Treat the part, not the whole
People with combination skin need to use different products for different areas of the face to keep their skin in equilibrium. Since you are essentially treating two different skin types, it’s important to purchase products that address both types separately.
> For oily combination skin, use a mild cleanser and a heavier moisturizer on your dry areas and use a more stringent product on the oily areas around your nose, chin and forehead designed to cut through the oil. For the oily areas of your face, you will also need to apply a lighter, non-comedogenic moisturizer that won’t clog your pores (this is typically printed on the packaging).
Pay attention to ingredients
In many cases, combination skin can simply be a reaction to products that are making naturally oily skin feel dry in some areas and clogged in others. This is because some products can be too harsh on the skin, causing irritation, breakouts, and tightness. Experiment with using fewer products for a week or two and pay attention to how your skin reacts to determine if you really have combination skin or if maybe you’re simply experiencing an adverse reaction to certain ingredients. It’s important to look for products that promote balance and are free of harmful ingredients for this reason.
What to avoid:
Stay away from foaming and gel cleansers containing sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium Laureth sulfate, and ammonium laureth sulfate. These ingredients are known as surfactants and are problematic because they strip water from the skin which can, in turn, cause the skin to produce more oil to compensate. Look for a cleanser containing AHA or BHA, exfoliating ingredients that help remove build up in pores without drying out the skin. Also, be sure to steer clear of other drying ingredients such as alcohol, witch hazel, menthol, citrus oils, and synthetic fragrances.
Tone and moisturize, everywhere
After cleansing, your skin is particularly sensitive and dehydrated. That’s why it’s important, even if your skin is on the oily side, to apply a toner and moisturizer (in that order) directly after washing to restore the moisture back right away. This will prevent any flaking and tightness from occurring in the drier areas of your face and prevent your skin from overproducing oil in the oily areas. Toning may seem like an unnecessary step to some, but it can be a real asset for managing oily combination skin. Toning can help remove excess oils and finish the job of your cleanser, getting deep into your pores and preparing the skin for moisturizer.
> Be sure to use a gentle toner free of alcohol and other harsh ingredients, such as menthol or witch hazel, so you don’t aggravate the dry areas of your face or dehydrate the oily areas. As we established above, for your oily areas, you’ll also want to use a lighter moisturizer that is non-clogging in order to avoid breakouts.
Exfoliate a few times a week
Last but not least, try exfoliating a couple of times a week to keep skin clear. Exfoliating removes dead skin cells that have built up on the surface of your skin. Using exfoliants on combination skin helps promote cell turnover and reveal fresh, more balanced skin underneath. Try a BHA / salicylic acid or AHA / glycolic acid exfoliating wash to clear out your pores and encourage a fresh complexion.