taking care of t zone


If you have combination skin, then you know all about the terrible T-zone. Named for the T-shaped area of your face that it covers - the forehead, nose and chin - the T-zone may as well be named the trouble zone due to its bizarre behavior compared to the rest of your face. “The T-zone may look shinier or greasier than the rest of the face, as it has a higher content of oil glands producing more oil and sebum, leading to a higher probability of breakouts and clogged pores. This actually results in what we call combination skin, where some areas are greasy while others are dry,” says Marnie Nussbaum, M.D., a New York City based dermatologist. Below, find some tips to help you take care of your T-zone so that the skin on your face works in harmony and maintains a healthy balance.

Moisturize Effectively

Your first instinct may be to skip moisturizer on your T-zone or to use harsh acne treatments to control breakouts and blackheads, but this actually causes more oil in the long run. So what should you do when it comes to keeping your T-zone hydrated but not oily? “The first step is to balance the skin - without stripping it of its natural oils, which will only result in it producing more oil,” advises Nussbaum. Your best bet is to use an oil-free, lightweight moisturizer that does not contain any ingredients known to block or clog pores. If your T-zone needs a bit more moisture, like during the winter months, consider using a water-based serum to add in some hydration without the heavy or greasy feel of rich moisturizers.

Exfoliate Deep Treat

You already know how important it is that you exfoliate, but exfoliation becomes even more important when taking care of your T-zone. Rather than using abrasive scrubs, switch to salicylic acid. This beta-hydroxy acid is able to penetrate into your pores and is able to clean them out which means fewer blackheads, less oil, smaller pore size and overall healthier skin. Exfoliate two to three times each week to see the best results. You may also want to invest in a mask that you use only on your T-zone. Look for clay-based masks, because these target oily areas. Use your mask once a week to keep your T-zone clear.


It would be incredible to be able to eradicate all oil from your T-zone, but that isn’t a realistic thought. Even with the most diligent care, you will see oil pop up in your T-zone because the area contains so many active oil glands. When you have a troublesome T-zone, blotting tissues are your best friend. Keep packs in your purse, your car, your desk and anywhere else you want to stash some. Blotting will remove excess oil without disturbing your makeup and without caking on more powder. You don’t have to be wearing makeup to use blotting papers; anytime you start to feel a bit shiny, grab your tissues and start blotting.

Taking care of your T-zone can be a struggle and it can certainly lead to frustrations, but taking the time to properly care for it will help keep your combination skin balanced. A gentle cleanser, a quality exfoliant, the right moisturizer and well-crafted blotting papers are some of the most important tools in your combination skin care arsenal. Take the time to take care of your T-zone and with consistent care, you will see more even and harmonious skin.