Now Accepting Alipay HK and Tap & Go Virtual Mastercard Consumption Vouchers, plus FPS and PayMe! ・ FREE HK shipping for orders over HK$600
September 20, 2022
We have talked about oiliness and oily skin (here), dehydrated and dry skin (here), as well as sensitive and sensitized skin (here) in depth in our previous posts, today, let's talk about combination skin, which can be confusing at times.
Combination skin tends to have a mixture of problems. Typically, the forehead, nose, and chin, i.e. the t-zone area, gets excessively oily, while pores in that area appear enlarged and often clogged, and makeup tend to melt off easily. On the other hand, the cheeks, eyes, around the mouth, and along the hairline, tend to get dehydrated and dry easily, wrinkles are apparent, and redness and inflammation often occur. The severeness of the respective issues may also fluctuate between seasons.
Although genetics play a part in combination skin, it can also be caused by inadequate skincare routines and habits, age, hormones, sleep, stress, diet, and abrasions, etc.
By understanding how to take care of combination skin, you can get the skin back to "normal"——dry areas will feel more hydrated and smoother, redness and inflammation will lessen, and wrinkles will be less apparent, while oily areas will feel less greasy, pores will appear smaller, and acne will ease.
Addressing both excessive oiliness and dehydration/dryness may seem difficult, especially because it’s not as if your skin is going to be exactly 60 percent dry and 40 percent oily all the time, since conditions fluctuate as mentioned. However, there are ways to help put the skin back to balance both skincare and lifestyle-wise.
The number one thing that people do when the t-zone is oily, is using harsh cleansers and/or face brushes. Here's the thing, sebum covers the surface of the skin and prevents the moisture from evaporating. It also has the functions of preventing allergens and bacteria from entering the skin, whilst keeping the skin slightly acidic, so as to prevent bacteria overgrowth.
When the skin is overly stripped of its natural sebum, for example by using cleansing brushes, and harsh cleansers like foaming ones, not only will the barrier be damaged, leading to a stimulation of excess sebum and subsequently clogged pores in the oily area, it will also dry out the non-oily area, as well as severely weaken the skin's balance and bacteria block out function, resulting in redness, inflammation and acne.
Therefore, it is important to choose a cleanser that effectively cleanses yet gentle in nature. For nighttime care, we recommend using a cleansing oil first to remove makeup and sunscreen effectively, and dissolve oils and dirt clogged in pores, then follow up with a cleansing milk or non-foaming cleansing gel to cleanse yet without drying out the skin.
holi(cleanse) Cleansing Face Oil <- Click to shop
Gentle Matter Daily Moisture Cleanser <- Click to shop
MARIE REYNOLDS LONDON
Goji Mallow Cleanse™ <- Click to shop
Drying alcohol in skincare products, especially toner, is often used to help with evaporation for a lighter, fresher and dry-to-touch sensation. These drying alcohol usually appear as Alcohol, Alcohol Denat., Isopropyl Alcohol, Methanol and SD Alcohol in a product’s ingredient list. Yes, your skin may feel less greasy for a moment, but it is also this particular property that may irritate the skin.
When used over a few days or in high concentrations, they deteriorate the skin’s protective barrier, rendering it ineffective at keeping moisture in and bacteria out, which will lead to dryness, redness, and inflammation in the dry areas, while stimulating oil production as the skin tries to fix the barrier in the oily area, resulting in excessive oiliness, clogged pores and acne.
Instead, use a hydrating toner that can help with balancing the skin with a healthy amount of skin-replenishing ingredients and antioxidants. Combination skin can really benefit from a well-formulated toner, which can help hydrate dehydrated and dry skin and minimize oiliness at the same time, without making dehydrated and dry areas drier or the oily areas oilier.
Wise Awakening Advanced Nourishing Toner <- Click to shop
holi(water) Hyaluronic Pearl & Rose Essence <- Click to shop
Ultra Revitalising Elixir <- Click to shop
Exfoliating regularly can speed up cell turnover and help skin shed dead cells normally, unclog pores, improve oily areas, and lessen acne, whilst gently smoothing rough, dry, and flaky areas, allowing skincare products to penetrate better at the same time to revive a healthy glow.
Now, as mentioned above, when the skin’s protective barrier is damaged, it will become ineffective at keeping moisture in and bacteria out, leading to dryness, redness, and inflammation in the dry areas. On the other hand, as the skin needs lipids to fix the damaged barrier, it will secrete more and thicker oils, resulting in excessive oiliness, clogged pores and acne in the oily area.
Scrubs is the one thing that can severely damage the barrier. In fact, it can also remove healthy skin cells and create micro-tears invisible to the eyes, thereby creating an opening for bacteria.
The gentler way to exfoliate, contrary to popular belief, is actually using a low dose of acids consistently.
Use an acid product that contains AHA, BHA and PHA will help dissolve the bond between dead skin cells to speed up and ease the naturally turnover process, as well as unclog pores, preventing acne and blackheads. This way, products will be able to penetrate better, pigmentation will fade faster, and the skin will become smoother and more radiant. Over time, it will also increase collagen and hyaluronic acid deposition and synthesis over time.
Do however avoid products with Glycolic Acid though, as it can be irritating to the skin due to its smaller molecular size.
No. 9 Exfoliant <- Click to shop
holi(bright) Resurface Glass Face Mask <- Click to shop
Kaolin clay absorbs extra oil from the skin’s surface, thereby keeping the pores unclogged. What’s exceptional about kaolin clay, say compared to bentonite clay, is that it does not strip the skin of its natural oils, the skin thus stays moisturized, and oil production is not stimulated. Over time, it also helps to balance the skin’s overall oil production.
Thanks to its high adsorption and absorption capacities, as well as extremely fine particle size, kaolin clay can cling to impurities, dirt, pollution, grime, and bacteria in the pores and remove them from the skin. The pores are thus unclogged without stripping or causing trauma to the skin.
Kaolin clay also has mild healing, soothing and inflammation-fighting properties. In addition, studies have suggested that kaolin clay could promote blood circulation beneath the skin. Bringing more blood flow to the skin could help to heal wounds faster and relieve some symptoms of sensitive, dry skin. In fact, a study has shown that clay packs significantly reduce tissue damage associated with swelling. It is therefore an excellent choice in calming irritations and redness.
A little known fact. Thanks to its extensive profile of minerals and antioxidants, kaolin clay, when used over time, has been shown to increase collagen synthesis, which could decrease wrinkles and increase skin firmness.
Supreme Seed Delicate Purification Mask <- Click to shop
The London Mask <- Click to shop
As mentioned above, genetical and hormonal oiliness aside, oily skin and dehydrated/dry skin have one thing in common——a disrupted skin barrier, and can be further compromised if nutrients and lipids are not provided for it to repair itself. In other words, even the oily areas on your face needs adequate moisture and nourishment, so the barrier can repair itself to avoid further excessive oiliness !
However, it does not mean you need to use a thick moisturizer that could potentially clog pores. Look for a light lotion or thick serum that contains barrier restoring ingredients instead, such as ceramides, squalane, CoQ10, oat, live probiotic cultures, glycerin, honey, and panthenol.
You may also want to add an oil to your routine. Contrary to popular belief, not only will the right combination of oils not make the skin oilier, it can actually help stabilize and regulate the skin's sebum production, as well as reset the sebum’s omega-6 & 9 balance, which in turn, will help curb excessive oiliness for oily skin. Some oils also have incredible soothing and anti-inflammation properties, making them great for acne.
For oiliness due to genetics and hormonal fluctuations, do use a light lotion still, but a light layer would be enough.
If you are concerned with makeup melting off during the day, you may consider skipping lotion for the oily areas in the mornings, provided that the sunscreen or makeup base you use contain barrier protecting ingredients listed above.
MARIE REYNOLDS LONDON
Reson8™ <- Click to shop
All Day Radiance Light Concentration Cream <- Click to shop
Unseasonal Kind Lipid Replenishment Oil <- Click to shop
Foundation creates a physical barrier between the skin and daily exposure to UV rays, pollution, free radicals, irritants, and even abrasions such as mask wearing. This way, the lipid barrier can stay intact, the skin will be less reactive or prone to dryness. In fact, the iron oxide contained in foundations also highly effective in blue light protection.
This is why you often find those who wear foundation all the time, for example Japanese and Koreans, actually tend to have better skin in the long-term, because contrary to popular believe, makeup does not suffocate the skin and prevent it from “breathing” (the skin does not respirate), it actually provides a physical barrier between the skin and the environment, as long as you are cleansing properly.
There are a lot of foods that can increase sebum production. Greasy foods and processed sugars are just two of them. For instance, soy, which is found in soy sauce, tofu, miso, soy milk, and probably every single Chinese dish, is loaded with isoflavonoids and phytoestrogens that is similar to our own estrogen. Consuming soy can thus alter our hormonal balance by replacing our biologically-produced estrogen and up the androgen——and the overproduction of androgen, is one of the worst culprits when it comes to acne by causing our glands to produce more oil.
Dairy, coffee, alcohol, white bread, white pasta, dried fruit, cold cereal, red meat and salt are other examples.
On the other hand, the skin needs oil and many other nutrients to stay moisturized, and maintain the lipid barrier and skin health (and don't forget our sebum production declines with age, making things worse). In fact, studies have revealed a lack of nutrients such as omega-3 and Vitamin ACDE, can increase the risk of skin problems such as sensitivity and dryness.
As beauty comes from within, please make sure you are giving your body enough nutrients, otherwise all the best skincare products won’t help.
Without a good night sleep, our hormones and autonomic nerves will be thrown out of balance, which then leads to increased sebum production. In fact, research shows that a chronic lack of sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, increases the risk of many disorders and health issues. So if you need some external sleeping aids to help stop the bad sleep cycle, go for it. However, do choose natural ones, and do not rely on sleeping pills, which can induce dependency.
Marie Reynolds London
Zedz Night Time Blend <- Click to shop
If hormonal fluctuations is the cause, then it may be beneficial to try Diindolylmethane (DIM) or Indole-3-carbinol (I3C) Supplements.
Diindolylmethane (DIM) and Indole-3-carbinol (I3C, a precursor to DIM) are phytonutrients derived from cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. It’s known to stimulate detoxifying enzymes in the gut and liver, and most importantly, it regulates estrogen and androgen, support healthy estrogen metabolism and balanced hormones. Because hormonal acne results from an imbalance of estrogens and testosterone, taking DIM or I3C may help to maintain this delicate balance, and block androgen pathways to decrease sebum production and acne. Do not take it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding though.
UV rays can damage the skin barrier, and when the skin is continuously exposed to UV rays, the dry areas will dry out even more, and oily areas will get oilier, as the skin will secrete more sebum to prevent it from drying out. In addition, sebum production increase 10% per 1°C.
Therefore, besides protecting the skin from UV damage with sunscreen and anti-photoaging products everyday, it is also important to keep the skin cool. For instance, try and stay indoor or under shades when the sun is out, and turn on a fan when you cook.
UV-R™ <- Click to shop
Stress can cause excessive sebum secretion, hormonal fluctuations, as well as dryness. While having a stressless life is practically impossible, it is important to find a way that can lower your daily stress level. Exercising is obviously a good choice, but listening to music, singing, and even playing video games will help. Just don’t go use stress as an excuse to drink though.
Studies have shown that ingesting high quality collagen supplement, which are metabolized to bioactive di- and tri-peptides in the gastrointestinal tract, and then released into the blood stream and accumulated in the skin to form new collagen, increase hyaluronic acid synthesis, and promote the production of other proteins that help structure the skin, including elastin and fibrillin, thereby plumping skin, preventing wrinkles, sagging, dryness, and increasing elasticity.
In one randomized, placebo-controlled 12-week clinical trial, it has been confirmed that objective dermatological measurements, such as cutometry and corneometry, have proven that oral collagen peptides, can reach deeper layers of the skin and sustainably improve skin physiology and appearance, including skin hydration, elasticity, roughness, and density after three months of intake. The study participants, in their subjective assessments, also concluded that their skin appearance had significantly improved without any side effects.
Another clinical research, which positively demonstrated collagen supplements’ impact on the skin cell’s ability to produce collagen fibers and hyaluronic acid, showed that the fragmentation of collagen in the deep layer of the dermis by significantly decreased by 18% after 4 weeks and as much as 31% after 12 weeks of intake. They also significantly increased the density of collagen in the dermis by +9% after 4 weeks of intake, and skin hydration increased by an astonishing 28%, resulting in a significant increase in skin elasticity and hydration, and reduction in wrinkle depth.
A double-blind, placebo-controlled study with 64 participants that lasted 12 weeks, also showed that skin-hydration values of the group that ingested collagen supplement once daily were significantly higher compared with the placebo group. Visual assessment score, three parameters of skin wrinkling, as well as skin elasticity were also significantly improved.
holi(mane) Hair, Skin & Nails Daily Supplement <- Click to shop
October 04, 2022
What is normal skin? What can be done both skincare and lifestyle-wise to maintain skin health for normal skin?
September 06, 2022
Is your skin actually sensitive or is it just sensitized? How can you de-sensitize it?
Subscribe to get skincare knowledge delivered to your inbox!