You know what’s worse than dealing with oily or dry skin? Dealing with both. At the same time.
Combo skin is a nightmare. I know because I have it. When I use products for oily skin, they do keep the shine at bay, but they dry out my dry cheeks like crazy. And, if I opt for richer formulas, my cheeks are happy, but the rest of my face breaks out badly.
Argh! What’s a girl to do?
Well, after dealing with it for more than a decade now, I figured out some tips and tricks to take good care of combination skin. Here’s how:
How do I recognize combination skin?
First things first. Let’s make sure you really have combo skin. Here are the symptoms:
- Your t-zone shines brighter than a diamond, but your cheeks dry out and flake like a pie crust.
- You hope it’ll never happen again, but you know the next breakout is just around the corner.
- Those pores on your t-zone are getting more and more visible.
What causes combination skin?
Oil glands that refuse to cooperate. Seriously.
Those on our t-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) are workhaolics that produce way too much oil than skin needs. The excess oil clogs up the pores, stretching them out and causing pimples.
Those on our cheeks, instead, are lazy. They don’t produce enough sebum, and sebum is skin’s natural moisturizer. A lack of it seriously leads to flakiness and dryness.Combo skin driving you nuts? Here's the perfect skincare regime to keep it under control. Click To Tweet
So, how do I treat combination skin?
The key to say “bye bye for good combo skin” is to find a balance. You need to keep oil production under control on the t-zone and hydrate the drier areas.
And, sadly, this often means using two sets of products. Those for oily skin on oily areas, and those for dry skin on dry areas. I know it’s a pain, but it works:
1. Use a gentle cleanser
Don’t be tempted by harsh cleansers. They don’t keep your t-zone oil-free for long (on the contrary, they trick skin into producing more oil to compensate what you’ve removed), and dry out the rest of your face. A gentle cleanser will cleanse skin well without drying it out.
I like to use a foaming cleanser on oily areas cos it can easily remove excess oil. On my dry cheeks, I prefer a moisturizing cream formula that replenishes the oil as it strips it away.
- Neutrogena Fresh Foaming Cleanser ($6.49)
- Paula’s Choice Skin Recovery Softening Cream Cleanser ($17.00)
2. If You Must Use A Toner…
Personally, I’d skip it, but if you really want one, choose a formula rich in antioxidants to help fight the premature signs of aging.
If you’re looking for extra moisture on the cheeks, a hydrating toner will do the trick, too. Whatever you do, stay away from those with alcohol. They’ll just dry out your skin.
- Clinique Even Better Essence Lotion Combination To Oily ($42.50)
- Clinique Even Better Essence Lotion Very Dry To Dry Combination ($42.50)
3. Exfoliate the right way
I’m a huge fan of salicylic acid for those oily areas. This little acid can get inside the pores, exfoliating them from within. So, it can remove anything that’s clogging them up before it can cause breakouts. And, if you already have pimples, it’ll help disappear more quickly. Of course, it exfoliates the surface of the skin, too.
On the drier areas, I’d stick to glycolic acid. It also hydrates skin, and boosts the production of collagen. All this, in addition to exfoliating skin, so it’s definitely something worth considering.
Just, don’t use them together. I mean, you can use them at the same time, but on different areas. But, if you want to use both all over the face, do so on alternate days. And, even then, only if your skin can take it. Remember, too much exfoliation is NEVER a good thing.
- Paula’s Choice Daily Pore-Refining Treatment 2% BHA ($30.00)
- Paula’s Choice Resist Daily Smoothing Treatment with 5% AHA ($25.50)
4. Use A Hydrating Serum
Hydrating serums are amazing for combo skin. They give dry skin that extra boost of moisture it needs to stay healthy, soft, and supple.
And, because they contain humectants – this is stuff that can attract and bind water to the skin, like hyaluronic acid and glycerin – they are a great way to moisturize oily areas without adding even more oil to them. You may find you don’t even need to apply a moisturizer there afterwards.
- First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Hydrating Serum ($36.00)
- Paula’s Choice Calm Redness Relief Repairing Serum ($32.00)
5. Use Two Moisturizers
I know, I know, this sucks. But, I find it really is the best recipe for combo skin.
Dry areas need occlusive formulas that can lock in moisture, but those are usually too heavy for oily skin. Oil-free moisturizers work best there.
What’s awesome about them is they contain stuff, like silicones, that acts like oil. So, they’re able to lock in moisture, too, but without adding more oil to the oily areas.
- Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel ($52.00)
- Paula’s Choice Resist Barrier Repair Moisturizer with Retinol ($29.00)
6. Wear Sunscreen
I don’t care what your excuse is, you need sunscreen. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. How else are you going to protect your skin from wrinkles, sun spots, cancer, and all the damage UV rays cause?
Just choose a lightweight one, so you can use it comfortably all over the face, oily t-zone included.
7. Use Clay Masks
But only on oily areas. They’re a great way to absorb excess oil, so it doesn’t get trapped in your pores and cause breakouts. They can be drying on dry skin, though, so apply it carefully!
- Elizavecca Carbonated Bubble Clay Mask ($10.60)
- Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Oil-Absorbing Mask ($19.00)
8. Blot, blot, blot
If your t-zone gets shiny throughout the day, use an oil-blotting sheet to blot the oil away. It does the job quickly without ruining your makeup. Phew!
- Boscia Green Tea Blotting Linens (100 sheets, $10.00)
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