Remember that time you spent hours researching some skin product, carefully studying ingredients, and reading dozens of reviews only to buy it and realize it does not deliver as promised? It’s a real bummer and can make you doubt the veracity of all those reviews. But the truth is, the product, most likely, is just not meant for your skin type. And when you use a skincare product not suitable for your skin type, all kinds of unpleasant stuff happens.
Skin types are genetically determined and measured by the level of oil in the skin and its reactivity. If you want to take good care of your skin and choose the right products, you will need to figure out your skin type. This guide will help you to form a picture of what your skin type is.
Skin type #1: Normal / Balanced
Normal skin type is what many would consider the ideal skin type. It exhibits soft texture, even skin tone, balanced oil production, barely visible pores, minimal sensitivity, and minor breakouts.
Although normal skin does not require tons of maintenance, you should stick with the skincare routine to prevent possible issues.
- Cleanse the skin twice a day with oil and water-based cleansers. It will ward off breakouts, dryness, and fine lines.
- Use products with antioxidants. Antioxidants protect your skin from damage caused by sun, pollution, or poor diet.
- Keep your routine consistent. Skipping even a couple of days of your regimen can upset skin balance and cause inflammation and dullness.
- Don’t use harsh products. This can lead to unwanted side effects like dryness, oiliness, and breakouts.
- Don’t overlook exfoliation. Exfoliating helps to keep your skin smooth and glowing by removing dead skin cells. Without it, the skin looks dull and tired, blackheads form, and pores become clogged.
- Don’t over-moisturize. Too much hydration is not good for normal skin, as it will clog the pores.
Skin type #2: Oily
Is your face shiny and appears greasy shortly after cleansing? Does your makeup “slide” right off? Do you have visibly enlarged pores and blackheads or pimples on the oilier areas of your face? If yes, you have an oily skin type.
Oily skin happens when the sebaceous glands in the skin make too much sebum, which leads to a host of skin imperfections. Here are a few do’s and don’ts to keep your oily skin at bay:
- Wash your face twice a day - morning and night. Opt for a gentle cleanser with the ingredients like Salicylic acid, Glycolic acid, and Niacinamide.
- Moisturize. Just because your skin has a lot of oil doesn't mean that it has a lot of water. When the skin becomes excessively dry, the body compensates by producing more oil and this is the last thing your oily skin needs. Use a light non-comedogenic moisturizer with the ingredients like Grapeseed oil or Jojoba.
- Clean your makeup brushes and sponges regularly.
- Don’t touch your face. Touching and picking adds dirt and bacteria to the skin surface and causes irritation and breakouts.
- Don’t sleep on dirty pillows. Pillowcases absorb grease and dirt. Switching them out every other night will help you keep your freshly washed face clean.
Skin type #3: Dry
In contrast to oily skin, dry skin doesn’t produce enough oil. Skin tightness, flaking, scaling, peeling, fine lines, and cracks are tell-tale signs of dry skin type. You may notice a dull rough complexion, red patches, and itchiness. It sure can be difficult to deal with but there are things you can do to improve dry skin quality.
- Moisturize, moisturize, moisturize! Stick with oil-based moisturizers and rich creams. Look for the ingredients like Jojoba oil, Meadowfoam, Beeswax, Hyaluronic acid, Lactic acid, Oleic acid, and Shea butter.
- Add moisture to the air with the help of humidifiers, house plants, or even aquariums.
- Use warm water rather than hot water when taking a bath or shower and washing your face.
- Don’t use products that contain Alcohol, Alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA), Fragrance, and Retinoids
- Don’t rub your skin dry when cleansing your face. Rubbing can lead to irritation and inflammation.
- Don’t use harsh scrubs. Instead, go for a gentle chemical or enzyme exfoliator.
Skin type #4: Combination
The combination skin type is a mix of oily and dry skin, with oiliness in the T-Zone and drier skin on the outer regions of the face. You will notice that your skin leans more one way or another, making it “oily combination skin” or “dry combination skin”. Combination skin can be confusing at times and requires special attention. Here are some tips:
- Change your skincare routine with the seasons as combination skin tends to change with the weather.
- Divide and conquer. If you have a combination skin type, it’s ineffectual to use one product on your entire face. You should categorize the different areas of your face according to whether they’re oily or dry.
- Don’t skip moisturizer. Look for the products with ingredients like Vitamin C, Hyaluronic acid, and Peptides as they work well for all areas of combination skin.
- Don’t skip exfoliation. Use a gentle exfoliator once a week. If you experience any sensitivity issues in the dry areas, exfoliate only oily areas.
Skin type #5: Sensitive
If you have a sensitive skin type, your skin can react with itchiness, dryness, or redness to skincare products and exposure to the elements. Redness can take the form of a rash, blushing, red bumps, and dilated vessels. Dry skin and sensitive skin can go hand-in-hand. It can lead to acne breakouts and cracked skin. Similar to dry skin, sensitive skin types should focus on rich formulas that strengthen the barrier and help calm, cool, and reduce redness.
To determine if you have a sensitive skin type or a skin condition, consider how long you have experienced reactive skin and talk to your dermatologist.
Here're a few tips on making your life easier when trying to take care of your skin:
- Test products on a small patch of skin before applying them all over your face or body. It includes products labeled “natural” or “hypoallergenic”.
- Use baby cleansing products formulated for hypersensitive skin.
- Moisturize after cleansing. Look for soothing ingredients like Sugar kelp (Laminaria Saccharina), Edelweiss extract, Olive oil, and Vitamin E.
- Don’t expose unprotected skin to sunlight.
- Don’t try to diagnose your skin sensitivity problems. You may think you’re treating a problem with a product that is actually causing the sensitivity.
- Don’t use products with perfumes and added fragrances.
And remember, every skin type needs UV protection. It's essential for the health of your skin. Sunscreen slows down premature aging and, most importantly, helps to protect you against skin cancer.
Written by Elena Popkova