My Skin Type Journey IV: Combination Skin

My Skin Type Journey IV: Combination Skin

Keina Yuan 
K-Beauty Editor

To all my combination skin friends, do not worry. Yes, it is a little difficult sometimes especially when skin care seems to work but also conflict with your skin at times. But that is why we are here to clear that up for you.


Combination skin is a mixture of two different skin textures. ‘Texture’ refers to the seemingly ‘different’ skin types on your face. This is often the dryness in the cheeks and the oiliness on the T-Zone. 

This also means you are more prone to comedones and breakouts on certain areas of the face, and the pores on your nose, chin and/or forehead are slightly enlarged compared to your cheeks. However, in the drier areas of your face, you might experience redness and flakiness.


Combination skin is mainly due to the different levels of activeness of your pores; overactive on T-zone, less active on cheeks. The main causes of this are once again: genetics, the weather, hormones, stress and even seasonal changes. 

These factors contribute to how active your sebaceous glands (glands in the skin which produce sebum). Meaning, in winter when it is dry and cold, the pores in the t-zone might be super active, pumping out oils to try and moisturise the skin, but the pores on your cheeks will be even less active producing very little oils resulting in dry, flaky and possibly sensitised skin.

Now for some tips!

We highly recommend mixing and matching different products to meet your specific skin concerns. And we always recommend some good hydration!

For example, you could use a toner for gentle oil control, a nourishing serum on your cheeks only, then use a lightweight cream to follow up. The toner will help balance the sebum production in your pores, while the nourishing serum will ensure that your cheeks don’t dry out too much. Using a lightweight cream will also make sure your pores aren’t stuffed and are able to breath. 

Try not to use harsh soaps and hot water to wash your face either. This goes for all skin types! By using a harsh soap, you are spiking your skin’s pH towards the alkaline side of the scale which results in taut skin and stripping of your natural oils. Well, I guess your skin does feel ‘clean’ but you might often find that your face will start to produce a lot of oils straight after cleansing too. 

This is because the barrier of your skin has basically been removed. This triggers the sebaceous glands to produce bucket loads of oils to try and replenish what you have just washed off. So instead of a harsh cleanser, try and use one that has a lower pH (more acidic – closer to our skin’s natural pH) and lukewarm water to wash your face. Excessively hot water actually causes the loss of moisture from inside your skin. The heat and humidity draw out the water stored in your skin and if you used a strong, highly basic soap, the chances are your barrier isn’t able to prevent the loss of moisture from inside the skin.

**These tips apply for all skin types (Especially oily skin types) **


Antioxidants (all skin types): the superhero/all-rounder of skin care. They neutralise free radicals, increase skin cell turnover rates and provide nutrients to the skin. 
Some good sources of antioxidants are:

  • Green tea
  • Vitamin C
  • Glutathione
  • Blueberries
  • Retinol

AHAs and BHAs: chemical exfoliants to help unclog pores, regulate oil production and minimise pores. (Can help to balance the skin’s oil/moisture ratio.)

AHAs – chemical exfoliants for dead skin cells. 
Break down excess dead skin cells on the surface of the skin and the build up of dead skin cells in pores.

BHAs – chemical exfoliants for oils.
Break down excess oils in pores and the build up of excess oils on the surface of the skin as well

Hyaluronic acid: is a humectant, meaning it draws and attracts moisture from the atmosphere to the skin. Hyaluronic acid is found in many forms, the most common ones include sodium hyaluronate and hydrolysed hyaluronic acid. This is because hyaluronic acid itself is quite a large molecule and isn’t able to penetrate the skin effectively. So, the molecule is broken down into smaller pieces to hydrate the deeper layers of the skin. Hyaluronic acid itself, when applied topically, bonds with the skin’s barrier and dead skin cells to form an extra film to act as another moisture barrier.

Centella (all skin types): soothing and healing (Basically it’s the hero of sensitive skin). Centella is a plant extract of the plant centella asiatica (or tiger grass) and in the past was used in herbal medicines for burns, scarring and rashes. 
Madecassic acid, madecassoside, asiatic acid and asiaticoside are the four main components of centella and are also often used in skin care for acne prone or sensitive skin types. Essentially, they have the same properties as centella itself has:

  • Speeded wound healing (by stimulating cell growth)
  • Reduction of inflammation and redness
  • Improving circulation

Aloe vera (all skin types - combination to oily in particular): anti-inflammatory, rich in antioxidants, soothing and slightly moisturising. Aloe vera is another superhero for oilier skin types. It is suitable for all skin types, but its lightness makes it more suited for oilier skin types. Aloe vera is also known for its healing properties and is one of the more ideal moisturising ingredients for oiler and combination skin types.

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