T-zone pores and shine with normal to dry cheeks? Then you’re one of us! Typically the hormones of adolescence switch on at puberty and the skin changes due to the effect on our sebaceous glands. It may or may not be associated with a tendency to breakouts. As adults it can present a challenge as you try to incorporate anti-ageing Actives - they’re well-tolerated on the T-zone, but may irritate the more delicate sensitive cheeks.

And I think that there’s no doubt that travel and changing seasons can dial up combination skin even further. For me, holidays especially need careful planning.

So what to do?

1) Get cleansing right

So often patients will tell me they’re using an oil-reducing cleanser as they hate their oily t-zone so much to the detriment of their cheeks! This increases what I call the t-zone cheek differential - not what we want! Gentle gel-based cleansing is definitely the better route. I tend to avoid Actives in cleansers as they don’t do as much as if you left them on and they tend to dry out the eye area.

2) Manage moisturiser needs carefully

I think this is the one instance where a degree of customisation of moisturiser may be necessary. Oilier days for example in the 2nd half of your cycle, may mean a gel texture feels better. This doesn’t have to mean you’re compromising on hydration as ingredients like humectants and barrier repair ingredients don’t have to be heavy.

And for cold winter nights when using a retinoid, you may favour a richer texture - after all its ok to be a bit shiny at night! In clinic I teach patients to customise their hydration steps based on how their skin feels during cleansing.

3) Don’t ever skip SPF - but have options

Again, some customisation of this step may be necessary. A more hydrating formula may work in winter, whereas a more matte gel-cream with a tint may suit best in summer.

4) Actives are Actives but be guided by your dry areas when it comes to strength.

5) Make-up choices can stay dewy but don’t forget the blotting papers, the shiny gal’s saviour!