What is Combination Skin and How to Care for It?

What is combination skin and how to care for it?

There are three main skin types: normal, oily, and dry. Another skin type, combination skin, has made the list that manifests the combination of both oil and dry skin signs. Combination skin is the most common skin type, but it is not defined properly yet. For now, let’s just say that it has both oily and dry components.

Knowing your skin type is important to determine the right skincare regime. As for the combination skin, skincare regime involves providing adequate nutrition to the skin, using oil-free sunscreen, and applying medication prescribed by a doctor (if necessary).

Caring for combination skin is not easy, but certain routines can help deal with dry patches and oiliness. Since the combination skin has both dry and oily areas, one has to moisturize the dry areas while removing excess sebum from the oily patches.

There is no fixed formula to treat this skin type. Some combination skins are oily in the T-zone while some are not. Some types have sensitivity issues too. That is why every person with combination skin needs to be dealt with as per its specific features. Besides, having this skin does not mean that the face is half-oily and half-dry. Some people have more oiliness while some have more dry patches. Generally, combination skin has wrinkles and fine lines along with acne, blackheads, and other issues common in oily skin.

What causes combination skin?

Every skin type mainly relies on sebum production. Sebum is the waxy, oily substance released by the sebaceous glands. It constitutes the body’s natural oils and keeps the skin moisturized. While its production is natural and healthy, sebum in excess amounts can render the skin oily, whereas, its deficiency can lead to dry skin.

If sebum is in excessive amounts in certain areas (where the sebaceous glands are most active) while being scanty on the others, the person has combination skin. The features, i.e., which areas are oilier and which are drier and causes of the combination skin vary from person to person. Here are a few causes of this skin type:

1. Genetics

Skin types tend to run in families. If one of the parents has combination skin, the person is likely to have the same skin type. Genetics influence skin’s structure and conditions. They determine the size of sebaceous glands. They also impact the skin’s ability to retain water and stay moisturized.

2. Environmental toxins

Environmental factors also influence the skin type. They can lead to enlarged pores (one of the signs of combination skin) and breakouts (a symptom of oily skin). These external factors include sun rays and environmental toxins. The pollutants in the air can affect the skin’s topical barrier and change the sebum production and antioxidant activity in the cells. This may lead to excess sebum in certain areas and less production in other areas of the skin, hence the combination skin.

3. Dehydration

Combination skin occurs in chronically dehydrated people. Even if someone drinks the required amount of water, excessive sun exposure, physical exertion, and the climate can leave the skin dehydrated. Water requirement changes based on the daily activity of an individual.

4. Physical stress

Both physical and psychological stress can affect the skin and lead to oil-related issues. The excessive workload can stress the body and mind alike. Physical exertion can impact the skin’s barrier functions. It also causes the loss of water content in the stratum corneum, rendering the skin dry. That causes certain skin areas to go dry while the others stay oily. Moreover, dryness of the skin causes the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum leading to more oiliness in the T-zone.

5. Hormone fluxes

Hormonal imbalance occurs if a certain hormone is excessive or insufficient in the human body. Even minor changes in the hormonal concentration can cause a huge impact on the body’s functioning, including the skin. Any change in the hormones can make the skin dry or oily. It can also make certain skin areas oily while leaving the others dry.

6. Products that contain harsh or skin-aggravating ingredients

Harsh skincare products can also be a cause of combination skin. The skin is mildly acidic, having a pH between 4.7-5.75. Aggressive moisturizers and cleansers having alkaline pH strain the skin’s neutralizing capacity and impair the skin’s barrier function—causing the skin to become dry.

7. Wrong products for your skin type

Using skincare products that do not suit one’s skin type can also be a cause for combination skin. Many people mistake oily skin for combination skin and use harsh creams to remove the excess oil. These products might work on the oilier parts but would leave dry, flaky patches on the rest of the face.

Signs of combination skin

There are simple signs that can help you spot if you have combination skin.

What does combination skin look like?

The combination skin contains both oily and dry areas. On some parts, it has enlarged pores, whiteheads, blackheads, and shininess, while on the others, the skin is red, flaky, rough, and tight. Mostly, the oily skin signs appear on the T-zone (forehead, chin, and nose).

How to figure out if you have combination skin?

Some signs of combination skin can be noticed easily. If your T-zone, i.e., chin, nose, and forehead, is shinier than the rest of the face, you might have a combination skin. As for the dry spots, they appear under the eyes and on the cheeks. These areas can turn flaky if not taken care of properly.

Another sign of this skin type is the presence of large pores on the T-zone. In oily and combination skin, these pores are prominent. To differentiate between oily and combination skin, check if skin other than the T-zone manifests the same oiliness.

What happens is that the sebaceous glands in these areas produce extra sebum, which blocks the dead skin cells and causes sebum accumulation. This enlarges the pores and makes them visible. These enlarged pores turn into blackheads when oxidized. Many people with combination skin have to deal with both acne breakouts and dry patches simultaneously.

If you are unsure about your skin type, here is an easy test:

  • Wash your face with soap (or a gentle face wash).
  • Pat your skin dry with a towel.
  • After 20 minutes (do not touch your face during this time), apply moisturizer or any other product on your face.
  • Observe your skin in the mirror after another 20 minutes. If your face feels rough or tight while the T-zone appears shiny, you have combination skin.

Combination skincare tips

Combination skin has different needs. As it has both oily and dry skin patches, this skin type needs multiple skincare strategies. Here are a few tips to take care of combination skin:

1. Maintain a good balance of oil across the entire face

You cannot use the same technique on the entire face. Some areas need more moisturizing than others do. Hence, split your face into two different zones and take care of them accordingly. Many people believe since they have an oily T-zone, applying moisturizer is a bad idea.

However, skipping moisturizing altogether can aggravate the dry patches. Hence, applying a thin layer of some moderate moisturizer helps maintain the balance of oil across the face. Similarly, instead of applying a single facial mask, try multi-masking. Pick two masks, one suited for oily skin while the other for dry skin. Apply both to the relevant areas. It will also help maintain the balance of oil on the skin.

2. Don’t use products with active ingredients too much

Active ingredients refer to constituents that directly target the skin issue a product intends to deal with. These ingredients are scientifically proven to manifest the desired effect. That does not mean that the other ingredients do not work. They augment the performance of the active ingredient while alleviating the skin condition. For instance, in an anti-acne, the active ingredient would be salicylic acid.

The issue with active ingredients in regards to combination skin is that they can be harsh. For instance, a product with salicylic acid would irritate the dry spots despite removing excessive oil from the T-zone. Some active ingredients are mild and safe to consume. For instance, Alpha Hydroxy Acids (AHAs) like glycolic acid does not irritate the skin and is suitable for sensitive skin as well.

3. Skincare routine changes as we age

Age brings a lot of changes in the skin’s structure. The organ starts losing its natural moisturizer levels due to which the hydration declines. While the changes vary on the basis of ethnicity and race, the fact that they do occur because of age applies universally. The structural changes due to skin aging mean the skin’s needs have changed. A person might have normal or oily skin, but over time, they might develop dryness. The changed skin will need a different skincare routine.

4. Avoid harsh soaps

Some soaps can impact the pH balance of the skin. They clean the skin but cause dryness and irritation. These soaps are formed of sodium lauryl sulfate and other ingredients that are harsh to the skin, especially sensitive and combination skin types. These soaps have an average pH level of 9 or 10 while the skin’s natural pH is between 4.7-5.75. Using such soaps can aggravate the dry patches and lead to acne breakouts.

5. Avoid touching your face.

Studies show that people touch their faces over 16 times within an hour. It is a common habit and can bring certain repercussions. Along with increasing the risk of spreading infections, it can spread the bacteria on the skin too. Touching your face raises the risk of clogged pores, breakouts, and inflammation.

6. Seek professional guidance when in doubt.

If the skincare products are not delivering the desired results, contact a professional. If you are dealing with persistent breakouts along with severe dryness, it is better to see a dermatologist before the situation goes out of hand. Moreover, chances exist that you have misidentified your skin type and are using the wrong products. If that’s the case, the skin condition can aggravate.

Skincare routine for combination skin

Below is a simple skincare routine for combination skin.

1. Use a gentle, oil-balancing cleanser.

Use a gentle cleanser having low pH levels for your skincare routine. Make sure the cleanser bears the label ‘oil-free’ to avoid intensifying the oily T-zone. A cleanser with a pH of 5.5 helps promote skin health and prevents excessive oil secretion.

2. Exfoliate using the gentlest possible exfoliants.

Exfoliation is incumbent when it comes to taking care of combination skin. An oily T-zone increases the risk of blackheads and acne breakouts. Exfoliation sheds off the dead skin cells, which prevents blockade as well as flaking. However, too much exfoliation or harsh exfoliants can exacerbate the dry spots. So, pick a gentle exfoliant made of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) to prevent any effect on the dry patches.

3. Use blotting pads to absorb excess oil.

Blotting pads help remove the excess oil from the skin. Keep these pads or sheets with you all the time to avoid the buildup of oil on the skin’s surface. Also, do not rub or scrub the skin with these pads. Try to remove the excess oil by patting.

4. Use a non-drying face mask with salicylic acid.

Use a hydrating face mask to keep the skin moisturized. However, ensure that the mask bears a non-comedogenic label. Moreover, go for non-alcoholic products. It is better to use a hydrating face mask with salicylic acid, as it will help maintain the oil balance on the skin. Multi-masking is also a good idea to treat both oil and dry skin separately.

5. Find a multi-tasking moisturizer.

Multi-tasking moisturizers hydrate the skin while providing other benefits like acne care, exfoliation, and protection against pollution. If you are using a product with salicylic acid, it is better to use a water-based moisturizer or that with an emollient. Moisturizers containing AHAs can benefit your whole face.

BLACK PAINT Products for Combination Skin

BLACK PAINT is a natural, organic, and probiotic skincare solution for combination skin. Probiotics have proven to be really beneficial to combination skin as they prevent the dry portion of the skin from excessive drying and promote a healthy sebum production in the oily region of the combination skin. These probiotics help restore the microbiome balance of the skin and protect against acne, skin cancer, wrinkles, and UV damage.

A number of Black Paint products contain probiotics in them and are well-suited for combination skin type. We present three of our best products with probiotics that work effectively on a skin that has both dry and oily components.

Best Water1. Best water

This is a toner containing 30 types of essential minerals. It provides nourishment to the skin and keeps it hydrated by restoring the natural moisturizing factor (NMF). This mineral water also has oil absorbent properties. It is the ideal product for combination skin, as it can handle dry spots along with healing acne and blemishes. Moreover, thanks to the probiotics, Best Water doubles the effectiveness by skin repair and adding calming and protecting effects to the skin.


Rose Honey2. Rose honey

It is a serum that helps reduce the pore size and improves skin texture. This serum contains honey, which keeps the skin hydrated and has oil-controlling properties. Rose Honey is well-suited for a combination skincare regime, as it deals with the oily and dry spots simultaneously. Moreover, it is fortified with Lactobacillus, a probiotic that keeps the skin adequately hydrated (provided the required water is taken by the consumer) and improves skin texture.


Black Paint Soap3. Black paint soap

Combined with 30 types of premium botanical oils for skin nourishment and hydration, it extracts and clears blackheads and impurities. The Kishu Binchotan charcoal in this soap unclogs the pores and reduces acne. Its oil content nourishes the skin and keeps it hydrated. Because of its dual properties, this soap is a perfect product for combination skin.

A highly-useful aspect of Black Paint Soap is that it is a product from our upgraded human microbiome range. It contains lactobacillus that helps settle acne by reducing inflammation and fights against bad bacteria. It also keeps the skin moisturized.