There are many products, tips, and strategies for people with dry skin and a lot of help for people with oily skin. What about those people who deal with the banes of both skin types? If you have combination skin, you know exactly what we are talking about. You might have excess oil and acne on your nose, forehead, and chin, but your cheeks and jawline are dry and flaky. Or you might have one area of your face that tends to be dry or oily. What can you do to care for your hypersensitive skin? Keep reading, and we will talk about how you can build an effective skincare regimen for combination skin.
Identifying Your Combination Skin Type
Most people with combination skin have oily skin in the “T-zone,” which is the forehead, nose, and often the chin. Others only have oily skin in one of those areas, however. And some people have normal or oily skin all over except for one area, like their forehead or chin. It can be puzzling to know what skincare products to use when your skin does not seem to know its type. Here’s how to determine your skin type in different facial zones:
- First, wash your entire face with a mild cleanser, then pat dry. Do not apply any moisturizer, serums, or other products.
- Wait 30 minutes, then get out some blotting paper.
- Use a piece to blot your cheeks (usually the driest area of the face) and see if any oil comes up.
- Then use a fresh piece on your forehead, another on your nose, and another on your chin.
- You can compare all the papers to see which areas of your face are oily (evidenced by a lot of oil on your paper) and which are dry (evidenced by almost no oil on the paper).
- NOTE: You can also do this without blotting paper by carefully observing your face 30 and 60 minutes after washing. If one or more areas look and feel quite oily after an hour and other areas feel tight, you have combination skin.
Caring for Your Combination Skin
Now that you know which areas of your face are dry and tend to be oily, it’s time to build your customized regimen. Like any good skincare regimen, the first step is commenced by the ritual of face washing and goes as follows:
Use a gentle facial cleanser that will not dry out your skin. If you have acne, you can use a cleanser made for acne-prone skin once per day or a few times per week, but only focus on the oily areas of your skin. The rest of the time, use a gentle cleanser appropriate for all the areas of your face.
Next, use a facial toner. Look for one that does not contain alcohol or other drying ingredients. It is best to avoid alcohol even on oily skin, so it will be acceptable to use your chosen product on your entire face.
If you want to use a face mask once or twice per week, you can. Exfoliating masks are suitable for your face’s oily areas, while hydrating masks are suitable for dry areas. You can alternate (using an exfoliating mask on Tuesdays and a hydrating mask on Fridays, for example), or you can apply each mask to the appropriate areas of your skin.
When it comes to a daily moisturizer, a two-pronged approach might be best. During the day, apply a light moisturizer all over your face. This will go under any makeup you want to wear, so look for something non-comedogenic that will not clog your pores and help your makeup go smoothly. At night, however, the dry areas of your face need a little extra TLC.
After washing your face and applying any night serums, apply your light moisturizer. Then use a more decadent cream only on the dry areas of your face. You will not want to get this on your nose, forehead, or anywhere you tend to get acne, however, because it can clog your pores. Only rub it into your cheeks and jawline (or wherever you tend to have dry skin). This will soak into your skin overnight and can help it become rejuvenated. It will also cut down on flakiness and tightness.
Your Skin Type May Not Stand the Test of Time
One of the more frustrating parts of combination skin is that it tends to change throughout the year. When your skin is exposed to cold wind and indoor heating during the winter months, more of your face might feel dry and tight. Once the humidity and temperature begin to rise in the spring, however, you might notice that your skin feels perfectly normal, neither too dry nor too oily.
Hooray! When the long, hot days of summer are upon you, though, you might notice a lot more oiliness. All of this can be normal, but it means that you need to tweak your skincare regimen as the weather patterns go from cold to hot and back to cold again. It is also worth noting that as we age, our skin tends to become drier overall.
If you have oily skin in your early 20s, you might have combination skin in your 30s and dry skin in your 40s and beyond. Hormonal changes also make a difference: Women often notice skin changes throughout the month in response to their menstrual cycles, and during pregnancy, it can seem like anything goes. Women in menopause often experience dry skin and a loss of elasticity.
So, if you are a woman of childbearing age, keep an eye on what your skin is doing at various points of your cycle. The good news is that having an array of the right products for combination skin will allow you to quickly make the changes needed to keep your skin glowing regardless of the day, time, season, or place!