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Combination Skincare Products
Combination skin? Use these products for the win!
Combination skin can be complicated, but your skincare routine doesn’t have to be! Sometimes oily, sometimes dry, sometimes both – it can be hard for your products to keep up. Plus, skin is a living, breathing organ: hence, the condition of our skin is rarely static. It changes and fluctuates according to our age, stress levels, environmental factors, diet and so on. That’s why it’s so important for your skin (and bank account) to use skincare that is versatile and hits all the right spots, no matter how your skin is feeling on any given day.
But before we delve into what is the best skincare routine for combination skin, we need to ask ourselves the all-important questions: what is combination skin, and do I actually have it?
What is the combination skin type?
Here’s what to look for: Combination skin is essentially a skin type characterized by skin that is both oily in parts, and dry in parts. In most cases, it’s the T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) that’s oily, while the U-zone (cheeks and neck) tend to be dry – but it can work in reverse. The level of oiliness or dryness can also change with the seasons or other external factors, including what skincare you’re using. And, unless you’re applying your skincare routine in sections, it can be a little complicated to treat. Some people with combination skin focus heavily on drying out an oily T-zone (which in addition, can give rise to blocked pores and acne), sacrificing the parched areas on their face. Similarly, others with combination skin veering on the dry side can overly concentrate on treating dry skin, without looking at sebum control. It doesn’t have to be that way, however – good skincare can do both! Let’s talk.
First, the basics – get your cleanser right. One of the most downplayed tenets of skincare is the cleanser – but in fact, it is arguably the most important step when you’re trying put your skin back into equilibrium. The best combination skin cleanser is one that has a skin-matching pH of 5.5. Contrary to popular belief, our skin is NOT pH neutral (7). Healthy skin is in fact, slightly acidic at 5.5. Washing your face with a skin-matching pH cleanser can make all the difference to your sebum production, as well as your dry patches.
Want a full skincare guide to combination skin including a suggested routine? Click here.
Ingredients to try (and which ones to avoid)
When it comes to ingredients that are holy grail and those that must be avoided for combination skin, there are no hard and fast rules. What may not work for most can still be great for some. However, there are some loose guidelines. Generally, occlusive ingredients don’t suit an oily T-zone or other oily parts of combination skin. This group includes silicones or heavy oils like marula. That said, they can be great for a dry U-zone if you’ve got the patience to apply your skincare in sections. On the flip side, you don’t want to dry your skin out heavily by using high pH-cleansers, strong acid exfoliants too frequently, or too many active ingredients: not only can this compromise your skin barrier, but it can also lead to your sebum glands working overtime to correct your dehydration (thereby making your skin oilier). A balanced routine applied consistently is generally the best route:
AHAs and BHAs (glycolic acid, lactic acid, mandelic acid, salicylic acid, betaine salicylate, willow bark extract etc). Best for: Comination skin prone to acne. Just be careful not to overuse this ingredient, as it could dry your skin out! Suggested products: SVR Laboratories' Micro Peel as a good all-rounder or By Wishtrend's Mandelic Acid 5% Skin Prep Water for sensitive skin.
Skin Barrier Fortification Best for: Oily, dehydrated and sensitive skin. A weak skin barrier can actually worsen sebum production. If your skin is feeling oily but still dehydrated, your skin may be compensating for its inability to retain moisture by overproducing sebum. Hence, addressing your skin barrier can actually help rebalance your skin. Suggested products: SVR's Barrier Cream and SKIN&LAB's Barrierderm Milky Serum.
Portulaca Olaracea Best for: Naturally rich in vitamin A, this super-herb is great for redness-prone and sensitive combination skin. Bonus - studies also suggest it helps improve elasticity on loose skin. Suggested products: Acwell's Real Aqua Balancing Cream for sensitive combination skin and Acwell's No. 2 Refreshing Fluid for combination skin on the oily side.