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Combination Or Combo Skin

Combination skin is one of the most common skin types, characterized by a mix of both oily and dry areas on different parts of the face. Typically, the forehead, nose, and chin (collectively known as the T-zone) tend to be oily, while the cheeks, eye areas, and sometimes the neck are normal to dry. This mixed nature of combination skin presents unique challenges in skincare, as different areas of the face may require different types of care.

How To Know If You Have Combination Skin

There are two easy ways though which you can discover if you have combination skin. These two simple tests are the blotting sheet method or the ‘wash and wait’ method. With the former, it requires to dap various parts of your face with blotting papers. If the papers passed on your T-zone are oily while the papers used on the cheek area are dry/normal. This is an indication that you have combination skin. 

The ‘wash and wait’ method on the other hand requires you to observe your skin’s reaction after cleansing. If your t-zone is oily while your cheek area is dry, this is a sign you have combination skin.

Causes Of Combination Skin

Several factors contribute to developing combination skin:


Combination skin, often inherited like other physical traits, is influenced by genetics in several ways. Genetics can determine the uneven distribution of sebum production, leading to an oily T-zone and drier cheeks typical of combination skin. Additionally, genetic factors impact the skin barrier's strength and hydration, influencing the dry areas seen in combination skin. Sensitivity and reactivity to irritants or allergens are also genetically influenced, affecting the skin's overall health and appearance. Understanding these genetic influences is crucial for managing and caring for combination skin effectively.

Hormonal Changes

Fluctuations in hormones can alter your skin's oil production, leading to combination skin. People with combination skin typically have a genetic predisposition to produce more sebum in certain areas like the T-zone and less in others like the cheeks. Androgens increase sebum, often leading to an oilier T-zone, while hormonal fluctuations during life stages like puberty, menstruation, and menopause can alter skin type, exacerbating combination skin traits. Stress and hormonal imbalances, like in PCOS, also influence skin characteristics.

Using Wrong Skincare Products

Using the wrong skincare products for your skin type can exacerbate the oiliness and dryness. Certain skincare products can disrupt your skin barrier, causing imbalances. This can happen if you are using for example a cleansing that is too harsh for your skin or in case of over-exfoliation.

Environmental Factors

Climate changes, humidity levels, and pollution can impact different areas of the skin differently. For example, your skin may tend to be drier when the weather gets colder while your skin may tend to be more oily when the temperature gets higher during the summer. Other factors such as long exposure to free radical damage or UV exposure can set off your skin barrier and bring imbalances leading to combination skin.

How To Take Care Of Combination Skin

Use Gentle Cleansers

When choosing a cleaner, opt for mild cleansers that don't strip your skin of its natural oils. In terms of texture foamy and gel-based cleansers are the best option. Make sure you use pH-balanced products for your skin.

Exfoliate with AHAs and BHAs

For exfoliation, using a blend of AHAs and BHAs is the perfect option for combination skin. Salicylic acid which is oil soluble can penetrate deep into the skin to decongest the oily parts of your skin and prevent the frequent occurrence of white and blackheads. AHAs like glycolic or lactic acid on the other hand will be most effective for the dry areas of your skin to get rid of dead skin cells on the surface of your skin.

Use Toners and Moisturizers

Adding toners to your routin is a good way to keep your skin properly hydrated as most toners blend hydrating and soothing ingredients that can address the needs of both oily and dry side of your face. When picking moisturizers go for hydrating creams that are not to thick so as to clog your oily sides, but also not too light so your dry areas can be properly moisturized too.

Use Retinol-based Products

Retinol aids in skin renewal and managing oil production. This means leaa sebum produced on the oily parts of your skin while the dead skin cells on your dry areas are thoroughly pushed off.

Avoid Oil-based Products

Oil-based products or comedogenic facial products can exacerbate oiliness in the T-zone. Be therefore careful when picking your products and keep track of possible ingredients that could be causing your oily areas to become super shiny.

Apply Sunblocks

Protect your skin from sun damage with suitable sunscreens to prevent agrression from free radicals and sun exposure that impair your skin barrier and cause an imbalance in your skin.

Use Suitable Make-up Products

It is absolutely possible to put on make-up regularly if you have combination skin. Here are just a few things to consider when choosing your make-up products; lightweight, non-comedogenic makeup is ideal to prevent clogged pores.

Visit a Dermatologist or Expert

Consulting a professional can help you tailor a skincare routine that suits your combination skin.

Best Products For Combination Skin

Here are our top recommendations for skincare products for combination skin:


  • Cerave SA CleanserA gentle cleanser with salicylic acid that will gently unclog your pores, and improve your skin’s texture and oiliness.


  • Innisfree Dewy Glow Jelly CreamI am a huge fan of K-beauty because they master the art of making hydrating and fast-absorbing products. This gel cream hydrates soothes and brightens the skin for an even tone.


  • Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance SerumThis serum aims to diminish dark spots and unveil evenly textured, smooth skin within weeks. It features Viniferine as its key component, a unique extract from vine sap, which is touted to be 62 times more powerful than vitamin C in fading dark spots. Olive squalane is also included for profound hydration, and the product has amassed a significant following on TikTok for its rapid and impressive outcomes.

  • Neutrogena Hydro Boost+ Niacinamide SerumThe Neutrogena Hydro Boost+ Niacinamide Serum, with its 10% niacinamide and hyaluronic acid formula, is ideal for combination skin as it effectively hydrates and maintains moisture balance while targeting uneven skin tone, dullness, and enlarged pores. Its ability to refine pores and reduce oiliness makes it a suitable choice for managing the varying needs of combination skin, leaving it clearer and more radiant.


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