To put it simply, combination skin just means your skin displays characteristics of more than one skin type. “We have four main skin types that are formally acknowledged—oily, dry, normal, and combination. Combination skin encompasses people who have two of the other skin types both present on their face,” explains licensed esthetician Lily Njoroge. “It can be oily in some areas like the T-zone or butterfly zone and dry in other areas like the mouth, which is common due to the lack of oil glands on our lips, which contributes to dryness around the mouth. But the most common combination that I see in my treatment room at Skin Wins is oily and normal,” she goes on. “Most people who suffer from acne will have overactive sebaceous glands only on certain regions of their face, while the other areas don’t really produce excess oil but are also not quite dry, so they’re normal.”
Rouleau agrees but clarifies that combination skin isn’t a condition, nor does it necessarily lend itself to the existence of other skin conditions. “Combination skin is a standard term in the skincare industry. However, combination skin simply acknowledges oil production (or a lack of) on the face. It is not at all connected with skin conditions such as discoloration, loss of tone, eczema, acne, rosacea, etc.,” she says.
If this sounds like your skin, Rouleau thinks you should pause before classifying your skin as problematic. “I don’t think of combination skin as a real skin concern,” she says. “It’s just an indication of oil production, which drives the decision making of how light or how heavy your moisturizer (and other products) should be.”