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Help, My Combination Skin

Help, My Combination Skin's Driving Me Insane!

One in three 16 - 20 year olds say they have combination skin. But what exactly does that mean? Combination skin is an unruly mix of oily and dry skin. It's reactive and often has shiny patches. The infamous T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) tends to be oily, whilst the rest is on the dry side. Combination skin can be defined by 5 criteria: excess sebum in specific zones, a 'tight' feeling, an uneven skin tone, an uneven skin texture and the occasional spotty outbreak.

Younger skin gets put through the mill between the ages of 20 - 25, largely due to accelerated skeletal growth. Our skin follows suit, with cell renewal occurring at break neck speed. Throw in hormonal changes, climatic variations, unsuitable skin care routines, diet... The result is an unstable cutaneous structure that shows on the surface of our skin. This instability leads to the appearance of both dry and oily patches.

Combination skin is annoying, as it's both oily and dry. Excess oil produced around the T-zone leaves us with an uneven skin texture, open pores and spots. The rest of our face feels tight and stingy after a hot bath/shower or cleansing, looks dry and may develop red patches. Being such a mixed bag means combination skin is easily irritated and damaged. The solution is to use treatments designed to balance out sebum production in both the inner and outer layers of our skin. So whilst our T-zone needs an oil-busting deep cleanse, the rest of our face requires a more gentle touch.

Those of us with combination skin benefit from the protective effect of excess sebum. Sebum is lipid-rich, which keeps our skin moisturised. This in turn stalls the appearance of wrinkles. However, this still leaves us with dry zones - temples and cheeks - that can lose tone and sag. We may also find ourselves blessed with pigment spots or other blemishes.

What's a sure-fire way to zap blemishes caused by combination skin? Cleansing twice a day! This will get rid of impurities caused by too much sebum that, due to the presence of free radicals, oxidises, leading to pimples and blackheads. Opt for a gentle cleanser such as micellar water or a lotion designed for normal or combination skin. Begin with your T-zone: apply your cleanser to a cotton pad and gently massage it on using small, circular movements. Repeat until all grime has gone. Rinse off and follow with a spritz of thermal water to remove any limestone left by tap water. If you tend to get pimples, apply a face scrub and purifying face mask once or twice a week. But make sure you steer clear of areas that are dry.

Make up-wise, go for products that suit your skin's needs. Plus a little bit of trickery can go a long way! Combination skin only has shiny patches on the T-zone, so apply different types of make up to different parts of your face - a liquid, non-comedogenic foundation and transparent powder to shiny zones and a stick foundation to your temples and cheeks. Keep your skin looking matt throughout the day by gently pressing a tissue or mattifying wipe on to oilier zones to suck up any excess sebum.

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