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A facial cleanser that won't dry out your cheeks or exacerbate your oily T-zone? It does exist: These dermatologist-approved face washes are just right for combination skin.

By Kathleen Felton
October 20, 2019

Have combination skin? Then you know how difficult it is to find products that walk the impossibly fine line of not stripping moisture from drier parts of your face, while simultaneously balancing sebum on oilier areas. Most skincare products are formulated with either oily or dry skin in mind—so identifying the ones that will work for your specific skin type is seriously tricky.

It may seem like the most basic part of your routine, but not all face washes work for combination skin. "We don’t want to overly dry out the dry areas with an oil-stripping cleanser, and we don’t want to exacerbate the oil problem which already exists in the T-zone," explains Anna Guanche, MD, a dermatologist and celebrity beauty expert based in Calabasas, California.

For this reason, experts recommend a mild, balancing cleanser that doesn't have overly harsh ingredients. A few on the off-limits list? Salicylic acid, alcohol, and benzoyl peroxide. These ingredients "may really dry out your skin," says New York City-based dermatologist Debra Jaliman, MD.

Instead, choose one of these gentle formulas that will calm your combination skin without drying it out or adding on too-heavy moisturizers. Perfect balance, achieved.

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