Discovering Your Skin Type - The Ultimate Guide
You can buy the best cleansers. You can use the moisturizer that makes Cindy Crawford look 35. But all of that won't matter if it isn't formulated for your skin type. We think of products as magical potions that make our skin glow and shrink our pores, but the magical potions turn to deadly apples when we use the wrong ones.
Here's the thing. We know the list of products that say they guarantee the best results ever, but how do we know they are for us? First, we find out what our skin needs. The only way to know what we need is to know what we are working with.
1. Normal Skin. What is considered "normal skin" is actually not common at all. It is a LITERAL UNICORN, I mean, skin type. Normal skin consists of a perfect complexion, completely balanced in the oily and dryness departments, pores are barely visible, and blemishes aren't really a thing. Also, normal skin has little to no sensitivity to products or ingredients.
YEAH NO KIDDING, HUGH. Benefits from: anything. Worsens with: sun damage? Because the sun can getcha regardless of how nice you are.
2. Dry Skin. You might have dry skin if your skin feels tights all over. Dry skin is - you guessed it - really dry, and flakiness can form because of that. Because of the lack of hydration, you might notice really fine lines on your face, and the skin's sensitivity to products can increase. When the skin gets irritated, it can produce dryness that can be painful or red. Benefits from: all the hydrating on the inside and outside! Meaning, drink at least 64 ounces of water a day, moisturizers, and make sure to have a toner you can spritz on throughout the day to give skin a magical boost.
Worsens with: cold weather, product irritants, and water being too hot in the shower/when you wash your face.
3. Oily Skin. This type is characterized by having an overproduction of oil. Your skin is probably very shiny and tends to be greasy. Pores are usually enlarged, and there are more issues with acne and blackheads. Because of the greater oil production, oily skin tends to age better than dry skin because the overproduction of oil keeps skin looking plump, i.e. fewer wrinkles. Benefits from: consistent skin care regimen of washing and moisturizing with noncomedogenic ingredients, AKA stuff that won't clog your pores. Worsens with: warmer weather, moisture-heavy products, products that OVER dry the skin (this leads to even more production of oil to compensate), and not staying on top of your cleansing routine.
4. Combination Skin. Oh, hey, most common skin type. I see you.
This is what actual "normal" skin should be, and it is more complicated than most. There is usually dryness around your cheeks, but oily skin in your T-zone. The T-zone is not a football term, but the area on your chin, nose, and forehead. Blemishes and blackheads are generally found in the T-zone, and sometimes it feels like there are no products that truly work for your entire face. Benefits from: REGULAR ASSESSMENT. Because this type is a little more complicated, be really aware of what you are putting on your face. Just because your cheeks get super dry in the winter doesn't mean you should switch to the world's heaviest moisturizer - that won't make your chin or forehead happy. Don't be afraid to switch things up and regularly assess what is working and what is not. Worsens with: comedogenic products, lack of weekly masks and lack of daily cleansing and toning.
5. Sensitive Skin. There is nothing wrong with being sensitive, but having this skin type can be suuuuuuuper annoying. I know, because this is my skin type.
Sensitive skin tends to be tight and itchy most of the time. It is prone to irritation that comes out in the form of redness, dryness, or even more itchiness. If you don't have dry skin, you can still have sensitive skin. It can be dry, oily, or just plain delicate. So how do you know? Pretty much anything you put on your face makes you break out, want to end the world, or feels like someone set a fire on your face.
Yep, it's outrageously annoying. Benefits from: gentle or natural products, some essential oils, and regular cleansing and moisturizing. Because the skin is so dang sensitive, only introduce one new product at a time. That way you know exactly what could be causing irritation, and this will help you determine what benefits your skin. Worsens with: products with alcohol, fragrance (unless naturally derived), artificial ingredients, parabens, phathalates, sulfate detergents, and synthetic oils. And that's just the short list.
Here is a simple test that can help you figure out what your type is.
- Wash your face. Use a very gentle cleanser and tepid water. You are wanting to establish a baseline for your clean face.
- Wait 30 minutes. Do not use toner, moisturizer, serums, or any products on the face. Just wait and be awesome like you normally do.
- Take a good look. If your face looks and feels tight all over, you have dry skin. If you see shine on your forehead or on your nose, you probably have combo skin. Oily all over? Oily skin. You probably already know if you have sensitive skin because the side effects are so apparent.
There you have it, folks. Remember that your skin type is fluid. Types can change as you get older, because your face is a representation of what you've been through. Meaning, our skin changes based on age, life choices (for example: smoking), stress, hormones, and the list goes on. You may need to add or take away products as you get older, and don't be afraid to switch things up if you need to. Figuring out what works for your skin is difficult, but remember. A daily cleansing, toning, and moisturizing routine is a great place to start. It doesn't have to involve a thousand dollars and 3 hours of your time.