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I Didn't Order that Combo! Combating Combination Skin
If there are parts of your face that are oily, while other parts are dry, then you have what is called combination skin. As a general rule, your skin will likely feel fairly normal to you on most of your face. The oily part will be mostly in the T-zone area. The T-zone area is the part of your face across your forehead and down your nose and chin, forming a "T" on your face. There are certain other signs to look for so that you will know if you have combination skin and will know how to treat it.
For one thing, some areas of your face may feel tight after you wash. This will typically be on the parts of your face not included in the T-zone area. These areas will likely also look flaky and dull and may feel rough. A second sign would be that parts of your skin will look shiny, feel greasy, or be prone to pimples and blackheads. This will typically happen in the T-zone area.
Perhaps the biggest frustration for those with combination skin is caring for it properly. Having both dry and oily skin areas on your face can make skin care seem almost impossible. There are, however, things that you can do to care for and keep your combination skin healthy and feeling good.
First of all, make sure you are cleansing every day. Use a mild cleanser on your entire face. Use the cleanser twice a day, preferably before bed at night and after get up in the morning. These are the times your face most needs to be cleansed anyway, but if you have combination skin it is imperative.
Get a good moisturizer. Once you have identified which parts of your face are the dry parts, most likely these areas are not in the T-zone and this is the area you will treat. Use the moisturizer on those dry areas only. Using it in your oily T-zone will only make that area worse.
The goal when you have combination skin is to normalize it. Normalizing is trying to gain a balance between the oily and dry areas so that all your skin looks and feels the same. In order to accomplish this feat, you want to look for products that are made for such normalization. For instance, ones that contain alpha hydroxyl acids (fruit acids or AHA's) or retinols will work best. Retinols are a vitamin A derivative. Such products should help you to gain more normal and even looking skin.
The reason AHA creams are so beneficial to your skin is that they area catalyst for skin cell regeneration. By burning off or removing the top layer of skin cells (or the too oily and too dry ones) they expose the healthier skin cells beneath them. These cells are more likely to absorb moisturizers. They also help improve skin elasticity through their water-binding properties. This can help with that "tight" feeling you may get in the dry areas with your combination skin. The only thing about which you need to be aware is that once you are using AHA's, you need to continue using them. Once you stop, your cells will not regenerate at the rate they were with the AHA and will return to their original state very soon.
The next important move is to try to control the shine. The oily areas of your face will tend to shine as oils collect in the pores. When you buy makeup, look for something that is labeled as "oil-absorbing." Such makeup is made to soak up oils from your face and prevent shine. Again, this will likely be more of a problem in your T-zone area than anywhere else.
Combination skin can be uncomfortable, frustrating, and on certain days embarrassing. However, it is not an impossible or untreatable problem. By recognizing that you have combination skin, taking the time to identify your areas, and learning treatments you can still have beautiful skin. Be sure to read your makeup labels and skin care product ingredients to keep you looking even, natural, and beautiful. Make sure you understand what each product you put on your face does so that you will know when and where to put your products on your face. By learning not to additionally dry the dry areas or moisturize the oily areas, you can achieve balance and a natural glow