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What is combination skin?

A mix of skin types in different areas of your face, most of us have a combo of oiliness and drier patches AKA combination skin. It’s a bit like the bliss-inducing feels of dry sand meeting the sea’s lapping waves, or two sides of a coin. But your skincare needn’t be a toss-up. Keeping your dual skin types in balance can be chill like beach life when you learn our tips and skincare routine for combination skin. Once you know the score as to which bit of your combination skin needs what, your best-looking skin yet could be on the horizon.

Woman applying face lotion

HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE COMBINATION SKIN?

Being on lookout for your natural skin type can feel a bit like you’re lost at sea, as there are so many factors to take on board. But don’t fret, we’re here to give you the skinny as to how to recognise combination skin.

Most of us have combination skin, actually. It’s characterised by an oily T-zone and either dry, dull areas or so-called normal skin on the rest of the face. The oiliness you might spot on your forehead, chin and nose could lead you to believe that your skin type is oily – but watch out, that’s only true if you have oiliness in the rest of your face too. So, your T-zone is really the cincher. Looking for tests to try? Wash your face and then check if after 30-60 minutes your T-zone is looking oily again (but not the rest of your face). Another one – if you use a moisturiser designed for normal skin, do you notice it promotes more oiliness in your T-zone?

Typically, combination skin also has more noticeable pores on and around the nose in comparison to the rest of the face, plus blackheads and blemishes may crop up in this area. You might even notice that accompanying your blemishes is dryness or flakiness at the same time. Lastly, you might find that what the elements are up to will impact how oily your T-zone gets.

The Body Shop Seaweed products

WHY DO I HAVE COMBINATION SKIN?

As with all the skin types, your combination skin is part of your DNA and likely inherited from your folks. Having oily skin in some parts of your face and dry skin in others could be said to mirror your mum’s and dad’s sides of the family - two sets of traits coming together in one, frankly, fine face.

So, what causes these two different skin types? Your oilier T-zone is caused by the sebaceous glands, the glands that connect to each pore on your face. These are responsible for moisturising your face with skin’s natural oils, a fatty, waxy substance called sebum. Put simply, sometimes these glands are just naturally more active, which can lead to shininess and breakouts. Meanwhile, the drier parts of your face might be caused by a lack of sebum and/or lipid deficiency – lipids being skin’s natural fats that keep skin’s barrier strong, hydration locked in and elasticity maintained. Or, you might have dry patches or dullness due to a build-up of old skin cells.

Beyond your birth-given skin type, there are other factors that can contribute to or heighten the signs of combination skin.

WHAT CAUSES COMBINATION SKIN?

Unbalanced sebum production

Sebum shores up on your face quite naturally, but when the glands are overactive, you might find that your face gets flooded with excess oil. Often, for combination skin types, this will be prevalent on the T-zone as there’s a higher concentration of sebaceous glands here. This can make skin seem shiny, pores appear enlarged and can even contribute to blackheads and blemishes. At the same time, for combination skin types, the rest of the face produces less sebum and tends to get dry and dehydrated.

External factors

An overly oily T-zone and dried out cheeks can be caused by all sorts. The very cold or the very sunny can dry out skin, stripping moisture and making your face think you’re in need of a moisturising hit of sebum. This can exacerbate breakouts all while drying the rest of the face. Just so with smoking, too. Similarly, watch out for androgen-spiking lack of sleep and/or high stress – both of these can up sebum levels and lower the immune system, needed to fight off topical bacteria.

Touching your face

Wising up to the amount of bacteria and nasties we face day-to-day is a way to offset the amount of grime that makes its way onto our skin. When we touch surfaces that might be carrying bacteria and the like, it can transfer to our face at a momentary touch. This can then contribute to a build-up of sebum – creating an oilier T-zone – not to mention, make it easier for a mixture of sebum and grime to pool in pores.

The wrong skincare

Using the wrong skincare products can worsen the signs of combination skin. Products that are too harsh on your T-zone can leave the face plundered of moisture – the skin overcompensates with extra sebum and the likelihood of clogged pores goes right up. On the other hand, if you’re using skincare targeted for dry skin types, you might find it is too rich and comedogenic (pore-clogging) for your oilier T-zone. This is why it is important to use skincare products designed just for combination skin.

HOW TO TAKE CARE OF COMBINATION SKIN

Making sure you’re giving each part of your face what it best needs, managing combination skin is all about striking the right balance.

You’ll want to avoid more intense formulations in your skincare products. At either end of the spectrum, the more a product will help reduce oil, the more it might further dry out flaky skin. Equally, the more a product helps to soothe and restore moisture to dry skin, the more oily your T-zone might get. With every action having an equal and opposite reaction, as those clever scientist types say, you’ll want to make sure the only reaction your skin is having is one of total cool, calm composure.

How to take care of combination skin in winter can be a particular challenge. Already dry skin will be even more parched and singing its siren song to rich moisturisers, but you don’t want to overload oily T-zones. Since different parts of your face have different needs, these months might need a little more thoughtfulness and adaptation in the form of extra targeted weekly rituals.

Case in point – a key way to target the different needs of your combination skin is to multi-mask. Taking a sort of ‘divide and conquer’ approach, applying different face masks on different parts of your face helps to create the ideal combo of skincare effects – helping to soothe and moisturise dry areas and reset your T-zone’s oil levels. Once you’ve got this mask medley down, life’s a beach. Read on to discover our best face masks for multi-masking with combination skin.

Healthy Lifestyle

The benefits of a healthy lifestyle are so wide-reaching that it’s even said to help your skin look healthier. That means exercising regularly, eating a well-rounded diet and drinking enough H20 every day to stay hydrated. In committing to these cardinal skincare (and body care) principles, you’ll help to keep the oil-to-water ratio of your skin in balance. This will help to reduce the chances of exacerbating the dried out parts of your face and oily T-zone alike.

Beware of the colder weather

Combination skin, like all skin types, is affected by the changes during the winter months, particularly as the thermostat plummets and artificial heaters come into action. This swing from one temperature extreme to the other as you go from inside to out and back, is especially drying. Offsetting the effects of the elements during these months, you should aim to rebalance skin’s moisture levels with a moisturiser that has a lightweight formula like our Seaweed Oil-Control Gel Cream.

Finding the right skincare for combination skin

Skin likes consistency, so taking care of it with the perfect combination of desert island skincare essentials will help keep it looking and feeling tip-top. Finding the products that will help to soothe dried out areas without kicking sebum production into overdrive will help to keep balance for the long-haul. Our formulations are designed especially with combination skin in mind. Our formulas are infused with naturally derived ingredients and help to give your skin just what it needs.

SKINCARE ROUTINE FOR COMBINATION SKIN

HAND POURING THE BODY SHOP SEAWEED DEEP CLEANSING GEL

Step 1: Cleanse

Our bestselling cleanser for combination skin is the Seaweed Deep Cleansing Gel Wash. It’s formulated for combination skin’s unique needs, ensuring that when it cleans the face it doesn’t dry skin out in the process. It’s enriched with mineral-rich seaweed and helps to effectively rid faces of impurities, leaving skin feeling soft and refreshed.

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LADY PUTTING ON TONER

Step 2: Tone

Helping to restore balance to just-cleansed skin, our Seaweed Oil Balancing Toner is the partner in crime to our cleanser version. This toner for combination skin helps to remove any lingering traces of makeup, grime and all those beautiful skin bandits, as well as any leftover cleanser. At the same time, it helps to refine pores and leave the complexion looking more matte.

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THE BODY SHOP TEA TREE ANTI IMPERFECTION DAILY SOLUTION

Step 3: Target

If you’re in need of a little extra in the blemish-battling department, simply add our pipette-style Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution to your skincare routine. It’s among our best products for combination skin due to its skills in helping reduce the number of blemishes and helping skin look healthier and less shiny – all with targeted impact. Just apply it where it’s needed – no where else, so you don’t disrupt the drier parts of your skin. Just 2-3 drops are needed morning and evening after cleansing and toning. Massage in where needed and let the solution sink in.

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THE BODY SHOP SEAWEED OIL GEL CREAM

Step 4: Moisturise

Our Seaweed Oil-Control Gel Cream is our best moisturiser for combination skin. It’s as hydrating as it is lightweight, and helps not clog pores while feeling moisturising. This little gel moisturiser helps to control shine throughout the day by balancing oil and excess sebum, helping the T-zone to look less shiny. Skin is left feeling softer and more conditioned.

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YOUR DAILY COMBINATION SKINCARE HEROES

The Body Shop Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Clay

Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Clay Wash

Formulated with bamboo charcoal, kaolin clay and Community Fair Trade tea tree oil, our Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Clay Wash, a gentle lather-rich wash, is a bit of a legend. It helps to cleanse dirt and impurities, helping unblock clogged pores of what ails them. The result? Skin appears clearer and more matte without being dried-out.

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The Body Shop Drops of Youth Concentrate

Drops of Youth™ Youth Concentrate

Our Drops of Youth™ Youth Concentrate is a non-comedogenic face serum (AKA it isn’t inherently pore-clogging) helping skin feel replenished with moisture. This gel-like formula is particularly good for urban dwellers whose skin needs extra protection from the elements. It leaves skin feeling fresher and looking healthier.

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The Body Shop Seaweed Oil Control Lotion

Seaweed Oil-Control Lotion SPF15

The sister product to our Seaweed Gel Cream, the Seaweed Oil-Control Lotion SPF15 is a lightweight daily moisturiser for combination skin. Designed to help control excess oil and restore skin balance, it also helps to protect against harmful UV rays, a known aggressor of any skin type.

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Woman applying face mask

FACE MASKS FOR COMBINATION SKIN

Keep your skin’s unique needs in check by boosting your skincare routine with a face mask for combination skin 2-3 times a week. Even better if you pick and mix masks for each part of the face according to its oiliness, dryness or sensitivity.

Our vegan Himalayan Charcoal Purifying Glow Mask helps to draw out excess oil and impurities alike, making it a T-zone trooper for combination skin. For overnight action, our Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Night Mask helps to refresh the face, while helping to soothe and reduce the appearance of blemishes. Top tip – it feels amazingly tingly when you cool it down before use.

A refreshing-feeling overnight mask, the Drops of YouthTM Bouncy Sleeping Mask helps skin to feel replenished and restore radiance. It’s enriched with plant stem cells and Community Fair Trade moringa seed oil. Wake up and see how this cream-gel leave-on mask leaves your skin looking more healthy and hydrated.

THE BODY SHOP SEAWEED DEEP CLEANSING GEL WASH

“Best so far. Worth Buying. I just love it. It is best suited for oily or combination skin.”

Zeeya

About Seaweed Cleansing Gel Wash

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