Balance your skin Combination and oily skin types tend to produce too much sebum, although combination skin may have some drier areas on the face as well. While some sebum is necessary to protect the skin, too much can be problematic. These skin types need to use products that will efficiently remove excess sebum without stripping the skin of hydration or its protective barrier.
Cleanse As the first step of your regimen, cleansing removes impurities, makeup, and debris that can build up and clog pores. It ensures you have a clean slate for the rest of your regimen. If your cleanser isn’t specified as a makeup remover, be sure to use one before cleansing. Gentle gel based cleansers that foam are great for thoroughly cleansing the skin without being overly drying. If clogged pores are an issue, look for a cleanser with salicylic acid to lightly exfoliate and balance oil production. If your skin feels tight after cleansing, a milder formulation or a cleansing milk is needed instead. Cleanse twice a day, morning and evening.
Tone Toning, an often overlooked step, finishes the cleansing process by ensuring the pH of the skin is maintained and removing any remaining residue or makeup that you may have missed during cleansing. Your skin has an acidic mantle that is naturally a pH of 4.5 – 5.5, that protects your skin.
Toners for combination to oily skin will contain purifying ingredients to remove excess oil and prevent breakouts. Some contain silica powders that help to mattify the skin and absorb oil through the day. Use your toner morning and evening, after you cleanse.
Exfoliate Exfoliation is the removal of dead skin cells from the top most layer of the skin. Your skin has a natural exfoliation process but certain circumstances, such as aging or sun damage, can slow the process and make it less effective. The simple solution is to exfoliate regularly at home to keep your pores clear, lines more refined, and skin looking radiant and more even toned.
Combination to Oily Skin types tend to do well with chemical exfoliants such as salicylic, mandelic, or mailic acids. These help to dissolve the bond between skin cells so that they can be shed. Salicylic acid is particularly helpful if acne and blackheads are a problem, since it is able to cut through the oil to help unclog the pores. These acids can be used daily in the form of a cleanser or a serum. It is recommended that you use these every other day in the beginning to minimize any irritation or dryness, especially if your skin is sensitive. Even if you can’t move up to daily, the benefits of regular exfoliation will still be seen.
Weekly treatments can be a great option to accelerate results. These are frequently labeled as “at-home peels”, but can be a scrub or microdermabrasion, as well. It’s important that you don’t use the daily exfoliator for at least 24 hours before and after the weekly treatment. (Wait at least 48 hours for sensitive skin.) If you have acne, rosacea or another inflammatory skin condition, do not use scrubs as this may exacerbate it. Sensitive skin may opt for an enzyme based exfoliant. They tend to be gentler and won’t penetrate the epidermis as much as a chemical exfoliant can.
When using exfoliators, less is more. If you notice any signs of over-exfoliation like redness that doesn’t subside quickly, flakiness, or any irritation, decrease the usage to see if that helps. If not, it may be time to try something that is less aggressive.
Exfoliants can be used morning or evening, unless you are using a retinol based product in the evening. In that case, your exfoliant can not be used at the same time. It will have to be used in the morning.
Sunscreen needs to be worn daily since exfoliation can make your skin more sensitive to the sun.
Prevent/Repair This step addresses specific concerns you may have or want to prevent such as sun damage, dark spots, lines/wrinkles, acne, etc. Generally you apply a targeted treatment before your moisturizer, but make sure to follow the directions listed on the product.
Every morning use an antioxidant serum under your moisturizer to help prevent free radical damage from occurring on the skin. Free radical damage comes from a number of factors such as UV exposure, pollution, smoking, not eating a perfect diet and even disease or illnesses. It can cause the skin to look prematurely aged.
Combination to oily skin is prone to congestion and acne. When treating acne, be sure to use products that are targeted for acne but don’t strip the skin. If you are using a spot treatment that dries your skin too much, such as benzoyl peroxide or sulfur, you can apply the spot treatment over your moisturizer, but under your SPF.
There are many treatments designed to prevent and repair aging skin. Exfoliation will help, but it’s wise to also use products containing repairing ingredients such as peptides and retinol to minimize lines and wrinkles and help with loss of elasticity. These are best used at night, which is when your skin goes through its reparative cycle. Note, that sunscreen must be worn daily when using a retinol based product.
Hyperpigmentation or dark spots can be hormonal, from past acne, or from sun damage. This can be treated with a product that is specifically labeled for lightening the skin. It’s important to note that if you use a product with hydroquinone, you must take a break from using the product after 3 months.
Masks are a great supplement for achieving specific skincare goals. They address anything from dull and dehydrated skin to brightening and anti-aging concerns. Some can even help heal acne and can be used as a spot treatment overnight. These targeted treatments are generally used 1–4 times a week, depending on the type of mask you choose.
Moisturize Moisturizers are necessary to keep the skin hydrated and functioning properly, but many people with combination to oily skin are afraid to use them. These skin types can become dehydrated easily and actually produce more oil to compensate for this. Keeping the skin well hydrated can help balance oil production. Many moisturizers are also formulated with antioxidants to prevent and repair free radical damage and anti-aging ingredients.
Combination to oily skin benefits from a lightweight moisturizer applied twice daily. Many people with combination skin prefer a lighter lotion during the day and a medium weight lotion or cream at night. If areas of your skin feel tight later in the day, try a hydrating serum on those areas underneath your moisturizer to prevent this from happening.
The skin around your eyes is much thinner and prone to lines and wrinkles. Be sure to use an eye cream that provides enough moisture to protect that delicate area.
Protect It’s a myth that you only need sunscreen at the beach or when you’ll be outdoors for hours at a time. Unfortunately, sun damage is cumulative and 15 minutes of exposure here and there with no protection, easily adds up to a few hours a week. Damage from the sun’s ultraviolet rays is most known to contribute to skin cancer, but it can also be responsible for premature aging, hyperpigmentation (dark spots), loss of elasticity, rough skin texture, and even rosacea.
If you are going to be outside briefly or are mainly in an office environment, SPF 15 is fine for most. Fair skin should use SPF 20 – 30. If you will be exposed to the sun for longer than 15 minutes, it’s best to use SPF 30 or higher. This includes time spent in a car because windows, unless UV treated, do not block any UVA rays and only partially filter UVB rays.
While SPF is important, it only refers to how the sunscreen protects against the burning UVB rays. Be sure to choose a sunscreen that is labeled as “broad spectrum” to protect against both types of UV rays. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and damage cells, which can change the appearance of the skin. UVB rays are shorter, only reaching the epidermis or top layer of the skin and cause sunburns. Both rays can contribute to skin cancer. Be sure to reapply sunscreen every 1 – 2 hours while exposed to the sun.
With the myriad of sunscreen products on the market today, it’s easy to reapply every 1 – 2 hours as needed. Choose from a lotion, cream, or even sunscreen powder, which can be particularly useful when touching-up your face without disturbing makeup.