S.O.S. I have an oily T-zone but my cheeks feel dry. Is my skin dry, combination or oily but dehydrated?
Most people mistake dehydration for dry skin. Both are felt the same on the skin, a tight and dry feeling. But dry patches of skin are particular for combination type while oily skin cannot be dry. Oily skin can only be dehydrated. Let’s learn how to tell them apart.
Skin type vs. skin condition
First of all, let’s all agree on what “dry” actually means. “Dry” is a skin type that’s unable to produce oil to keep itself moist. Dehydration is not a skin type but a skin condition and it's caused by lack of water in your skin. All skin types can experience dehydration including oily skin.
Based on an infographic from Dermalogica.com
Your skin type is the skin you were born with and it acts according to your genetic makeup and hormones.
A skin condition is a temporary concern triggered by outside factors like weather, diet, stress, skincare products, allergies, etc. You can also experience various skin conditions throughout the years.
So, no matter the skin type, you might have skin conditions like acne, wrinkles, and dehydration.
If you have the smallest shine on the tip of your nose your skin can’t be dry. Most likely, your skin is dehydrated. Want to know more? Read Renee Rouleau’s article Is Your Skin Both Dry AND Oily?
What is combination oily skin?
You have combination or mixt skin when your skin seems to show symptoms for more than one skin type. Combination skin can either be oily or dry.
Combination oily is when your t-zone is oily but your cheeks feel either normal or dry and combination dry is when your T-zone is normal to oily but your cheeks are dry.
What is oily dehydrated skin?
You have oily dehydrated skin when your face is shinny (usually the tip of your nose) but at the same time you feel it tight or dry in the cheek area or around your mouth. Because of the tight feel you might be thinking your skin is dry and use moisturizers for dry skin, way too heavy. As it turns out, this leads to clogged pores and frequent breakouts. Have you been here?
How do I know the dryness I feel in my cheeks is from combination oily skin or oily dehydrated skin?
This comes down in how you recognize oily skin from combination skin as both skin types can show the same symptoms. A clear indicator for oily skin is open pores. Look at the pores on your face but don’t decide you have oily skin based on the size of your nose pores because they are enlarged for almost all skin types.
Instead, examine the pores around your nose, on the chin, between your eye brows, forehead and cheeks. If you see large pores in these areas you most likely have oily skin, so the dryness in your cheeks is actually dehydration. Oily skin is also more easily congested and can breakout in every corner of the face.
Knowing to distinguish combination from oily dehydrated skin is vital in choosing the right products that can actually make a difference to your skin. And in the end, this is what we want.