Dry in some areas? Oily in other areas? You have combination skin! How to balance two different skin types can seem like a mystery, but unlocking this mystery is easier than you might think! With the right info and products, balance can be beautiful!
What is Combination Skin?
Combination skin is simply having oily skin in some areas of your face and dry skin in other areas. Typically, there’s a mix of oily and dry areas on different parts of your face, with the t-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) being slight to very oily.
Whether you have oily areas only around the nose and center of the forehead and dry areas over the cheeks, jaw area, and along the hairline, what you do to lessen those problems is the same.
What Causes Combination Skin?
A variety of factors can contribute to combination skin, but more often than not, it just comes down to the luck of the draw in terms of what you inherited from your parents. However, the types of skincare products you’re using can absolutely make it worse or even cause the problem. Read on to learn what you might unknowingly be doing to contribute to making combination skin more of an issue.
As you might already have suspected, using products that contain harsh or skin-aggravating ingredients will inevitably dry out some areas of your face while stimulating oil production in other parts (especially around the nose) that were already oily.
If you’re using the wrong products, you might actually be causing your combination skin. If you use the right products, you may still have some amount of oily skin, but at least you won’t have dry, rough skin underneath excess oil. Once you start using the right products, your skin can improve almost immediately, with the dry areas softened and smoothed and the oily areas less oily and red— plus minimized pores.
Which Products Work for Combination Skin?
The key thing to keep in mind with combination skin is there’s no one-size-fits solution. It depends on how dry your dry areas are naturally and how oily your oily areas are. It comes down to this: You’ll have to divide and conquer by caring for different parts of your face differently.
The oil-absorbing or matte-finish ingredients that work great on the oily areas will be trouble-makers on the dry areas. This means you will need to apply a more emollient moisturizer over the dry areas, but if you apply that all over your face, the oily areas will become oilier. That’s why keeping things separate is important. And the same for the products that absorb oil; keep them off the dry areas.
For the oily areas, you will need to use the lightest weight but effective formulas possible. Potent, concentrated amounts of beneficial ingredients in products with a gel, thin lotion, or liquid texture will work great over the entire face. You would then only need to use an emollient booster, serum, or moisturizer over the dry areas, including around the eyes. The secret to balancing combination skin is knowing when and where to layer products!
No matter what, none of the products you use should contain any harsh or skin-aggravating ingredients. Every part of your skincare routine needs to be non-irritating. Whenever your put products with sensitizing ingredients (especially fragrance, both synthetic and natural) on your skin, you would be making everything worse. In the case of combination skin, the dry areas will become drier and the oily areas will become oilier. This can lead to what we refer to as extreme combination skin, discussed below.
Dealing with Extreme Combination Skin
Those struggling with extreme combination skin experience an exceptionally oily T-zone, while the sides of the face are typically very dry and may also be flaky.
Not surprisingly, finding the right routine for extreme combination skin can be difficult in terms of finding the right balance of textures. Products for very dry skin will make an oily T-zone worse (possibly triggering breakouts), while formulas that are best for very oily skin won’t help very dry areas!
For extreme combination skin, layering isn’t going to be as helpful. For best results, apply emollient-rich products to the very dry areas, blending away from the oily areas. Add oil-absorbing products where needed, being careful to dab them on precisely where needed rather than massaging them all over, where you risk mixing them with the ingredients needed to improve your very dry areas.
As for cleansers, you can choose gentle formulas labeled for combination skin, and for your daytime moisturizer with sunscreen, go for the lightest possible formula but apply a rich moisturizer or facial oil to the dry areas first.
How to Take Care of Combination Skin
Start with a gentle but effective water-soluble cleanser. It can be a lotion-based or gel-textured cleanser, but the goal is for it to effectively remove impurities, debris, and makeup without leaving skin feeling tight or dry, or greasy. If you need a bit of extra cleansing, you can consider a very soft-bristled cleansing brush. The softness is important because anything less will drive your skin crazy from the feeling of aggravation and tightness it causes.
Apply a hydrating, soothing non-irritating toner filled with a healthy amount of skin-replenishing ingredients and antioxidants. A well-formulated toner really can help nourish dry skin and minimize oiliness at the same time—and it won’t make the dry areas drier or the oily areas oilier! Don’t skip this step, we promise you’ll be impressed by the benefits!
Use a gentle, non-abrasive, leave-on BHA exfoliant. This is an optimal choice for gently but effectively exfoliating combination skin. A BHA exfoliant helps the skin shed dead skin normally without abrasion (meaning no scrubs or stiff cleansing brushes), unclogs pores, lessens oily skin, and at the same time gently smooths roughness, dry, flaky skin and revives a healthy glow. For combination skin, a gel or weightless fluid or water-like liquid BHA exfoliant is best.
Protect from sun damage. No skin type is exempt from the need of a broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or greater and applied 365 days a year. This is the one step that reduces the early signs of aging now and into the future. For combination skin, an extremely feather-light formula with a soft matte finish works best all over the face (and don’t forget to apply it to the neck!). You would apply a nourishing serum or booster over the dry areas and then apply the ultra-light sunscreen over that. Perfecto!
Use a nighttime moisturizer with a gel, serum, or even a liquid texture all over your face that contains all the amazing ingredients we hope you know by heart now: Antioxidants, skin-replenishing ingredients, and skin-restoring ingredients. These are imperative to help calm skin, lessen excess oil on the skin’s surface, and improve dry areas, including around the eyes. When combined, these ingredients have stunning anti-aging properties for the skin. Apply an emollient serum or oil booster to relieve the dryness and give those areas extra-nourishing enriched hydration while leaving the oily areas with just a layer of lightweight moisture.
Reviewed by Dr. Hun Kim Thao
Grace Skincare Clinic
An international cosmetic dermatology clinic in Vietnam using FDA and CE-approved medical devices and treatments.
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0-09-2019 "I would love to thank Dr. Hun Kim Thao and her amazing staffs for helping me through a skin improving journey over an almost year while I was staying in HCM. I received acne facial and peel every other week and the service was superb! Each procedure was well explained and Dr.Thao was very attentive. I loved her holistic way of approach to improve patient's skin. Not only she prescribed very effective acne gel but also shared great tips such as reducing the amount of simple carb intake, cutting down sugar, and most importantly highlighting the importance of getting enough sleep. She even recommended a well known doctor in town who could help me with my sleeping problem. In addition, the price was very reasonable and I was very happy with all the service I got from Grace Skin Clinic. Oh Dr. Thao even asked her staff to make me a cup of tea one day as she she thought I looked overly exhausted. I was very moved. How warm hearted she is! I will definitely recommend this place to anyone who wants to check up their skin and improve their skin. Amazing place!"
This place is amazing; they help me improve my terrible skin condition which had affected my identity, and my confidence for many years. I have been visiting Grace Clinic during summer time for the past two years, and every time I am here, they create a different program in order to fit my skin condition and my limited time. Furthermore, people from Grace Clinic always greet me with warm hearts. They once invited me to have boba tea with them which made me no longer feel like a customer but a friend which it has created a friendship overtime. I cannot stress how highly I would recommend this place. Again, they are amazing and very professional. There is one thing, you can do walk-in just fine but it would be better if you schedule the appointment so they can prepare and create the best service for you.
I absolutely love the ladies of Grace Skincare. I was staying in Saigon for 6 months and came here with acne and a congested skin from my travels. So happy I found them! Their prices are reasonable compared to other “expat” clinic that I went to. I bought the 10 facial package for a really good price and am really happy with the result of my skin after following all of their consultations. Acne has cleared up and now we’re focusing on my other skin concerns such as dark spots and hyperpigmentation. I highly recommend this clinic. They truly want you to walk out with skin you feel confident in. I’m going to miss this place and the ladies I got to connect with during my time here. Amazing results · Expert facials · Great deals · Professional products ·Licensed skin care professional · Experienced skin care professionals
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I was so embarrassed with the scars and pigmentation marks on my face. These are from old sports injuries and harsh products on my legs from childhood accidents. I am fed up with using so much concealer makeup on my face and am never able to wear a skirt with confidence. I heard about the Grace Skincare Clinic pigmentation lightening treatment from a friend. I took 6 treatments & used skincare product as Dr. Thao instructed and now my skin is beautiful and permanently clear. It was worth every penny.
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