The best products for combi­nation skin

Combination skin means that your face has two or more different skin types at the same time. It is important to use the right skincare products to restore the balance, even if that means that you sometimes have to use different products for different areas of your skin.

The best way to care for combination skin

  • The first step to getting your combination skin back in balance is to cleanse your skin with a mild, fragrance-free product. If you have a combination of oily and dry skin, you are best using a gel-based cleanser or a mild, lightly foaming cleanser. If you have drier skin with signs of rosacea or sun damage, use a mild, creamy lotion cleanser. Avoid bars of soap or cleansing bars. The ingredients used to give a soap or cleanser a solid form can block the pores, dry the skin and cause irritation.
  • Use a toner to repair the skin. It must not contain any irritating ingredients at all, so no alcohol, witch hazel, menthol, fragrance (synthetic or natural) or citrus oils. Only use a toner with a healthy dose of antioxidants that also contains ingredients to repair and calm the skin.
  • Protect your skin from sun damage by using a day cream with a sun filter (at least SPF 30). Depending on your skin type, choose a product with a richer (normal to dry skin) or lighter texture (oily skin). If your skin is sensitive or you suffer from rosacea, choose a product that only contains titanium dioxide and/or zinc oxide as a sun filter.
  • Exfoliate to remove dead skin cells. Regular use of an exfoliant containing a beta hydroxy acid (salicylic acid is a BHA) or an alpha hydroxy acid (AHA, such as glycolic acid) reveals your normal, healthy skin again.

AHA works well on a dry or dull-looking skin with sun damage. It removes dead skin cells and hydrates skin.
BHA is particularly effective on a normal or oily skin and/or a skin prone to blackheads and spots because BHA also penetrates the blocked pores. What is more, BHA prevents spots from getting infected.

Local care for different areas of the skin:

  • On dry areas of the skin, use a moisturising product in lotion or cream form. For the slightly oily areas of your face, use a moisturising product in lotion or gel form. For very oily parts of the skin, just dabbing with a toner could be enough to keep the skin moisturised.
  • If you have both dry and oily areas of skin, use a foundation with a matt finish, but apply a moisturising serum underneath on the dry areas of the skin.
  • If the skin around your eyes is dry, you can use a rich face cream or our Resist Anti-Aging Eye Cream.
  • Avoid using rich products on the oilier areas of your face, which will only make them oilier with a shiny appearance.

Choose only the best products:

  • Use mild products full of antioxidants and ingredients to heal, soothe and calm the skin and help it stay healthy.
  • Only buy products in packaging that is as airtight and lightproof as possible, so in a non-transparent, airtight package (no pots). This keeps the antioxidants and other oxygen-sensitive ingredients free of bacteria so that they remain stable and effective.

Causes of a combination skin

If you have combination skin, your face has dry or flaky areas (cheeks) and often an oily T-zone (nose, chin and forehead). You may also have wrinkles, spots or skin that is susceptible to rosacea. Various factors contribute to a combination skin, including your genes.
Skincare products themselves can cause combination skin. Products with irritating ingredients can encourage sebum production in some areas (such as the T-zone) and dry out other parts of the face at the same time. A cream that is too rich can make your skin feel oily and block your pores. This makes it important to use products that are suitable for the different skin types on your face. Sometimes it is better to use different products on the different areas of your face. For example, you might choose light gels, liquids or sebum-absorbing products for the T-zone and lotions or creams for the drier areas.

If your skin looks as shiny as a disco ball come lunchtime, then congratulations: You have oily skin. Now, don’t get us wrong, some oil is good.

“When the oil on the skin is the right amount, it protects our skin from external toxic elements,” says Yoram Harth, MD, a dermatologist and medical director of MDacne. “That said, having too much of it makes our skin shiny, can clog our skin pores and causes acne breakouts.”

So what causes oily skin in the first place? Common culprits include genetics, a humid environment, hormonal changes, medications that affect your hormones and sugary and fatty foods, says Viseslav Tonkovic-Capin, MD, a Kansas City dermatologist and editor of

The good news is, it is possible to get oily skin under control, and it starts with finding the right skincare products. “In order to balance the oiliness of their skin, people with oily skin need to look for products that will remove excess oil from their skin without over-drying,” Harth says.

A skincare routine that will control oil production

Products should be non-comedogenic, meaning they don’t clog pores, and oil-free, says Melanie Palm, MD, a dermatologist in San Diego. Look for labels that have active ingredients that help your oil glands function more normally, like sulfur, retinol and salicylic acid, suggests Palm. “Lighter formulations are likely to be tolerated better,” she adds. “These include serums, gels or lotions rather than creams or ointments.”

When it comes to cleansing, being gentle is key. So is keeping exfoliating to a minimum (once or twice a week tops), says Lisa Pruett, MD, a dermatologist in Carrollton, Texas. That’s because over-cleansing and scrubbing too harshly can lead to increased oil production, Pruett explains. Using a clay mask twice a week will help control excess oil, adds Hadley King, MD, a dermatologist in New York City. Moisturizing daily is important (no matter how counter-intuitive that sounds if you have oily skin), and so is wearing sunscreen, says Pruett.

Ready to upgrade your skin care routine? Below, dermatologists share their favorite skincare products to help those with oily skin keep their complexion clear and shine-free.

The best skincare products for oily skin

1. Neutrogena Oil-Free Acne Wash

Kenneth Mark, MD, a dermatologist and Moh’s skin cancer surgeon in New York City, likes this facial cleanser, which contains 2 percent salicylic acid to unclog pores and prevent future blackheads. The oil-free formula deeply cleanses without over-stripping skin, so your face will never feel tight or dry.

2. Aveeno Clear Complexion Foaming Cleanser

This cleanser is a favorite of Joshua Zeichner, MD, a dermatologist in New York City, because it’s non-comedogenic and utilizes salicylic acid to treat existing breakouts and fight new ones. This cleanser also contains soy to help even out the look of your skin tone.

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3. SkinMedica BHA/AHA Wash

“This cleanser has a great combination of glycolic and salicylic acids that can help to remove excess oil,” says Palm. Jojoba oil ensures skin will feel soft and smooth post-cleansing.

4. Cetaphil Pro-Oil Removing Foam Wash

This drugstore cleanser is a go-to of Shari Sperling, DO, a dermatologist in Florham Park, New Jersey. The non-comedogenic formula lightly foams to remove excess oil without over-stripping skin.

5. Clarisonic MIA

Plam suggests using this sonic cleansing brush once a day to make cleansing more effective. The brush is gentle enough that even sensitive skin types can use it, yet powerful enough that it removes makeup. It’s also waterproof, so you can use it in the shower.

6. AcneFree Witch Hazel Mattifying Toner

Toning can help get rid of any excess oil that wasn’t removed from cleansing. “This toner includes witch hazel to remove excess sebum as well as glycolic acid to chemically exfoliate the surface of the skin and aloe vera to soothe and hydrate with its anti-inflammatory and humectant properties,” says King.

7. Glytone Acne Treatment Mask

Palm likes this face mask because it draws out impurities and controls oil, thanks to the 6.4 percent sulfur in the formula. This oil-free mask also minimizes the appearance of pores.

8. Clinique Acne Solutions Oil-Control Cleansing Mask

Sperling likes this clay-based mask for oily skin. Formulated with salicylic acid in addition to clay, this mask works in five minutes to deeply clean and unclog pores without irritation.

9. AcneFree Kaolin Clay Detox Mask

“This can be used as either a face mask or a cleanser,” says King, “and either way, the kaolin clay absorbs oils and reduces shine.” It also features a mild amount of salicylic acid to gently exfoliate and remove excess oil and vitamin E for antioxidant protection.

10. Cetaphil Pro Oil Absorbing Moisturizer

This non-comedogenic and oil-free moisturizer is a great pick for oily skin, says Sperling. It has a matte finish, so you don’t have to worry about looking shiny, and it contains SPF 30 for that much-needed sun protection.

11. Elta MD UV Clear Broad-Spectrum SPF 46

One of the most beloved sunscreens of dermatologists, Pruett notes that it can double as a moisturizer. Palm likes this one because it’s non-comedogenic and free of heavy ingredients. “The zinc oxide and niacinamide in the formula are anti-inflammatory and do not promote oil production,” says Palm.

12. Olay Sun spf 35 + Shine Control

If you have oily skin, chances are you’ve skipped sunscreen at some point because it can make your skin even shinier. Susan Bard, MD, a dermatologist in New York City, says this one is great for people with oily skin or those who get shiny when they use sunscreen. It’s formulated with tapioca starch to absorb excess oil.

13. OC8 Professional Mattifying Gel

“This is a product that photographers and makeup artists have used for years to combat oily skin on set,” Pruett notes. “The product absorbs facial oils, acting like a leave-on blotting paper throughout the day.”


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  • The best sunscreens for kids, according to dermatologists

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CORRECTION (July 9, 2019, 12:30 p.m): A previous version of this article misspelled the name of a dermatologist. She is Shari Sperling, not Spalding.

Skincare Routine for Oily Skin

A couple weeks ago I wrote a post about how you can determine your skin type so you can customize a skincare routine with products that will work best for your specific skin. Then a week later I also wrote a post on skincare routines for dry skin. This week’s post is a continuation of those 2 posts.
This is the third post in the ‘Skincare Routine” series. I strongly recommend you reading the previous posts because they help you understand this post better. Also, skin types can change over time. So even if your skin is oily now, it doesn’t mean it will stay oily forever. Reading all the posts in this series will help you understand all skin types and prepare you for when your skin (maybe) one day changes.

This week we’re focusing on oily skin. Oily skin feels greasy, can be rough in texture and tends to have very large, visible pores. Most people experience a slight increase in sebum production in the warmer months. Whether you always have oily skin, or it’s the weather that’s changed your skin, with the right skincare products you can keep your oil at bay and improve your skin’s overall health.

Morning Routine

1. Cleanser
Unlike dry skin, oily skin cannot go without cleansing in the morning. Dirt, excess oils, and impurities have built up on your skin at night and can clog your pores if not (gently) removed. Start your morning routine with a mild water-based cleanser to kick off your day with a fresh canvas. Starting with a clean face also allows the following skincare products to work better.

Neogen Real Fresh Foam Green Tea
This foaming cleanser contains fermented Green Tea extracts to brighten and hydrate skin while gently removing sweat, dirt and makeup.

Whamisa Organic Flowers Foaming Gel
This gentle, sulfate-free, natural cleansing gel removes sweat and dirt, and unclogs pores without irritating the skin. Enriched with Hyaluronic Acid and Betaine to keep skin hydrated while cleansing skin.

2. Exfoliation
Oily skin is especially prone to dead skin cell build up, blackheads, and clogged pores. Above that, environmental damage can cause the surface of skin to become dull, rough, uneven, and can worsen the appearance of fine lines. To prevent clogged pores and rough skin, it’s important that you exfoliate your skin regularly (2-3x a week) with a gentle exfoliant. Chemical exfoliants -such as AHAs and BHA- are great to boost cell turnover to help lighten dark spots and add radiance to dull skin, while physical exfoliants help to refine skin texture.

COSRX One Step Original Clear Pad
Single-use exfoliating pads to battle acne, regulate sebum, and hydrate skin. Calms and soothes the skin while the active ingredients deeply penetrate pores to clean out unwanted gunk and prevent further skin problems.

Skinfood Black Sugar Perfect Essential Scrub 2X
This gentle scrub exfoliates, smooths, revitalizes, and moisturizes skin with Black sugar, refined Rice wine, and Botanical Oils. Removes dead skin cells and refines skin texture for soft, smooth skin.

3. Toner
Toners for oily skin should essentially do the same thing as toners for dry skin. They should get rid of residual dirt and makeup, prep your skin for the next steps of your skincare routine, and make your skin absorb more active ingredients from the products you apply to your skin afterward. A good toner for oily skin will address oiliness and shine, without drying out the skin. Look for a toner that refines your skin’s texture and minimizes your pores, while at the same time maintains the moisture balance of your skin. If you have other skin issues, like pigmentation or irritation, you could try looking for a toner that does multiple things (refine, brighten, sooth) at the same time.

Missha Time Revolution Clear Toner
A mild toner with AHA’s and BHA’s to gently remove dead skin cells and debris, and fermented Yeast extract to promote cellular turnover for an even skin tone.
Whamisa Organic Flowers Toner Refresh
Revives and rebalances skin with Lotus flower, Citrus extracts and Galactomyces.
COSRX AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment Toner
An exfoliating toner with AHA’s and BHA’s. Prevents whiteheads, blackheads, and blemishes while hydrating the skin.
Missha Super Aqua Oil Clear Toner
A hydrating toner with Witch-hazel, Tea Tree, and Seeweed extracts to reduce the size of pores and help regulate sebum production.

4. Targeted Treatments: Serums/Essences/Ampoules
Use this step to tackle whatever skin concerns you have in a targeted way. If you feel like your skin needs hydration, use a hydrating treatment; if you want to tackle fine lines, use an anti-aging treatment; if you want to brighten your skin, use a brightening treatment. My advice would be to stick to more watery, lightweight treatments that absorb more easily for oily skin.

Huxley Essence: Grab water
A gel-type essence with 85% Sahara Cactus extract, Peppermint, and Grapefruit extracts for intense hydration.

Blithe Vital Treatment 9 Essential Seeds
Hydrates skin with 9 types of natural seeds, and fades discoloration with Niacinamide. Rejuvenates and brightens the skin for a healthy, youthful, even skin tone.

Neogen Pore Refine Serum
Cleans out pores and removes impurities to tighten pores and reduce excess sebum with Grapefruit and Witch Hazel extract.

Missha Time Revolution White Cure Science Blanc Tone-Up Serum
A concentrated whitening serum with White Truffle extracts, Rice bran extracts, fermented Pearl extracts, Glutathione, and various Fruit acids to lighten the skin.

5. Moisturizer and Eye Cream
Seal in all the nutrients you just supplied to your skin with a light moisturizer. Stick to emulsions or gel-type moisturizes, because richer creams will likely clog up your pores and make your skin even shinier. If you have sensitive or irritated skin, look for moisturizers with calming and soothing properties to alleviate irritations. After that, look for a lightweight eye cream to keep your delicate under eyes moisturized and protected.

Whamisa Organic Flowers Water Cream
A hydrating cream with a light texture. Formulated with Natto gum, a unique antioxidant and humectant made from fermented soybeans to moisturize and nourish skin.

Dr. G Barrier Activator Cream (oily sensitive)
Hydrates oily skin, regulates sebum production, and strenghtens the protective barrier with Ceramides and Filaggrin.
Skinmiso Pore Zero Night Cream
A 7-in-1 nightcream that hydrates, calms, whitens, controls oil, prevents wrinkles, and reduces the size of pores. Made with all-natural ingredients.
Missha Super Aqua Oil Clear Gel Cream
A hydrating gel with Witch-hazel, Tea Tree, and Seeweed extracts to reduce the size of pores and help regulate sebum production.

Whamisa Organic Flowers Eye Essence
Contains Adenosine to rejuvenate and lift skin, Licorice root and Bisabolol to brighten, and Murumuru butter to nourish skin.
Secret Key Snail Repairing Eye Cream
An hydrating and repairing eye cream with Snail Mucus extracts and EGF to increase the rate of cell renewal and healing.

6. Sunscreen
I’ll repeat what I wrote about sunscreen in the ‘Dry Skincare Routine’ post, because I think sunscreen is a vital step in skincare, and I don’t want to cut any corners when it comes to sun protection.
Finish your morning routine with a sunscreen to protect it against harmful UV rays and prevent premature aging. Depending on your skin tone you want to use a sunscreen rated at least SPF 30. You can combine a moisturizer and a sunscreen by using a moisturizer with SPF. Whatever you use as your sunscreen, just make sure that you apply it liberally! The general rule is to use ½ a teaspoon for your face.
Note: some foundations and BB creams have sunscreen, but the amount of BB cream the average person applies to their face is not enough to protect skin throughout the day. So don’t think that just because your foundation or BB cream has SPF you don’t need a separate sunscreen. Unless you apply half a teaspoon of foundation to your face, you should always use a separate sunscreen under your makeup to keep your skin protected.

Missha All-Around Safe Block Sebum Zero Sun
A lightweight, water- and sweat-resistant sunscreen that balances sebum production and mattifies skin without drying it out.

7. Lip balm
Our lips don’t have any sebaceous glands. So even us oily gals can get dry lips. Keep your lips soft and hydrated with a moisturizing lip balm!

Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask (Apple Lime)
Gently melts away dead skin for soft and smooth lips.
Whamisa Organic Flowers Lip Moisture
Nourishes and moisturizes chapped lips with Shea butter, Olive oil, and Murumuru seed oil.

Evening Routine

1. Cleanser
Whether you’re wearing makeup or not, if you have oily skin you can always benefit from double cleansing at night. Oil-based cleansers dissolve excess sebum and makeup very easily and gently. First remove debris, dirt, and makeup with an oil-based cleanser, then follow up with a water-based cleanser to cleanse your skin.

Banila Co Clean it Zero
A sorbet-like, lightweight balm that dissolves makeup and dirt without stripping your skin’s natural oils.
Neogen Real Fresh Foam Green Tea
This foaming cleanser contains fermented Green Tea extracts to brighten and hydrate skin while gently removing sweat, dirt and makeup.

2. Toner
Don’t forget to prep your skin with toner.

3. Exfoliation
You can also opt to exfoliate at night instead of in the morning. Exfoliate 2-3x a week.
4. Sheet masks
Sheet masks are pre-cut fabrics soaked in light serums that contain a variety of skin-beneficial ingredients, such as antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, hyaluronic acid, etc. They’re little mini facials for at home. There are sheet masks for every skin concern; hydrating, moisturizing, nourishing, purifying, anti-aging, brightening, you name it. Choose a sheet mask that addresses your specific skin concerns. Try using sheet masks 1-2x a week for best results.

5. Targeted Treatments: Serums/Essences/Ampoules
Treat your skin with a concentrated treatment that can really work its magic on your skin while you’re sleeping. On the days you use a sheet mask you can skip this step because sheet masks are essentially serums in sheets.

6. Moisturizer and Eye Cream
Keep your skin moisturized at night with a nourishing moisturizer.

7. Lip balm
Moisturize your lips with a thick layer of lip balm for soft and smooth lips in the morning.

Like last time I’m going to end this post with a disclaimer. We often get asked what products we would recommend for specific skin types. By writing these posts we hope to help you out if you’re not sure what products to use for your skin. All products mentioned in this post are just examples of products that we love and would recommend for oily skin. Please do not feel pressured to go out and buy all these products. We’re not saying that only these products will work for oily skin. If you’re using products that you like and they work for you, then, by all means, keep using them. But if you’re up for trying something new, the products mentioned in this post are all amazing and 100% recommended!

See you next week!

XXX- Soha

The Ultimate (Derm-Approved) Routine For Oily Skin

If you’re a regular on Huda Beauty you’ll know just how life-changing it can be to build a regime that perfectly suits your skin type. Oily skin is a prime example of this: you need to know the correct formulas, ingredients, and products to avoid shine and keep breakouts at bay. We reached out to some of the world’s leading dermatologists; Dr. Dennis Gross, Founder of the Dr. Dennis Gross skincare line, Dr.Timm Goueleke creator of skincare brand Royal Fern and Founder of the Dr. Golüke Clinic in Munich, plus Dr.Friedmann, a leading dermatologist at The Harley Street Dermatology Clinic. So basically, your skin is in safe hands. But before we outline the perfect regime, you need to understand the characteristics and properties of oily skin:

What it looks like: Typically, oily skin has larger visible pores and you’ll be more prone to blackheads, whiteheads, and pimples – you’ll know all about the midday shine.

Why its oily: Our body naturally produces oil called sebum, which keeps our skin soft and supple. However, the more sebum our body produces, the bigger the oil glands get, which increases the size of our pores… meanwhile, all that excess oil created sits on the surface of the skin. Oily skin can be hereditary, but it can also be a result of a hormone change triggered by your period, pregnancy or as a result of lifestyle choices.

The Ultimate Routine For Oily Skin:

Step 1: Cleanse every morning and night

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Dr. Friedmann insists that the first step to a good regime is “gentle cleansing, both in the morning and evening, as it’ll relieve oiliness.” Although, in the evening we like to go the extra mile and double cleanse: It’s our fave K-Beauty trick and will work wonders on oily skin, as by cleansing twice (with an oil and then a foam or gel) you’ll ensure that all the dirt, oil, and dead skin is properly removed.

Morning: Start your morning routine with a gel or foam cleanser. Gel formulas are perfect for oily skin as they help decongest clogged pores and remove excess oil without stripping or dehydrating the skin. Look for formulas that have antibacterial ingredients as this will help combat any acne bacteria in the skin. We love the Mario Badescu Enzyme Cleansing Gel, $14, it contains natural exfoliants papaya and grapefruit, which will prevent build-up that can cause blackheads and pimples.

Evening: Start by cleansing with a cleansing oil, which will remove SPF, makeup, and sebum. Look for an oil with anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial ingredients like tea tree or witch hazel. Check out the Shu Uemura Anti/Oxi+ Pollutant & Dullness Clarifying Cleansing Oil, $40, which is packed with green tea and antioxidants. Follow your oil cleanse with a gel or foam cleanser, which will remove any traces of makeup and clean deep into your pores – be sure to massage the cleanser into your skin for at least one minute. Dr. Dennis Gross recommends the Alpha Beta Pore Perfecting Cleansing Gel, $38, as it contains Barosma betulina leaf extract, which will reduce and refine pores by balancing sebaceous secretion while limiting the amount of oil produced.

Step 2: Tone

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Toning is an integral step in all skincare regimes as it helps restore the skin’s pH balance, which will help control oil production. A good toner will tighten your pores, making them appear smaller while also removing any impurities lying on the surface of the skin. If your toner contains AHAs or BHAs it can help to clean deeper into the pores and get rid of any dirt or toxins. If you have oily skin you should also look for natural ingredients like chamomile, rose or ginseng to tighten your skin and reduce inflammation.

Morning: Ease your skin into the day by using a soothing toner, as you don’t want to overwhelm your skin with too many harsh ingredients. Look for a toner that contains hydrating ingredients like aloe vera, ginseng, or hyaluronic acid. We love the Kiehl’s Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-Free Toner, $16, it naturally rebalances your skin with herbal extracts, leaving skin feeling toned and clean.

Evening: This is when you need a more potent toner to help tighten your pores and remove excess oil as well as any pollution your skin has tackled throughout the day. Use a toner that contains AHAs, as these will penetrate deep into your pores. We’re currently using the pre-soaked, COSRX One Step Original Clear Pad, $19, which are formulated with willow bark extract, Tea Tree, and hyaluronic, so they’ll exfoliate while simultaneously hydrating your skin – it’s a win-win!

Step 3: Don’t skip the moisturizer!

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A lot of people with oily skin don’t moisturize as they assume that moisturizing will make their skin even greasier, but if your skin is dehydrated it can actually produce more oil. So, by using a moisturizer it will help to rebalance moisture levels and oil production. Look for gel moisturizers that have a water-like texture and are super lightweight, as these contain the lowest amount of oil, waxes, and emulsifiers. Also check to see if they’re non-comedogenic, which means they won’t clog pores.

Morning: In the morning use a lightweight formula or a serum. Serums are crazy hydrating and packed with active ingredients but they don’t feel heavy on your skin. Everyone’s skin is different, even those with oily skin, so we recommend a little testing: try a few days just using a serum and see if it helps lower oil levels – if you feel like you need more moisture, then test using a lightweight moisturizer, like the Tarte Drink of H20 moisturizing formula, $39, which is infused with marine extracts to hydrate and nourish the skin. For serums, we like the Clinique Moisture Surge Hydrating Supercharged Concentrate, $39, as it contains super hydrating but non oily, hyaluronic acid, and we LOVE the Dr. Jart Cicapair Tiger Grass Re.Pair Serum, $46, as it features one of our fave ingredients Centella Asiatic (find out why we love it here).

Evening: In the evening you can afford to use a heavier cream (you don’t have to worry about midnight shine), as this is when your skin loses the most moisture and does all its repairing. The All-In-One Snail Repair Cream, $19, is formulated with a 92% snail extract (we know it sounds gross) that helps heal acne marks and hydrate the skin without being too heavy.

Tip: Skip the face oil! If there’s one skincare step you can afford to skip, it’s a facial oil. Dr. Timm Goueleke warns against them stating “rich face oils and essential oils will plug your pores” ultimately leading to breakouts. Dr. Dennis Gross agrees stating that in general, “you should look for oil-free products and stay clear of products with natural oils – adding these to an already oily skin type can result in clogged pores and breakouts.”

Daytime Essential: Never forget SPF

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We can’t stress how important it is to use SPF on a daily basis. Sun damage is one of the main contributors to skin damage such as fine lines, wrinkles, dark spots, and hyperpigmentation. And although you may think that slapping on a thick sunscreen is going to wreak havoc on your skin, it’ll actually help reduce the appearance of acne scars and hyperpigmentation, which if left unprotected, won’t be able to fade.

Look for a lightweight sunscreen with SPF 30 and a 5-star UVA-rating for the summer months, and then a product containing SPF during the winter. We love the Thank You Farmer Sun Project Water Sun Cream SPF50+, $24, as it offers great protection and doesn’t feel greasy or sticky on your skin – it also works really nicely under makeup. Remember, sunscreen is the final step in your skincare routine before your primer or makeup.

Nighttime Essential: Use a retinol

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Although the prospect of using a retinol may scare some, oily skin actually tolerates retinol the best. Dermatologists swear by retinol and insist that you should incorporate retinol into your routine from as early on as your 20s. Retinol is a form of vitamin A, which thickens the deeper layer of your skin, smooths out wrinkles by increasing collagen production and helps decrease oil production, tightening pores and improving acne-prone skin.

Retinol should only be used at night and needs to be introduced into your regime slowly. Start using it two or three times a week for the first month (it can make skin dry at first, so decrease use if this happens), and as your skin gets used to it, you can increase to nightly use. We recommend the Philosophy Help Me, $49.00, as it’s amazing at decongesting pores – use under your moisturizer for the best results. If you’re not ready to splash the cash, we love The Inkey List’s Retinol, $13, which has 1% retinol, and 0.5% granactive retinoid (retinol’s slightly stronger sibling), and squalane for soothing.

Extra Steps:

Step 1: Exfoliate using a chemical exfoliator

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Exfoliation should be an essential step in all beauty routines, but if you have oily skin it’s a must as it’ll help rid your face of any dirt, debris or dead skin that’s blocking your pores. Although Dr. Dennis Gross insists that you should “avoid harsh scrubs and over-drying skin as this will result in your skin increasing its own natural production of oil to compensate for the dryness caused by products, further exasperating the problem.”

Instead, opt for a chemical exfoliator, which is an enzyme or acid-based formula that penetrates deep into the skin, dissolving and dislodging dead skin. Dr. Dennis Gross recommends salicylic acid as a must-have ingredient for oily skin, “It’s oil soluble so it’s able to deeply penetrate and unclog oil-ridden pores.” It’s also anti-inflammatory and antibacterial so it’ll help stamp out any acne bacteria in the skin.

We’re obsessed with the Bliss That’s Incredi-peel, $22, spa-strength glycolic resurfacing pads to smooth and brighten, which we like to use two or three times a week. We also love the cult classic, Sand and Sky Flash Perfection Exfoliating Treatment, $49, although as this has mechanical exfoliators as well as AHAs you only need to use this once or twice a week, and you don’t need to use it in conjunction with other exfoliators or you run the risk of over-exfoliating. Be careful when you’re applying the treatment not to rub too hard, as this could damage your skin.

Step 2: Use a purifying mask

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Face masks are one of the most underused products, not because we don’t love them, but because most of us view masks as a weekly or fortnightly activity, when in fact you can use them every day. Of course, if you use the same mask every day, it may overwhelm your skin, so we like to mask three times a week, alternating between soothing masks, extracting masks, purifying masks, and hydrating masks.

For oily skin, we recommend doing at least two masks a week – one soothing mask and one detoxifying mask. More specifically a detoxifying clay mask, as clay has antiseptic and astringent properties, which will help remove oil from your pores. Dr. Dennis recommends the Clarifying Colloidal Sulfur Mask, $32, which contains sulfur and kaolin clay that’ll absorb oil and fight acne-inducing bacteria. We also love L’Oréal’s Clay mask range, which has five different masks to cater to different skin concerns, read our full review here.

To soothe and hydrate the skin, we use the Indie Lee Clearing mask, $60, which contains salicylic and glycolic acids that exfoliate, while bentonite clay and colloidal sulfur to help gently draw out impurities.

Do a weekly steam

Dr. Dennis Gross insists that if you have “oily skin and large pores, which are prone to surface build-up, steaming is one of the best, most natural ways to clean and hydrate simultaneously. The steam works to heat up the skin and causes waxy solid buildup to liquefy and drain out of the pore. This process removes dirt, bacteria and makeup residue that can lead to acne.” You can either buy a steamer like the Dr. Dennis Gross Pro Facial Steam, $149, that uses “micro-steam technology to infuse skin with hydration, clarify the complexion and detoxify skin.” Or you can do a DIY facial steam (find out how to give yourself a DIY facial steam here). We recommend doing a weekly steam, especially during the winter months – it helps to clean out your sinuses too, which is kinda gross but totally necessary.

Extra tips for keeping oily skin in check:

  • Blotting sheets: Trust us, if you have oily skin then blotting sheets are your best friend. They absorb any oil sitting on your skin within seconds. We never leave the house without the Boscia Green Tea Blotting Linens, $10, which contain soothing green tea extract and antioxidant-rich Jojoba.
  • Watch your diet: We recently spoke to nutritionist Dr. Oz Garcia who gives celebs like Naomi Campbell and Gwyneth Paltrow their nutrition plans. He told us to “Avoid dairy as it’s an inflammatory, which can trigger acne because it promotes redness and swelling.” The main culprit is the milk proteins in cow’s milk, which have been shown to trigger breakouts; instead, try to substitute it with almond or coconut milk. However, Dr. Oz said there are some dairy exceptions: “Plain Greek yogurt or kefir are rich in probiotics that contain healthy bacteria to fight inflammation and promote better skin.”
  • Use hyaluronic acid after your toner: For an extra hit of hydration, we like to use a hyaluronic acid, like The Ordinary’s Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5, $11, as it helps your skin retain moisture (not oil), to rebalance your skin.
  • Try niacinamide: Niacinamide, aka vitamin B3, isn’t just an anti-aging miracle, it also helps to control oil production, thereby decreasing pore size. As an added bonus, it also helps even skin tone, brighten the complexion and strengthen the skin barrier. Check out The Ordinary’s Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%, $10, which you can apply after toner and before a serum or moisturizer.

Let us know if you guys have any other skin concerns that you need help with, in the comments below.

Best skincare for combination skin

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