Combination skin is tough to care for. You want to avoid drying out your skin overall but you have to be smart in how you treat the oily sections of your face, chest and upper back. Because this is where acne tends to flare up, these are the regions we want to address most carefully. Every skin care routine needs to include
- cleansing and exfoliation
- sun protection
The products you use need to be specific to your combination skin to prevent clogging and inflammation now so you can enjoy clear skin in the future.
Be Gentle but Thorough
Start with a cleanser that is formulated to clean away oils that build up on your skin. Make sure the detergent products in this cleanser are mild, fragrance-free, and formulated to be used multiple times during the day. Create a routine that includes thoroughly washing and rinsing your hands. Invest in hand towels and facial washcloths that you can wash separately in a fragrance free soap and tumble dry without scent or additives.
It takes very little inflammation to close up the pores of acne prone skin. Any chemical additive could cause that small bit of inflammation, creating an ideal spot for a pimple. Once your hands are clean, you can cleanse your face. The goal is to gently wash away any excess oil without completely stripping the skin. Focus your attention on the oily zone, generally across the nose and cheeks. Rinse your skin thoroughly and pat it dry with a soft cloth. Do your best to avoid scrubbing your face with a harsh cloth. If you are an adolescent, it may be difficult to see a day in the future when you will need to add moisturizer to your skin on a regular basis. However, your future self will thank you for not tugging on your skin during these careful cleansings.
Next, try to use a gentle exfoliant on your acne prone combination skin. Avoid using a brushing tool; these can be hard to clean well enough to avoid spreading pimple-causing bacteria over your face. Like your cleanser, you will want to thoroughly rinse away all exfoliant after use. It should be noted that exfoliating can feel wonderful, especially if your skin is especially oily. However, too much exfoliating can cause irritation. Talk to your dermatologist about what exfoliant you should use and how much is too much. A very simple exfoliant for your back and chest includes a combination of olive oil and brown sugar.
You can mix this into a paste and apply it in the coarsest form to your callus spots; knees, elbows and feet. As the brown sugar breaks down, you can move this product over any acne on your chest and back. Olive oil is loaded with antioxidants and has natural antibacterial qualities. If you want to apply this exfoliant to the dryer parts of your face, test it on your neck and under your jawline.
It may be too rough for the oily zones. Next, you will need to tone. Again, try to use or blend up a toner than has strong antibacterial qualities. Apple cider vinegar, mixed 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar, may be worth a try. Vinegar is acidic. Be sure to keep it away from your eyes. If your skin is especially sensitive, test a dab on the inside of your wrist and let it dry before putting it on your face. You will also want to moisturize. Look for a light moisturizer with no parabens; waxy, sticky moisturizers will close your pores. It may seem counterintuitive to moisturize oily skin, but if you try to dry it out completely your body will compensate by producing more oil! Again, take care to avoid fragrances that may cause inflammation.
If you can find a moisturizer that also contains sunscreen, use that during the day. Keeping combination skin happy will take some testing at home. Not everything that works for others in your situation will work for you. Do take care to monitor the condition of your hands before you touch your face. Be especially careful to avoid touching blemishes to avoid spreading bacteria. Call us at 205-352-9141.