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Caring for Combination Skin

Combination skin is normally a mix of oily skin in the centre of the face (an area commonly called the T-zone) plus dry or normal skin on the cheeks. Exactly which areas are affected often changes with age Ė teens find their forehead and nose are big problems and this tends to be caused by the hormones flying around in puberty: older women find chins some times break out, too. And this often linked to increased stress levels. Outside the oily zone the state of the skin tends to depend a lot on your skincare. Using products to tackle the grease dramatically dries out the cheeks, chest and eyes. Tackling combination skin is therefore a matter of balance.

How to care for combination skin

Your aim should be to treat the problem on one area of the face without harming the skin of the other areas. Your first step is cleansing. Itís best to avoid harsh cleansers that are formulated for oily skin or milky cleansers formulated for dry skin and instead use a moisturizing cleansing bar or facial wash. The foaming action of these will help strip through the oil on the greasier parts of your skin but wonít dehydrate the cheeks at the same time. After cleansing, use a gentle exfoliator. Many women with combination skin find they tend to get spots around their nose as the dry flakes of skin from their cheeks stick to the oily areas and so cause blockages. Gentle exfoliation will go a long way to help reduce this.

Exfoliation will loosen blackheads, but for the ultimate blackhead-buster turn to the pore strip Ė little sticky pads which you place over blocked pores and then pull off. These are perfect for combination skins as they allow you to focus your treatment on the affected area. For best results use the strips every day for three days, then reduce it to just once a week.

Look for products that normalize your skin, such as those that contain alpha hydroxy acids - Alpha hydroxy acids are derived from fruit, milk and sugar cane and have anti-inflammatory properties. When applied to the skin they help remove dead skin cells (exfoliate), giving us a younger appearance.

The final step in your skincare program is your moisturizer, and here you do need to pander a little to your different skin types. During the day, when beating the shine is what counts, you should use mattifying products to soak up the sebum produced in your T-zone without drying out your cheeks. Many companies now sell mattifying products using ingredients like with hazel, talcum or cornstarch to soak up oil without irritation. At night, choose oil-free creams or light moisture lotions which will supply your cheeks with extra hydration without over-stimulating the oil in your T-zone.

Balancing facial for combination skin

This once-a-week treat intensively tackles both the dry and oily area of your skin.

  • Cleanse your face using a moisturizing facial bar or a foaming cleanser. This will effectively target the oil on the greasy skin of the T-zone, without removing any of the moisture from the dry skin on your cheeks.

  • Exfoliate to avoid flakes of dry skin clogging pores. Using a gentle facial scrub or a flannel, rub the cheeks lightly. Go more intensely when tackling the greasy areas of the face to help loosen blackheads.

  • Boil a kettle of water and pour some into a large bowl. Add four drops of rosewater to the bowl- this hydrates the skin and will prevent the steam drying out the cheeks while it tackles the nose. After the hot steam has dispersed, lower your face over the bowl, keeping it 10 inches off the water. Put a towel over your head and stay put for up to 10 minutes.

  • On big pamper sessions like this one, go for the double mask. Use a hydrating moisture mask to your cheeks and throat and a clay- based mask for the oily areas. Leave the masks on for 10 minutes and rinse with tepid water before applying your normal light moisturizer.


  • Donít scrub oily areas Ė this irritates the skin and increases oil production.

  • Donít treat your whole face the same. Your T-zone will require cleansing twice a day, while the cheeks only need doing once. Itís vice versa with moisturizing.

  • After using pore strips, apply tea tree oil to your nose. It will reduce redness and cut bacteria levels in the pores.

  • Avoid leave-in hair conditioners. Ingredients in these block the foreheadís pores, making already greasy skin worse.

  • Donít forget eye creams: you may need to avoid rich moisturizers on your cheeks, but you shouldnít skip them on the delicate skin around your eyes.



  • Cleansing bars

  • Pore strips

  • Exfoliating scrub

  • Oil-free moisturizer

  • Eye cream


YOUR FACE MASK A rose-based mask is an excellent balancing treatment for combination skin. Use the following ingredients:

  • 1 rose

  • 1 tbsp rosewater

  • 1 tbsp natural yoghurt

  • 1 tbsp honey

Wash the rose petals in water. Soak for a few minutes and then crush them in a bowl. Add the rosewater; yoghurt and honey. Mix well and apply to the skin for five minutes. Rinse off with tepid water.


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