Figuring out your skin type is a part of getting to know yourself. It makes discovering targeted treatments much easier, which is what we all want, right? Some people can identify their skin type right off the bat (be it oily, dry, or even acne-prone), but for others of us in the skincare game, it’s not so straightforward.
Case in point: combination skin.
Combination skin is a skin type hybrid. But, believe it or not, combination skin is actually the most common skin type of them all. Yup, we're all more alike than we think!
Interested in learning more? In this article, we’ll dive into everything you need to know about combination skin and how to treat it. So, grab your tea and get comfortable — let’s dive in!
What Exactly is Combination Skin?
First things first, let’s define combination skin.
This common type of skin features two or more skin types on the face (such as oily and dry), and the condition of your skin may fluctuate between seasons. Typically, the combination skin type is characterized by dry, flaking skin on the cheeks, while excessive shine and oil appear on other areas of the face.
Those who have combination skin often put a lot of attention on their T-zone, which includes the chin, nose and forehead.
Here’s How Can You Tell If You Have Combination Skin
As we mentioned earlier, combination skin is one of the most common skin types. Think you might have it? Watch for these common signs and symptoms to determine whether or not you’re dealing with combination skin:
The appearance of extra-large pores: If you have oily patches, you may have noticed the pores in these areas look larger. As the sebaceous glands under your skin produce excess sebum (the natural oily substance that moisturizes your skin but also can make it look shiny) your pores can become blocked by dead cells, causing sebum to build up and enlarge your pores.
Shiny skin: Individuals dealing with combination skin tend to experience shine on at least one portion of their face. For most, this relentless shine is most prevalent in the T-Zone and occurs because of excess oil production.
Whiteheads and blackheads: When excess oil becomes trapped in your pores, it mixes with dead skin cells and other debris, causing a plug. When this plug is open to the air, it causes a blackhead. However, when it’s closed, it results in the formation of a whitehead.
You have dandruff: Okay, so dandruff isn’t always an indicator of skin type, but many people with combination skin tend to deal with dry, flaky patches -- on their scalp (aka dandruff). Yes, your skin type affects your scalp. Your body is interconnected!
- You battle acne breakouts with dry patches at the same time: If you happen to deal with itchy dry patches and acne breakouts at the same time, chances are you’re likely dealing with combination skin.
Causes of Combination Skin
There are a handful of factors that can lead to your specific skin type, but more often than not, it just boils down to what you inherited from your parents.
There are more sebaceous glands in the T-zone, which are responsible for creating sebum. The glands in this delicate area tend to be more active in those with combination skin, producing excess sebum that can lead to super-shine and contribute to breakouts. If your mom and dad dealt with oily skin in the T-zone and battled acne you are likely going to encounter this condition as well. That’s just how it is.
Certain lifestyle habits and products can contribute to a combination skin type. For instance, using harsh skincare products that contain dry ingredients can trigger your skin to produce oil in excess, which can irritate an acne breakout in your T-zone while drying out other parts of your face.
How to Care for Combination Skin
When you have this skin type, it’s common to want to attack the oil with everything you’ve got and worry about the rest later -- but you need to turn that thinking upside down!
Trying to soothe your T-zone with stripping cleansers and harsh acids isn’t only too much for the drier areas, but it also essentially confuses the oily zones, causing them to pump out even more sebum. Give yourself, and your skin, a break --- you deserve it.
You should be guided by your drier areas instead, meaning mild cleansers, gentle actives, moisturizers, and calming ingredients. Glow up in every way.
Avoid harsh cleansers.
Things like alcohol and sulfates can easily strip your skin of its natural oils. They actually encourage your skin to produce more oil. More oil equals more clogged pores and acne and you know the rest.
Stray, away from harsh ingredients and chemicals, and reach for a nourishing whipped mask packed with powerful botanicals like Topicals’ Like Butter. This super-mask will fortify your skin’s damaged moisture barrier while restoring dry, flaky skin.
Moisturize from the inside out.
One of the things that comes with combination skin is getting enough moisturizer into it without clogging up your pores. Thankfully, you can easily moisturize from the inside out with essential fatty acids. Eat more walnuts, flaxseed, and salmon, and consider taking a quality fish oil or flaxseed supplement. Please consult with a doctor before taking a new supplement.
Always choose fragrance-free.
When you have combination skin, your cheeks are much more likely to be prone to dullness, dryness, irritation, and flaking. With this in mind, it’s best to avoid products with chemical fragrances and other irritating ingredients.
Don’t forget to exfoliate.
It goes without saying that exfoliation is essential for all skin types, but those battling combination skin can benefit significantly from the right exfoliation products. Exfoliation can help open up and clear out your clogged pores in the oily sections of your face while still allowing moisture to penetrate deep into the skin in super dry areas. Certain products provide safe chemical exfoliation, or you can simply use quality granular scrubs designed to physically, yet safely, scrape off the dead skin cells that can build up in your pores.
Our brightening and clearing gel gently fades the look of your most stubborn marks, scars, and spots so that you can kick back and let your worries fade away. Made with gentle exfoliating acids and soothing shea butter, Faded is perfect for those with combination skin.
Always wear sunscreen.
No skin type is exempt from the everyday need for a quality, broad-spectrum sunscreen rated SPF 30 or higher. Period.
This is one crucial step that keeps your skin at its best, whatever that looks like for you. For combination skin, a feather-light formula with a soft matte finish works best all over the face. You would apply a nourishing serum over the dry areas and then apply the ultra-light sunscreen over that.
Stop touching your face.
This is much easier said than done, especially if you’re anxious at all. But your hands carry a lot of invisible dirt -- amongst other things -- and you don’t want to transfer that to your face. Why? Because it could end up clogging your pores.
Having a combination skin type is exactly how it sounds: It is a combo of oily and dry areas on your face, with specifically more shine along the T-zone. That’s why caring for a combination skin type is a bit of a balancing act -- you will need to find that perfect medium between penetrating pores to unclog oil and soothing the drier, flaky regions.
While it ultimately takes a little bit of trial and error to discover your golden skincare routine, knowing your specific skin type can definitely narrow down some essential players. If you think you just might fall into the combination skin camp, consider the above your starting stage.
For all of your skincare needs, whether that’s for oily skin, dry skin, or a combo of the two, Topicals has you covered.