A Dermatologist’s Guide to Combination Skin

What it is and how to take care of it.



2 MIN READ | MARCH 17, 2021



Dr. Hirsch is a frequently quoted authority in cosmetic dermatology. Called an "expert derm" by Allure and a "beauty guru" by Marie Claire, Dr. Hirsch is the past President of the American Society of Cosmetic Dermatology and Aesthetic Surgery.

  1. What is combination skin?

    • Skin that’s not exclusively dry or oily, but some combination of both
    • Present in a few different ways, most commonly as an oily forehead, nose, and chin with dry cheeks
    • The most common “skin type” people choose (probably because real skin doesn’t exist within 4 categories)

    How do you get combination skin?

    Genetics are a major factor in determining the size of sebaceous (oil) producing glands, as are hormones. Androgen, the male hormones, can stimulate glands and produce oil; and after menopause, when hormone levels drop, many women find their oily skin is suddenly dry.

    Your skin makeup can also be influenced by the environment and seasons. Heat and humidity can affect oil production: high humidity leads to sweat and a shiny face, while low humidity dehydrates skin and creates a tight, dry face.

    How do you take care of combination skin?

    The secret to finding balance between oiliness and dryness is to divide and conquer when selecting skincare. People are often hesitant with lotion and SPF because they think (incorrectly) that it will lead to oily skin. Nope! In fact, not moisturizing skin properly can lead to more production of oil to make up for the dryness.

    What skincare routine should I use for combination skin?

    In the AM:

    • Gentle cleanser (with or without Salicylic Acid) for oil buildup. Foam or gel is preferred over cream cleanser.
    • Texture is king when it comes to moisturizer. Use a hybrid gel-cream moisturizer underneath your SPF.

    In the PM:

    • Gentle cleanser with alternating actives.
    • Light moisturizer with agents to soothe and hydrate where needed.

    Combination skin is super common, and all you need to do is divide and conquer with your skincare choices. Keep it simple with an emphasis on textures! You’ll be glowing in no time.

Simplify your skincare with a custom, complementary routine.

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