Help, My Combination Skin's Driving Me Insane!
WHAT IS COMBINATION SKIN?
One in three 16 - 20 year olds say they have combination skin. But what exactly does that mean? Combination skin is an unruly mix of oily and dry skin. It's reactive and often has shiny patches. The infamous T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) tends to be oily, whilst the rest is on the dry side. Combination skin can be defined by 5 criteria: excess sebum in specific zones, a 'tight' feeling, an uneven skin tone, an uneven skin texture and the occasional spotty outbreak.
WHAT CAUSES COMBINATION SKIN?
Younger skin gets put through the mill between the ages of 20 - 25, largely due to accelerated skeletal growth. Our skin follows suit, with cell renewal occurring at break neck speed. Throw in hormonal changes, climatic variations, unsuitable skin care routines, diet... The result is an unstable cutaneous structure that shows on the surface of our skin. This instability leads to the appearance of both dry and oily patches.
THE COMPLEXITIES OF COMBINATION SKIN
Combination skin is annoying, as it's both oily and dry. Excess oil produced around the T-zone leaves us with an uneven skin texture, open pores and spots. The rest of our face feels tight and stingy after a hot bath/shower or cleansing, looks dry and may develop red patches. Being such a mixed bag means combination skin is easily irritated and damaged. The solution is to use treatments designed to balance out sebum production in both the inner and outer layers of our skin. So whilst our T-zone needs an oil-busting deep cleanse, the rest of our face requires a more gentle touch.
COMBINATION SKIN AS WE AGE
Those of us with combination skin benefit from the protective effect of excess sebum. Sebum is lipid-rich, which keeps our skin moisturised. This in turn stalls the appearance of wrinkles. However, this still leaves us with dry zones - temples and cheeks - that can lose tone and sag. We may also find ourselves blessed with pigment spots or other blemishes.
SKIN CARE TIPS: HOW TO CLEANSE COMBINATION SKIN
What's a sure-fire way to zap blemishes caused by combination skin? Cleansing twice a day! This will get rid of impurities caused by too much sebum that, due to the presence of free radicals, oxidises, leading to pimples and blackheads. Opt for a gentle cleanser such as micellar water or a lotion designed for normal or combination skin. Begin with your T-zone: apply your cleanser to a cotton pad and gently massage it on using small, circular movements. Repeat until all grime has gone. Rinse off and follow with a spritz of thermal water to remove any limestone left by tap water. If you tend to get pimples, apply a face scrub and purifying face mask once or twice a week. But make sure you steer clear of areas that are dry.
SKIN CARE TIPS: MOISTURISING COMBINATION SKIN
That fact that our skin may be shiny doesn't mean we shouldn't moisturise. Quite the opposite! Dry patches need to be nourished so that our protective layer stays in tact and prevents our skin from become irritated and dehydrated. Apply a mattifying, non-greasy day cream to moisturise your T-zone and close pores, alongside an all-in-one cream that will hydrate dry patches and balance out oily parts of your face. At night, apply a richer cream, sticking to one that's also non-comedogenic.
SKIN CARE TIPS: MAKE UP FOR COMBINATION SKIN
Make up-wise, go for products that suit your skin's needs. Plus a little bit of trickery can go a long way! Combination skin only has shiny patches on the T-zone, so apply different types of make up to different parts of your face - a liquid, non-comedogenic foundation and transparent powder to shiny zones and a stick foundation to your temples and cheeks. Keep your skin looking matt throughout the day by gently pressing a tissue or mattifying wipe on to oilier zones to suck up any excess sebum.
COMBINATION SKIN: 5 TIPS TO BOOST YOUR COMPLEXION
Combination skin can be a real pain. A shiny T-zone meets dry skin nightmare that needs specific care. So here are 5 tips to get your combination skin into tip top shape.
Combination skin is both oily and dry... We have dry skin on our cheeks and temples, with oily patches on our forehead, nose and chin. Lots of women between 35 and 45 have to deal with frustrating combination skin that's both shiny and itchy. Hence our 5 handy tips!
#1 CLEANSE COMBINATION SKIN WITH AN OIL
Canny cleansing works a treat! Combination skin needs careful cleansing to remove impurities that have built up during the day (make up, pollution, smoke, sweat), get rid of excess sebum on the T-zone and moisturise drier parts of the face. Your best bet? A cleansing oil! Sebum is more easily removed by oils, whilst dry zones get some much-needed, nourishing comfort.
#2 HELP YOUR COMBINATION SKIN TO REGENERATE WITH THERMAL WATER
Thermal water's often ignored... Big mistake! When applied to skin it calms irritation and red patches, whilst soothing sensitive or atopic skin. Depending on its composition, thermal water can strengthen skin, improve skin tolerance, provide a protective barrier and combat oxidative stress. A combination skin beauty-booster, thermal water hydrates skin and fixes make up - not easy when you're faced with a tricky T-zone.
#3 MOISTURISE COMBINATION SKIN WITH A MATTIFYING CREAM
Shiny skin still needs a daily dose of moisturiser. Drier zones, however, crave water and nutritious ingredients to prevent dehydration and irritation. So apply a non-greasy mattifying day cream that will hydrate your T-zone, close pores and nourish drier areas. These 'two in one' creams moisturise dry zones, whilst balancing out oily areas.
#4 PURIFY COMBINATION SKIN WITH A NIGHT CREAM
Nighttime's great for detoxifying our skin. Why? Because our epidermis regenerates more quickly at night, peaking between 1 and 4am. Our skin makes the most of our down time to repair any damage it's suffered. So, invest in a detoxifying cream to purify your skin. The result? A healthy morning glow and flawless skin!
#5 APPLY MAKE UP DESIGNED FOR COMBINATION SKIN
Combination skin needs the right make up. BB creams for combination skin will even out its tone, calm down any shine and, thanks to their moisturising power, soothe any sensitive zones. Follow with a loose powder on your T-zone to help fix your make up and mattify your complexion. And if any shine returns during the day, soak it up with a tissue or sebum-zapping mattifying wipes.
TRUE OR FALSE ON COMBINATION SKIN
We know that combination skin exists, that it is often associated with oily skin on the bottles of our skin care products, that it has different needs, but that's about it. We take a look at the needs of the most complex skin type, combination skin!
COMBINATION SKIN MUST BE OILY
False: Combination skin is… a combination! This means that it is both dry and oily: it can be identified by often dry areas (like the cheeks and temples) and localised oily areas (forehead, nose and chin). It is quite a common skin type among women aged between 35 and 45. Black and mixed-race skin also tends to be affected.
COMBINATION SKIN IS EASY TO TREAT
False: Combination skin is the most complex skin type! It produces "bad oils" that make the T zone shiny, your complexion dull and spots and dilated pores appear, due to a reaction between the fats in the sebum with the air on the surface of the skin. Away from the T zone, the skin is tight, dry, dehydrated and lacks oil. It is therefore crucial to treat the two areas differently, with products that are adapted to each of them. There are also "all-in-one" products that can hydrate dry areas and balance out oily areas.
YOU CAN HAVE COMBINATION SKIN TEMPORARILY
True: External factors, such as pollution, tobacco, sun or stress, and internal factors (hormone cycle, the pill, illness, lack of sleep), can make normal skin, or even dry skin, acquire oily areas with imperfections. Don't panic: it's not permanent. Just treat the factor causing this change in your skin.
COMBINATION SKIN CAN BE SENSITIVE
True: Combination skin can be fragile and needs just as much attention as other skin types, if not more. If it suffers any aggravation, it will defend itself by producing more sebum. So, take steps to avoid this situation: no more hot or very cold water, rough exfoliation, alcohol-based products, hard water or bars of soap. And to go out in the sun, never forget your sun cream.
YOU SHOULDN'T MOISTURISE COMBINATION SKIN TOO MUCH
False: The fact that combination skin secretes too much sebum does not mean that you must not moisturise it. You can simply adapt the product you use to the needs of your skin, choosing a special "combination skin" product that will moisturise yet mattify the skin. In the night, go for a richer product that will deep moisturise and nourish your skin, but make sure it is not comedogenic. You could also apply a purifying mask to treat the T zone or a hydrating one for drier areas. You could even apply both in several layers.
Article supplied & written by Marie Claire, part of Hearst Communications, Inc.