Oily, Combination and Blemish-prone Skin Guide

Sarah Brown is the founder of Pai Skincare. Entrepreneur, mum and sensitive-skinned soul.

Oily, combination and blemish-prone often get put in the same category. But which one is you?


Oily skin literally produces more oil, or sebum, than normal skin. It can be caused by a number of factors, including genetics, using the wrong products or hormone imbalances.


Combination skin is oily in places (usually the t-zone) and normal or dry in others (usually the cheeks). It can be tricky to care for as you’re dealing with two skin types in one, but the key lies in rebalancing the skin’s oil production for a more even complexion.


Blemish-prone skin is usually either oily or combination. Blemishes occur when an oil or sebum gland becomes blocked with excess oil and dead skin cells.

What you should look for in a product:

Rebalancing: The key to healthy skin is balance, but this is particularly important when skin is over-producing oil – actives that ‘rebalance’ your skin will help address this issue. Blemish-prone skin can often become inflamed and uncomfortable – ingredients such as Geranium are brilliant as they also help reduce redness.

Decongesting: Thistle oil has a decongesting effect on the skin while also reducing the appearance of large pores. This gem of an ingredient is in our Geranium & Thistle Rebalancing Day Cream.

What you should avoid

Detergents: Steer well clear of irritating foaming detergents such as Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS), Sodium Laureth Sulphate (SLES), Cocamidopropyl Betaine and Ammonium Laureth Sulphate. These literally strip away all your natural oils, sending your skin into a panic and causing it to produce even more sebum than normal to make up for the deficit.

Alcohol: Alcohol has a similar effect on the skin – stripping away surface oils and encouraging sebum over-production.

Top Tips:

Embrace Oils!: One of the most common misconceptions about oily skin is that you should avoid applying oils to it. Although it seems counterintuitive – applying oils to the skin can actually help rebalance its natural oil production.

Our Rosehip BioRegenerate Oil is really popular with combination and oily skin types as it also has the dual benefit of improving blemish scars. By adding a little oil to your skin you’re essentially telling it that it has enough, and can slow down on the oil production front.

Look at your diet: A huge number of skin problems stem from the gut, so it’s always worth looking at your diet if simple skincare switches don’t work. I’m a big believer in eating a slightly alkaline diet to help minimise inflammation and keep the skin calm and clear. Avoiding refined sugar and saturated animal fats will also help steady sebum production.

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