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All About Combination Skin

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Combination skin is actually the most common skin type. This skin type is also the most difficult to maintain and takes extra care to maintain. Combination skin also means that you may have fine lines or wrinkles as well as shininess or breakouts at the same time. You may also experience rosacea on your cheeks and large pores on your nose.

The oilier parts of combination skin are caused by an over production of sebum. The drier parts of combination skin are caused by a lack of sebum and a corresponding lipid deficiency.


  1. If you believe you have combination skin, take note: The type is often mistaken for a skin condition called seborrheic dermatitis, a yeast overgrowth characterized by dry-looking patches slicked over in oil, which occurs more often in winter and is frequently accompanied by scalp dandruff. It usually responds to combination-skin remedies to some degree, so people think they have it treated. Hence it is always advisable to get a skin analysis done from a professional.
  2. Normal hormonal changes that occur as part of the ageing process lead to changes in skin’s oiliness or dryness as well. Teens and young adults tend to have oilier skin, especially in the T-zone. But, with age, hormones change and the oil production may decrease. Older women find chins sometimes break out, too, and this is often linked to increased stress levels. Also, hormones change due to menstruation and the birth control pill, which can make skin oilier in certain areas. Outside the oily zone the state of the skin tends to depend a lot on your skincare.
  3. Factors that can aggravate the problems for combination skin are-
    • External factors: hot humid climatic conditions, heat, dust, pollution.
    • Drastic weather changes: Dry, cold weather can cause skin to lose moisture and become irritated. Conversely, hot humid weather can increase oil production. This can affect your T-zone as well as your cheeks.
    • External factors: sun, pollution, smoking.
    • Internal factors: stress.
    • Wrongly chosen types & produces for the regular parlour facials.
    • Excessive cleansing.
    • Certain medical conditions like diabetes, thyroid and medications like hormone replacement therapy.
    • Choosing incorrect skincare products and regime: this is extremely important but is usually overlooked. Hence make sure you use only those skincare products that have been formulated for combination skin (if you are using products that contain irritating ingredients, they can stimulate oil production in the T-zone area and at the same time create more dry skin and redness on the rest of the face). Are neither too drying nor too greasy yet non-comedogenic. Most importantly choose products that are skin pH friendly and safe (do not contain toxic/ harmful ingredients in them) for application on human skin.
  4. Stick to a consistent skin care regimen. A key part of tackling combination skin is committing to a daily and nightly skin care regimen. This means using the same products 1-2 times a day for at least a month to let your skin get used to the regimen.
  5. Always consult a dermatologist; without any delay; if you are not able to manage your combination skincare needs because it is very important to rule out un-natural causes (eg fungal infections, skin allergies etc) for developing combination skin.



  • It is important to choose a face wash that neither has drying ingredients nor deep moisturizing ingredients.
  • How much ever you may be tempted to use; Please totally avoid cleansers that contain irritants like excessive fragrances colorants, products that make your skin tingle (such as menthol, mint, eucalyptus, and lemon), denatured alcohols, face washes that give you a squeaky clean feeling, comedogenic ingredients like palmatates, low quality preservatives. (Irritating or drying ingredients only make matters worse, because they actually trigger more oil to be produced directly in the oil gland. Also when your skin tingles, it means it is being irritated).
  • The best option is to use face washes that are specifically formulated for combination skin. If you have issues finding one you can go in for a face wash for normal skin instead of the ones formulated exclusively for dry or oily skin.
  • Use gel based cleansers or mildly foaming cleansers which are gentle and mild. The foaming action of these will help strip through the oil on the greasier parts of your skin but won’t dehydrate the cheeks at the same time.
  • You should avoid harsh surfactants like SLS and additional oil control ingredients eg tea-tree oil, neem, salicylic acid etc. unless you have pimples. 
  • Avoid washing more than twice a day.
  • For body- use a body wash which is skin pH friendly and are not drying.

You can also read the DO’s & DON’Ts of CLEANSING


  • Water and glycerine based toners are best for combination skins but make sure that they have lots of anti-oxidants in them.
  • Using rosemary toners is also a good option.
  • Preferably apply toner only on your ‘T’ zone.
  • Avoid toners that have irritants (fragrance, colourants, menthol, citrus oils) or excess alcohols (denatured alcohol, SD alcohol, ethanol, isopropyl alcohol).
  • Choose well formulated toners having skin enhancing ingredients like skin-identical ingredients, antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients.


  • All skins needs exfoliation and combination skin is no different. The oily areas need it to open up the pores and get rid of blackheads and the dry areas need it to remove the dead skin cells & allow moisturizers to penetrate.
  • 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.
  • Avoid using harsh scrubs or scrubbing the ‘T’ areas vigorously, this will only irritate your skin.
  • Go in for gentle yet effective exfoliators having soft beads/scrubbing agents.
  • Scrubs with of alpha hydroxy acids (eg glycolic acid, lactic acid) and low percentage of beta hydroxy acids (eg salicylic acid) are best for this skin type.
  • Exfoliate 1-2 times in a week. Once using synthetic scrubs and once using homemade face scrub. Read our Natural Remedies Section to find out how to make natural scrubs.
  • Using good quality pore strips; once in a while; is also a good idea for combination skins as they allow you to focus your treatment on the affected area.

You can also read the DO’s & DON’Ts of EXFOLIATION


  • Crafting a right skin care routine for combination skin focuses mainly on optimizing oil secretions. Thus the base of skin care products is chosen to ensure that your face is neither oily nor dry.
  • Combination skin needs balance, and part of that balance means properly moisturizing your skin. Moisturizing is especially important for drier areas of the face, but your entire face needs hydration.
  • You may choose to use separate moisturizers — a lightweight one for the T-zone and a heavier one for cheeks — or a special moisturizer designed for combination skin. Pay careful attention to dry areas, as they may require more frequent moisturizing than oily areas.
  • Always choose a lotion base for your moisturiser.
  • Avoid the ingredients mineral oil, lanolin, petrolatum in your moisturizer as these may suffocate the skin and clog the pores.
  • Look for lotions that specifically say they are oil-free and non- comedogenic. Moisturisers with anti-bacterial properties should be used by those who are prone to acne breakouts. These lotions constantly combat infections and flare-ups.
  • Generally, experts recommend moisturizing dry areas twice a day and moisturizing oily areas once a day.
  • During the day you can opt for a light weight and lotion based moisturiser cum sunscreen or good quality non-comedogenic BB creams.
  • 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.

 You can also read the DO’s & DON’Ts of MOISTURIZATION

IF YOU have any skin concerns like (uneven skin tone, acne, post acne scars, wrinkles, fine lines, sagging skin, dullness, stubborn blackheads, hyperpigmentation, dark circles, enlarged pores, complexion enhancement, dark spots, sun spots, rosacea, melasma, skin allergies etc) then in addition to your daily regime you will require TARGETED TREATMENT regime which is specific for your skin concern but at the same time is also mild on your skin (eg milder forms of retinoids/pigment reducing ingredients etc).CLICK TO GET A COMPLETE SKINCARE REGIME CUSTOMIZED (Specifically for your Skin Type, Concerns & Needs); BY OUR DERMATOLOGISTS/SKIN EXPERTS

Step-5: PROTECTING (Sunscreen)

  • Sun protection is paramount for any skin type; more so if you have a combination skin with dry areas being susceptible to developing wrinkles.
  • Always go in for water/lotion-based and broad spectrum sunscreens.
  • Look on the label for words like ‘oil-free’ and “Non- comedogenic”.
  • Nowadays velvety touch sunscreens are available; these can be a good try for combination skin.

You can also read the DO’s & DON’Ts of SUN PROTECTION

Step-6: PAMPERING (Face packs/masks)

  • Incorporate a mask once a week to treat specific issues. Try using a hydrating mask on dry areas like the cheeks, and an oil-absorbing facial mask over oily areas.
  • Steaming your face once a week will help in opening your pores. Add four drops of rosewater- this hydrates the skin and will prevent the steam drying out the cheeks while it tackles the nose.
  • Face packs have the advantage of providing larger amount of active ingredients in contact with the skin for longer duration of time.


  • Honey cleanser: honey is a very good cleanser for combination skin. Put a few drops of lemon juice in one tablespoon of honey. Apply it on your face and gently massage for a minute or two. Wash your face with lukewarm water.
  • Cucumber cleanser: Apply cucumber juice on your face and leave it for few minutes. Wash your face with cool water.


  • Fruit enzymes as scrub: Natural enzymes in fruits make them excellent exfoliants; they’re usually gentle enough to use on all parts of your face — oily or dry. Try rubbing fruits like pineapple or papaya directly on your skin, or apply a mask made of a blend of crushed pineapple and yogurt for brighter, glowing skin. For slightly stronger exfoliation, use a grainier fruit like strawberries mixed with yogurt on your T-zone, as well as anywhere your skin is flaky.

  • Oats and curd scrub: It is important to use a scrub every few days to get rid of dead skin cells. Use oats to scrape this layer off your skin and curd for its moisturising action. Use this scrub once every 10 to 15 days if your skin is normal and oily. Preparation & Application- Mix oats and curd to get a grainy paste. Apply it on the T-zone and other parts of the face but avoid applying too much on the cheeks. Massage gently and then wash off with plain water.

    3. PAMPERING WITH FACE PACKS: Use these once a week and get radiant skin naturally.

  • Rose Pack: Wash rose petals of 1 rose in water. Soak for a few minutes and then crush them is a bowl. Add 1 tbsp rosewater, 1 tbsp natural yogurt and 1 tbsp honey (heated in a microwave for a few second to melt it). Mix well and apply to the skin for 15 minutes. Rinse off with tepid water. A rose based mask is an excellent balancing treatment for combination skin. This mask is good for both the oily and dry areas of your skin. Better still rub an ice cube dipped in rose water over the T-Zone. It prevents enlarged pores and blackheads. Freeze tray with rose water ice cubes so you can rub your face with them any time of the day especially after a bath as it opens the pores.
  • Dried orange peel, curd Pack: Give your skin a dose of vitamin C naturally with orange. The addition of curd in this pack will help tighten your skin and intensely moisturise it too. Preparation & Application- take dry orange peels and grind them. Now add curd to make it a thick paste. Apply and wash off after 20 minutes with lukewarm water.
  • Milk powder, curd, cucumber juice Pack: This pack is perfect for summers as it helps cool the skin without leaving it feeling too dry or too oily. It is a one-stop solution to tighten and brighten the skin. Preparation & Application- Mix milk powder with curd and cucumber juice. Apply the pack on your skin and let it dry. Then wash off with plain water.


*Disclaimer : Result may vary from person to person.