Understanding the Difference Between Combination and Oily Skin

Are you finding that your T-zone calls for midday touch-ups or maybe blotting papers have become a beauty staple in your skincare routine?

Then you could be forgiven for thinking your skin is oily, but chances are, your skin may be combination.

Knowing your skin type is really important when it comes to product selection, so let’s take a deeper look at the difference between these similar skin types, in order to determine which camp your fickle skin falls in.

Skin conditions associated with these skin types

Of all the bothersome skin types, It has to be said that a combination and oily skin is one of the trickiest to treat, simply because of all the different conditions going on within the skin;

  • areas of sensitivity
  • visibly large pores
  • dry patches
  • blackheads
  • whiteheads
  • inflammation
  • papules
  • pustules
  • pimples
  • acne

Breakouts are associated with both an oily and combination skin type.

Whilst it may be hard to resist the urge to squeeze any pimples, bacteria transferred from your fingers can cause new outbreaks to appear and if that’s not enough, your skin can start to overproduce more oil and you’ll be left with excessively oily skin, so squeezing is a big no in our book.

So what is the difference between the two skin types?

Oily skin: This is often thick and sallow in appearance and it can appear quite shiny which has a tendency to build up throughout the day, this is due to the overproduction of the sebaceous glands which excrete sebum (oil) onto the surface of the skin.

If a large amount of sebum flows through the follicles, it appears as large pores which are almost impossible to treat. Acne and breakouts are also associated with this skin type.

Because of the overproduction of oil moisturisation is not a problem, although dehydration can make skin appear more oily and it can be made worse by hormonal changes, cosmetics, genetics, diet, or certain medicines.

Combination skin: This simply means there are two or more skin issues occurring at the same time. Signs such as large pores, shiny skin, and blackheads are indicative of combination skin.

The central panel – the nose, chin, and forehead often referred to as the T Zone, contain more sebaceous glands than any other areas of the face, and the cheeks tend to be a lot drier and even flakier in areas.

Because combination skin is complicated to treat, we have put together this article, which does a great job of getting to grips with this skin type.

So just to recap

A quick synopsis on the difference between an oily and combination skin:

  • There are more oil-producing glands in the central facial zone, so those with combination skin are more oily in this area
  • Those with truly oily skin are oily all over their face, and another surefire way to tell if your skin is oily is if your skin is prone to acne

So why do some of us have varying degrees of oiliness?

Age, genetics, hormones, the environment, and even the type of skincare products you use can determine how oily your skin is.

If you’re a teenager, then chances are that you will have encountered one or two troublesome breakouts at some point, this is because, during adolescence, shifts in hormone patterns increase the flow of oil from your sebaceous glands.

The great news is that by the time you reach your mid-twenties, your hormones will start to settle down.

The naked truth

If this information is a little overwhelming and it seems there is no light at the end of the tunnel there is some good news on the horizon, all that lovely excess sebum keeps your skin soft and supple, helping to delay any signs of premature ageing.

What this means, is that fortunately, you will stay looking younger for longer and less prone to wrinkles.

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