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What is combination skin and how do you manage it?

What is combination skin and how do you manage it?


Combination skin is a common but sometimes rather confusing skin type, as it involves managing both oily and dry areas on your face. A tailored skincare routine is essential to cater to the distinct requirements of each area. In this guide, we will delve deeper into helping you gain an understanding of combination skin by exploring its characteristics and the different skincare products you can use to manage it.

Characteristics and Symptoms of Combination Skin

Combination skin is easily recognisable by its oily T-zone (comprising the forehead, nose, and chin) and drier cheek areas.

Oily Areas

  • Excessive shine in the T-zone is often the result of overactive sebaceous (oil) glands. Enlarged pores are common in this region, and occasional breakouts may occur due to excess oil production. 
  • The T-zone is more prone to acne because it has a higher concentration of oil glands and is also rich in sebaceous follicles, making it more susceptible to clogs and breakouts

Dry Areas

  • The dry areas can feel tight, rough, or even flaky. This is because the sebaceous glands in these areas produce less oil, leading to decreased moisture retention.




Causes and factors 

Prior to delving into treatment methods, let's delve into the few factors that may cause you to experience this type of skin. The development of combination skin can be attributed to various things, such as genetic predisposition and hormonal changes or imbalances. Environmental elements, such as weather conditions and skincare routines, can also contribute to the development and management of combination skin.

Genetics: If your parents or close family members have combination skin, you may be genetically predisposed to it. Genetic factors play a significant role in determining your skin type.

Hormonal Fluctuations: Hormones play a crucial role in regulating sebum production. Factors like puberty, pregnancy, or menopause can influence oil production. For example, during adolescence, an increase in androgens (male hormones) can lead to more oil production, contributing to the T-zone's oiliness.

Environmental Factors: External factors like weather conditions and skincare habits can also impact the development and management of combination skin. Especially in Sri Lanka, we often experience intense sun exposure, which can have a significant effect on our skin. Such weather conditions can lead to increased oiliness in the T-zone.

Daily Skincare Routine for Combination Skin 

To properly manage combination skin, it is vital to maintain a customised and consistent daily skincare routine. Here are a few guidelines you can follow for each step:


  • Proper cleansing is the foundation of a skincare routine for combination skin.
  • Choose a gentle cleanser designed specifically for combination skin. Avoid harsh cleansers that contain sulphates or alcohol, as they can strip the skin of natural oils. This can lead to the T-zone overcompensating by producing even more oil.
  • Opt for a double cleansing method, which involves using an oil-based cleanser first to dissolve makeup and sunscreen, followed by a water-based cleanser to remove impurities. This method ensures a thorough but gentle cleanse.


  • Selecting the right toner is crucial for balancing your ski
  • Use pH-balancing toners that help regulate the pH levels of your skin, which is ideal for combination skin.
  • They restore the skin's natural pH, which can be disrupted by harsh cleansers.
  • This balance is necessary for healthy skin since pH-balanced skin is more resilient against environmental stressors and less prone to issues like sensitivity and breakouts.
  • Use toners that contain ingredients like witch hazel, niacinamide, or rosewater, which are known for their gentle astringent properties and help control excess oil in the T-zone without overdrying the cheeks.


  • Balancing hydration is key to maintaining healthy skin for this skin type. Use oil-free or lightweight moisturisers to prevent clogged pores and greasy residue on the T-zone. These products provide hydration without adding excess oil.
  • Hydrating the skin is essential, even if you have oily areas. When the skin is properly hydrated, it's less likely to produce excess oil as a compensatory mechanism.
  • You can customise your approach by applying a lighter moisturiser to the T-zone and a richer one to the drier cheek areas. Consider using a gel-based moisturiser for the T-zone and a cream-based one for the cheeks.
  • Using two different moisturisers in this way helps maintain a balanced complexion. This ensures that each part of your face receives the appropriate level of hydration. 

Sun Protection

  • Shield your skin from the sun's harmful rays. These rays can worsen skin conditions like acne and uneven skin tone.
  • Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an appropriate SPF rating to protect your skin from UV damage.
  • Sunscreen is also essential for preventing premature ageing and reducing the risk of skin cancer.
  • Look for non-greasy or lightweight sunscreens to avoid worsening oiliness or experiencing a heavy feeling on your skin. Ensure the product is lightweight to avoid blocking pores and leaving a greasy feel.

Specific Considerations for Combination Skin

Apart from following through with a consistent skincare routine, there are a few more specific considerations to be made when managing combination skin. A few specific considerations include:

 Choosing the Right Products

  • Opt for products that cater to the unique requirements of combination skin.
  • Seek out products labelled as non-comedogenic and oil-free to prevent pore blockages and excess oil. These formulations are designed not to clog pores or aggravate oiliness.
  • Non-comedogenic products are less likely to cause acne or blackheads, making them ideal for combination skin.

Balancing oiliness and dryness

  • Tailor your skincare to each area's specific needs. Combating oiliness in the T-zone with products like mattifying primers or blotting papers can be valuable tools for managing oiliness in the T-zone throughout the day.
  • These products can help reduce shine without disturbing makeup.
  • Blotting papers are a convenient on-the-go solution to absorb excess oil without adding more products to your skin.
  • Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid or ceramides in your moisturiser for the cheek areas. These ingredients help retain moisture in the skin.

Treating acne and breakouts

  • Manage breakouts effectively by incorporating acne-fighting ingredients.
  • Salicylic acid or tea tree oil are excellent additions to your skincare routine for managing breakouts in oily areas.
  • These ingredients have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
  • Salicylic acid is a beta-hydroxy acid (BHA) known for its ability to penetrate oil and exfoliate inside the pores, making it effective against acne.
  • Avoid excessive drying or harsh treatments because, while it's essential to address breakouts, such treatments can disrupt your skin's natural barrier and lead to further issues.
  • Overusing strong acne treatments can cause redness, peeling, and increased sensitivity.

Exfoliation and dead skin cell removal

  • Regular exfoliation is vital, but choose gentle exfoliators suitable for combination skin.
  • Chemical exfoliants with alpha-hydroxy acids (AHAs) or beta-hydroxy acids (BHAs) are effective for this skin type.
  • AHAs exfoliate the skin's surface, while BHAs penetrate the pores, making them suitable for oily areas.
  • Furthermore, AHAs like glycolic acid can help with skin texture and discolouration, while BHAs like salicylic acid are especially effective against acne.
  • Avoid harsh physical scrubs that can irritate the skin, especially in dry areas. These abrasive scrubs can exacerbate flakiness and redness by creating microtears in sensitive areas.


In conclusion, understanding your skin type is the first step towards achieving a healthy and radiant complexion. Combination skin, as we've explored in this article, can be a bit tricky to manage, but with the right products and a consistent skincare routine, you can strike the perfect balance.

 At, we're committed to helping you embrace your unique skin and feel confident. Whether you need a gentle cleanser, a hydrating moisturiser, or specialised treatments for combination skin, our wide range of products is carefully curated to cater to your specific skincare needs. Here are some of our top recommendations for brands that provide products designed for combination skin;

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