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expert advice on how to treat combination skin

Surprisingly, combination skin is the most common skin type. Yep, according to experts, people assess their skin as either dry or oily, when in fact, it's a combination of both.

expert advice on how to treat combination skin

Knowing if you have combination skin is essential to ensure you have the proper skincare routine for your skin type. Although, as with most skin types, there is more than one factor at play in combination skin, so don't stress it's normal to be oily in some spots and dry in others. 

We talked to Dr. Kathleen May Eusebio-Alpapara to explain the tell-tale signs you have combination skin, what causes combination skin and how best to care for those pesky oily areas.  

So if you're unsure what is the best skincare routine for you,  we've got you covered! In this blog, you'll get some of the best tips on how to treat combination skin.


How do I know if i have combination skin?

Check that T-zone. You have combination skin if areas of your face are oily, like the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin), while the other places like the side of your face are dry. 


Why do I have combination skin?

Our face is covered by a lipid film from the top layer of skin (epidermis), the skin barrier. Most oil in the lipid film comes from the sebaceous (oil) glands found in the dermis or the second layer of the skin. 

Dr Eusebio-Alpapara explains that combination skin has a damaged skin barrier, making the skin dry, but at the same time, there are areas on the face with active oil-secreting glands, making these areas oily, like the forehead, nose, and chin or the T-zone. 

So combination skin types have oily (active oil glands) skin but at the same time has a skin barrier defect, making the skin also dry. The sebum that the oil glands produce prevents further dryness of the skin. So I would say that people with this skin type have been caught in a win-win situation, but the dilemma on the best skincare routine products for combination skin still hangs in the air.

How to take care of combination skin

We deal with a combination skin type like "how to treat dry and oily skin." Take note of the advice from our board-certified dermatologist, Dr Kathleen, so you can easily decipher the best skincare routine products for combination skin. 

  • Firstly, be gentle on your skin. Use a mild cleanser 
    Avoid harsh soaps and rubbing the face. 

  • Avoid alcohol-based-toners. Stick to toners with glycerin which can suck in moisture from the surroundings making your skin hydrated. 

  • Moisturisers and oils are still your best friends but use non-comedogenic and lightweight ones. Using skincare products that are comedogenic leads to further clogging of pores with white and blackheads. Combine it with active oil glands and surprise-Acne breakouts, yikes. 

  • You can still use skincare products for oily skin. But limit them to the oily areas or the t-zone. If you're using acne products like salicylic acid, use them on the pimples only.
  • You may still mildly exfoliate your skin. Do it every two weeks. 

  • Lastly, always wear sunscreens. During summer or muggy weather, you may skip your moisturiser in the morning and just wear sunscreen in place of it. 


What about makeup?

You can still go for that Dewy look. If your oily T-zone bothers you, apply a product for oil-control on the t-zone, which can be toner or serum, then use an oil-free primer or just a sunscreen in the morning. Let them dry to avoid "caking." Next, apply the foundation, concealer, and eye makeup. Blend and dry. Then apply blush-on, and finish with a setting spray.


Skincare products for combination skin

    Some of our face vegan skincare products for combination skin.

  1. Double cleansing: In removing your makeup and sunscreen, cleansing oil is good to use because it is gentle on the face. It also prevents you from rubbing the face too much just to remove those long-lasting makeup. Then, gently wash your face with a powdered cleanser. Use a product with mild natural exfoliants like kaolin, quartz, and coconut. 

  2. Eye product:  Since the skin around your eyes is devoid of oil glands, it can quickly dry and get irritated, especially when using products meant for oily skin. That area is also wrinkle-prone. Another concern for some is the darkening of the skin around the eyes. Thus, an eye product that contains the following natural ingredients is great to use;
  • Moisturisers like argan and olive; 
  • Anti-aging ingredients like rosehip (packed with vitamin A or retinol) or Kakadu plum (packed with vitamin C); and
  • Brightening ingredients like coffee
  1. Toners: If you have unbearable oiliness in your T-zone, you can use a toner with witch hazel, a natural astringent, to dry out the excess oil. Again, look for toners with glycerin to maintain skin hydration. 

  2. Oils: to lock in skin hydration, are best for dry skin. But when some areas of your face are oily, stick to the oils with a low comedogenic rating like hemp seed oil, grapeseed oil, and rosehip seed oil. 

It's also important to consider the weather.

Winter/ low humidity environment: If the oiliness in the T-zone doesn't bother you and your face is getting dry, you may ditch the toner. Use the other products twice a day, ending with sunscreen in the morning.

During summer: If the oils get heavy in the morning, just apply them at night and use the toner and sunscreen in the morning. 


Dr. Kathleen May Eusebio-Alpapara is a board certified dermatologist who practices both medical and cosmetic dermatology at VE Eusebio Skin Center.