WHAT IS COMBINATION SKIN?
Combination skin describes a condition when you have oily skin in some areas of your face and dry skin in others. Usually, the skin has clogged pores in the T-zone (nose, forehead, and chin) and normal to dry spots on the cheeks. How can combination skin have such a mix of dry and oily parts in such a small area?
The center of the face produces more sebum than necessary for this skin area to help supply the edge of the face. As a result, the T-zone is more prone to oil and blemishes. But if the pores in the T-zone are clogged, sebum cannot flow and the rest of the face dries out as a result of the lack of sebum reaching these dry areas.
SOME TYPICAL CHARACTERISTICS OF COMBINATION SKIN
OILY & DRY
Combination skin is not a skin type but describes a condition with clogged pores in the T-zone and dry cheeks as a result. It can be a mix of different skin types creating what appears as oily and dry skin.
The appearance of larger pores happens when your pores become blocked by dead skin cells, causing sebum to build up and enlarge your pores. This is common in the skin’s oily patches.
You are no stranger to dry patches and acne breakouts at the same time. While excess oil creates shiny skin in the T-zone, dry patches occur outside of it., such as on the cheeks.
Gentle face wash, anti-microbial care, and oils that absorb quickly into the skin will help nourish and balance out the skin. It’s important to avoid comedogenic care that could clog the pores in the T-zone.
CARING FOR COMBINATION SKIN
The key to getting combination skin in check is to remember that you’re dealing with two different skin types.
1. PRESERVE MOISTURE
Start with a gentle but effective water soluble cleanser. Our hydrating face wash is a great foundation for combination skin as it doesn’t irritate or strip the skin while balancing out moisture. It effectively removes impurities, debris, and makeup without leaving skin feeling tight, dry or greasy.
2. HYDRATATION, HYDRATATION
After washing, apply the hydrating, soothing, and non-irritating herbal-hyaluronic-algae serum booster to the entire face.
It has a healthy amount of skin-replenishing ingredients (and antioxidants) that can help nourish dry skin and
minimize oiliness at the same time.
3. CREATE BALANCE
Layer on our face oil to the dry areas. This will moisturize and hydrate the deep and superficial layers of the skin to gently smooth rough, dry, flaky skin and provide a healthy glow.
4. EXTRA SUPPORT
Apply our rich hydrating and moisturizing cream in a motion away from the oily spots when the dry areas need more support. You can use this rich cream as part of your nighttime routine, during the day and as often as needed.
THE WILD LEAVES
Our skincare ritual consists of:
Step1: Herbal Face Wash
Step 2: Herb-hyaluronic-algae serum
Step 3: Cell Repair Face Oil Serum
Step 4: Elemental Face Cream
Our skincare ritual is great for:
Moisturizing and hydrating
Working with the elements to offer long-lasting skin protection and a glowy complexion
OTHER WAYS TO NOURISH COMBINATION SKIN
Using a gentle, non-abrasive, leave-on BHA exfoliant peeling to help skin shed dead cells chemically (naturally, ‘chemical’ describes any process of change) and unclog pores.
Protect from sun damage through lifestyle changes. A certain type of lifestyle can help to avoid getting sunburns. I can count on one hand how many times I've used sunscreen over the last 10 years. Again, more and more studies are coming out with evidence that sunspots and burns have to do with toxins trying to leave the body through the skin and coming into contact with the sun in a process known as phototoxicity or photoirritation. If, however, you feel you do need sunscreen, then always choose natural sun protection. These lifestyle changes referred to here can be found in our workshops :)
OUR TIP: apply our nourishing serums and rich cream over the dry areas and then apply an ultra-light sunscreen over the entire face.
WHAT CAUSES COMBINATION SKIN?
Sebaceous glands are distributed differently throughout the skin. The
T-Zone area (forehead, nose, and chin) has more sebaceous glands than other areas of the face (for example, the lips and eyelids), so it naturally has more sebum or oil.
More oil production can lead to these areas becoming more easily clogged.
Sebum is a glandular secretion that forms a constant film on the skin. Sebum is a good thing because it helps create a protective barrier protecting the skin from external influences.
It also has a cleansing function, in which sebum flows from the area around the hair follicle through the pore, carrying out dead skin cells and dirt to the skin’s surface. But if this area around the hair follicle, within the pore or on the skin’s surface is affected by inflammation or irritants, then the pore can get blocked leading to pimples and skin irritations.
When a hair follicle is clogged with sebum, dead skin cells and bacteria accumulate around the opening. When the follicle becomes completely closed, sebum and dirt cannot get out and a is pimple formed. This closed off pore turns into a closed comedone, or “whitehead”. Blackheads is another form of pimple that forms due to this process and can be open or closed as a result of the pore being clogged. These “black” dots are essentially clogged sebum that has oxidised, turning it black.
BUT WHY DO PORES GET CLOGGED?
INFLAMMATION - Comedones, or pimples, are the cause of inflammation throughout the whole process. That means that there’s a cause-and-effect process happening, where the comedones are the effect of various factors. Blemish-prone skin will have inflammation starting deep within the pore where the hair follicle is found. But where triggers this inflammation in the first place? Often times it’s from inflammation in the body, or more specifically, the gut. Environmental factors such as irritants, toxins and chemicals can also put our bodies (and skin) under stress leading to inflammation.
SEBORRHEA - This is the overproduction of sebum from the sebaceous glands. If a pore produces too much sebum, dead skin cells and dirt can get trapped on the skin’s surface. Some of this sebum can build up on the excretory ducts and lead to blockages. Environmental factors like dirt and other particles can more easily stay on the face in an oily environment. What happens then is that ‘plugs’ from over the pores and turn into a comedo, or pimple.
BACTERIA - Propinionbacterium acnes (or P. acnes) is a bacteria that normally lives harmlessly on skin’s surface. P. acnes thrives and multiplies in low oxygen environments. Bacteria can colonize the hair follicle leading to infection that shows up as inflamed pimples on the skin’s surface. An ideal breeding ground for bacterial strains, purulent matter (pus) usually transports the acne bacterium from other papules to healthy pore openings, promoting bacterial spread. Squeeze a pimple might seem harmless, but it can actually spread bacteria to other parts of your skin. If you want to know more about the T-Zone and how hormones affect oily skin, check out Oily & Blemished Skin.
It seems counter-intuitive to treat oily skin with oil. The skincare norm until recently has been to scrub, strip and bombard the skin with products that dry out our skin even more, all with the intention to reduce oil. But guess what this does: drying out the skin signals the skin to produce more oil! So your sebaceous glands snap into action and do just that.
We now know that the most common cause of blemishes in the T-zone is an overproduction of sebum and the associated risk of clogging the pores. When the skin has enough lipids, the organism also reduces the body’s own production of lipids. Sebum production becomes regulated and the sebaceous glands can stop overworking.
It all depends on the right oils
Before choosing a botanical oil for oily skin, it’s important to take into account the oil’s comedogenic rating (from 0 to 5). Knowing a bit about fatty acids when choosing the right ingredients for your skin type is also a good idea.
Two important fatty acids influence the pore-clogging process and dry skin:
Oils rich in oleic acid are greasier than oils rich in linoleic acid making them better for dry skin. They can also clog pores so they are not as suitable for blemish-prone skin.
People with low linoleic acid on their skin are more prone to acne so integrating oils rich in linoleic acid can help support oily and acne-prone skin.
There are various types of oils, and oily skin needs ‘dry’ oils. A dry oil does not mean it dries out the skin. Dry oils get absorbed by the skin quickly and don’t leave a greasy film behind. They help to regulate sebum production and restore the skin’s complex balance. Nourishing, fast-absorbing unsaturated fatty acids are ideal for oily skin because they are very similar to the lipids produced by the skin.
Whether the lipids come from an external source (an oil) or are produced by the body itself, the skin often cannot distinguish between the two. This allows the lipids to be enzymatically metabolized on the skin surface and used as a building block for the skin’s structure. Not only that, many oils contain anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and soothing compounds. And the right oils will also be packed with vitamins, amino acids, and antioxidants to heal, protect, and hydrate.
Tips & Tricks
Avoid products containing any harsh or skin-aggravating ingredients for both types of skin.
Take both skin types into account. It is important to avoid any potential comedogenic-causing care that blocks the pores in the T-zone, and drying-out factors that make the cheek area even drier.
The dry areas need an emollient booster and moisturizing care, while the oily parts need lighter weight but effective formulas.
Curb inflammation from the inside and out: Breakouts are a result of inflammation in the body and along the entire development process of pimples. Reducing inflammatory agents in the body both topically and through the gut is key to getting a hold on the causes and effects of skin inflammation throughout the entire inflammatory process.