A smiling women applying facecream to her cheek

What is combination skin? What's causing it and how you can treat it

If you have combination skin, then your skin will be oily in some places and dry in others. It’s the name given to skin that doesn’t fit in one category. People with combination skin have what’s called a T-zone, which means that if you drew a T shape across your face, the skin inside the T would be oily and the skin outside the T would be dry.

Just because you have combination skin at the moment, doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have combination skin forever. There are plenty of treatments you can try and the majority only require a small adjustment to your daily routine.

What causes combination skin?

Out of the five different skin types, combination skin is the most common. Here are just a few reasons why you might have this skin type:

  • Your genetics
  • The skin care products you’re using are too harsh on your nose, chin and forehead. If you’re using the wrong kind of moisturiser, it’ll clog up your pores
  • You’re going through a stressful time in your life
  • You’re not exercising so your skin isn’t receiving as much nourishment as it could be
  • When out in the sun, you’re not using adequate protection

Symptoms of combination skin

With your face having both oily and dry parts you’ll struggle to find skin care products that are effective everywhere. In the oily areas of your face (your nose, chin and forehead) you’ll be prone to acne breakouts and in the dry areas, your skin will be flaky and tight when wiped with a tissue.

People with combination skin usually have cheeks that are sensitive to cleansers and can develop the skin condition rosacea which leaves their cheeks red and sore.

Treatments for combination skin

There are lots of things you can do to try and improve the condition of your skin. You definitely need to start exfoliating if you don’t already, but make sure you take care on your dry skin areas. You don’t want to be too rough.

It could be that you’re using skin products that are too harsh on your nose, chin and forehead which is making your glands in these areas produce more oil. Instead, opt for products that have been specially formulated for combination skin and are fragrance-free. It’s much easier to do this than trying to apply products for oily and dry skin separately as you might accidentally overlap them. If this happens, you might block your pores and cause another acne breakout.

If you don’t currently exercise, then your skin cells might not be receiving as much oxygen and nutrients as they need. As well as exercising more, you should eat more salmon, mackerel, sardines and walnuts as these foods are full of the good fats that your skin needs to be healthy.

If you spend a lot of time in the sun and don’t wear adequate protection, then this is something you need to put right straightaway. You will be causing serious, long-term damage to your skin.

If you think your skin’s condition is down to you feeling stressed, then you should try to relax more if you can – easier said than done, we know. Maybe spend some time enjoying a hot drink and reading a book or going for a nice walk on a sunny day. You could give yourself a night in of pampering and see if a nourishing face mask designed for combination skin gives your face a boost.

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Skin Health