Skincare Q&A: Uneven Skin Tone, Shrinking Pores and Blackheads

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Reader Question: I have a weird skin type: it’s mostly dry, with an oily nose and an oily chin, and I also have light-to-moderate acne. I thought it was combination, but combination is always described as having an oily t-zone and being dry elsewehere. I’ve heard of a combination-dry skin type. Am I that? Perhaps I’m sensitive? Which am I?

Dr. Strachan:Often skin typing is more marketing than science. It is normal to have oilier skin in the T-zone. We have an increased number of oil producing sebaceous glands in this area. If you are acne prone, you may be oily. Many people say they have “sensitive” skin but the answers as to what they mean by that may vary. Does their skin burn, change color or do they have acne? Many times people who say they have “sensitive skin” have an undiagnosed condition such as eczema or seborrheic dermatitis. Once the condition is managed, their skin is no longer “sensitive.”

Reader Question: What is a natural way (meaning non-commercially) to remove blackheads?

Dr. Strachan: Blackheads can be removed a variety of ways. They can be physically extracted, but one has to be careful not to damage and blemish the skin. Exfoliating products such as salicylic acid, glycolic acids, and retinoids can also dissolve blackheads.

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