What's the Deal with Combination Skin?

We talk a lot about skin types here on The Guide, as it’s a big factor in choosing between different skincare treatments. While some of us are clearly an oily or dry skin type, the majority of us have a mix that’s fittingly called combination skin. So what is combination skin, why do some of us have it, and what's the right way to care for it?

Blame it on Your DNA

Combination skin refers to skin that's both oily and dry, in different places. As with so many things about you, your combination skin is thanks to mom and dad. Some of us are just born with more active sebaceous glands- those are the glands that produce oil. If you have combination skin, you most likely produce excess oil along your T-zone. That’s the area from your forehead, down your nose to your chin.

Cheeky Little Things

But then why don’t you produce the same amount of oil along your cheeks and under your eyes? Again, genetics are the main factor- we naturally tend to have less active sebaceous glands in that area which leads to drier skin. But if you are dealing with a lot of oil around you T-zone with super dry, even flaky skin everywhere else, then you should look into changing your skincare products.

Flaky skin is a result of products that are too drying or irritating. It’s normal to want to zap your T-zone with something super strong to reduce the oil, but if you have combination skin, you have to be careful because the rest of your face needs something a whole lot gentler. We highly recommend a glycolic acid cleanser, like Alder New York’s Everyday Face Cleanser, because it very gently exfoliates the top layer of skin. This simultaneously removes any dry, flakey skin, and gets at the clogged oil hanging out in your T-zone. So it's solving two problems with the same cleanser.

Try Mixing up your Masks

We know some people suggest dual moisturizers for combination skin, which does work, but that can get super expensive and makes what should be an easy daily skincare routine more complicated. A better solution is to get creative with face masks- they’re usually inexpensive, and more of a once a week kind of treatment, which means you don’t spend every morning carefully applying some lotion with a paintbrush to avoid treating the wrong spot!

For combination skin, we highly recommend applying Alder New York Clarifying Face Mask along your T-zone, and Alder New York Hydrating Face Mask along your cheeks. The activated charcoal in the Clarifying Mask will go deep to pull out clogged oil in your pores while naturally occurring salicylic acid in willow bark and rosemary extract will suppress excess oil production. Your Hydrating Mask treated cheeks will get a dose of super hydrating hyaluronic acid that will continue to draw in moisture even after you remove the mask.


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