Murad Q&A: What to do with Sensitive Combination Skin

What to do with Sensitive Combination Skin

What number are we on now in the Q&As? I can’t even remember! This must be the fourth? If you want to know more about this Q&A series and also read the previous sessions, then click here and the list will pop up in a new window.


What do you do with serious combination skin that is also super sensitive? My face will be dry and flaky at the same time that it is oily and shiny. If I use a moisturising product that actually adds moisture and makes the skin texture feel better, the tiniest bit of oil in the product makes me break out (oil-free moisturisers are never moisturising enough), and most other products irritate my skin. I hate being the shiniest and flakiest face in every picture!

Dr Murad:

Hi Elle,

Having combination skin can make it tricky to select a moisturizer. To give yourself the area by area control you need, it is best to use a line specifically formulated for combination skin, such as the Murad Vitalic line, which includes Murad’s T-Zone Pore Refining Gel. In addition, I would recommend continuing to use an oil-free moisturizer, but first try applying a light application of an oil-free hydrating serum to your dry areas. I recommend Murad’s Sensitive Skin Soothing Serum.  Be sure to let the serum fully absorb into the skin, then follow with your oil-free moisturizer.

Many people experience combination skin where some areas of the face are drier or oiler than others including areas of the forehead, mid-face, and the lower-face. To help treat unbalanced skin, use a gentle cleanser followed by a treatment toner that carries an ingredient like Lecithin, to bind water to the skin and restore suppleness, and Sodium PCA to help re-balance and re-hydrate the skin. I recommend using the Soothing Gel Cleanser in the morning and the evening to cool, soothe and deeply hydrate your skin. You should then use the Sensitive Skin Soothing Serum to really quench your skin’s thirst. In the evening, follow with a heavier mositurizer that includes Shea Butter to maintain the skin’s barrier function and provide intense moisture like Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture as this will intensely hydrate your skin without being greasy and locks in moisture for up to 8 hours.

All Murad products contain the Murad recipe of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and hydrators and adhere to The Science of Cellular Water. I believe skin can only be beautiful if it is healthy at a cellular level and the Science of Cellular Water looks at the ability of cell membranes to hold water within a cell. This means our products will deeply hydrate your skin, leaving it nourished and healthy looking.

For any type of skin, and particularly for combination skin, I recommend a total body Inclusive Health approach to care, focusing on topical products, internal supplementation and nutrition and reducing cell-damaging stress. Healthy skin is a reflection of overall wellness. When the body is at optimal health, the skin will follow suit.

 My Notes

You can find the Murad products referred to in the Q&A at FeelUnique here. I’d also recommend Alpha-H’s balancing cleanser for just about every skin type, I love it to death. I have used the Skin Soothing Serum and really like it, I haven’t used the Soothing Cleanser from Murad, though, or the Hydro-Dynamic Ultimate Moisture. They are going onto the ever-lengthening list!

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  1. Jessica
    January 12, 2013 / 8:47 am

    This is a great series, Ruth…I definitely agree with his advice to adopt an ‘inclusive health’ approach to skin care–lifestyle has a huge impact on our entire bodies!

    Wellbeing Narrative

  2. Gabriella
    January 13, 2013 / 6:20 pm

    Great post !

  3. paris1975
    January 14, 2013 / 1:42 pm

    Hi Ruth I believe you that it can be good but nothing is better for sensitive skin than Elemis!!!!!!! I tried MANY different products, both over the counter and prescribed by my doctor. Nothing worked for me till I found fines from fines the Elemis products!!!!! :) It’s so good for your skin!!!!!!!!!! It feels like you’re using something very exclusive on your skin :) The skin feels clean and super moisture. I never tried something better!!!!!!! Love it, love it, love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    xoxo from D.C.

  4. Jessica Ringle
    January 18, 2013 / 6:27 pm

    This is my skin type to a tee. Nobody ever seems to have a direct answer for angry-sensitive-bi-polar skin, but this is great! I’ll be trying these out in hopes of improvement. Thanks, Ruth!

  5. May 3, 2013 / 1:29 am

    I also have combination skin like you and also used to have trouble finding the right balance of moisture on my face. My dermatologist said the Lady Soma Renewal Serum is the sure thing for women with combination skin. Reading the ingredients, it contains multiple anti-oxidant and it is good for combination skin. So I try it for my fine lines on my forehead. It is great. My skin gets smoother and brighter, and the lines are getting less.

    Its also a serum, so its great under makeup.

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