Combination skin  

Posted by: LadyBird in

Skin care information for those with combination skin. As every makeup lover and wearer knows or should know, makeup starts with good clean perferrabley clear skin, so here are Paula's suggestions for the care of combination skin. It is a little long so please bare with me. :)

Combination skin is a common skin type with the frustration of having to deal with both dry and oily skin. Because the nose, chin, center of the forehead, and the cheeks all have more oil glands than any other part of the face, it is not surprising that those areas tend to be oilier and may break out more frequently than other areas. At the same time, the areas that lack oil glands can become dry and flaky. Problems occur when you attempt to treat combination skin as one unified skin type. Many ingredients that are appropriate for the T-zone (the area along the center of the forehead and down the nose where most of the active oil glands on the face are located) won't help the drier parts of cheeks, eyes, or jaw areas and vice versa. More often than not, separate products are required to deal with the different skin types on your face because different skin types, even on the same face, must be treated differently to truly feel and look better. Once you accept this fact and adjust your routine, combination skin can be brought into balance, at least to the extent that using the right products allows! In fact, "balance" is a key word to keep in mind when dealing with combination skin. The goal is to provide your oily and drier areas with appropriate products that address the needs specific to these skin types.

The fundamental rule for all skin types of treating skin gently apply here, too, perhaps even more so. If anything, using overly-abrasive or irritating skin-care products on oilier areas will only worsen combination skin's dual nature by making dry areas drier and creating a rough, reddened appearance over oily areas. Plus treating skin harshly does not correct or improve oiliness in any way. Because combination skin should be viewed and treated as separate skin types, I have divided the battle plans below into three step-by-step sections. The first section lists general guidelines for combination skin, the second pertains to treating oily areas, and the third offers a protocol for treating your normal-to-dry (and, in some cases, very dry) areas. Special notes are included for dealing with combination skin that also experiences blemishes or blackheads in either oily or normal-to-dry areas.

General Guidelines for Combination Skin

  • Wash your face with a gentle, water-soluble cleanser that does not leave skin feeling tight or dry. Most combination skin types do well with gel-based or mildly foaming cleansers.
  • Avoid bar soaps or bar cleansers of any kind, regardless of claims of gentleness or no residue. The ingredients that keep a bar cleanser or soap in its bar form can clog pores, and the cleansing ingredients are always far more drying than a gentle cleanser contains.
  • If you opt to use a toner, the same toner can be used all over the face if it does not contain ingredients that make oily areas feel slick or greasy. Water- and glycerin-based toners are ideal, but be sure they also contain plenty of antioxidants, water-binding agents, and, if applicable, cell-communicating ingredients.
  • Sunscreen must be used every day, year-round. Make sure it contains one of these UVA-protecting ingredients: titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, or avobenzone. A foundation and pressed powder with sunscreen is perfect for this skin type to avoid applying moisturizers with sunscreen all over the face.
  • Exfoliate and renew skin with regular use of a beta hydroxy acid (BHA/salicylic acid) product. BHA not only exfoliates the surface of skin it also exfoliates inside the pore to improve its shape and function.
  • Treat dry areas (including the eye area) with a moisturizer loaded with antioxidants, water-binding agents, and ingredients that mimic the structure and function of healthy skin. Regular use of these state-of-the-art ingredients can eliminate dry skin. Make sure the product you buy is packaged in an airtight, opaque container (absolutely no jars) to keep the antioxidants stable.
  • If sun damage or wrinkles are cause for concern (and they probably are, it is the rare person who has adequately avoided and protected their skin from the sun), consider adding a tretinoin product (Retin-A, Renova, Avita, etc.) to your nightly routine. Tretinoin is a cell-communicating ingredient that can generate normalized cells. These prescription-only products are available in different bases so you may choose the texture (gel, cream, lotion) best for your skin.
Treating the Oily Areas of Combination Skin

  • Apply a well-formulated (meaning irritant-free and pH-correct) BHA liquid or gel at least once per day. This will not only help prevent oil blockages in the pores, but will also minimize blackheads and control blemishes. Salicylic acid is oil-soluble, which allows it to exfoliate inside the pore lining to keep dead skin cells and sebum (oil) from causing problems. It is also acceptable to apply the BHA product over your normal to dry areas. However, you may need a more potent BHA product (one containing 2% salicylic acid, for oily areas. You may have to experiment to see if a product containing 1% salicylic acid is more suitable for normal to dry areas.
  • Use an oil-absorbing facial mask as needed but only apply it over oily areas. Apply after cleansing, leave on for 10-15 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly.
  • If you are prone to blemishes, apply a topical antibacterial product containing benzoyl peroxide. Research in the medical journal Lancet (December 2004, pages 2188–2195) found benzoyl peroxide to be the most effective treatment, in comparison to oral antibiotics (such as tetracycline), topical antibiotics (such as erythromycin), or combination treatments. Oral tetracycline suffered in the comparison because of the common problem of eventual bacterial resistance to antibiotics. Begin with a 2.5% strength and increase the percentage if blemishes are unresponsive. If you are allergic to or your skin cannot tolerate benzoyl peroxide, then you may want to consider topical prescription options such as clindamycin, erythromycin, tetracycline, or Differin (adapalene) Gel. Tea tree oil is also an option, but has limited research supporting its effectiveness, and it is difficult to find the recommended concentration.
  • For sunscreen, the easiest route is to use a matte finish foundation and pressed power with broad-spectrum sun protection, rated at least SPF 15. You would only apply moisturizer or serum to dry areas prior to applying foundation. If you do not use foundation, choose a regular sunscreen with a matte finish.
  • Supply oily areas with the antioxidants and cell-communicating ingredients it needs in either serum or toner form. In this manner, your skin will benefit without making oily areas worse or causing clogged pores. Make sure the serum is alcohol-free and either silicone- or water-based.
  • If oily areas become too shiny during the day, use oil-blotting papers to absorb the excess shine then touch up with a lightweight, sheer pressed powder, applied with a brush.
  • For extremely oily areas, apply a thin layer of plain Milk of Magnesia prior to foundation with sunscreen. The magnesium hydroxide is more absorbent than clays or talc, and also has antibacterial properties for skin. A similar option that is more cosmetically elegant is smashbox’s Anti-Shine in Smashing Neutral (colorless).
  • If sun- or hormone-induced discolorations are present, choose a gel-based skin lightening product containing 2% hydroquinone and apply at least once per day to affected areas.
Treating Normal-to-Dry & Very Dry Areas of Combination Skin

  • As described above for treating oily areas, a BHA product is an option, even if blemishes and/or blackheads are not present. The difference is that for drier areas, you may prefer a BHA in a lotion or cream base. Begin with a 1% concentration and step up if needed (this may be necessary during summer months). If blemishes are present over dry areas, a BHA product is a must. Begin with 1% salicylic acid and step up to 2% concentration if needed.
  • If blemishes and blackheads are not a concern, a well-formulated AHA product may be used all over the face or just over drier areas. For all-over use, choose an AHA gel containing at least 8% glycolic acid. For use over dry areas, you may prefer an AHA product in a lotion or cream base. Both AHA and BHA products are excellent for improving the appearance and feel of sun-damaged skin and encouraging skin cell turnover.
  • A soothing, moisture-infusing toner may be used after cleansing to reinforce skin's lipid barrier and boost hydration prior to applying a serum or moisturizer. Apply the next product when skin is still damp from the toner.
  • Since applying two separate sunscreens can be tricky, your best bet is to get daily facial sun protection from a foundation with sunscreen rated SPF 15 or higher. It should have a matte finish for your oily areas. Because a matte finish can exaggerate dry areas, it is essential to apply a rich serum or moisturizer prior to foundation. For obvious reasons, keep such items away from oily areas.
  • Choose a moisturizer loaded with antioxidants, water-binding agents, emollients, and ingredients that mimic the structure and function of healthy skin. Make sure it is packaged in an opaque container (no jars) to keep the antioxidants stable.
  • A serum-type product may be all your dry areas need to look and feel better. More severe dryness will benefit from an antioxidant-rich serum paired with an emollient moisturizer.
  • Use a moisturizing facial mask as needed. Make sure it contains several emollients (such as non-volatile plant or nut oils) and leave on dry areas as long as needed, including overnight.
  • If your eye area is the driest part of your face, you may need a richer cream or serum than what is needed for other normal to dry areas of your face. Apply sparingly and allow a few moments to absorb before applying makeup. At night, you may want to apply your regular moisturizer to the eye area and follow with a thin layer of olive, evening primrose, or borage oil (all are extremely emollient as well as potent antioxidants).
  • If blemishes are present over dry areas, apply a 2.5% benzoyl peroxide product in a lotion base. If blemishes do not respond, switch to a product containing 5% benzoyl peroxide. If you are allergic to (or your skin cannot tolerate) benzoyl peroxide, consider topical prescription options such as clindamycin, erythromycin, tetracycline, or Differin (adapalene) Cream.
  • If sun- or hormone-induced discolorations are present, choose a lotion- or cream-based skin lightening product containing 2% hydroquinone and apply at least once per day to affected areas.

For research and studies supporting these recommendations please refer to the Ingredient Dictionary and look up the specific ingredient (such as alpha hydroxy acid, salicylic acid, tretinoin, benzoyl peroxide, antioxidant, cell-communicating ingredients, etc.).

This entry was posted on Friday, August 29, 2008 and is filed under . You can leave a response and follow any responses to this entry through the Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom) .


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