how to figure out if you have combination skin + how to care for it
The essential first step in building a skincare routine is discovering your true skin type. After all, you can't create the perfect skincare cocktail without knowing what your skin needs - and, consequently, what you should definitely avoid. Plus, when you understand your skin, investing in the right products becomes easy - saving you trouble (and money). But sometimes (in fact, most times) identifying your skin type can be confusing - especially if you have combination skin. Which is why we’re breaking it down for you here.
what is combination skin?
The commonest type of combination skin is the classic ‘oily in some areas and dry in others. Typically, your T-zone (the nose and forehead area) is oily, and your cheeks are dry. As such, breakouts tend to appear around your forehead, nose and chin - basically, where you produce the most oil. And your cheeks may feel a little tight after washing your face. The cause of combination skin is usually genetics, but environmental factors and using the wrong products can also play a role.
how to tell if you have combination skin
still unsure? try this DIY at-home skin type test:
- Step 1. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser.
- Step 2. Pat dry with a soft towel.
- Step 3. Wait 30 minutes.
- Step 4. Put your detective hat on and check your skin for clues.
here’s what your skin is telling you:
- Dry skin. Your skin feels tight or begins to flake.
- Oily skin. You notice oil or a glossy shine all over your face (as opposed to just one area).
- Combination skin. Your T-zone is shining (like the star you are), but the rest of your face is dry or rough to the touch.
- Sensitive skin. Your skin is red or sore.
how to keep combination skin happy
Think you have combination skin? The key to caring for this skin type is all about balance. Here’s what you need in your routine.
We recommend incorporating a mild exfoliating acid (like glycolic or salicylic) into your routine to help unclog pores and improve the texture and tone of your skin (without stripping it). Just be sure not to overdo the exfoliation because scrubbing too hard actually causes the skin to produce more oil in response. For best results, up to three times weekly is enough for combination skin.
Calming ingredients like ceramides and niacinamide are perfect to balance out the exfoliation and repair dry patches. Your healthier and happier skin barrier will thank you.
a light, hydrating moisturiser
Just because some areas of your face produce more oil, doesn’t mean you should skip the moisturiser. Like we touched on earlier, it might feel weird to apply moisture on top of an already oily face, but your skin might be producing excessive oil because it’s thirsty - and your skin is compensating for it by producing more oil. Go light with a hydrating, non-comedogenic moisturiser.
Now, let’s restore balanced skin!