The Best Skincare Routine for Combination Skin, According to the Pros


Some have oily skin and some have dry skin, but others have what’s called combination skin, a type of skin that dermatologists say isn’t a single diagnosis. Here, they explain how to tell if you have combination skin, what your routine should look like, and even share a few of their favorite products.

What is combination skin?

“Combination skin refers to skin that has different personalities at the same time,” says Davie, dermatologist FL Lesley Clark-Loeser, MD. “Commonly, we hear patients say that their complexion is both dry and oily. Or that they have both sensitive and acne-prone skin.

But just because you have oily, dry, or irritated spots here and there doesn’t mean you fit perfectly into this category. “What determines our skin category is how much water or oil is actually produced and transported to our skin,” says Beverly Hills dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD, who adds that to classify your skin as mixed, you must have a continuous and clear treatment. defined dry and oily areas. “The reality is that our skin can fluctuate on a regular basis due to epigenetic factors, hormonal changes, environment, diet, stressors, lifestyle and general health and there is a difference between the temporary change or condition of the skin and an actual skin type or category.”

What does combination skin look like?

“Combination skin signals show up as both dryness and oiliness,” says Dr. Shamban. “You may notice larger than normal pores in a specific area of ​​the face and invisible pores in other areas, certain areas of blackhead concentration, congestion or clogged pores, shine in certain areas of the face (such as forehead or nose), tone inconsistencies and uneven redness in certain areas, dull areas of skin and grossly complicated areas.

While Dr. Shamban offers some telltale signs, Omaha, NE dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, MD says it’s best to have your skin type evaluated by a board-certified dermatologist, especially because combination skin can sometimes be a telltale sign of something else is happening below the surface. “If there is continuous or intermittent scaling on the central area of ​​the face, you could have seborrheic dermatitis or an allergic predisposition, which requires special care and possibly prescription treatment,” he says.

What does an ideal morning routine for combination skin look like?

If Dr. Shamban offered a morning skincare routine to a patient with combination skin, she would tell him to start the day with warm water and a light oil or cleansing lotion to gently wash his face. “Afterwards, an alcohol-free toner with rosewater, witch hazel, or apple cider vinegar is great before applying a hydrating or balancing serum and finishing with sunscreen,” she says. If you see signs of acne or inflammation, Dr. Clark-Loeser can prescribe a prescription cleanser containing niacinamide to reduce inflammation or acne-attacking sulfur, as well as a lightweight non-comedogenic moisturizer to help maintain the skin’s barrier function and physical sunscreen. with a minimum FPS of 30.

What does an ideal evening skincare routine for combination skin look like?

“Evening cleansing is an absolute must,” Dr. Clark-Loeser continues. “For this type of acne-prone but sensitive skin, a cleanser with salicylic acid or lactic acid is excellent. Either of these ingredients will help promote cell turnover and has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.What follows after cleansing really depends on the severity of an individual’s skin condition and, believe it or not, the patient’s age.

After cleansing, Dr. Shamban recommends using a gentle exfoliator three times a week (or more, as needed) at night. The exfoliator should contain mild acids like lactic, salicylic, and kojic acids to keep pores clean and clear. She also says that a repair serum, anti-blemish masks and a balancing moisturizer are essential.

“Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid, tea tree oil, apricot kernel oil, vitamin E, and squalane in your moisturizer,” adds Dr. Shamban. “Additionally, betaine helps the skin adapt to moisture loss and gain, so it essentially works to balance moisture and can be used all over the face.” If you have sensitive skin, she says it’s ingredients like calendula, green tea, and jojoba. “These will maintain moisture levels so that the surface of the skin is not disturbed or damaged by flaking and irritation.”

What are the perfect products for combination skin?

A few of the products Dr. Shamban keeps on her favorites list: Glytone Acne Treatment Mask ($36) to clear pores, Éminence Organic Skin Care Calm Skin Arnica Booster Serum ($56) to restore lost moisture, Biossance Squalane + Antioxidant Cleansing Oil ($30) to leave skin looking fresh and healthy, and Biologique Recherche Living Mask to enhance cell turnover.

For morning and evening, Dr. Schlessinger recommends LovelySkin LUXE diet products to most of his patients because “the products are formulated with proven anti-aging ingredients like resveratrol and peptides, in addition to the proprietary ingredient of the afaLUXE range,” he says. . “afaLUXE is a new antioxidant blend of amino filaggrin, vitamin C and Dead Sea minerals that promote natural exfoliation without irritation to help improve the skin’s natural moisture and barrier functions. This means that any skin type (including dry or sensitive) can experience impressive rejuvenating benefits without irritating or drying out the skin.

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