How to Care for Combination Skin

It’s been quite a while since I started looking into caring for my skin indepth and experimenting.

I’ll be getting into the how’s, you’ll get some more not so great pictures of me and a whole lot of TMI.

Apologies for the layout and quality of the photos.

So with that out of the way, here we go.

A Summary of my Experimentations Sans Moisturiser

First I looked into whether we really need to use moisturiser or not. Part 1 consisted of my best friend’s advice to stop using moisturiser and switch to Dove soap. I decided to try it.

There were some not so great pictures of me and an update on how my skin did over the course of a week.

I also delved into the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin.

I determined that I did in fact have dehydrated skin. I also knew that I had combination skin, but was hoping that my skin would regulate itself.

Part 2 covered the last three weeks of my experiment.

There are some more cringe-worthy photos of me and the realisation that this whole no moisturiser at all thing wasn’t working.

I went on to lay out my plan for skin awesomeness with hope in my heart and a sparkle in my eye.

And, so here we are.

The Woes of Combination Skin

If you struggle with combination skin, you know what I mean. Oily T-zone, normal to dry skin on your cheeks.

I have known for many years that this is my skin type, along with acne-prone and sensitive.

The amount of times I’ve had painfully dry, flaking skin or a very annoying and shiny oil-slick, broken out, and had my entire face covered in a rash… Sigh.

I finally found some products that seemed to work without issues and deviated rarely. I was on the pill which kept my hormonal acne under control.

I had a few years of great skin.

Then I went off the pill, and I had to be careful with what I put on my skin. It has not gone well.

I admit, I can be incredibly lazy. I read that one of the best things to do was use two different products. One for dry skin one for oily skin.

The idea of that schlep, no thanks. But a lot of the time, I do use more than one product, so guess the universe got the last laugh there

How Things Have Been Since My Experiment Ended

My T-zone has been a lot better. My pores are a little smaller although there is still some oiliness leading up to my period.

My flaky skin just never got better, however. It started spreading further up my cheeks. Go figure.

So, I changed things up and am happy to report, things are looking up.

Some Photo Evidence and TMI Because Hormonal Acne is a Thing

These photos were taken a week before my period.

My specs left marks on the bridge of my nose

For me, this is clear! I had some residual marks left over from some pesky nodular acne, but not really any fresh acne.


This is a couple of hours later, so no spectacle marks. My skin isn’t oily. The only makeup I have on is eyeliner and some mascara

This was the second month in a row I found my skin looked remarkably good at a time when usually the acne came in force.

This was taken about a week and a half before the previous photos. Again, only my eyes are made up. I promise I am wearing a boobtube dress here. Not naked!

I did discover that after my first awesome skin month, a week after my period I broke out again. I thought it was my iron tablets. You can see my acne just starting to clear in the above picture.

I stopped my tablets, but alas, I soon found, this was not the issue.

I was feeling purple

This was just after my period. Again, I started breaking out. I think my hormones are definitely to blame and stress has been no help.

My dad has been in hospital and had an op today. It went well I am happy to say, and I have been stressing a lot less since hearing the news.

You can also see the scarring. Yes, scarring. I was bit slow on the uptake. But I have noticed some dents presumably caused by untreated nodular acne.

My doctor had noted it earlier this year but I thought it was just crappy skin texture that would be corrected. Nope.

At this stage, I think the only thing that may help is a chemical peel. But given my sensitive skin, I am very hesitant.

Also, although I’m not overjoyed about my dents as I now refer to them, I am not that bothered by them either.


This is me yesterday as I started writing this post. The lighting isn’t great in the shade to be sure. But it was nice to be outside.

I am dealing with nodular acne that came for me just after my period. I have noticed two blackheads on my forehead this week.

I also have one or two new smaller spots on my jaw and cheek. These are the only new breakouts at the midway mark of my cycle.

Hormonal/stress acne aside, at least my flaky skin has disappeared 😀

How I Care for my Combination Skin

Acne aside, the following has been helping me with my skin:

Dove Soap

I am so grateful to my best friend for the tip about leaving the soap on my face until it dries as a mask.

This takes care of most of the roughness and unclogs my pores pretty well.

I still find it a bit drying just for washing. But not so much so that I am in that much of a hurry to find something else.

It could be the stuff they put in the water to clean it too.

Along with hot water, prolonged water exposure is also drying.

But I’ve cut down on the time I spend in the shower due to the drought and these habits have stuck. I still struggle with keeping the water warm rather than hot though.

Is it the soap or the water? A question for future me I think.

So as it stands, I only wash my face with Dove once a day, usually at night. In the mornings I just rinse my face with warm water.

Once a week or every week and a half, I exfoliate with a scrub too.

I also find that patting my face dry has been much better than rubbing it with the towel.


I have been using sunscreen on my face most days. The sunscreen I use is Bionike Acteen SPF50.

The ingredients are much better and it’s safe to use on acne-prone skin.

But the texture is horrible. If you aren’t wearing moisturiser underneath it pulls at your skin. You literally have to pat it in.

The tube has lasted quite long, I can probably get another month out of it. Been using it since just before spring started here in SA.

But I will be on the lookout for a new brand.

Glow Serum

My Bible study leader gave me what she called her Glow Serum.

It’s a combination of jojoba oil, frankincense essential oil and copaiba essential oil.

Fragrance-wise, I am not a fan.

But skin wise, hell yeah! Here’s what science says it can do:

Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is actually a wax, but the awesome thing is that it’s incredibly similar to the oil our skin produces.

This makes it non-comedogenic, meaning it doesn’t clog your pores.

It also helps your skin produce less oil if it’s prone to producing excess oil and helps to moisturise dry skin.

It may also help with the following:

  • Wound healing
  • Soothe inflammation
  • Encourage healthy skin thanks to antioxidants
  • Treating acne (not nodular or cystic sadly)
  • Get rid of some harmful bacteria strains

Frankincense Oil

Frankincense oil has anti-inflammatory properties and may help to reduce scarring and wrinkles.

Copaiba Essential Oil

Copaiba essential oil also has anti-inflammatory properties as well as antimicrobial properties.

I was using the Glow Serum only at night, at first starting with using it only every second night.

After the first month, I started using it every night. I literally use only 3 drops with the majority being applied to my cheeks and the rest applied to my T-zone and neck.

In the mornings I used my own concoction of grapeseed oil, lavender essential oil, rosemary essential oil, geranium essential oil and lemon balm essential oil.

Here’s a quick look at my DIY face oil:

  • Grapeseed oil has a comedogenic rating of 1-2, meaning it poses a low risk of clogging pores. It’s suitable for combination and oily skin. It has may help to reduce hyperpigmentation, has anti-microbial properties and may help your skin retain its youthful properties longer.
  • Lavender essential oil contains antioxidants and has anti-inflammatory properties as well as wound healing properties.
  • Rosemary essential oil keeps your skin hydrated and helps with elasticity. It also has antimicrobial effects that may keep acne at bay (again, sadly not cystic or nodular acne).
  • Geranium essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties as well as antimicrobial and antiseptic properties that make it a good choice for treating acne and skin irritations.
  • Lemon balm essential oil I added as it has calming effect. I had hoped it would help for stress and anxiety. It didn’t quite do that, but it smells nice.

I’ve run out of grapeseed oil which I mean to remedy soon. But until then, I am using the Glow Serum twice a day, and I am enjoying the results.


I try to make sure that I get at least 5 glasses of water (in winter, some of that water intake is herbal tea). I know I should have more.

I also drink coffee and occasionally juice. So the 5 glasses of water isn’t the only liquid I consume.

When I’m good I drink 6-8 glasses of water, although this usually happens more in warmer weather.

When I drink wine or any alcoholic beverage in general, I will usually drink an additional glass or so of water or tea per drink afterwards.

I also eat lots of fruit and veggies which also have a high water content.

Well, there you have it. My skincare routine isn’t perfect, but it’s a case of finding what works well.

So far though, I am happy with the progress. Do any of you have combination skin? How do you deal with it?

As always, stay healthy and happy. Be the best you that you can be 😊

Featured image: Photo by Park Street on Unsplash

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