What is combination skin?

We all know by now that identifying your skin type is the first step to caring for your skin. But sometimes figuring out your skin type can be tricky, especially when it seems to be sending you conflicting signals — in some spots, it won’t stop shining but in others, you can’t put enough moisturizer on. If this is the case, then it’s likely that you have combination skin. So what is combination skin?

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Combination skin is when your face exhibits characteristics of multiple skin types at once. While most of us have combination skin to some degree since there are more sebaceous glands (the glands that produce oil) around our nose than other areas of our face, making this part of our face oilier than others, combination skin types experience it to a larger degree.

For most people with combination skin, their face is marked by a consistently oily T-zone (the central area of your face including the chin, nose, and part of your forehead above your eyebrows) with dryness in other areas of the face.

Combination skin can also occur when your face experiences rosacea, breakouts or other skin issues all at the same time.

What causes combination skin?

As with most skin issues, the cause is different for everyone and is often a result of several factors. Combination skin can be due to genetics, it could be a result of hormonal changes, or it could be a consequence of products you are using that are too emollient for your skin or that are too harsh, causing irritation and breakouts.

Since there is no straight answer, it’s important to be attuned to how products are affecting your skin. Sometimes this means using different products on different areas of your face or using fewer products and seeing how your skin reacts on its own.

How to care for it:

The key is finding a balance that works for you.

Many people are guilty of over-cleansing their faces and using too many products. Experiment with using less and look for products that promote balance and are free of synthetic fragrances and irritants such as alcohol and witch hazel.

People with combination skin often need to use different products for different areas of the face to keep their skin in check. You may consider using a mild cleanser and moisturizer on your cheeks with a more stringent product on your T-zone to cut through the oil.

Do you have combination skin? How did you identify it and what products and routines work for you? Let us know in the comments.

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