Combination Skin

Having combination skin is no easy feat… managing one skin type can be a challenge, let alone two. Luckily, we can help. Treating combination skin is all about balance. While treatment can take a little trial and error, it’s definitely possible to achieve healthy, even skin. First, let’s learn more about combo skin and what’s going on with your complexion.

What is combination skin?

Combination skin is a common skin type where both oily and dry skin co-exist. The face’s T-zone area (nose, chin, and forehead) tends to be more oily, while the cheeks and the rest of the face tend to be drier. Because these conditions require different approaches, fighting acne with combination skin can be challenging, but not impossible.

How to tell if you have combination skin

So what does combination skin look like? There are a few distinct features. When you have combination skin, the cheeks and eye area are typically normal, but they can also be dry and flaky or inflamed. In contrast, the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) is oily because it contains more active oil (sebaceous) glands. These glands create a glossy appearance, clog pores, and cause inflammation and even breakouts.

With combo skin, you might feel like your face is dry and tight after you wash it, but also shiny and oily by midday or the end of the day. Does someone in your family have combination skin? If so, you may, too, because genetics have a strong influence on skin type.

How to treat combination skin

There are specific triggers that can aggravate combination skin, including fluctuating hormones and a change in climate. It’s not uncommon for the skin to produce more oil in warm, humid climates. Certain skincare ingredients and cleansing habits can also set off an overload of oil. Many people think that by using oil-stripping products and cleansing frequently they’ll control that oily shine. But what they’re really doing is stripping the skin of its natural oils, which causes the skin to produce even more oil to protect itself. That’s why treating and preventing excess oil, acne, and dryness in combination skin requires a multi-targeted approach.

Here’s how to treat combination skin:

  • Cleanse correctly: Since harsh ingredients and over-cleansing will only have a counterproductive result, reach for a gentle cleanser that can be used twice a day.
  • Use a balancing toner: Many people underestimate this step’s importance, but the right toner will balance a skin’s pH without overdrying non-oily areas.
  • Exfoliate regularly: Exfoliating helps clear clogged pores in oily sections of the face while making it easier for moisture to penetrate the skin in dry areas. Don’t reach for an aggressive formula. Go for a gentle scrub or an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) exfoliant like glycolic acid or lactic acid that dissolves dead skin cells instead of sweeping them away — especially if you’re experiencing breakouts.
  • Moisturize correctly: Both oily and dry skin need hydration, but look for a moisturizer that’s labeled noncomedogenic so it won’t clog your pores. Moisturizing combination skin can be tricky, so in some cases, you may need to use a light-weight, water-based, oil-controlling moisturizer in your T-zone and a more rich formula in your dry areas. It may take a little experimentation to see what works best for you.
  • Always wear sunscreen: No matter what skin type you have, sunscreen is an absolute must, even on days when there’s rain, clouds, or snow. Use a formula with an SPF of 30 or higher and reapply after excessive sweating or swimming. Keep in mind that no sunscreen can completely protect against UVA/UVB rays, so take a few extra precautions such as wearing sunglasses and a hat. Avoid direct sunlight between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the sun’s rays are the most powerful and dangerous.

If you need an acne treatment for combination skin, look no further. Proactiv’s targeted skincare regimens treat and prevent breakouts, hydrate, and protect so you can achieve a clear, balanced, and glowing complexion. Whether you choose our original Proactiv Solution System, Proactiv+ for sensitive skin, or our ProactivMD System with prescription-strength Adapalene, managing combination, acne-prone skin has never been easier.