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Des informations sur la zone T.

All You Need To Know About the T-Zone of Your Face

Although the term "T-zone" is often used to characterize combination skin, it still applies to all skin types in varying proportions. Usually, the T-zone is associated with "shine" and "blackheads". So what's really behind this term? What is the T-Zone and how to manage it? We've scoured the scientific literature to tell you more about this mysterious area.

T-Zone on the Face: What Is It?

The T-zone or mid-face area is a term used in cosmetics for the middle part of the face, i.e. the forehead, nostrils and chin. This area is known to be prone to unsightly shine, enlarged pores and unsightly blackheads. In fact, the amount of sebum secreted varies individually depending on the part of the body.

Why is the skin in the T-zone shiny?

This is due to the high number of sebaceous glands in this area, which are responsible for the synthesis and secretion of sebum, which contributes to the formation of the hydrolipid film. On the face there are 400 to 900 glands per cm², whereas on the limbs there are only 50 to 100 glands per cm². Now, a study has shown that the nasal region has a low number of sebaceous glands compared to the chin. These observations suggest that the sebaceous glands in the nose area have high activity and productivity.

In addition to differences in the number of sebaceous glands and their productivity, a connection between pore size and number and sebum production has also been suspected. The chin and cheeks have a high number of small diameter pores compared to the nose. In addition, the malar area with lower sebum content has a higher number of large pores.

Therefore, this definition of the area is increasingly questioned as studies conflict. In fact, an analysis of the excretion and distribution of sebum in the face has recently been made. The highest sebum levels (< 180 mg/cm²) are said to be in the middle of the forehead and nasolabial area (nostrils), while the lowest levels are found in the eye contour area, lateral cheeks and chin (> 50 mg/cm²). Another study notes that the highest amounts of sebum were found in the forehead and chin area.

Analyse de la distribution du sébum facial.
This image shows a 3D map of facial sebum distribution. The color scale on the right shows sebum levels ranging from 20 to 180 mg cm-2. Source : RAWLINGS A. V. & al. Facial skin mapping: from single point bio-instrumental evaluation to continuous visualization of skin hydration, barrier function, skin surface pH, and sebum in different ethnic skin types. International Journal of Cosmetic Science (2019).

The Consequences of Unbalanced Skin in the T-Zone

Excessive sebum production can lead to various effects on the skin, such as enlarged pores, comedones and pimples. Studies have shown that the lipid composition of open and closed comedones in acne patients has higher levels of squalene peroxide, which is formed by the oxidation of squalene (a component of sebum) and is highly comedogenic to the skin.

How Can I Avoid and Manage Shine Within the T-Zone?

The solution to avoid shine is to rely on gestures and products that have an astringent action to shrink pores and prevent re-greasing throughout the day, sebum-regulating ingredients to channel sebum production, and absorbing agents that absorb excess sebum on the skin's surface, thus mattifying it. Here are some tips to follow to mattify this area and reduce shine:

  • It is best to cleanse the T-zone twice a day: wash your face daily in the morning and before going to bed to remove the feeling of oil and all impurities, minimizing the clogging of pores to prevent the formation of impurities. This action also prepares the skin for other, more specific care products. Use a mild cleanser with a gel texture, such as Clarifying Cleansing Gel, to remove excess sebum and dirt without drying out the skin.

  • Don't fall asleep with makeup on at night. When cosmetics stay on your skin overnight, they can combine with dirt, sebum, and bacteria to clog pores, which can look larger when you wake up the next morning. Remove your makeup with a micellar water or cleansing oil before proceeding with cleansing gel ;

  • Apply a floral lotion suitable for the T-zone: This lotion will reduce the appearance of pores. Avoid those based on alcohol, as they can dry the skin and increase sebum production. Peppermint hydrosol, for example, is ideal for mattifying the T-zone, as it has purifying and astringent properties;

  • Serum to mattify the T-zone: before applying a moisturizer, use a balancing serum rich in mattifying active ingredients such as azelaic acid, which help to refine the skin's texture, reduce shine and give a matte finish;

  • Moisturize the skin: one of the most common mistakes people with a shiny T-zone make is that they fear they should not moisturize the epidermis for fear of oilier skin. On the contrary, moisturizing products help the skin to reduce the shiny effect. Without them, the skin would react with an excessive production of sebum to protect itself. Search for a cream with a light, mainly water-based, non-comedogenic formula with sebum-regulating, purifying and mattifying active ingredients (zinc, salicylic acid, bamboo extract…) like our clarifying face cream. This care will provide the necessary hydration without encouraging pimples, while balancing the greasy effect. However, avoid moisturizing products with mineral waxes or oils, as they increase sebum secretion, clog pores and favor the formation of blackheads;

  • Wear sunscreen daily: sun damage not only increases the long-term risk of developing cancer and wrinkles, but can also dry out the skin, causing pores to enlarge. Use a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and remember to apply it at least 15 minutes before leaving the house ;

  • Try a cleansing mask: add a cleansing mask with charcoal or green clay to your skincare routine to balance sebum production and thoroughly cleanse pores, once a week to prevent shine and impurities;

  • Use mattifying makeup: Once you're done with foundation, cover the T-zone with a mattifying powder to reduce shine by absorbing excess sebum for an even complexion. Complement this by using mattifying papers throughout the day if you notice shine. Blot your face in small portions with paper towels to mechanically remove excess sebum. You can also spray your face with a mist with purifying properties to rebalance sebum production and minimize the appearance of shine and impurities.

Sources :

  • MONTAGNA W. An introduction to sebaceous glands. Journal of Investigative Dermatology (1974).

  • SHUSTER S. & al. Control and function of sebaceous glands. Physiological Reviews (1989).

  • DANBY F. W. Why we have sebaceous glands ? Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology (2005).

  • KITSONGSERMTHON J. & al. Comparative study into facial sebum level, pore size, and skin hydration between oily‐skinned and dry‐skinned Thai women. Skin Research and Technology (2019).

  • MERCURIO D. G. & al. Use of advanced imaging techniques for the characterization of oily skin. Frontiers in Physiology (2019).

  • RAWLINGS A. V. & al. Facial skin mapping: from single point bio‐instrumental evaluation to continuous visualization of skin hydration, barrier function, skin surface pH, and sebum in different ethnic skin types. International Journal of Cosmetic Science (2019).

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