Tag Archives: skin products

Combination Skin Profile

October 6, 2012

I’ve been meaning to get back on the subject of different skin types! Understanding your skin type is incredibly important. If you are using the wrong products on your skin, it can end up doing more harm to your skin than good.

In that respect, combination type skin is perhaps the trickiest type to treat. Almost everyone at some point or another can develop combination type skin. Typically, this means that some parts of your face are dry (usually the cheeks) while some parts tend to be oily (usually along the forehead, nose and chin, an area called the “T-zone”).

Dealing With Combination Skin.
The goal of combination skin is to achieve a healthy skin balance that’s neither too dry nor too oily. So let’s have a look into how to care for combination skin.

Characteristics of Combination Skin

As the name implies, combination type skin has characteristics of both dry and oily skin. With combination skin, certain areas of the face tend to be especially oily while other areas may feel especially dry. The dry areas on the face tend to look flaky and dull, while the oily parts tend to look shiny and feel greasy. The oily areas also tend to have larger pores and are prone to pimples and blackheads. If some parts of your face feel tight after washing, this may be an indication that you have combination type skin. Otherwise, you can try the “tissue test” to help you determine whether or not you have combination skin.

Causes of Combination Skin

Many internal and external factors can contribute to the development of combination skin, including:

  • Genetic Predisposition. Sometimes people just naturally tend to have a certain type of skin.
  • Hormonal changes. This can come about because of puberty, menstrual cycles, pregnancy, etc. and can lead to fluctuations in the skin’s oil production, making some parts of the face oilier than others. Hormonal fluctuations can also be brought on by the medications that you take, or even prolonged stress.
  • Uneven Lipid Distribution. Lipids are fatty or waxy organic compounds that determine the structure of cell membranes and play a role in combination skin. Genetic and hormonal factors can cause an imbalance in how much and where lipids are produced. When lipids are not evenly distributed throughout the skin, certain areas can become soft and oily while other areas can become dry and rough. (Read this article on protecting the Lipid Barrier of the skin.)
  • Climatic changes. Changes in climate can aggravate combination skin. Hot and humid weather can make the skin oily, while dry and cold weather can cause the skin to lose moisture in some areas.
  • Improper Skin Care. The products that you use on your skin can actually influence your skin type! This is why it’s so important to know your skin type and avoid using products which can cause your skin to break out or become dry and irritated.
  • Imbalance. Oriental and Ayurvedic medicine link all the different facial areas to specific organs in the body. According to this line of thought, an area of the face that is particularly dry or oily can indicate some imbalance in the corresponding internal organ. Balance can be restored by making lifestyle changes, such as choosing to quite smoking, eating a nutritious and balanced diet, exercising regularly and avoiding the wrong skin care products.

Taking Care of Combination Skin

When it comes to combination skin, there really isn’t one perfect routine or set of products that will work for everyone. Although there are many products that are designed specifically for dealing with combination skin, finding the right products for your skin type may take a lot of trial and error. Some people prefer to tackle combination skin by treating their face as if it were two different skin types. They may apply different products that are suited to each area on the face. For example, they may apply dry skin products to dry areas, while using oil-free products on oily areas. The main thing to remember is to avoid products that will make problem areas worse!


Regular cleansing is important for any skin type. For combination skin, it’s important to find cleansers that will gently do the job without causing further irritation or dryness. Gel-based or mild foaming cleansers work best for oily and dry combination skin.

Try Melvita’s Apicosma Cleansing Jelly, which is a gentle foaming cleansing jelly recommended for normal and combination skin types to purify and tone the skin. It uses verbana and lemon balm floral waters, orange extract, calcium and manganese, as well as honey to help gently remove impurities and excess sebum.

Melvita Apicosma Cleansing Jelly on Amazon.com

Whatever cleanser you choose, bar soaps and bar cleansers must be avoided because they dry out and irritate the skin.


There are two opposing camps that have clashed over the usefulness/uselessness of toners. Those who are pro-toners use it for many reasons: to refresh, rejuvenate, tone (shrink pores) and help restore the skin’s natural pH balance. If you have combination skin, it’s important to pick a toner that is alcohol free, since alcohol can dry the skin and cause the oily areas to produce even more oil.

Floral waters can make for marvelous facial toners! For example, rose floral or lavender floral waters are naturally cleansing and can help to gently refresh the skin and leave it hydrated. Try Naturado’s Lavender Floral Water which is great to use at any time of the day. It’s gentle and suitable for all skin types. I tend to use it in the afternoons to help give my skin a quick pick-me-up without having to wash it with water.

Naturado Lavender Floral Water at Ziba’s Boutique


Moisturizing is important not only for the dry areas of the face, but also for the oily parts. A good moisturizer for combination skin ideally is lightweight and hydrating and goes well even over the oily parts of your skin. Some experts suggest using separate moisturizers that are suitable for the different parts of your skin, moisturizing dry areas twice a day and moisturizing oily areas only once a day. Try Weleda Iris Hydrating lotion or Lavera’s Organic Calendula Balancing Cream, both of which are designed to help balance combination skin through the soothing and hydrating properties of the calendula plant.


Lavera Calendula Balancing Creme at Ziba’s Boutique

Sun Protection

No matter your skin type, you will still need protection from the sun. Prolonged unprotected exposure to the sun accelerates the skin’s aging process, leading to the early onset of wrinkles, discolorations as well as the development of dry/dull skin and worsening blemishes caused by acne. It’s important to use a sunblock that protects against both UVA and UVB rays, but one that does not leave your skin feeling too greasy and looking too shiny.

Cream based sunblocks may be too heavy for combination skin. Try and find a sunblock lotion or gel that offers enough skin protection without overwhelming your oilier T-zone. Both La Roche Posays’ Anthelios SPF 30 AC Fluid and their 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid have received many positive reviews from people with combination/oily skin. Another one that has been raved about by those with combination/oily is Eucerin Daily Protection Moisturizing Face Lotion with SPF 30 which can easily be found at a nearby drugstore like Walgreen’s.


La Roche-Posay Anthelios 50 Mineral Ultra Light Sunscreen Fluid on Amazon.com


Exfoliation is an important part of any skin care routine to help remove dry, dead, rough skin cells and allow better penetration of treatments and products. For combination skin, the exfoliation should be done once or twice a week with special attention to areas especially prone to acne and blackheads.

Look for products that contain salicylic acids, glycolic acids or fruit enzymes to help promote skin cell turnover. Try Dermalogica’s Daily Microfoliant, which is a gentle exfoliant containing papaya enzymes  and salicylic acid to help remove dead skin cells, keep the skin smooth, and accelerate skin cell renewal. If your skin tends to be too sensitive, exfoliation should only be done occasionally–no more than once a week.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant at Dermalogica.com

Masks and Clays

Masks are another important skincare step that can help balance combination skin. Some people prefer to use hydrating/moisturizing masks on dry areas and a deep-cleaning clay mask on oily areas.

One product that I’ve personally tried and liked is Cattier’s pink clay mask which is designed for sensitive skin, but can also be suitable if your combination skin tends to be sensitive. You can read about my review of Cattier’s pink clay mask here. Otherwise, if your combination skin tends to be rather oily, you can try a combination of Cattier’s green clay mask (green clay is very good at drawing out oil and impurities) and their pink clay mask.

Cattier Pink Clay Mask on Amazon.com

Closing Thoughts

When taking care of combination skin, it’s important to resist the urge to over-treat the oily areas and dry patches. The key is always to be gentle and avoid aggressive measures which can make problem areas even worse. Another important point to remember is that the term “Combination Skin” is a good, basic way to categorize a skin type which shows characteristics of both dry and oily skin.

Everyone’s skin is unique and can have other features which require special treatment beyond dry and oily skin, such as eczema, rosacea, sun-damage or sensitivities to certain ingredients in products. Remember that skin types can change and are influenced by internal and external factors. The skin can develop sensitivities to random things throughout your life. It’s very important to pay attention to any changes in your skin as well as any reactions that might be caused by the use of different products.


Was this helpful? If you have combination skin, what are your tips and suggestions for managing combination skin? Share them with us!

A Handy Lesson: 5 Ways to Care For Your Hands

September 19, 2012

I’ve been noticing my hands a lot recently. Sometimes, when I’m taking pictures of beauty products my hands end up making their way into the photo. And when I pull up that photo on the computer, the image that gets blasted onto the screen is such a magnified version that I can’t help but notice all the little lines and creases that have etched themselves onto my hands over the years. Honestly, I’m amazed by how much older my hands look today than say, three years ago!

This really shouldn’t be a surprise though. Your hands, just like your face, are constantly exposed to the elements: the sun, extremely cold/dry weather, lots of water. But unlike your face, your hands take a far worse beating from all the harsh soaps, cleaning products and rough tasks to which we often subject them. And frankly, I’ve subjected my hands to a great deal of hard work in the past couple of years. I’m talking about serious manual labor, people! Drawing water from a deep well, washing clothes by hand, chopping wood (very badly, I admit) with a hatchet. Every day. For two long years while I lived the rustic life of a Peace Corps volunteer in Central Africa. And though I’m proud to say I have worker’s hands, I think it’s about time to give back some tender loving care to these babies.

So here is a list of ways we can begin to lovingly care for our hands:

1) Moisturize

Water can strip your skin of moisture so it’s important to moisturize your hands frequently, especially after each time you wash them. Keep a small tube of moisturizing cream on you. The ideal cream would be one that’s good for your hands AND your nails (like Melvita Extra Rich Hand Cream). Also, if you are doing a lot of work around the house, using a rich oil-based cream early in the day and later in the night can help to protect your hands. Even oils in your kitchen cabinet, like olive oil and coconut oil, can be massaged into your hands to keep them hydrated.

2) Sun proof

If you have learned just one thing from this blog, I hope it’s the importance of protecting your skin from the sun. And your hands are no exception. Over time, unprotected sun exposure can result in wrinkles and little dark spots on your hands, which can make them appear older than they really are. As the proverbial saying goes, an ounce of prevention today is worth a pound of cure. So start sun proofing your hands early on. A good practice is to slather a bit of your daily facial sunscreen onto your hands each morning. Or better yet, pick up a hand moisturizer with built-in SPF (like Neutrogena Norwegian Formula Anti-Ageing Hand Cream SPF 25). This is a great way to keep your hands moisturized and sun proofed throughout the day.

3) Work proof

Any time you subject your hands to dish soap and cleaning chemicals, wear rubber gloves. Before you start digging around in the garden, put on some gardening gloves. When it starts getting cold and windy outside, wear mittens. Get my drift? Gloves are a working girl’s best friend!

Cheesy photo alert!

4) Repair

As you age, your hands will begin to develop the following: dark spots, wrinkles and thinning skin. The effects of the first two can be greatly reduced if you follow the preventive practices thus aforementioned. But sooner or later, your hands will need some restorative care. For wrinkles, the same anti-aging cream or serum that you use for your face can also work well for your hands. Look for ingredients that include retinol, antioxidants and peptides (like Roc Multi-Correxion Night Treatment). For dark spots there are numerous spot correcting hand creams out there (like Clinique’s Even Better Dark Spot Correcting Hand Cream). As for the problem of thinning skin on hands, there ARE some people who are into that bony, veiny kind of look… But if that’s not your thing, you can find a cream that will help to boost the collagen and elastin protein levels in the hands to restore their volume and firmness (try Strivectin-SD Volumizing Hand Treatment).

5) Strengthen

If you are not giving your hands the care that they need, your nails will evetually begin to suffer. There are vitamins and supplements you can take to help strengthen your nails, such as vitamins C, A, E and calcium and zinc. Recently, I’ve been taking biotin to help strengthen my nails. It is a B vitamin that is found naturally in many foods, including salmon, egg yolk, mushrooms, bananas and carrots. But even if you do not suffer from biotin deficiency, biotin supplements may be the additional boost that your nails need.

So there you go! I hope this was helpful, and if you have additional thoughts and ideas write me a line. I’d love to know what you do or what products you use to care for your hands.