Wouldn’t life be simpler if everyone’s skin responded the same way to the same skincare products or ingredients? We could all know how to best care for our skin and cut down on issues like acne, dryness, or inflammation.
In the real world, everyone’s skin is unique. That makes our lives an ongoing mystery to figure out the best skincare routine for our specific needs. It’s a struggle for everyone, but people with combination skin are playing the game on a whole different difficulty level.
How do you deal with combination skin? Let’s start by getting into the skin type itself.
First Things First: What Is Combination Skin?
Skin has many features and differences, but for most of us, our skin either leans toward the oily side or toward the dry side, or it’s right in the middle which is called “normal skin.” In people with combination skin, though, some areas of their skin are oily and others are dry.
In most cases, your oily area will be the “T-zone”: your forehead, nose, and chin, which make up a capital T on your face. Your cheeks, on the other hand, will typically have dry skin.
Tips for Caring for Combination Skin
Combination skin is tough to care for because few products are truly made for your full face with all its variation. Some products will help your oily areas but dry out your dry areas, while others will hydrate your dry areas but clog pores in your oily areas. Luckily, you’re not the first one to have this struggle, so try these expert skincare tips.
Combination Products for Combination Skin
There might not be products that magically adjust to both oily and dry skin, but there’s a work-around. Try using different products in each area. Choose serums and moisturizers meant for oily skin on your T-zone while nourishing your dry cheeks with products meant for dry skin.
Take Nothing for Granted
Combination skin is often misunderstood and it’s also hard to learn where your oily areas end and dry areas begin. Sometimes this leads to assumptions that only make skin issues worse.
For example, you might spot a breakout on your cheek. Most people think breakouts come from excess oil, but they can actually come from many causes – even skin dryness. But a person with combination skin might think this breakout means their cheeks are oily too, so they go overboard with intense cleansers. That only dries the skin further and leads to more breakouts.
If you have combination skin, don’t assume your oily and dry areas have shifted when breakouts and other changes appear. For acne on your cheeks, use products that treat acne in dry skin.
Keep It Cool with Cleansers
This is another common mistake. A person with combination skin notices oil in their T-zone but without noticing how dry their cheeks are, they believe they have oily skin so they go all-in with deep pore cleansers. This irritates their dry areas.
Instead, stick with gentle cleansers. You don’t need an extreme cleanser on a daily basis, so gentler options will do the trick without irritating any of your varied skin areas.
Make All Things Equal
Most people can get by with a simple daily skincare routine: cleanser, moisturizer, and sunscreen with an exfoliant on occasion. If you have combination skin, one addition could be a game-changer: a skin equalizer.
These products, which you would use after your cleanser in the same way as any other toner, are focused on balancing your skin’s pH levels while also balancing your hydration throughout your face. They can make a great difference in making your skin less prone to irritation and softening the harsh borders between oily zones and dry zones.
If you had exclusively dry skin, you might incorporate products with oils into your skincare routine. Those oils help to lock moisture in your skin so it doesn’t dry out so easily. If you try that strategy with combination skin, though, it’s easy to end up with those oil-based products in areas of skin that are already oily. That’s when the madness breaks loose.
The fact is that there are plenty of oil-free moisturizers out there that will be just as successful at hydrating and protecting your dry skin without risking a gnarly breakout. In general, if you have combination skin, look for oil-free products and makeup whenever possible.
Become a Multi-Masker
You’ve heard of multi-tasking, but what about multi-masking? It’s simple: using one type of facial mask on your oily areas with a different type on your dry areas.
We all love to pamper ourselves with a refreshing mask every so often, but every mask has its own specialty. Some hydrate, others purify, but you’d have a hard time finding one that helps all areas of combination skin. Instead, apply a deep pore cleansing mask in your oily areas and a hydrating mask in your dry areas.
A word to the wise, though: choose two masks with similar use instructions. Trying to rinse off a 10-minute mask without disturbing the 20-minute mask next to it is no easy feat.
Loving and Caring for Your Skin
Can combination skin be a challenge? Yes. But it’s part of your natural uniqueness and it’s there for a reason. Embrace your skin in all its lovable quirkiness and just adjust your routine until you find a product lineup that works. The tips above should get you a head start in that direction.