What Is Combination Skin?

What Is Combination Skin?

Understanding combination skin is not always easy, and very often those who may have this type of skin may not realise it. Combination skin is described as having two or more different skin types at the same time. Although typically it is seen as having an oily t-zone (forehead, nose and chin) and drier cheeks, it can also mean having rosacea prone, ageing or even normal skin in certain areas of your face.

As it is a skin type, many people are born with it just as others are born with dry or oily complexions.  However, others can develop the characteristics over time due to external factors.  The easiest way to understand combination skin is by understanding the different parts of your face.

The Skin Structure

Your body is covered in tiny openings which are known as pores.  These can either be sweat ducts or hair follicles. When it comes to skin type, the pores we are talking about are the hair follicles. Each one of these openings also has a sebaceous gland which is responsible for sebum or oil production. This oil is essential for skin function as it not only provides moisture but also forms a barrier to prevent water loss, therefore reducing dehydration.

If you have normal skin, the production of oil from these glands is stable and suited to your skins needs.  In those with dry skin, not enough sebum is being produced, whereas in those with oily skin, these glands tend to be over active.  When it comes to combination skin, a lot of the time the pores within the t-zone are much more active compared to the rest of the face, and this is what causes the difference in your skin type.

Combination Skin: The Causes

As with all skin types most of the time, combination skin is all down to genetics. In those who have suddenly developed combination, it can be due to lifestyle and skincare choices. As the skin is different in certain areas, its needs are different and by not listening to these needs, you will make your condition worse.  By using products which are designed for oily acne prone skin, you are at risk of over stripping your skin in the drier areas leading to flaky, irritated and sensitive skin.  On the other hand, using heavily moisturising products on your face can clog up your t-zone, and lead to breakouts and blemishes. It is therefore vital that you understand your skin and treat it accordingly.

Combination Skin: The Treatment

The best way to manage combination skin is by getting into the habit of listening to your skin. More than often, this will mean having to use multiple products on your skin within the same step.

  1. Start off with a gentle cleanser and remove all your makeup and impurities off your skin. The Nuxe Eau Micellaire is a great choice as it gently cleans without causing irritation.
  2. Follow this with a clarifying toner on the t-zone (this will help to balance the pH levels of your skin). Clinique has a great version, which is also super mild for sensitive skin.
  3. Use a gentle chemical exfoliator and then use any treatment products for specialised needs. This can be for acne or rosacea for example. Once this has absorbed, follow with a light moisturiser and then use a richer formula in the drier parts of your face.

Another great skincare tip is using masks together and customising them for your skin. My favourite masks for combination skin include the range by Caudalie which can all be used together to give your skin exactly what it needs.

Remember combination skin is the most common skin type and can be different for individuals. Therefore always remember to look after your skin based on its unique needs.

If you have any further questions or are unsure about your skin type and condition then leave a comment below or email me on



Resident Pharmacist

With a Masters in Pharmacy, I am here to explain the science behind the beauty. I offer expert advice on ingredients, the latest Skincare trends, lifestyle choices and any skin concerns you may have. I enjoy travelling and taking part in running events like Tough Mudder and the Colour Run. Currently loving: La Roche Posay Eau Thermal