I’ve always been pretty fascinated with skincare. I think that it’s pretty amazing that there are so many ingredients out there that can have different effects on your skin. T-tree oil can dry out blemishes and help reduce oil production, Hyaluronic acid dramatically increases the skin’s retention of moisture, and retinol, aka Vitamin A, helps diminish your skin’s visible signs of aging. But these are just a few examples of different inputs that can dramatically change the way you care for your skin. Before you get too excited and search the internet or run to the store looking for your new skin savior, it’s important to understand your skin’s specific needs. First things first, you need to know your skin type.
There are quite a few skin types, each having their own strengths and weaknesses. I like to categorize them into 5 main skin types: oily, combination, normal, dry, and sensitive. But skin is not quite this straight forward. Sometimes you can have a combination of skin types, such as being dry and sensitive or having combination skin that’s very oily and very dry. This makes skincare a bit complex and often overwhelming for many people, but if you approach your complexion in a simplistic way, it’s much easier to understand how you should be taking care of your skin.
If you’re unsure of your skin type, take my quiz to discover what you are and what your skin needs.
Here’s a description of each skin type. I’ll start off with my own skin type, oily.
Oily skin is a result of an over-production of sebum (oil). If you’re as oily as I am, you’ll experience a shiny complexion that’s slick to the touch. Unfortunately, this skin type is often accompanied by large pores and acne because of the over-production of oil. In order to combat this blemish prone skin, wash your face twice a day, making sure to remove all makeup. Use oil control products, and don’t forget to moisturize, otherwise your skin will just produce more oil to make up for the lack of hydration. I like to use a purifying or detoxifying face mask once a week to keep my skin from getting congested. Luckily, oily skin often ages more slowly than the other skin types.
Funny enough, I often find normal skin the most confusing to describe. But in all honestly, it only means that your skin is not too oily nor too dry. If your skin doesn’t fit the extremes described by oily and dry skin types, than normal skin is a safe bet. Luckily, you won’t often suffer with blemishes or visible pores and your complexion is naturally glowy and radiant, so your skin is easy to manage. I care for this skin type, wash your face twice a day and follow a traditional skin care routine of a serum, combating your biggest skin concern (such as aging), and a moisturizer. In terms of moisturizer, you won’t want anything too rich nor anything too light. Just go for something standard such as Clinque Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion or one of these.
Dry skin requires a lot of moisture to make up for a lack of oil production. In simpler terms, dry skin is the opposite of oily; your skin doesn’t produce enough oil. Because of this, you’ll need to reintroduce moisture back into the skin. My favorite way to do this is to layer moisturizer over a facial oil to maximize hydration. Look for richer and thicker products, such as creams, that include oils, antioxidants, and hyaluronic acid. Take note that dryness may cause red patches, dullness, flaky skin, and early aging if not cared for correctly. Luckily, dry skin often has invisible pores and isn’t acne prone.
Combination skin is often mixture of oily skin and dry skin. Because these different skin types are often limited to certain regions of the face, you may have to use different skincare in different areas. For example, the T-Zone (the forehead, nose, and chin area) is generally the oilier portion of the face, with the cheeks being the drier. In order to take care of this skin type, you must treat your problem areas according to their individual skin types, such as oil control on the T-Zone and a thick moisturizer on the cheeks.
I think that sensitive skin has to be the trickiest of all the skin types. Generally people with sensitive skin have reactions to certain ingredients found in skincare and cosmetics, which can often manifest itself in redness, dryness, itchiness, and breakouts. There are many causes of sensitivity, often allergy related, but it’s best to find your problem ingredients and avoid them. Some brands, such as VMV Hypoallergenics (see blog review here!) or First Aid Beauty, specifically target those with sensitive skin by creating hypoallergenic products that do not include common skin allergens, such as fragrances and dyes. Sensitive skin is often accompanied by dry skin due to your skin’s reaction to allergens in your environment and products. In order to best treat sensitive skin, you must first determine whether you are more oily or dry and then care for your skin accordingly, making sure to chose products that do not include ingredients that cause irritation.
Feeling lost? Take my quiz here to find out what skin type you have.
What's Your SKIN TYPE Quiz
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I know that skincare can be a bit overwhelming, especially since there are so many options to chose from. Overall, when I look for skincare, I gravitate towards more natural formulas that are highly rated and reviewed. In general, try to avoid fragrances, mineral oil, and any strange chemicals. If you’re struggling to determine whether you are making the right skincare choices, check out this website that rates products based on their ingredients.
I really hope you enjoyed this post, let me know in the comments below whether you want to see more skincare posts in the future!
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