Have you ever been to a cosmetics store, eyeing-up the latest skincare must-haves when the sales assistant asks if you need some help, promptly followed by “what skin type are you?”. I used to reeeallly hate being asked that question. Depending on the time of year (and even the time of the month), my skin could be anywhere from dry as the Sahara to chipshop greasy. So I used to say the same thing – unconvincingly – everytime…“err, I think I have combination skin”. What a copout. But that little catch-all term made me feel like I’d covered all my bases. I wanted the sales assistant to direct me to that one magical potion that would solve all my skincare woes, no matter what condition my skin was in at the time.
Obviously, I now know that there is no such panacea, no one size fits all product. You need to use the right products for your skin, based on its condition at the time. And yes, that may mean more than one product, if your skin is multitasking.
Which brings us back to that elusive term…” combination skin”. Contrary to what my younger self believed, it is in fact an actual thing and not just a get-out-clause from awkward exchanges with sales assistants. If you’ve been suffering from similar existential skin crises, and haven’t the foggiest if you actually have combination skin or are just winging it, then look no further, as we have our trusty guide below to help you get to know your skin.
What is combination skin and what causes it?
Combination skin is where you have more than one skin type or skin condition on different parts of your face. For example, that could mean suffering from wrinkles in some areas and rosacea in another. Or more commonly, an oily T-zone (centre of the face – nose, chin, and forehead) and drier patches on your cheeks.
In some cases, combination skin can simply be attributed to genetics. But, it can also be down to your product choices. As we know, areas around the nose, chin, and forehead have more active oil glands compared to other parts of the face. If we use the wrong products we can overstimulate oil production in these areas, and leave other areas feeling comparatively drier. Products with irritants or those which are highly emollient can have that effect. Picking the right products for your skin, is the first step to improving the symptoms of combi-skin.
First and foremost, we recommend identifying which products (if any) are causing excess oil production or drying out other parts of your face. Products containing irritants or fragrance are the likely culprits. Once these have been removed from your routine, we suggest replacing them with gentle alternatives from Klairs or Aromatica, both of which use all-natural ingredients and are free from skin-irritating nasties.
Secondly, we suggest exfoliating regularly. This will help remove excess build-up of skin cells and encourage cell renewal, thereby revealing the normal, healthy skin hiding underneath. Try the Goodal Natural Clear Mild Peeling Gel – formulated with saponin-rich soapberry, along with fermented birch sap, the rich cellulose particles in this gentle cleanser will instantly remove dead cells and impurities leaving you with softer, clearer skin.
Lastly, we recommend using different moisturisers for the different skin types on your face. A gel-based moisturiser, like the Aromatica Sea Daffodil Aqua Gel Cream for the oiler areas and a richer moisturiser such as the Mizon Placenta Ampoule Cream for the drier parts. And ofcourse a broad-spectrum sunscreen over the top, for protection.