blocked-up pores.
5. Double-Mask It
Use different masks that work for dryness or oiliness simultaneously to spot-treat your combination skin. You can apply this Deep Cleansing Mask by Omorovicza to your shiny spots, and this Rose Face Mask by FRESH to the dry areas.
OmoroviczaDeep Cleansing Mask
freshRose Face Mask
If you aren’t interested in using two products, pick one that’s appropriate for combination skin. The Water Sleeping Mask by Laniege is noncomedogenic, meaning it doesn’t clog pores. It also works on dry, dull skin.
LANEIGEWater Sleeping Mask
6. Blot When It’s Hot
You shouldn’t allow oil production to run rampant during the sweltering summer months. A shinier T-zone might be inevitable, but you can still control it with oil-blotting papers throughout the day.
These Mattifying Blotting Papers by Sephora includes nourishing ingredients, and come in a slim, purse-friendly case.
SEPHORA COLLECTIONMattifying Blotting Films
6. Eliminate Dandruff
If you’re treating your combination skin, you shouldn’t neglect your scalp. Besides being unsightly, dandruff can cause greasy hair—which isn’t good for your face.
This Purifying Shampoo for Oily or Flaky Scalp by Christophe Robin suits all hair types. It minimizes flakes and moisturizes to reduce itching.
Christophe RobinPurifying Shampoo for Oily or Flaky Scalp
7. Address Seborrheic Dermatitis
Combination skin with seborrheic dermatitis will require your dermatologist’s input, as you may need an anti-yeast or anti-fungal agent. If you see yellowish or white scales on your face, you may want to book an appointment.
Combination skin can be frustratingly persnickety and demanding to manage.
Still, there are approaches that can help clear up oily patches and soothe dry ones to normalize your complexion.
Treat your skin with combination-appropriate products and solve any underlying conditions with your dermatologist, such as facial dandruff.
How I Treated My Hormonal Acne
I struggled with hormonal pustule acne for a long time, as well as pustules and whiteheads from oil overproduction. It was moderate to severe, covering my left and right cheeks. Three specific products helped to reduce my breakouts in frequency, coverage, redness, and the level of pain associated with the inflammation. PAULA'S CHOICE - 10% Niacinamide Booster is amazing. Just 4% Niacinamide has been shown by a couple studies to be as effective at reducing moderate acne as clindamycin- a topical antibiotic! I can attest to its acne fighting prowess, as I saw distinct reduction in not only the amount of acne I had, but also how intense it was- it was less painful and not nearly as red a few hours after application. Niacinamide normalizes pore lining and controls oil production so I saw immense improvement in whiteheads and pustules when using twice daily. But this prevented my oil-caused acne more than my hormonal acne, though it eased both. DRUNK ELEPHANT - B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Serum was the first product I used that gave me relief. I hadn’t known it, but my oil overproduction was largely in part from dehydrated skin. Since I used no moisturizer or serum, my skin produced extra oil after I cleansed. Incorporating B-Hydra replenished my skin with water, glycerin, panthenol, sodium hyaluronate (a form of HA), and sodium hyaluronate crosspolymer. I saw quick reduction in the number of whiteheads I developed! Using it before applying an exfoliant helps prevent dryness associated with peels. PAULA'S CHOICE - 10% Azelaic Acid Booster should be in nearly ever acne arsenal. It is antimicrobial and anti inflammatory to help fight acne, plus it lightens dark spots dramatically in my experience. Applying this in the AM shrinks pustules by nighttime and makes the area around the blemish much less red. I find this gives the quickest acne-minimizing results of all the products I’ve used. When treating acne, always make sure to eliminate possible irritants such as fragrance and essential oils, as well as drying alcohol. Acne can be a sign of inflammation and using gentle products can ease the pain associated with (as well as the prevalence of) acne tremendously. As well, I always recommend salicylic acid for treating acne, but I wanted to highlight these specific products because they’re not mentioned as often and they played a huge role in my acne journey.
Toner, Peel, Serum, Mask? Four Ways to AHA
What is AHA? Alpha hydroxy acids gently removes dead skin cells, encouraging the regeneration of new skin. It is know for its ability to reduce hyperpigmentation, minimize pores and brighten skin. So how is that different from Glycolic Acid? Glycolic acid is actually a type of AHA! Known to be the “smallest”, most researched and gentlest AHA, glycolic acid does all of the aforementioned things and also acts as a humectant, leaving us with smoother, plumper skin. AHA vs BHA? So some of the products I’ll mention contain both AHA and BHA. BHA, particularly salicylic acid, is great for reducing acne but can be drying. BHA has better penetration into pores due it its affinity to oily sebum. That’s why they say BHAs are better for oily skin! How should I incorporate AHA/Glycolic Acid into my skincare routine? Whichever way you choose! Some prefer it in their daily routine whereas others prefer it 2-3x a week- the products mentioned below allow you different options. 1. AHA as a toner. The Ordinary - Glycolic Acid 7% Toning Solution When: Everyday if you want, AM or PM toning step. Price: $8.70 for 8oz Comments: I personally wouldn’t use this everyday especially if you have a broken skin barrier (it stings!) but it leaves me so hydrated and clean the next morning. Paired with a hydrating night serum, I’ve noticed a huge decrease in pore size and bumpy irregularities on my face. 2. AHA as a night cream/peel. VERSED - THE SHORTCUT Overnight Facial Peel When: 2-3 nights per week in my moisturizing step. Price: $9.99 for 0.5 oz Comments: If you have super sensitive skin, this one is for you. This acts as a lotion and has been the mildest form of glycolic acid I’ve seen. I don’t notice as drastic of a glow as TO’s toner or Good Molecules’s Overnight, but it works. Another con is the price...$10 for only 0.5oz allows for only 6-7 uses before repurchasing, whereas I’ve had that 8oz toner for almost a year with plenty left! 3. AHA as a night serum/sleeping mask. GOOD MOLECULES - Overnight Exfoliating Treatment When: 2-3 nights per week in my serum step. Price: $6 for 1 Oz Comments: this is my absolute favorite way of getting my AHA for only $6. I use only 4-5 drops as a “serum” in my regular night routine (see my old post). I would minimize using too many other acids with it! Creates a delicious glow in the AM, this mask also minimizes pores. It is not drying even though it contains BHAs! Would recommend for those who are dry, blackhead, and acne-prone. 4. AHA as a wash-off mask. The Ordinary - AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution When: 1-2 nights a week for 10 min before rinsing off. Price: $7.20 for 1 Oz Comments: This product is hyped and I’m not too sure why. It works as a wash-off mask but it’s drying (bc of BHAs). I would only recommend if you want to add a mask without changing your existing routine.
HOW I FIGHT ACNE WITH MY SKINCARE ROUTINE
Acne comes from so many different reasons. But generally there are a few tricks that really help to prevent and treat them. SALICYLIC ACID: PAULA'S CHOICE - Skin Perfecting 2% BHA (Salicylic Acid) Liquid Exfoliator Known for: combating whiteheads & blackheads by penetrating into the pores of the skin and unclogging them This exfoliating toner is amazing at preventing future breakouts because it’s so effective at unclogging pores and keeping them clear. My blackheads have also diminished so much since using this toner and I definitely can’t turn back. It’s quite strong so even I don’t use it every day and night. I’ll take it out only when I feel like my skin is getting congested (around 1-2x a week). AZELAIC ACID: PAULA'S CHOICE - 10% Azelaic Acid Booster Known for: gently exfoliating the surface and refining texture of the skin This is a great booster to mix in with moisturizer whenever I feel like my skin is breaking out a lot and very congested. It’s not super strong especially mixed into the last step of my skincare routine but definitely helps to smooth texture. RETINOL: SKINCEUTICALS - RETINOL 0.5 Retinol night cream Known for: speeding up our skin’s natural cell turnover to reveal newer and clearer skin I’ve used a retinol for more than a year now and I’ve seen the biggest improvement in my skin regarding breakouts and texture. I use it as the last step of my skincare routine every other day now and it’s just a great way to keep my skin healthy over the longterm. NIACINAMIDE: THE inkey LIST - Niacinamide Known for: helping to control oil production by renewing and restoring the surface of the skin against moisture loss Especially with living in a humid climate currently, my skin has been freaking out a lot. But this serum helps so much with promoting my skin to be balanced and self-regulating. My T-zone doesn’t get as oily but doesn’t feel dry either! SUNSCREEN: SKINCEUTICALS - Physical Fusion Uv Defense SPF 50 Okay sunscreen doesn’t DIRECTLY correlate with breakouts, although, there are definitely some that can cause breakouts for some people, mainly physical ones (so find one that doesn’t break you out)! This sunscreen doesn’t break me out and in fact helps with my skin durinf breakouts so much because it protects my skin from hyperpigmentation! The scarring that comes after a breakout can be just as annoying as the breakout itself but sunscreen helps so much to speed up the recovering and healing process! Do you have more tips for preventing breakouts to share?
Boujiee skincare nights✨
Well this was recorded before I gave my final verdict on May Lindstrom’s Blue Cocoon, so at this time it was still on my trial period; I have a full dedicated review to it, if you want more info please read it🙏🏼😌 Let’s start reviewing: #Arcona - Night Worker [PM][products]#[FourStars] I just wish it was a true serum. Other than that it smells nice, like peaches or apricot; it’s mostly clean and has really good sourced ingredients; made in the USA; it’s a smaller company and they produce products freshly. The consistency is like a cream so if you have dry skin/normal or combo/dry, this will work greatly for you as it doesn’t irritate at all. Also the Vitamin C is stable as the container is completely opaque and has a pump which is also great. Definitely see some brightening action and smoothing of the fine lines in my forehead. SkinMedica - Retinol Complex 1.0 It is really gentle for being a 1%, I assume it’s due to it being encapsulated retinol, which means it gets released slowly and not all at once. Definitely no irritation even when I use my DE glycolic serum/gel and followed it with this. I just wished, again, that the consistency was more thin. Other than that great formula and packaging keeps everything stable as well. facetheory - PoreBright Serum N10 I feel like it has definitely help with my acne, as I started breaking out due to hormonal imbalances and this helped greatly. I do however like the Good molecules Niacinamide as it’s cheaper and has zero stickiness to it and absorbs quicker. I am mixing this with my Chanel Le Blanc lotion and that helps this product sink in way faster as well as to not have that sticky feeling. #Facetheory - Regena C20 serum[products]#[FiveStars] I have to further keep using it, but right now it has given me zero irritation, has great ingredients and other brighteners besides vit C and sinks right in. may lindstrom skin - The Blue Cocoon Please read my review on this. BURT’S BEES - Rosewater Toner Love it, great for texture! Wish it had less alcohol. Chanel Le Blanc Lotion ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ As usual, 5 stars, I have reviewed it multiple times and just can’t get over what a great product it is. Aesop - Gentle Facial Cleansing Milk It’s okay. Nothing exorbitant. I would say it’s good if you have really dry skin or for the winter months. Neutrogena - Hydro Boost Smoothing Gel Exfoliator 150ml Smells great, leaves my skin soft as a baby’s behind, really small exfoliating beads, none irritating, good price, lasts a long time and doubles as cleanser after taking your makeup off, of course. GLOW RECIPE - Avocado Melt Retinol Eye Sleeping Mask For now I give it 4 stars as I need to use it for a longer period of time. Good thing’s about it: doesn’t irritate or make my eyes water, hydrates and smoothens. Wish it wasn’t in a jar.
Battle of the Face Masks
My skin type is combo oily that can lean more dry during the weather changes or just randomly. My skin concerns are acne, oiliness throughout the day and also dehydration. I’ve ranked the face washes I currently have open right now based on how they worked for me personally (starting from favorite). My favorite out of this bunch is the philosophy - Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor Mask because can see a difference when I use the mask, but it’s nothing major especially for the price tag. . philosophy - Purity Made Simple Pore Extractor Mask Key Ingredients: Salicylic Acid (for acne and blackhead removal) and White Clay (removes dead and dry skin cells). Texture/Consistency: Cream with granules Scent: None Price: $18 for 1 oz / 30 mL (mini size) OR $35 for 2.5 oz / 75 mL Experience: I haven’t noticed much, if any, difference in my pores honestly. I do notice that my skin looks more radiant and glows after removing this mask because the abundant amount of granules give a nice exfoliation. Repurchase/Recommend: It’s nice, but nothing special and don’t think it’s worth the high price tag because it’s not on the face long. I’d rather put that money towards an actual exfoliator than a mask. . e.l.f. - Hydrating Bubble Mask Key Ingredients: Glycerin (for hydration and protection) Texture/Consistency: Gel that turns into bubbles Scent: Soapy Price: $14 for 1.69 oz / 50 g Experience: The sensation of the gel turning into bubbles tickles and can easily get out of control and get into your eyelashes. I don’t notice any difference in the hydration of my skin. It is easy to wash off, but the packaging is finicky and randomly decides to stop dispensing product and you have to keep pressing down until more comes out. It also requires quite a bit of product to fully coat the face so not sure how long it will last for. Repurchase/Recommend: No I didn’t notice any difference and the packaging is difficult. . FREEMAN - Matcha Ice Cream Melting Sugar Face Mask Key Ingredients: Matcha extract (helps clear pores) Texture/Consistency: Thick gel with gummy flakes Scent: Sweet Price: $3.99 for 1.18 fl oz / 3-4 uses Experience: This mask is so thick and difficult to remove off the face! It made me ever want to use it. I also didn’t notice any sort of difference after using this mask. The style packaging is really nice and convenient and you can definitely get more uses than the recommended. It also claims that the flakes dissolve, but they never did for me. Repurchase/Recommend: No, too difficult to remove and didn’t see any results.
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