Combination Skin Overview

Combination Skin Care

Once you've determined that you have combination skin, all you need is a plan for taking care of it. The name of the game is balance, because you want to keep your dry areas moisturized and your oily areas relatively dry. With a little bit of extra attention, you can do just that.

Here's one approach for treating combination skin:

  • Cleanse: The first rule of cleansing for all skin types is that you should be gentle. If not, you're just going to irritate your skin and cause yourself more problems, like breakouts [source: American Academy of Dermatology]. To effectively clean your face, try using a cleanser with salicylic acid, which helps control oil while it also hydrates your skin [source: WebMD].
  • Sunscreen: You absolutely want to make sure you're wearing sunscreen, even with combination skin. To get full coverage and still avoid breaking out in your oily zones, choose a sunscreen that's noncomedogenic and select lighter lotions and gels over thick, heavy creams [source: New Zealand Dermatological Society: Sunscreen].
  • Moisturize: Like sunscreen, moisturizer is important to your skin, even if you have oily patches [source: Cleveland Clinic]. If you choose wisely, your moisturizer can help even your skin out. Get creative with it, applying one type of moisturizer to your dry areas and another type to your oily areas [source: Scott]. As with your sunscreen, look for noncomedogenic lotions to avoid clogging your pores.

Keep in mind that you can always see a dermatologist if your combination skin becomes too much to handle on your own. Though having combination skin can require a little extra effort, there's a good chance you can find a way to make it work for you.

For more information on caring for your skin, follow the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • American Academy of Dermatology. "Acne." (Accessed 8/17/09)
  • Cleveland Clinic. "An Overview of Your Skin." (Accessed 9/24/09)
  • New Zealand Dermatological Society. "Dry Skin." (Accessed 9/24/09)
  • New Zealand Dermatological Society. "Soaps & Cleansers." (Accessed 9/24/09)
  • New Zealand Dermatological Society. "Which Sunscreen, If Any, Should I Use?" (Accessed 9/24/09)
  • Scott, Jennifer Acosta. "What's My Skin Type?" Everyday Health. (Accessed 9/24/09)
  • Syrett, Marilynn. "Make-Up Tips for Oily Skin." Best Syndication. May 26, 2009. (Accessed 8/14/09)
  • WebMD. "Natural Skin Care Treatments." (Accessed 9/24/09)
  • WebMD. "Skin Care Tips for Teens." (Accessed 9/24/09)
  • WebMD. "Skin Conditions: Assessing Your Skin Type." (Accessed 9/24/09)