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  5. Combination Skin: What Exactly Is It And How To Manage It?

You must have heard about the four basic skin types - dry, oily, normal and combination. In this article, let’s take an in-depth look at combination skin and how you can take care of it.

1. What Does Combination Skin Look Like?

Are some parts of your face dry or normal, where as the others seem greasy by mid-day? That’s combination skin. Usually, you are likely to have an oily T-zone and dry or normal cheeks.

The condition of your skin may fluctuate between seasons. Your skin may feel dry during the winter months and greasy during the sultry summer season. The sebaceous glands in your T-zone are more active than the rest of your face, making it appear greasy and shiny.

Try this!

Take a sheet of blotting paper. Pat it gently on your cheeks. Does it pick up any oil at all? If not, your cheeks are dry. If it picks up some amount of oil (but isn’t dripping with oil), your cheeks are normal.

After that, pat it gently on your T-zone (your forehead and nose bridge). Take a look at the sheet. Does it collect too much oil? If yes, you likely have an oily T-zone. This is an easier way of determining your skin type.

The 3 basic signs are

  • Oily T-zone
  • Dry/normal cheeks
  • Skin-type changes with change in weather

Now, let’s go deeper and understand why you have combination skin and how you can take care of it.

2. What Causes Combination Skin?

There are a number of factors that can contribute to combination skin. However, more often than not, it depends on the skin type you have inherited from your parents and the kind of products you use on your skin. Here are a few possible causes:

A. Genetics:

If one or more of your family members have combination skin, you are likely to have it too. Genetics play a major role in determining your skin type.

B. Products:

The products you use may be too harsh for your skin. If you use products that break-down your skin barrier, it is likely that you’ve lost the necessary oils and moisture required by your skin.

This can stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce too much sebum, making your T zone oily. Products with strong chemicals and substances can also dry up your cheeks and the rest of your face. It is recommended for you to use products that suit your skin type.

3. What Is Dry-Combination Skin?

Dry combination skin is characterized by dry cheeks and an oily T-zone. Most of your sebaceous glands are located in your T-zone. This essentially means your T-zone produces more sebum than the rest of your face.

When your skin is dry, the sebaceous glands may overproduce oil to keep it hydrated, that may result in a greasy, oily forehead and nose bridge. However, your cheeks may remain dry.

4. What Is Normal-Combination Skin?

When the skin on your cheeks is neither dry nor oily but you have an oily T-zone, it is essentially referred to as normal-combination skin.


5. How Can You Take Care Of Combination Skin?

If you have combination skin, a product that may work for your T-zone may prove to be a troublemaker when applied to the rest of your face. You are essentially treating two different skin types when you have combination skin. So be wary of what you apply to different areas of your face and follow these steps:

A. Follow The Right Skincare Routine

Cleansing, toning and moisturizing should be part of your daily skincare routine if you have combination skin.

B. Use A Mild And Water-Soluble Cleanser

Use a gentle cleanser that will help maintain your skin’s pH levels. Our skin is weakly acidic. Most cleansers are alkaline-based that affect the pH levels of your skin. Harsh cleansers damage your skin barrier and remove necessary oils. A gentle, water-soluble cleanser should be ideal for your skin-type.

C. Avoid Oil-Based Products

Oil-based products can clog your pores and cause break-outs. If you have combination skin, avoid using these products as your T-zone may be acne prone.

D. Use A Toner After Cleansing Your Face

Make sure the toner you pick is alcohol-free. Alcohol-based toners can dry up your face, affecting its moisture content. This can stimulate your sebaceous glands to produce too much sebum. A toner that nourishes your skin and makes you feel refreshed is a good option for combination skin.

E. Moisturizer Is A Must

Use a lotion-based moisturizer for your T-zone and a heavy, cream-based one for your cheeks and other dry areas. Lotions can irritate dry skin and may not be as effective as a cream.

F. Use A Sun-Block Instead Of A Sunscreen

SPF is a must, irrespective of your skin type. If you have combination skin, get yourself a broad-spectrum sun-block. This will prevent clogged pores as well as loss of moisture from the dry parts of your face.

G. Use Blotting Paper

Gently pat blotting sheets on the greasy parts of your face. This will temporarily soak up the excess sebum from your skin. Make sure not to rub the blotting sheets on your skin. You want to get rid of unwanted grease, not remove the essential oils from your skin.

H. Exfoliate

Preferably use a BHA exfoliator once or twice a week. BHAs cleanse your skin from within, reduce inflammation and improve skin texture. A commonly used BHA is salicylic acid that is considered to be among one of the safest and most non-irritating ingredients in skincare products.

Combination skin can be a challenge to deal with. However, following these tips can help you achieve healthy skin.

Begin By Knowing Your Skin

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