Tag Archives: skin type

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!

Oily Skin Profile

July 27, 2012

As promised, we are going to go through all the skin types and give each one a more in-depth look. The type that has received the most interest and questions is Oily Skin.

So let’s begin with that!

Characteristics of Oily Skin

Oily skin is visibly shiny and feels oily to the touch. The texture is slightly thicker with larger pores, especially along the nose. Initially, the skin may look and feel normal after washing but by mid-day becomes visibly shiny and oily. This happens because of overactive sebaceous glands that secrete sebum. These glands are all over the body, but most are concentrated on the face, chest, shoulders and upper back. The areas along the t-zone (the forehead, nose and chin) are especially apt to producing too much sebum.

Causes of Oily Skin

  • You inherited oily genes! Congratulations. Sometimes, it just so happens that the skin you came in has a tendency to produce too much oil. But honestly, people shouldn’t look at oily skin as a curse. When properly taken care of, oily skin can look very healthy, radiant and plump with moisture.
  • Fluctuating hormones. Hormones can be especially bonkers during puberty, pregnancy, and menopause. That’s why oily skin can be common for people in their teens and for women in their 20s and even past their 30s.
  • You’re a guy. Although men don’t suffer as much from hormonal fluctuations, they naturally tend to have larger pores and oilier skin than women. This is because the male hormone testosterone contributes to stimulating oil gland activity.
  • Heat and humidity. In hot and humid climates, some people have problems with the combination of oily skin and sweating.

Oily Skin and Acne

While oily skin is prone to acne, it does not necessarily mean that oily skin is the direct cause of acne.  Sebum naturally flows out of pores onto the skin and the excess is normally rinsed away during daily cleansing. The pores however can be clogged by an accumulation of dead skin cells. Then, oil can become trapped and lead to the infection otherwise known as acne.  Not everyone who has oily skin, however, suffers from acne. In fact, some people with dry skin can have acne. The key is to finding skin care techniques and habits that works specifically for YOUR skin.

Taking Care of Oily Skin


The most effective way to manage oily skin is regular cleansing. You must wash at least twice daily, in the mornings after waking up and at night before going to bed. You should also cleanse your face immediately after a workout and sweating heavily.

Use lukewarm water to wash your face since extreme temperatures can irritate the skin. Also, choose a cleanser that is oil-free and specifically suited for oily skin. Foaming cleansers are much better at leaving oily skin feeling fresh and clean rather than cream-based “milks,” which contain lipids that can leave the face feeling greasy.


People with oily skin might avoid moisturizers because they are put off by the thought of making their face even greasier. But moisture and hydration is needed to keep the skin’s water content in place. Hydration means water, and all skin types benefit from the added hydration since the skin’s internal water content tends to evaporate.

There are a variety of light, oil-free moisturizers out there that are suited for oily skin. A lot of people with oily skin swear by Cetaphil. I personally would prefer a moisturizer that’s based on more natural ingredients. But it’s up to you to look around and pick the product that works best for your skin. Also, try to look for those products labeled non-comodogenic that won’t clog your pores and includes a light SPF.

Sun Protection

As with all skin types, adequate sun protection against the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays is absolutely essential. Look for an oil-free, broad-spectrum block with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Sunscreen gels are less likely than creams and lotions to make your skin look oily. Wear sun protection every day!


Exfoliate your skin with a gentle exfoliating scrub.  For people with oily skin, try to incorporate exfoliation in your skin care routine two or three times a week. Gel scrubs are better as they are less likely to make skin look oily than creams and lotions.

Masks and Clays

Masks help to draw out oils and cleanse pores. Clay masks help to balance out oily skin but for some people, they may dry out the skin too much. If this happens, you can apply the mask just on the problem areas. Also, since masks tend to dry out the skin, it’s important to hydrate your skin after using a mask.


The oiliness of the skin may hide the lack of moisture and hydration. That’s why it’s really important to drink plenty of water throughout the day. Water helps to moisten and hydrate the entire body, inside and out.

Once the skin is properly hydrated, the oil glands will receive signals from the brain that excess oil is no longer needed, and will consequently slow down the oil production in the skin. This results in a normalization of skin oils and a reduction in acne breakouts.

Closing Thoughts

I would like to reiterate that oil production is a normal part of healthy skin. Sebum is the skin’s natural oil, and is there to keep our skin and hair soft and healthy. It’s important to treat our face gently and to not go overboard with aggressive cleansing, scrubbing, and use of harsh chemicals.

Remember, oil on the skin acts as a protective barrier as well as a natural anti-aging mechanism. So for those who have oily skin, take delight in the thought that over time, people with oily skin tend to have fewer wrinkles and look younger than people with other skin types.


What about you, do you have oily skin? If so, what are your tips and suggestions for managing excessive oil? Share them with us.

Related Articles: We All Have A Type. What’s Yours?