One of the key factors to healthy, glowing skin is using products designed for your skin type. You’ll see no results (or worse, adverse results) if you treat your skin as something it’s not. By educating yourself on your type, you can save a lot of money and potential disasters of the facial variety.
How are skin types determined?
Skin types are based on how much oil is produced in the follicles from the sebaceous glands; it’s the amount of lipids found between cells. Types can change due to stress, environment, hormonal changes, etc. They are your skin’s condition (dry, oily, sensitive), whereas things like acne and pigmentation are issues. Your skincare should treat your skin type, and your treatments should target your issues.
ALL THE TYPES!
Let’s start with the skin everyone wants: normal. It’s neither oily nor dry, it appears to be smooth and clear, is generally blemish with few discolorations…sounds like perfection, right? It has a good oil-water balance. The lucky bastards with normal skin only need to focus on maintenance and preventative care.
Oily skin is, I feel, the most misunderstood type. People hear “oily” and immediately think “bad”. Actually, oily skin has a major advantage over other skin types-it ages at a much slower rate due to the high oil content moisturizing the skin. It is, however, prone to blemishes, and requires more cleansing, exfoliation, and balance. Skin stripped of its natural oil will produce even more oil to rehydrate itself, so proper moisturization is important.
Dry skin is different from dehydrated skin, and it’s very important to know the difference between the two so you can give your skin what it needs. Dehydrated skin lacks water, obviously. All skin types can be dehydrated in addition to whatever else they are. So, I’m going to consider dehydration to be an issue rather than a type, and will save my discussion on it for another post.
Dry skin does not produce enough oil, and has a damaged acid mantle and barrier function. It needs extra care because it lacks the normal, natural protection. Sensitivity is also a concern with dry skin. It may look dull or lackluster, and wrinkles and lines may develop more easily. To take care of dry skin, there needs to be a huge focus on stimulating the oil production as well as protecting the surface.
It’s pretty obvious what combination skin is. It can be both dry and oily, or tend to be more one than the other; prone to blackheads and larger pores. Combination skin needs to be balanced and it requires more care than normal skin because of this. The dry areas will need to be treated as dry, the oily as oily, etc.
Sensitive skin deserves its own post, which it will get (around February!).
What’s your type?
There are four steps to finding your skin type:
- Wash your face and GENTLY pat dry.
- Leave your face alone for a few hours. No makeup, no additional skin care products.
- Using blotting paper (tissue paper works well), dab on one area of the face at a time.
- Observe which areas leave an oily residue on the paper, if any. The nose and forehead are naturally a little more oily than other parts of the face.
What should I be using?
As a general rule, lotions and creams work best for dry skin, gels and liquids for oily, and liquids, lotions, and serums for combination (but remember to treat each area individually!). ALL skin types should avoid products that contain dyes and synthetic fragrance.
(Sources: Image found via Pinterest; Milady Standard esthiology textbook.)