THE SKIN WE LIVE IN - COMBINATION SKIN
2.What is Combination Skin?
Although it’s a common skin type, combination skin can sometimes be difficult to identify and even harder to care for! When someone has combination skin, their face will be made up of ‘patches’, some oily (generally, in the T-zone), and some dry (most often, showing on the cheeks). Pore sizes may also differ for combo skin types, with the pores around the T-zone larger than elsewhere on the face, whilst acne breakouts will tend to cluster around the forehead, nose, and chin.
Sometimes, people can confuse oily skin with combination skin. The best way to tell which is which, is to check the whole of your face, especially after applying sunscreen. If you have shine all over after application, you have oily skin. If the shine is restricted to one area of application (most likely the T-zone) with other areas more fully ‘absorbing’ the sunscreen, then you have combo skin.
Typically, combo skin becomes more pronounced at certain times of the year when temperatures and/or climactic conditions are at their most extreme (e.g., during the height of summer or in the depths of winter).
3.What Causes Combination Skin?
Like dry or oily skin types, combo skin is largely the result of genetics, although our environment also has a role to play. As noted above, combo skin tends to become more pronounced when weather conditions are more extreme, whilst other factors, including diet and our personal care regimen can also play an important role in manifesting (and caring for!) combo skin.
4.Common Mistakes Made in Caring for Combination Skin
Choosing the right combination of products to care for combo skin can be tricky, especially if we fall into the trap of using too many and too varied a selection of products, hoping to get on top of all the different issues that combo skin can present. Here are some of the common mistakes we often make in trying to care for our combo skin, including the wrong type, and wrong assortment, of products…
Choosing the wrong cleanser – This is a common theme, and a common mistake, for so many skin types! Too often, the temptation is to try and scrub away our combo skin concerns, opting for a strong cleanser that we think can eliminate excess oil and delete dry patches, all at the same time! Unfortunately, all that ends up happening is that the drier areas of our face become irritated, whilst the oily areas react by overcompensating, resulting in an increased production of oil. One way to deal with this is to use two different cleansers, thereby meeting the specific needs of the dry and oily areas of our face. This can be a difficult and time-consuming process however, and it’s almost certainly better to settle for a gentle natural cleanser instead; one that’s been formulated with your skin’s pH balance in mind and designed to gently exfoliate and hydrate, as well as cleanse.
Choosing the wrong moisturizer – For anyone with combo skin, finding a moisturizer that works for all areas of their face can be a frustrating process. Scrimp on moisturizer in an effort to reduce oil and your T-zone will likely react by producing more of the stuff, simply because you’re running out. At the same time, your cheeks will only get dryer and – potentially – more irritated and flakier. On the other hand, choose a thicker, richer moisturizer and parts of your face will quickly feel too greasy and breakouts will become more frequent. Tough, right? Ultimately, the best solution is to find a lightweight moisturizer formulated for pH balance (pH balance is everything for combo skin), with enough hydration to keep your cheeks soft and glowing, whilst also helping to calm, and even reduce, excess oil production in the T-zone.
Failing to listen to your skin – If you have combo skin, it pays to be a good listener! That’s because lifestyle and hormone factors will lead to changes in the condition of your skin, with oiliness or dryness alternately becoming the more predominant concern. To keep on top of this, it’s important to ‘listen’ to your skin and react to its needs, rather than make the mistake of setting your skincare routine on autopilot, using the same products, in the same order, every single day.
5.Caring for Combination Skin
Ultimately, caring for combo skin can be something of a juggling act! As noted above, it requires you to be reactive, staying on top of any changes caused by your lifestyle or your environment. There may be times when you need to use different skincare products for different parts of your face, and you should always be careful to choose products formulated to help balance pH levels, as this will help to keep your skin calm and less prone to change.
In addition, remember to avoid harsh soaps and use a gentle cleanser instead, whilst it’s worth investing the time and effort to find a hydrating, relatively lightweight moisturizer that works for your express needs.
Other tips for combo skin include:
Choose noncomedogenic products – Noncomedogenic creams, lotions and oils are vital for combo skin, helping to keep pores unclogged, and lessening the threat of breakouts, including acne. This means avoiding products which include lanolins or isopropyl myristate, whilst anything with coconut oil in it should also be treated warily, as it is highly comedogenic.
H2O for the win! – All of us need to ensure we go through the day adequately hydrated, but if you’ve got combo skin, this is non-negotiable. That’s because hydration not only helps prevent dry, flaky skin, it can also help reduce excessive oil production.
Exfoliate (but don’t overdo it!) – Exfoliation is a vital part of the skincare routine for anyone with combo skin, helping keep everything calm and in balance, with real benefits for tone and texture. It’s important though, to avoid harsh, drying exfoliants (choose a gentle, hydrating exfoliant instead), whilst you should only exfoliate once, maybe twice, each week, depending on the needs of your skin.
Tune your skin with a toner – It’s worth investing in a high-quality natural toner if you have combo skin. That’s because it will help remove any oil you may have missed whilst cleansing, as well as balance pH levels.
Treat yourself to an antioxidant-rich, vitamin C serum – A nourishing serum rich in antioxidants, including restorative vitamin C, can be a blessing for anyone with combo skin, helping to protect against environmental stressors that can disrupt the skin barrier.
You are what you eat – In many ways, the ideal diet for anyone with combo skin is a mirror of their ideal skincare routine - one founded on balance (eat the rainbow!), good hydration, and the avoidance of foods that are likely to cause upset (keep your intake of highly processed foods, sugar, and alcohol to a minimum, if you can!).