I know the struggle all too well. The bridge of my nose would be flaky at the same time pimples would be cropping up on my forehead from my forehead being too oily. Around I went in the vicious skincare cycle, adding astringents and drying agents to my face to get rid of the pimples and then adding oils to my face for the dry spots. It's a never-ending battle for people who have both skin types.
I went to see a dermatologist when I was 16 and they prescribed antibiotics and steroid creams, but after a few uses the antibiotics added more oil to my face, and reading over some long term effects on the steroid cream I was using I decided I wanted to try finding a better pathway for my skin.
After a lot of trial and errors later, I came across the beauty regimen that has been working for me for the last three years and (maybe) can work for you!
1.) ALWAYS wash your face and use a moisturizer.
Trust me, this is key. The moisturizer I liked the most was YesToCucumbers facial moisturizer, but since I haven't been able to find it recently I have begun to use Neutrogena's Hydro Boost exfoliating cleanser. So far, both cleansers have been compatible. With that being said, I have tried numerous products by Neutrogena and this cleanser in particular is the only one that hasn't dried my face out more.
2.) Once your face is clean, dry off with a clean towel or washcloth.
Once again, this ranks as pretty essential on my list. A dirty one is just going to add dirt and grime back onto your face, something we just eliminated with the cleanser.
3.) After your face is dry, apply on moisturizing lotion.
I use Cerave PM Facial Moisturizing Lotion. At $18 a pop it isn't the cheapest out there, but it gets the job done. My face never feels dry once I have used it. Even though it says "PM" you can use it any time of day once you've washed your face, as I've put it on before leaving the house in the morning as well.
Along the way I have also found some things that did not work for me at all or even made my skin condition temporarily worse. Here are some things I do not recommend someone with combination skin to do:
I have used astringents as well as outright isopropyl alcohol on my face to get rid of the pimples popping up on my face. Not only did it dry out my skin to the point of it becoming visibly flaky once again, it also made my skin red and irritated after use.
2.) Baby Oil
I used baby oil to moisturize the dry spots on my face, especially around my nose. The baby oil did soothe my skin momentarily, but for long durational use, it didn’t stop my skin from being dry and it added more oil to the areas that were already over-producing oils.
3.) Cosmetics for Dry Skin
Cosmetics made for dry skin tended to add too much oil to my face, and in general seemed to cake more over the course of the day than products that were made for normal skin or even problematic skin. I have used a few different products since my teenage years, and the only ones I had trouble with are products made to help dry skin.
Everyone has different skin, and different things will work for different people. Hopefully this will help you as well if you've had the same skin problems as me in the past and are looking for a skincare routine that works.