With the advent of the shorter days, chillier weather and high denier tights, comes something else that we may or may not pay much attention to - a different skin care regime.
Cold, harsh winds, freezing rain and the dry but hot air caused by centrally heated homes and office buildings can all play havoc with our skin. This means that the autumn and winter months signal the need for different products on our skin.
We might not even realise that we need different skin care when the weather is wet and cold. But if you notice your skin playing up by being more prone to spots and acne breakouts, feeling more dry or sensitive or simply becoming more contrary, then it might be screaming out for something different.
This is especially the case if you have combination skin. Here’s what you can do to switch up your skin care if you have combination skin that’s acting up now it’s cold outside.
What is combination skin?
We all have wonderfully different skin, and combination skin is just one of the many common skin types.
Combination skin is characteristically oily along the forehead, down the nose and around the chin. The cheeks, jawline and temple area tend to be ‘normal’ or dry. The skin on the forehead, nose and chin might look oily or greasy and be more prone to spots, blackheads and enlarged pores.
Combination skin is caused by having more plentiful or larger sebaceous glands in the oilier areas. The sebaceous glands are responsible for the production of sebum, the oily wax like substance that naturally hydrates the skin.
Someone with oily skin all over will have more active sebaceous glands over their entire face. Another person with combination skin will have these in their oily areas.
How do I know if I have combination skin?
There are two main ways to work out if you have combination skin. The first is to cleanse your face and then apply moisturiser and any serums or targeted ingredients as normal. Then, apply your makeup as normal if you wear it and go about your daily business.
At the end of the day, take a long hard look in the mirror (no, not at your attitude, but at your skin).
If your T zone (which includes your forehead, nose and chin) looks shiny and possibly oily or greasy yet the rest of your face including your cheeks and jawline look comparatively matte, then you have combination skin.
The second way to tell if you have combination skin takes a little more patience so it’s best done at the weekend or on a morning when you don’t have to rush about getting ready to go out. It’s also best to choose a time when your skin isn’t red or angry, say from exercise, a very hot shower, being in direct sunlight or exposure to cold, harsh winds or rain.
Cleanse your face as normal and pat dry. Then, avoid applying anything to your skin for half an hour. This means not using any eye creams, serums, moisturisers or makeup.
After 30 minutes, take a long look in the mirror. If your T zone is shiny but your cheeks and jawline are still matte (or even feel a little dry and tight), then you have combination skin.
An alternative to just looking in the mirror is to use a clean tissue. Half an hour after cleansing and not applying anything to your skin, place a large tissue over your entire face and press down gently. Slowly peel away the tissue after a couple of seconds and examine it by holding it up to the light.
If you see visible oil marks where your T zone was and not anywhere else, then guess what? You have combination skin.
Remember, our skin type can change over the years, especially if we become pregnant or we’re experiencing our menopause. So it’s worth determining your skin type every few years or if you’ve experienced a change in your life to make sure you’re still doing the best by your skin.
The best winter skin care regime for combination skin
Now that you know you have combination skin, you’ll better understand how to look after it.
The best approach to combination skin, whatever the season, is a ‘hotspot’ approach. This means targeting different areas of your skin with different products. It might sound like a bit of a faff, especially if time is tight, but your skin truly will thank you for it. And you’ll soon get used to it!
Use a cleanser that helps to reduce oil and dirt all over your face. If your skin in your non T zone area is normal, then a cleanser for oily skin won’t do it any harm. But if these areas are very dry, then you could try using two different cleansers - one for the dry bits, one for the oily bits.
Exfoliating will also help to minimise oil production, and can just be carried out on your oily areas if your other areas are too dry or sensitive for regular exfoliating. Using an alpha hydroxy acid such as salicylic acid helps with the targeting specific areas problem if you’re struggling. Aim for two to three times a week.
A lot of skin types suffer with dry (or more dry) skin in the autumn and winter, and this is the same for combination skin. You may feel excited that your oily T zone is taking a bit of a break.
But don’t be tempted to slather on the heavy moisturiser during the winter. This could cause those sebaceous glands to go into overdrive and cause even more oiliness. Equally don’t think that avoiding a moisturiser will help. Avoiding a moisturiser altogether will cause the skin to overcompensate and produce more oil.
The best way to care for combination skin is to find the regime that works for you. A good balance is to use a lightweight moisturiser in the daytime, followed by a heavier one at night. That way, your skin will be less prone to oily breakouts during the day, but will benefit from a heavier moisturiser at night.
You can also use extra hydrating products on your dry areas, such as hyaluronic acid, which is deeply hydrating and ideal for winter dryness. Serums are also a safe bet for nourishing the skin in dryer areas if you avoid using them on your T zone.
The importance of using a mirror!
Your biggest help is going to be a mirror. It sounds obvious, but too many of us tend to have a ‘slap it on and hope for the best’ attitude to applying skin care products. As quick as this may be, it can mean that we miss areas such as our temples, around our hairline and around our eyes.
Using a mirror, especially when applying different skin care products to different areas of the skin is crucial. It allows us to not only avoid missing bits, but to target certain areas with certain products.
Sönd skin care - skin care with a difference
Looking for the ideal skin care products for combination skin? Then look no further than Sönd! Our range of alkalising products support and nourish the skin where it’s needed and could be the answer to your skin care prayers this cold season!.
This article is not meant to treat or diagnose. Please visit your doctor for advice about any health concerns you may have.