Skincare routine for combination skin

Combination skin can be challenging to care for. It can be oily and dry, flaking and breaking out — all at the same time. While it can be frustrating to essentially treat more than one skin type at once, there are some ways to make it work. Below we go over a basic skincare routine for combination skin that will help minimize breakouts in oily areas and help keep dry areas supple and hydrated.

What every skincare routine should have

A basic skincare routine is comprised of three fundamental steps: cleanse, tone, moisturize. These steps are considered essential because each step complements and balances the other, forming a complete circle of skin health. The main idea behind it is to purify the skin while keeping it hydrated. This prevents breakouts and premature aging from occurring.

Adapting ‘cleanse, tone, moisturize’ for combination skin

When it comes to combination skin, these three essential steps are still necessary, but they should be adapted slightly to treat the individual areas of the face that behave differently. The first step is to look at the ingredients you are putting on your skin. When choosing cleansers, toners, and moisturizers for combination skin, it’s important to find ones that aren’t too harsh or too heavy as these can irritate dry areas and cause breakouts in oily areas.

Search for products that are free of synthetic fragrances and irritants such as alcohol and witch hazel. Try using a gel or mild foaming cleanser for oily and dry combination skin and a lotion-based cleanser for dry skin with rosacea and/or sun damage. Look for toners that don’t contain alcohol, witch hazel, menthol or citrus oils as they will be too harsh on your skin as well.

Use different products on different areas

Since you are essentially treating multiple skin types at once, it’s important to choose products that address individual concerns separately. As a general rule of thumb, for your oily areas, you’ll want products that are lightweight and have a gel-like consistency, and for your drier areas, you should use thicker, more emollient products.

Once you have chosen products that are ideal for the different areas and concerns of your skin, it’s as easy as following the steps every morning and evening.


The routine for combination skin:

  • Cleanse: Use a cleanser to wash your face and remove dirt and pollutants from your pores. If you want, you can use a gentle cleanser all over that doesn’t leave your face feeling too tight or too greasy. But if your dry areas are extra dry or if your oily areas are extra greasy, it would be wise to use two different cleansers targeted for the different areas.
  • Tone: Apply a toner after cleansing to remove any residual dirt missed by your cleanser and to prepare your skin for moisturizer. If you choose a balancing toner that doesn’t contain any harsh or irritating ingredients but does contain beneficial ingredients like vitamins and antioxidants, then this can benefit both the dry and oily areas at the same time by nourishing while minimizing oil.
  • Moisturize: Moisture is key for glowing skin. While cleansing and toning clear your skin, these two steps also remove your skin’s natural oils that keep it hydrated. Moisturizer restores this hydration to the skin. Even for oily areas, moisturizer is still necessary, as dehydrated skin can actually produce more oil to compensate for the lack of moisture, thereby worsening the problem. For these areas, just be sure to use a thin, gel-like serum or a lightweight moisturizer that won’t clog pores. Use a thicker, creamier moisturizer for dry areas.

Last, but not least, SPF:  It’s also important to look for a moisturizer containing SPF or apply sunscreen after your moisturizer to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful UV rays, which cause great damage to your skin overall. 15 SPF is the minimum, but 30 SPF is even better. Look for lightweight formulas that will work on all areas of your face.

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