Oily Forehead & Dry Cheeks: the daily dilemma

It’s easier to handle if you need to tackle only one problem at a time. But what if your face has not decided what it wants to be: oily or dry? How come that your nose, forehead and/or chin shine within an hour of you finishing your routine, while your cheeks feel tight and even get flaky?

Well, the answer (unfortunately) lies in your genetics, age and overall hormonal balance. The T-zone typically is oily because of the high concentration of sebaceous (i.e. oil-producing) glands that exist in this area. The cheeks, on the other hand, may be less oily or even dry since there are fewer sebaceous glands. While we typically cannot do much about our age or genetics, our routine and products we use can greatly influence the amount of oil produced by our skin and level of dryness.

One of the biggest temptations and mistakes to do with an oily t-zone is to blast it with anti-acne foaming face washes and astringent toners. Those products typically contain alcohol and Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLS) that give us a sensation of clean skin, which is highly misleading since those ingredients are the ones that irritate and dry out the skin, leading to over-production of oils and...an even oilier t-zone. At the same time they further dry out the dry patches on your face making them flake and become more visible.

On top of that, since the t-zone is already oily, many people go for oil-free moisturisers, assuming that limiting exposure to oils would calm the skin. On the contrary, by removing oils and depriving skin of nourishment and hydration that good facials oils provide, you often push your skin out of balance.

The best way to tackle such a situation is to use a gentle, cream or gel-based cleanser without SLS and alcohol-free toner, followed by a hydrating serum and a light moisturiser. Don’t avoid oils just because your t-zone appears oily - a good facial oil in the evening, 1-2 time per week, applied over clean moist skin, not only helps retain moisture in your skin but also balances your skin and provides the nourishment it needs. A good oil, such as jojoba and rosehip, would also help smooth and calm those dry patches.

It is also extremely beneficial to do a hybrid mask: once a week, apply clay-based mask to your t-zone and a hydrating mask - to your cheeks and neck. This way you give your skin products that it needs in the places where it needs it, rather than applying unified one-size-fits-all solution to the whole face.

Finally, never forget hydration - your cheeks might be feeling dry, even your oily t-zone might feel tight, which means your face is dehydrated (not dry) and is lacking in water. This is very common, even in hot and humid countries, since we often go in and out of air-conditioned offices, malls, schools, etc. To tackle dehydration, your morning or evening serum must be able to provide deep long-lasting hydration to the skin. If you feel like an oil-based daily product is a little too sticky, look for products that contain intensely hydrating ingredients like glycerin and hyaluronic acid - they provide hydration for your skin without adding a feeling of oiliness.

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