Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Combination Skin April 22, 2010

I thought the above photo did a great job of illustrating what combination skin is.  Basically what combination skin comes down to is this – your T-zone is oily (and usually acne prone) and the rest of your face is either normal or dry.  Your T-zone is your forehead, nose, and chin – the areas marked with the gray mask in the model above.

Real skincare issues arise with the combination skin type when you treat your entire face as if it was oily or as if it was dry.  You actually need to treat your face in sections.  Don’t worry that you will need to buy two whole sets of products.  You’ll probably just need one or two extra products in order to keep your skin in balance, and as always, the key here is balance.   You want to degrease your skin of its excess oil and then hydrate the dry areas so that all your skin looks and feels great.

According to Dr. Ellen Marmur in her book Simple Skin Beauty (page 67) you’re lucky if you have this type of complexion since it means that your skin is resilient and can pretty much use any type of product that you want on it.  She considers combination skin to be the closest thing to a “normal” skin type and recommends using products that are labeled “noncomedogenic” – won’t clog pores – and only using toner on your oily T-zone if you need it.


Skin Care Routine for Combination Skin


  • Cleanse with a gentle cleanser: Good ones to try are CeraVe and Cetaphil
  • Use a toner only on your T-zone if you are still oily there after cleansing: You could try Paula’s Choice Skin Balancing Toner
  • Use a hydrating antioxidant serum: A good one to try is Replenix® CF Cream and Serum which has green tea and caffeine
  • Use an oil-free moisturizer with spf or just an oil-free sunscreen year round: I really like PCA Skin’s Protecting Hydrator
  • Reapply your sunscreen with a mineral sunscreen: I like Peter Thomas Roth Instant Mineral spf 30.  This will also cut down on shine during the day
  • If you get very shiny during the day: Use oil-blotting sheets like Sephora Matte Blotting Film
  • Moisturize at night with an oil free moisturizer
  • Use an oil absorbing mask on your T-zone if that area continues to breakout or be excessively oily
  • Exfoliate regularly with a salicylic acid product: You could use a cleanser with salicylic acid, a lotion, or a scrub.  A salicylic acid product will keep your pores clear of oil and dead skin cells and prevent breakouts, and it is also anti-inflammatory.  If you continue to have breakouts use a benzoyl peroxide lotion as well on the areas where you breakout.


And remember – keep everything in balance.  Never be too drying or too moisturizing with your skin.

Further ReadingSkin Care Solutions for Combination Skin Paula Begoun.  As always with Paula Begoun – you don’t need to follow all her advice percisely, use it as a guide.


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