Understanding your skin type and how it adapts to certain circumstances or seasonality, is an important first step in discovering the most effective way to take care of your skin. Using the wrong products can cause more problems than it solves, thus taking the time to learn your skin’s specific needs, will help you choose the right options for your healthiest skin.
Bare skin method
Cleanse your face thoroughly with a mild cleanser and gently pat dry. After 30 minutes of bare skin, examine your cheeks, chin, nose and forehead for any shine. After another 30 minutes, evaluate whether your skin feels tight, especially when you make any facial expressions. In case it feels tight, your skin is likely dry. If there is shine on your nose and forehead, your skin is most likely normal or combination. However, if there is shine on your cheeks in addition to your forehead and nose, you most likely have oily skin.
While everyone’s skin is unique, there are four broad types of skin, that may help you to identify where your skin fits in the most: Oily, Normal or Combination, Dry and Sensitive.
Dry is used to describe a skin type that produces less sebum than normal skin. As a result, it lacks the lipids that it needs to retain moisture and build a protective shield against external influences. Dry skin can feel tight and may experience noticeable flaking. It is largely due to genetics, environmental factors such as lifestyle & diet, hormonal changes, climate, and dehydration.
Daily exfoliation with gentle, non-abrasive ingredients helps promote skin cell turnover without removing skin’s natural oils, so serums and treatments will be absorbed more easily. The best moisturizers for dry skin are those containing hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and marine actives like algae, because of their ability to attract water and deliver it directly to skin cells.
Normal is a term widely used to refer to well-balanced skin, while combination skin is that which consists of a mix of skin types. People with normal or combination skin often experience dryness on the cheeks, making it important to find a moisturizer that is not too heavy, but substantial enough to retain moisture. Those with normal skin tend to have a well-moisturized t-zone. Gentle, daily exfoliation is also important to keep the t-zone and cheek areas balances. Moisturizers with a gel-like texture are absorbed more quickly and less likely to cause breakouts. Start with a small amount and increase as needed to avoid over-moisturizing and stressing the skin.
Oily is used to describe a skin type with heightened sebum production. It gives people a younger and more supple look, as it has more natural moisture and is less prone to wrinkle. However, excess oil can oftentimes leave pores congested and clogged. It is essential to daily enzymatic exfoliate, to promote cell turnover and prevent sebum buildup in pores. A gentle physical exfoliator is also vital for balancing the tone and texture of your skin.
Oilier skin is also prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, a condition that leaves dark spots on the skin after a breakout has healed. Exfoliation will also help lighten these dark spots by polishing away the uppermost layers of skin and revealing new cells.
Sensitive skin is skin that is easily irritated by different factors, that are generally tolerated by well-balanced skin, such as skincare products or high and low temperatures. For some people, sensitive skin is a permanent condition, for others, sensitivity is triggered by certain internal and external factors. It occurs when the skin’s natural barrier function is compromised, causing water loss and allowing penetration of irritants. Symptoms are exacerbated by factors that facial skin is most exposed to, from the sun to some ingredients in cosmetics and cleansers.
Managing sensitive skin can be challenging, as it takes considerable time and effort to determine which ingredients cause inflammation and irritation. To make this process easier, introduce only one new formula or product at a time. This rule applies to both skincare and cosmetics. Patch testing a new formula on your inner forearm is an excellent way to minimize potential reactions on the face.