Dear Derm: How Do I Choose Products If I Have Both Dry And Oily Skin?

Skin that won't make up its mind? We got you.

Whether you’re dry or oily, the cardinal rule when choosing any skin-care product is to make sure it works for your skin type.

But what are you supposed to do if you’re… both?

Surprisingly, a combination skin type is the most common of all – wholly eschewing the narrative that we should be neatly slotting into one category.

"You are born with your skin type it's determined by your genes; dry, oily, normal or a combination of each," so says skincare expert Ciara Darcy. 

"Healthy skin boasts a good balance of oil production and strong structure. When choosing products or treatments for your skin the aim is to balance oil, hydrate if needed and support new cell growth."

But, according to Darcy, skin types can change with the weather. 

"Skin conditions come and go depending on lifestyle factors; stress, sun exposure, sleep, medication, pregnancy, diet, alcohol, the list goes on. The most common skin conditions are acne, rosacea, dehydration and sensitivity.

"A misconception is that if your skin is red and sensitive you are better to do nothing – no products, no treatments – to it. Redness and sensitivity is your skin's way of telling you that the barrier is broken and it needs help to be repaired. The most important thing is to wear a broad-spectrum SPF daily, this will create a barrier between it and the elements.

"Dry skin lacks oil, whereas dehydrated skin lacks water.

"If your skin feels rough, your pores are small and it looks a little dull or feels tight – it's dry. Oily skin is when the sebaceous glands are producing too much sebum. If your pores are visible, you're prone to breakouts and there's visible shine – it's oily.

"Normal skin is when there's a balance of oil – lookout for an even tone and smooth texture! For most people, their skin is a combination of two or more depending on the area of their face.

"For example: if you get a few breakouts on your chin and your cheeks feel rough/dry, your skin is combination. I advise people with combination skin to have two cleansers - one for the morning to mop up the oils and one for the evening to give a surge of moisture.

"Your SPF and serum will depend on your preference, consider ingredients over packaging and personal recommendations."

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