Every person’s skin is unique, though you can categorize most into a few common skin types. Finding out your skin type can help you to identify where your skin fits in the most. The four main skin types are called oily, normal, combination, and dry. Here’s how you can quickly determine your skin type:
The Bare-Faced Method
First, you’ll need to cleanse your face thoroughly, preferably with a mild cleanser, and pat your skin dry. After this, leave your skin bare, meaning don’t apply any additional moisturizers, serums, or other treatments. After 30 minutes, look for any shine on your cheeks, chin, nose, and forehead. After another 30 minutes, assess whether your skin feels parched, especially when you make any facial expressions. If you have dry skin, your skin will feel tight. For combination skin, you’ll notice the visible shine on your nose and forehead, and for oily skin, you will see shininess on your cheeks and your forehead and nose.
The Blotting Sheet Method
This method is a lot faster. All you need to do is gently pat a blotting paper on your face’s different areas. You can then hold the sheet up to the light to figure out how much oil is visible. If the sheet picks up a little bit to no oil, you probably have dry skin. And if they pick up oil in the forehead and nose areas, your skin is normal/combination. Lastly, if the blotting paper is soaked with oil, you more than likely have oily skin.
Why is it important to know your skin type?
An essential part of caring for your skin comes in understanding your specific skin type and how it adapts to certain conditions or seasons. Your skin is your body’s largest organ and is just as complex and vital as your heart, lungs, liver, and others. Using cleansers and treatments that are too rough, even if they are marketed for excessive oiliness, may signal your skin that it needs more oil.
On the other hand, using thick or heavy moisturizers can result in reduced natural oil production, resulting in even drier skin. Learning about your skin’s specific needs can help you pick the right options to help you get a healthy, glowing, and balanced complexion.
Tips for DRY SKIN
Dry skin tends to feel tight throughout the day, and you may experience noticeable flaking. Dry skin is caused by genetics, environmental factors like lifestyle and diet, hormonal changes, and the climate. Dehydration is a leading cause of dry skin, which is why you need to drink plenty of water and avoid diuretics like alcohol and caffeine.
Daily exfoliation with gentle, non-abrasive ingredients can help promote skin cell turnover, without stripping away the skin’s natural oils. Without an additional layer of dead skin, you can easily absorb the serums and treatments you apply. For a moisturizer, look for those with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and marine actives like algae. These ingredients attract water and deliver it directly to skin cells. It would help if you also used emollients, including squalane oil, which can effectively smooth and hydrate your skin.
Tips for NORMAL/COMBINATION SKIN
If you’re having trouble figuring out what type of skin you have, you could have combination skin. You can figure this out by paying attention to the different areas of your face. Is it dry in certain areas, but oily in others? Combination skin most typically comes with an oily T-zone (the area across the forehead and down the nose). It is usually dry or normal on the rest of the face. Stay away from alcohol-based products, since the goal with combination skin is balance.
Tips for OILY SKIN
Excess oil can leave pores congested and clogged. One great thing about this skin type is that it tends to look younger and more supple longer because it has more natural moisture and is less prone to wrinkle.
Using a daily enzymatic exfoliation can help your skin stimulate cell turnover and avoid sebum buildup in pores. A gentle physical exfoliator is an excellent product for balancing your skin’s tone and texture, though it is best to avoid ones with abrasives like crushed nuts or shells, which can cause tiny tears in the dermis.
Oilier skin is also susceptible to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation, which means their skin is left with dark spots after a breakout has healed. Exfoliation polishes away the upper layer of skin and reveals new skin cells, which can help lighten these dark spots. Those with mild to severe acne breakouts should use a chemical exfoliant, particularly one that includes antibacterial ingredients. These exfoliants can help speed healing and prevent future blemishes.
Is your skin on the sensitive side?
Managing sensitive skin can be challenging. It takes a lot of time and effort to figure out which ingredients inflame and irritate your skin. If you want to make this process easier, it is best to introduce only one new formula or product at a time, whether it is skincare or makeup. You can also patch test a new formula on your inner forearm. It is a great way to minimize any potential reactions.
If your skin isn’t irritated, you can then try it on the area behind one of your ears before going through to your face. Look for labels that identify formulas as non-irritating and non-sensitizing and free of parabens. Try to avoid ingredients known for causing skin issues, including fragrances, mineral oil, sulfate detergents, and phthalates. Stick to fragrance-free options as much as you can.
Is your skin prone to acne/blemishes?
If you get frequent breakouts (or you have ones that seem to stick around for a while), you likely have acne-prone skin. It means your pores tend to clog easily, making you more susceptible to whiteheads, blackheads, or pimples than other skin types. Also, anyone with oily or dry skin can be prone to acne.
You should use cleansers specially formulated to treat acne. Some exfoliants and moisturizers will help minimize breakouts. Make sure to be gentle while you cleanse your face – you don’t want to cause trauma to existing breakouts. After this, you should use a topical gel to treat and lighten the acne scarring. Acne-fighting ingredients to look for including salicylic acid, clay, benzoyl peroxide, or retinol.