Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How to Wash Combination Skin

        Health | Skin Types

Washing combination skin requires a little more care than normal skin.
Washing combination skin requires a little more care than normal skin.

For some people, washing their face is as simple and automatic as brushing their teeth. A little soap, light scrubbing and a quick rinse may be all it takes. But for folks with combination skin, keeping their skin clean and healthy isn't so easy. In fact, you can easily be seduced into spending a pretty penny on skin-care products, plus time spent figuring out which beautifiers actually work. Instead, steal these dermatologist-approve tips for washing and taking care of combination skin!

What is combination skin?

It's bad enough to have a dry or oily complexion, but folks with combination skin have to deal with both. "Combination skin generally refers to skin that is dry and oily," says Francesca Fusco, M.D., assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. "People who have it are usually oily in their T-zone and dry or normal on the rest of their face." The T-zone (which includes the forehead, nose, and chin) typically is oily because of the high concentration of sebaceous (aka, oil-producing) glands [Source: Zeichner]. Because the T-zone produces the most oil, it is especially prone to blackheads and shiny skin. The cheeks, on the other hand, may be relatively less oily or even dry [Source: Zeichner].

You may think having combination skin is just bad luck, but it's usually related to genetics, hormones or puberty (when the sebaceous glands start working over time). Your skin type may also change as you age.

Not sure if you have combination skin? Try using the tissue test to find out. Simply blot your nose, chin, cheeks and forehead with a tissue. If the tissue comes up dry when you blot your cheeks but oily when you blot your chin, nose and forehead, then you've got combination skin. In the case that the tissue was oily everywhere you blotted your face, then you probably have oily skin. A tissue that's dry after blotting your entire face means that you have dry skin.