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Caring for combination skin can be both confusing and frustrating. The term combination skin can be a bit nebulous, because many people experience some areas of dryness and some areas of oiliness. Paula Begoun, skin care expert, defines combination skin by saying “typically, combination skin is when some parts of your face are dry, or flaky, while the center part of your face, nose, chin, and forehead (called the T-zone) is oily. Combination skin can also describe conditions where wrinkles and breakouts or rosacea and dry skin are present at the same time.” If this sounds like your skin, the most important thing to do is find products that are well-formulated with quality ingredients that don’t aggravate your situation. Below, find out how to properly cleanse and exfoliate combination skin to get your skincare routine off to a great start.
Cleansing should be the first step in any skincare routine no matter what skin type you have. Proper cleansing of your combination skin starts before you head to your bathroom sink, it begins by selecting a cleanser that is formulated to suit your combination skin. That doesn’t mean that you need to buy products specifically marketed as being for combination skin, it just means choosing a cleanser that is meant to target your specific skin concerns. Combination skin requires a gentle cleanser because you don’t want to exaggerate dry areas, but you also want to be sure you are cleansing into the pores to help with oil. Generally, gel-based cleansers work well for combination skin, but if you lean more towards oily you may want to consider a mild foaming cleanser, and if you have drier skin, you may want to consider a cleansing lotion.
When you cleanse your skin, always use warm water rather than hot water. Hot water can make your dry patches worse because it strips your skin of natural moisture. Wet your face, then apply your cleanser of choice to your fingertips. Using circular motions, apply light pressure with your fingertips and massage the cleanser into your skin. When you have finished cleansing, rinse with warm water and pat dry.
Exfoliation is the process of removing dead skin cells from the surface of your skin in order to make room for newer, healthier skin cells to surface. Broadly speaking, when you exfoliate combination skin, skipping harsh, abrasive scrubs is a good idea. Opt for a chemical exfoliation rather than a physical exfoliant to avoid drying skin out further or causing damage to your skin. Alpha- and beta-hydroxy acids are both amazing chemical exfoliants for combination skin. Alpha-hydroxy acids include glycolic, lactic, mandelic and malic acids while beta-hydroxy acid refers to salicylic acid. The products work by dissolving the bonds that hold your dead skin cells together and gently removing the buildup of dead skin cells. Combination skin that is drier generally responds best to alpha-hydroxy acid, while combination skin that is more oily often prefers beta-hydroxy acid.
Cleansing and exfoliating are two critical steps in any skincare routine and they set the tone for the rest of your skincare regimen. Without proper cleansing and exfoliation, your other skincare products are not able to fully penetrate your skin and are unable to provide maximum benefits. When you have combination skin, it is imperative to use the right products for your skin type including a gentle cleanser and chemical exfoliants that won’t further damage or dry out your skin. Finding, and using, the right products ensures that you begin your combination skincare routine effectively.