The Ultimate Skin Care Routine for Combination Skin

Skin Care Routine for Combination Skin is a very common yet complex skin type that affects millions of people worldwide.

Many different factors can lead to combination skin including age, genetics, and lifestyle choices such as diet and environmental factors. The most common causes are acne breakouts changing the complexion or from drying skincare products leading to dehydrated stressed skin. In this article, we will discuss the most comprehensive skincare routine that combines various treatments and products for combination skin.

What is combination skin?

combination skin is a skin type that has both oily and dry areas which tend to be dehydrated because it lacks oil.

What causes combination skin?

There are various factors that can cause combination skin including:

Hormonal changes due to puberty, pregnancy, menopause, or taking birth control pills

Influence of stress hormones on the sebaceous glands

Hereditary factors

Diet and lifestyle choices

What are the signs?

The average skin type has two to four sections of oil glands with dry sections in between. The red or blue color seen on some people is a result of enlarged blood vessels closest to the skin’s surface. If your skin tends to be oily in some places and dry in others, it is likely that you have combination skin.

How to tell if you have combination skin: If your T-zone tends to be oily and the cheeks tend to be dry, this may indicate a tendency towards combination skin. Many people also notice flakes around their hairline or on the sides of their nose as well as greasy or rough patches.

How is it different from routines for other skin types?

A.m. routine

1. Cleanser.

Cleanser: Cleansing is the most important and basic step in any skincare routine.

1) For combination skin, we recommend using a gel-based cleanser. If your skin tends to be extremely oily you might need to use an oil-based one as well for continued cleansing.

2. Toner.

Toner: Toner helps the skin to become fully cleansed and ready for further treatments.

1) A toner that contains some form of salicylic acid will help exfoliate the top layer of dead cells on your face while clearing out any clogged pores. We recommend using a pH adjusting toner if you have a combination of skin with acne.

3. Serum

Serum: The serum step is the most important step for your skin. It contains active ingredients which are highly concentrated, making it more effective than creams or lotions alone. A good serum will provide the maximum benefit to the skin with its highest concentration of vitamins, antioxidants, and hydration.

4. Moisturizer

Moisturizer: Stabilizes the levels of water in your skin and prevents moisture loss throughout the day. It contains emollients that help maintain softness and plump up the surface of the skin, as well as occlusives that prevent moisture from getting out.

5. Sunscreen

Sunscreen: Sunscreen is an absolute must even when it isn’t summer. It helps prevent long-term damage to the skin like aging and cancerous cells. Sunscreen containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide is ideal for combination skin because they provide both UVA and UVB sun protection with one application.

6. Makeup

Makeup: It is important that the skin can breathe when using makeup, so be sure to use water-based products whenever possible. Use an oil-free sunscreen when wearing foundation in order to avoid clogged pores, breakouts, or rashes.

P.m. routine

1. Makeup remover.

Makeup remover is the first step in your skincare routine.

2. Cleanser.

Make sure to use a separate cleanser, after removing makeup completely with Ponds, because it is a deep cleaning cream that will dry out all types of skin when used daily. [Frequency: Daily]

3. Exfoliant.

Exfoliants remove dead skin cells to help clarify acne-prone skin. [Frequency: Weekly, twice a week]

4. Facial mask.

After exfoliating your face it is going to be very sensitive and dry so make sure you don’t leave it exposed for long periods of time after the exfoliation. [Frequency: Twice a week]

5. Serum, treatment, or moisturizer.

Whether you choose to use a serum or treatment before your moisturizer is completely dependent on your skin type and what your needs are at the moment.

For acne:

What it cleared: Acne, oiliness.

Why this routine works: Salicylic acid is the only ingredient in these products that are known to have a direct anti-acne effect, however, the ingredients are chosen for their ability to not increase irritation of the skin and to not cause pore-clogging. BHA is also anti-inflammatory, which can help reduce redness and some pore-clogging as well. AHAs (glycolic and lactic acids) increase cell turnover to diminish acne scarring by accelerating the desquamation of excess cells from the surface of the skin. They also have anti-inflammatory properties.

For anti-aging

What it cleared: Anti-aging, hydration.

Why this routine works: Retinol is known to also increase cell turnover and its anti-inflammatory effects can help reduce pore-clogging by calming inflamed acne. Niacinamide has been shown to decrease trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL), help reduce pore-clogging by inhibiting sebum production, and is anti-inflammatory.

For dry skin:

What it cleared: Dryness, oiliness.

Why this routine works: All of these ingredients are humectants with the exception of niacinamide, which has known anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce redness and flaking associated with dry skin. Glycolic and lactic acids increase cell turnover to exfoliate dead cells from the surface of the skin, which can help reduce fine lines and wrinkles. They also contain anti-inflammatory properties. Niacinamide has been shown to decrease TEWL, help reduce pore-clogging by inhibiting sebum production, and is anti-inflammatory.

Best products for combination skin

For combination skin, it is essential to use products that are tailored to your specific concerns. If you have dry or flaky areas on your face, look for some type of moisturizer (gel, lotion, cream) that will hydrate those areas without making the oily t-zone any oilier than it already is. People with oily areas around their t-zone will want to use a lightweight gel or lotion that controls shine but doesn’t necessarily hydrate very much. Products for combination skin are different from products meant for normal, dry, and oily skin types, so it’s important to know what type of skin you have before purchasing new products.

1. General skincare products for combination skin

General skincare products for combination skin are more concerned with the overall health of your complexion, rather than just treating specific concerns. Those with combination skin should focus on balancing their t-zone and moisturizing any dry spots they have on their face.

Some products that may be useful for those with combination skin are toners, astringents, clarifying lotions, and exfoliants. Toners help to balance the pH of your skin by removing any residue left behind from other facial cleansers you may have used that day. Astringents work in a similar way, but they also remove excess oil from the surface of your skin. Clarifying lotions are typically alcohol-based and can be very drying, but they help to clean up the excess oil on your skin’s surface. Exfoliants can be used once or twice a week to remove any dead skin cells that may be clogging up your pores and making your skin less smooth than it should be.

2.   Korean skincare products for combination skin

Over in South Korea, people are currently obsessed with their skincare routines. If you’ve ever seen adorable girls using seven or more different products to take care of their faces, then you can probably guess that South Koreans place a high priority on skincare.

Products used for combination skin in Korea include moisturizers, serums, essences, ampoules, emulsions, creams, and oils. Many of these products contain hydrating ingredients in that combat dryness in combination skin. Three popular moisturizing ingredients used in Korean products are squalane, seabuckthorn oil, and shea butter because they enhance the moisture barrier function in your skin to help keep your skin hydrated longer.

With so many products to choose from, it may be difficult at first to find the best combination skincare routine for you. However, most Korean products have a similar recommended usage method: they recommend applying all of your skincare products in order from thinnest to thickest consistency. Because the cream is thicker than lotion, they recommend using lotion first and then following it up with a cream. However, if you’re concerned about how this may affect your skin barrier function or acne-prone areas, feel free to adjust the order of your products however you want.

3. Natural skincare products for combination skin

If you’re looking for completely natural skincare products, then you’re in luck! There are plenty of natural ingredients out there that can treat your specific concerns. For those with oily areas around their t-zone and dry or flaky spots on their face, you can look for products containing: rosehip oil, which is high in vitamin C to help improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles; neem oil, which is a natural antibacterial that’s great for acne-prone skin; or beeswax, which creates a protective layer on your face to help lock in moisture.

DIY ideas

1. Toner for oily skin

If you have very oily skin, try using witch hazel as a toner. It is astringent and dries the skin to decrease oil production (makes sense, since it’s used to treat acne). Pour some witch hazel into a cotton ball or pad, apply all over the face after cleansing, wait five minutes then follow with moisturizer. This works best if you use it in the morning before applying makeup.

2. Ingredients

Witch Hazel –  Soothing agent that helps clear away excess oil from pores *Rose Water – Great hydrating ingredient full of antioxidants. For more ideas on how to use rose water in your skare routine, check out this article from Into the Gloss.

3. Directions

Pour a few drops into your palm, then apply to cleansed skin with a cotton ball or pad. Avoid eye area. Wait five minutes, then follow with moisturizer if needed.

4. Hydrating face mask

This mask can be used as an overnight treatment or as a weekly mask for dry areas only (a wash-off clay mask). It’s best to use this in conjunction with a hydration/treatment toner and moisturizer to plump up those thirsty cells! This is also really great for sensitive skin because it doesn’t have any harsh chemicals or active ingredients that could irritate or cause peeling of the skin. This recipe makes enough for four uses.

5. Directions

Add the glycerin and honey to a bowl. Warm-up this mixture for 10 seconds in the microwave, then stir until smooth. Add aloe vera juice and lemon essential oil, if using, then stir until incorporated Pour into a glass jar or airtight container with lid Shake before each use Apply to clean skin Keep on overnight or wash off after 15-20 minutes

What not to do for combination skin

1. Don’t skip moisturizer

Skipping moisturizer to save time is not a good idea because it will make your skin look dry and flaky.

2. Don’t forget to exfoliate

If you skip this step, the dead skin cells stay on your face and clog up your pores, which can lead to acne, blackheads, whiteheads, and other blemishes.

3. Don’t get stuck in one routine or get discouraged

People with combination skin might think that they need something stronger than just toner or just moisturizer. If you try out different routines until you break out or see no results then it might be discouraging for you! Our: Keep trying new routines and don’t give up!

The bottom line

About 40% of the population has combination skin, so regardless of whether you’re a man or woman, chances are that you probably do too.  It’s not just the late teens and twenties getting in on this whole “combination skin” thing either; we’re talking about people ranging from age 18-60+.  I’m in my early thirties and still battle with combination skin.

The good folks at Paula’s Choice clarified for me recently that there’s no such thing as “normal” when it comes to our faces; they fluctuate throughout the seasons and our lives, which is where things like dehydrated/oily or dry/sensitive tend to crop up.  So, if you want to know how to best care for your skin, my advice is always the same: take it season by season.  For the sake of simplicity, I’ll refer to “combination skin” throughout this article even though most of what follows applies equally well to most other skin types (oily/acne in summer and dry/sensitive in winter).


Leave a Comment