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What Is Normal Combination Skin?

By Dee Jones
Updated May 17, 2024
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While there are five distinct skin types, each with its own specific characteristics and needs, most women have normal combination skin. Someone with combination skin will generally have an oily T-zone with enlarged pores prone to blackheads and breakouts, along with normal skin on the rest of the face. The T-zone refers to the skin across the forehead and down the nose to the chin. Normal skin is balanced, meaning it is neither too oily nor too dry. A woman with normal combination skin must address both skin types when putting together her regular skin-care routine.

Proper skincare requires understanding what type of skin a person has. It’s possible to discover skin type using eyeglass lens-cleaning tissue paper. Wash the face, pat it dry, and then wait for about 30 minutes. Take different pieces of tissue paper and press them to different areas parts of the face. A person with normal combination skin will find that the tissue paper pressed to the T-zone will stick or have an oily residue on it, while tissue paper pressed to the rest of the face will not stick, and will be clean after pressing.

It is also possible to determine a person’s skin type by studying it visually and looking for certain characteristics. Someone with normal combination skin will find that her T-zone has enlarged pores, looks oily or shiny, and has blackheads or other blemishes. The pores on the rest of her face will appear medium sized, and the skin will have a smooth texture and normal color. Occasionally, someone with normal combination skin will experience a dry cycle, in which her normal skin region will feel tight after washing, and might be flaky or red and patchy in some areas.

When someone has normal combination skin, she must learn to address the skincare needs of the different skin types present on her face. Wash twice a day, ideally with a cleanser especially designed for combination skin. Use an alcohol-free astringent on the oily parts of the face, including the forehead, chin and nose. Choose a moisturizer that is light and oil free that will adequately moisturize the normal skin but won’t make the T-zone even more oily or greasy. Some with normal combination skin opt not to use moisturizer on the T-zone at all, but this can leave the skin in those areas feeling tight and dried out.

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