Caring for Combination Skin

It’s dry, flaky, oily and completely normal at all once – yes, we’re talking about the tricky thing called combination skin! Despite it being the most common of skin types, finding just the right products to cleanse, hydrate and balance this skin type can seem impossible. Luckily, bringing balance back to combination skin is easier than it seems.

What is combination skin?

Combination skin is typically characterised by a complexion that is oily in some areas and dry in others. The nose, chin and forehead (a.k.a. the T-zone) are usually shiny and prone to breakouts, while areas such as the cheeks, jaw line and temples can feel tight and dry. Large pores and a propensity for blackheads and blemishes can also be common characteristics of combination skin.

What causes combination skin?

Much like other skin types, combination skin usually comes down to a matter of genetics. However, using harsh or drying products can encourage skin to produce more oil in the T-zone while drying out already parched areas, making it important to care for your skin with the right mix of gentle yet effective products.

How to tell if you have combination skin?

It can be hard to identify your own skin type. If you do suspect you may have combination skin, here’s a super simple test: cleanse your skin with a gentle cleanser, pat dry and simply wait! If after ten minutes you find that your cheeks, jaw line and temples are dry but your T-zone area appears shiny, the signs are pointing to combination skin.

How to look after combination skin?

The effects of combination skin can vary between people. While there is no one-size fits all approach to effectively caring for this skin type, balance and a gentle skincare regime are essential to bringing the skin to a healthy, balanced state. It is also beneficial to use a mix of products on different areas of your face, as these can require different treatments.

Cleanse gently

Cleansing the key to keeping skin healthy and radiant, but it’s important to find a cleanser with a gentle, balancing formulation. When any part of the skin is oily, it might seem like the logical step to reach for a harsh cleanser but in reality, this can make the problem worse.

“The most common mistake people with combination skin make is using a harsh cleansing routine. If your cleanser strips oil from the skin, it will disrupt the skin’s protective mantle, leading to a vicious cycle of oil overproduction and uncomfortable surface tautness,” advises Trilogy in-house beauty expert Corinne Morley. Avoid any cleansers formulated with chemicals like sulfates or alcohol, or those formulated with comedogenic ingredients, as these can block pores and increase oiliness and breakouts. Look for one especially formulated to cleanse while rebalancing the complexion.

Avoid harsh toners

Toners which balance skin are a must, but it’s again essential to avoid any containing harsh ingredients or chemicals. Look for products with gentle ingredients and those that are formulated to rebalance the skin’s pH balance without stripping it of its natural oils.

Buff away the rough

Exfoliating once a week is a recommended must for any skin type, allowing dead skin cells and surface debris to be buffed away. However, it’s important to use a gentle exfoliant and treat the dry areas of your face gently by only lightly sweeping the exfoliant over it, while paying particular attention to the oily parts prone to breakouts. Stay away from harsh facial scrubs and anything which has rough abrasives in it.

Layer up on hydration

Lastly, hydrating your skin is a must for any beauty regimen! Because the different areas of the face have different needs, it may be beneficial to use two moisturisers; look for a lightweight, oil-free one for your T-zone and a more nourishing and heavier option for the drier areas of your complexion. Night moisturisers are also a must, and those packed with antioxidants are key to helping calm skin while also replenishing and balancing. Start a good day the night before.

For an added nourishing boost, finish your routine with a goodness-packed facial oil. “Superfine oils like rosehip are readily accepted and absorbed by the skin, won’t clog or irritate pores and help to promote normal, healthy skin cell function. With a molecular structure similar in design to our own natural skin oil (sebum), rosehip can help to regulate the skin’s own oil production so, far from causing breakouts, it can actually be beneficial for re-balancing oily skin,” Corinne explains. However, if you find an oil is too heavy for your T-zone, limit its application to the drier areas of your face. 

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