Combination Skin, Skin Care Tips and Trends, Skin Regimes, Skin Types

Treating Combination Skin: Choosing The Right Ingredients

Get The Best Advice For Combination Skin 

Combination skin occurs when two or more different skin types occur on your face at the same time and this is most probably the most common skin type that we all have. In most instances combination skin is characterised when some parts of your face are dry or flaky while the central part of your face, nose, chin, and forehead also called the T-zone is oily. Combination skin can also describe conditions where acne lesions and breakouts or areas of sensitivity or rosacea and dry skin are present at the same time.

Causes Of Combination Skin



A number of different factors tend to contribute to combination skin types:

  1. Genetics
  2. Greater activity of sebum glands over the nose, chin, and forehead
  3. Specific sensitising ingredients in skin-care products
  4. Over cleansing
  5. Using too harsh scrubs, granular washes or brushes
  6. Too thick emollients or moisturizers that clog up pores

Choosing Skin Products For Combination Skin:

The first step is to choose products that treat and improve combination skin so choosing the correct products and ingredients for your skin care regime is vital for maintaining skin health.

In most instances we can find products that are specific for combination skin but occasionally we need to use different products for different parts of the face. With severe cases some of us will need to use a moisturiser that retains water in the skin but at the same time absorbs and minimises oil production in the T Zone and then use a specific dry skin emollient for the rest of the face. Or alternatively some of us may need to use an acne treatment specifically where breakouts commonly occur and desensitising ingredients for the red inflamed parts and a third product for around the eyes.

Check our specific skin care products for combination skin here.

Check our specific skin care products for acne skin here.

Check our specific skin care products for eye care here.

More often than not most of us that suffer from combination skin will find that by choosing the correct skin care products and using the best ingredients will sort their combination skin symptoms out.

Your Combination Skin care Regime

  1. Cleanser:

Combination skin needs a gentle cleanser that does not contain soap as this helps to prevent inflammation, excessive dryness and even prevent irritation allowing the skin to calm down and to start healing itself.

Oily and dry combination skin: choose a mild foaming cleanser

Dry skin and rosacea: choose a lotion cleanser

To cleanse properly means to exfoliate your skin correctly as this helps to remove a build-up of the outer dead layer and dead skin cells.

With twice daily use of a beta hydroxy acid (BHA/salicylic acid) or an alpha hydroxy acid (AHAs, such as glycolic acid) cleanser you will notice a number of benefits:

  • Skin texture will improve
  • An improvement in pores, oily areas and even dry areas of the skin
  • A healthy glow
  • A better preparation of the skin for the rest of the skin care regime

‘Acid’ Tip:

BHA cleansers are indicated for normal skin and/or oily or blemish-prone skin as it not only cleanses combination skin correctly but is also helps to reduce pore size, unblock pores, and remove bacteria responsible for acne lesions and breakouts.

SkinMiles offers a number of choices including Dermaceutic Mask 15, and Exuviance Purifying Clay Masque. Salicylic acid can be found in SkinCeuticals Blemish and Age Defence, SkinCeuticals Blemish and Age Cleansing Gel and SkinCeuticals Blemish and Age Solution

Cleanser Tip:

Always avoid cleansers with irritating ingredients, fragrances and in the form of bar soaps,

For ingredients and product choices see Sensitive Skin.

  1. Toner:

Choosing the right toner for combination skin can be difficult so here is my guideline:

Avoid toners with:

  • Fragrances
  • Natural oils
  • Irritating ingredients: alcohol menthol or witch hazel

Look For These Ingredients:

For ingredients and product choices see Oily Skin.

  1. Sunscreen:

I know I sound like a stuck record but one of the most important steps in any skin care regime including one for combination skin is an effective sunscreen.

Not only is a sunscreen effective as an anti-ageing tool and to minimise pigmentation but it is also vital to allow the skin to function normally and to reduce or even eliminate some of the causes of combination skin concerns.

My recommendation is sun screens that contain zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide as these ingredients reflect UV light preventing them from causing further damage and deterioration of combination skin conditions. My recommendations include the Heliocare Range and SkinCeuticals Sheer Physical UV Defense and Physical Eye UV Defense, Dermaceutic’s Sun Ceutic and Dermaquest’s Sheer Zinc Nude, Sunkissed, & Tan tinted sunscreens .

‘Double Treating’ Your Combination Skin:

  1. Apply moisturizers to dry areas
  2. If you have oily and dry skin: apply a hydrating primer/serum to the dry areas first such as SkinCeuticals Hydrating B5 & Phyto Corrective Gel
  3. If your eye area is the driest part: use a rich eye moisturizer or serum: Exuviance AGE Reverse Eye Contour, Obagi Elastiderm Eye Serum & Dermaquest’s Stem Cell 3D Eye Lift
  4. For high oily areas of your face: a toner may be enough especially one with the correct ingredients.
  5. Choose only the best skin products:
    1. Look for antioxidants
    2. Cell-communicating ingredients such as retinol
    3. Emollients, and ingredients that mimic the structure and function of healthy skin.
  6. If you have very dry skin in some areas and dry skin in others: best to combine an antioxidant-rich serum paired with a thicker based moisturiser such as Dermaquest’s C Infusion Serum and Nourishing Peptide Rich

I hope you found the above article beneficial in combating combination skin. Pease feel free to send me any questions you may have regarding your skin or feel free to take the Face2Face Skin Assessment (a free online skin consultation and skin assessment) for a personal skin care regime recommended by me.

Kind regards

Dr Alek Nikolic



About Dr Alek Nikolic

Dr Alek Nikolic was born in South Africa and received his MBBCh (Wits) in 1992 and in 2000 he received his MBA (UCT). He has been in private practice for 24 years and is the owner of Aesthetic Facial Enhancement, which has offices in Cape Town. Dr Nikolic specialises in aesthetic medicine and is at the forefront of the latest developments in his field. He is very driven and has lectured extensively and has performed live demonstrations throughout South Africa and Internationally including Bangkok, Rome, Paris, Monte Carlo, Prague, and Warsaw. Dr Nikolic’s focus is on skin care, skin ingredients and cosmetic dermatology treatments such as lasers, chemical peels, Botox, and Dermal Fillers. He has performed over 20 000 procedures to date and as such is responsible for training numerous medical practitioners both in South Africa and internationally. Dr Nikolic is one of the founding members of the South African Allergan Medical Aesthetic Academy and chaired its inaugural launch in 2012. The Allergan Academy provides essential training to keep up with the latest technology in aesthetics. Dr Nikolic holds the advisory position of Allergan Local Country Mentor in Facial Aesthetics and is the Allergan Advanced Botox and Dermal Filler Trainer. He is Vice President of the Aesthetic and Anti-Aging Medicine Society of South Africa (AAMSSA) and is an Associate Member of the American Society of Laser Medicine and Surgery (ASLMS).

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4 thoughts on “Treating Combination Skin: Choosing The Right Ingredients

  1. clementine says:

    hi Dr Alek – i have sensitive skin with some rosacea and one or two pigmentation areas on my neck – can you perhaps suggest some specific products ?

    1. Dr Alek Nikolic says:

      Hi Clementine I have posted 2 excellent articles with specific product indications to suit all budgets. Please check them out: Treating Combination Skin: Choosing The Right Ingredients and Pigmentation and What to do About It
      You can also follow our helpful links on the main menu bar: Pigmentation Treatments and Sensitive Skin. I Hope this helps. Kind regards Dr Alek Nikolic

  2. clementine says:

    thanks Dr Alek – really appreciate the clarity and will choose my products accordingly

    1. Dr Alek Nikolic says:

      Hi Clementine i am glad it helped. Let me know if I can help in any way. Kind regards Dr Alek Nikolic

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