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How Do I Choose a Cleanser for Combination Skin?

        Choosing a cleanser for combination skin can be a nightmare and it is easy to end up with a medicine cabinet full of products that don't work. The reasons for this are the nature of combination skin and the individuality of body chemistry. Combination skin is oily on the forehead, nose and chin, and dry or normal on the cheeks. The trick is to find a cleanser that will cleanse the oily parts without drying the normal parts, and a cleanser that works for one person might not be the best for another. Paying attention to the cleanser's ingredients and trying samples before purchasing a full-szed cleanser can be helpful when searching for a cleanser.
        The first thing to do is to stay away from soap. Soap strips the natural oils from your skin, not only drying out the dry areas, but also forcing the pores in the oily area to kick into high gear and produce more oil. People with sensitive skin can also break out in a rash after using certain soaps.
        One of the best things to do when choosing a cleanser for combination skin is to read the list of ingredients. Stay away from products containing petrolatum, which does not allow your skin to breathe, and will clog the pores. Another common ingredient to avoid is 1,4-Dioxane, a synthetic form of coconut. Dioxane is easily absorbed through the skin, and has been listed as a potential cancer-causing agent by the State of California.
        Also avoid products containing any kind of paraben, which is used as a preservative, and alcohol, which will strip the natural oils from the skin. If your skin is sensitive, it is best to steer clear of products containing fragrances as well. The easiest way to avoid these commonly used ingredients is to use all-natural cleansers, which derive their cleansing power from plant-based chemicals instead of synthetic ones.
        Look for cleansers that contain wakame, a Japanese sea kelp. Wakame helps skin stay firm, and it moisturizes the dry areas without over-moisturizing the oily areas. It also helps with tissue repair, which can prevent scarring in people with acne. Also look for cleansers containing CoQ10. CoQ10 is an antioxidant that has been proven to help prevent skin damage from environmental factors without being too harsh topically.
        Most major department stores offer free samples at the beauty counters, and this is a great way to try multiple new products without spending a fortune. Many beauty counters offer consultations so you know you are getting that particular company's exact formulation for your skin type, which eliminates much of the guesswork. Most dermatology offices will also evaluate your situation and recommend their best cleanser for combination skin.
        It is also possible to use common household items to make your own all-natural cleanser. Milk has long been known as one of the best skin cleansers around. The higher the fat content, the higher the moisture effect. Crushed strawberries are great for the oily parts of the skin, and honey makes a great firming mask on both oily and dry skin. Avocado does wonders for dry cheeks, and a sugar rub exfoliates oily T-zones.
        Finding the perfect cleanser for combination skin always involves experimentation. But if you read labels, take advantage of free samples, and experiment in the kitchen, it does not have to cost a fortune.