What Is Combination Skin?

Combination skin is tricky because it features both oily and dry characteristics at the same time. This makes a skin care routine more complicated than the basics. It raises questions about the best options for combination skin care. Is it best to choose products that target oily skin? But then, what about the dryness? How do you take care of these seemingly opposite skin problems at the same time without worsening one or the other? Keep in mind that if you have combination skin, it’s normal. This is simply one skin type, which can be managed with the right products and routines.

What Are the Signs of
Combination Skin?

What characterizes this particular skin type is that some parts of your skin are oily while others are dry. Generally, you’ll find this to be more of a concern for your facial skin compared to the rest of the body, although you may also have oily and/or dry areas throughout your body.

A combination of oiliness and dryness may show itself through a T-zone (the forehead, nose and chin) that is different from the skin on the cheeks or in another way. You may notice dry patches in some places and shiny oil in others. The amount of one or the other skin issue can vary from person to person and even in the same person, but the existence of both marks combination skin.

Oily skin may show signs such as shininess, acne and noticeable pores. The dry parts of the skin, on the other hand, could show signs that you may see or feel, such as redness, skin flakes, roughness and tightness.

Discovering your best skin starts with knowing your skin type.

What Causes
Combination Skin?

It’s not really anything you’re doing or anything you have much control over that creates combination skin. Generally, it’s a type of skin some people naturally have, just as other people may have dry, oily, normal or sensitive skin. The combination skin type is genetic.

Nonetheless, there are factors that influence it. For instance, hormonal changes and different seasons can impact combination skin. Hormonal changes may be caused by periods, taking contraceptives or aging. The ratio of dryness to oiliness may shift due to some of these factors.

Products to Treat Combination Skin

Within a skincare routine for combination skin, you’ll want to use products that target oily skin and ones that target dry skin. Also, some innovative tools can help with both skin concerns. Here are some products that help with the complexity of combination skin:

  • Labelle Ultrasonic Skin Spatula

    Shop Skin Spatula

    Uses ultrasonic waves to deeply clean the pores, which can help with oiliness. This product also removes dead skin, which may help with the skin flakes associated with dry skin.

    Shop Skin Spatula

  • MicrodermMD

    Shop MicrodermMD

    Provides microdermabrasion that helps oil and dryness by deeply exfoliating and buffing. It also improves large pores and helps skincare products absorb better.

    Shop MicrodermMD

  • MiniMD tool

    Shop MiniMD

    Offers microdermabrasion in a smaller version.

    Shop MiniMD

  • Fine Diamond Tip

    Shop Fine Diamond Tip

    Can be used with the MiniMD and MicrodermMD tools listed above to provide gentle microdermabrasion for people with sensitive skin, so it can help combat the oil and dryness without being too harsh.

    Shop Fine Diamond Tip

  • JeNu Plus

    Shop JeNu Plus

    Uses ultrasonic vibrations that help skin care products work better. You could use it with a hydrating serum to combat dryness or other products that fit your needs.

    Shop JeNu Plus

Skin Care Products

  • Oil free, noncomedogenic, gentle, ideally fragrance free moisturizers and cleansers
  • Oil free makeup
  • Blotting papers
  • Deeply hydrating serum
  • Ointments and creams for dry patches not helped by lighter lotions

Tips on using combination skin care products and tools

Overall, choose skincare products that treat dryness without stimulating oil production and that address oil without aggravating dryness. This means choosing moisturizing products that are free of oil and ideally don’t include chemical fragrances, as these ingredients in moisturizers could create more oil. Likewise, try to stay away from alcohol-based products for oiliness, which could aggravate dryness.

When possible, you may want to focus on certain skin areas with your products, such as keeping a deeply hydrating cream on dry patches rather than slathering it everywhere and addressing extra oil in the T-zone without including the cheeks in the process.

Also, use tools that gently exfoliate and treat the skin, such as gentle microdermabrasion, so they do not act too harshly and aggravate extra oil production or sensitive dry areas.

How Often Should You Treat Combination Skin?

It’s important to take care of the skin on a daily basis. The ideal method of a skin care routine for combination skin is to have a daily morning skincare routine and a nighttime one, so that translates to caring for your face twice a day. In addition, you can add habits like exfoliating and using masks once per week, and you may want to use blotting papers to address extra oil throughout each day as needed.

Best Skincare Routine for Best Results for Combination Skin

You may need to experiment to see what works best for your own skin, as combination skin can vary, and you may even want to work with a dermatologist to come up with the best skin care routine for combination skin for yourself.
Nonetheless, there are basic tips you can follow:

Morning: In the morning, cleanse the face of buildup that developed while you slept. Use an alcohol-free toner to gently remove extra oil, and apply a serum to hydrate dryness. Add moisturizer, ideally with sunscreen included. It helps to use a thicker moisturizer for dry spots and a lighter one for the areas that tend to get oily. If it's part of your routine, you can add oil free makeup after that.

Nighttime: Before you go to bed, remove makeup from the day with a gentle makeup remover such as micellar water. Then, use a gentle cleanser with ingredients that work for combination skin. Add a deeply hydrating serum or treatment to dry patches of skin.

In addition to the basic morning and nighttime routines, you can adjust your skincare routine to fit your personalized needs. For example, you may want to incorporate products that address acne, especially for the areas with excess oil, and signs of aging. Once a week, carry out exfoliation to take away dead skin, and use masks with different purposes on different parts of your face, such as hydrating masks on the cheeks and acne-targeting ones on the T-zone. You may want to use blotting papers as needed to address extra oil on the face.

You may need to adjust your routine to fit changes to your skin. For example, your skin may benefit from different products as the seasons change, such as more deeply hydrating moisturizers in winter and lighter ones in summer. Also, you may need to adjust during the changes of the menstrual cycle, such as by addressing extra oil production at certain times.

Things to Avoid When Treating Combination Skin

Here are some habits and products to avoid within your combination skin care:

Risk Factors

You can’t necessarily avoid the mixture of dry and oily skin that is attributed to combination skin by targeting risk factors. Nonetheless, it may be helpful to be aware of risk factors that may contribute and to take certain precautions. The main risk factors are genetics, hormonal changes and seasonal changes. There are factors that may affect hormones and thus the skin, such as aging, the menstrual cycle and contraceptives.

Other factors may trigger the dryness or oiliness. Scrubbing, using oil-based products and using a harsh, drying face wash may stimulate oil production and pore clogging. Actions and products that irritate the skin can contribute to more oil. Also, fragrances and alcohol in skincare products can aggravate dry skin.


The combination skin type is complex, as you need to address both dry and oily skin rather than just one. As dryness and oiliness are basically opposites, you need to focus on addressing each one without aggravating the other. This includes using the right products and habits while avoiding others. Sometimes, you need unique routines for different sections of your face.

By following the tips in this guide, it’s possible to manage this type of skin. It may seem complicated at first, but creating a routine will help you stick to the right habits and products. Also, tools that provide microdermabrasion and other gentle actions, like those offered by Trophy Skin, can address both oily and dry skin at once to help skin texture and appearance overall.