Written by Christina Storto on 2018/08/19
Finding out your skin type can be tricky if you don't have the proper information. Most women will say they are sensitive or combination and some will say dry when in fact they are dehydrated. The truth is, nothing you buy will improve your skin until you really know what you're dealing with. Arming yourself with your proper skin type whether you are a combination of 2 or 3 types will allow you to buy the right products and stop wasting money on the wrong ones.
Skin type is very useful but not an exact science. It's perfectly common to be a little bit of one type and a lot of another type. For example, my skin is both dehydrated and blemish prone and I find the combination of drinking water, a hydrating cleanser and a toner with blemish fighting acids to work the best for me. My skin can even be sensitive to certain ingredients or abrasive scrubs. In truth, my knowledge comes from testing a lot of different products, knowing my skin and observing certain reactions and ingredients when times are good and bad. When my skin flares up (hello pimples) it usually has to do with my sugar intake and skin care products with heavy oils (shea and mineral oils)
You can help yourself to become an expert in your own skin by being aware of what your skin loves and hates. Unlike makeup, hair and nails, skin is so much more than appearance, it is your body's biggest organ and the only one able to give you daily visual updates of it's general health. Take advantage of that and listen to what its telling you!
- Feels uncomfortable and desperate for moisturizer after cleansing or showering
- Feels dry by the end of the day even though you've moisturized in the morning thoroughly
- Makeup is patchy
- Feels sore in the cold weather and is aggravated by central heating
- Shows fine lines earlier than other in your age group
- Prone to dullness ( gray sallow looking), flakiness especially in winter around the nose eyelids and cheeks
- Small pores
- Prone to milia (tiny white bumps surrounding the eyes)
Tips: Use a Cleansing Balm or cleansing cream instead of a basic cleanser can make all the difference. Both won't strip your skin of moisture and will leave your skin feeling moisturized and plump and ready for the rest of your skincare. Use high grade plant face oils, rich creams and gentle exfolients to renew and brighten the skin by removing any flakiness.
- Can feel hot and itchy after cleansing
- Flares up easily after using new skincare
- Can be oily, combination, dry and dehydrated
- Is prone to hot itchy red blotches
- Sometimes angry looking after showering ( scalding hot showers can make it worse)
- Burns fast in the sun
Tips: Very often women who believe they are sensitive are actually just sensitive to one or two ingredients. Ditch common irritants ( mineral/paraffin/palm oils, fragrance, parabens, alcohol etc) The best way is by process of elimination. Revisiting products you have to determine what causes a flare up and what doesn't. Overall, avoiding irritants and especially abrasive exfoliates is key!
- Pores large around the nose forhead and chin
- Cheeks generally normal but prone to mild to moderate dryness
- The t-zone: forehead, nose, chin are more oily and blemish prone especially during the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause.
- Difficult finding a moisturizer that leaves the skin matte and hydrated
- Makeup becomes patchy throughout the day.
Tips: Hormones can be a major culprit of combination skin (period related breakouts are more common for combination skin) Very harsh oil-stripping or inappropriately rich moisturizers can unbalance the skin. Combination skin might prefer oil free moisturizers by day but make sure you are using a balancing plant oil in the evening and a regular use of a mild liquid exfoliant. Stay away from a foaming cleanser which can often contain SLS (Sulphates). A balm, oil or cream cleanser is more sympathetic for unbalanced skin. When it comes down the the menstrual cycles, use a clay based cleanser to re-balance the skin and keep breakouts at bay.
- Pores are large and easily visible and often with blackheads
- Prone to spots and/or acne
- Ages more slowly, with fewer fine lines
- Comfortable after showering or after cleansing without the urgent need to moisturized
- Pressing a tissue on your chin, nose an hour after cleansing will show patches of oil
- Shiny looking skin
Tips: Avoid mineral, shea and cocoa butters which are super-rich in emollients. Don't avoid oils entirely, using a light oil at night can actually help over oil production. Use a liquid exfoliant of glycolic or salysilic acid. Don't try to strip the skin entirely of oils, this can make matters worse. As you may or may not know, our skin has natural oils. You might want to remove every trace of it but doing that will lead to your skin to over producing oil to make up for what has been stripped away. It is a double edged sword, I know, which is why when you stop stripping you skin it will thank you by not overproducing oils, balancing you skin!
- Neither oily or dry
- Comfortable, smooth
- Small pores
Tips: Normal means well balanced, rarely confused and hardly ever breaks out. Your skin is easy to manage and forgiving during the ageing process. It may wander into the combination aisle during menstruation or flakiness in dry environment at which point adjust to more specific products until normality returns. Don't go over zealous with anti oil and dryness treatment and stay gentle with your skin!
- Prone to dulness and lacklustre
- Fine lines that may come and go
- Healthier looking after showering
- Responds positively to steam rooms, looks and feels better in humid weather
- Feels desperate for moisturizer after showering
- Sometimes flakes and peels when makeup is applied espeically around eyes and nose
- Dry- feeling lips
Tips: Dehydration has widely been mixed up with dryness in the beauty industry when in fact they are not the same at all! Dry skin lacks oil, dehydrated skin lacks water (which is why dehydrated skin can be oily as well as dry) Some skin retains water better than others. When your body is dehydrated it will sometimes steal water from the skin where it's less important . So besides drinking up, use ingredients that bind water to the surface such as Glycerin (Oldie but goodie) and Hyaluronic acid which really helps to re-plump the skin and absolutely does the job, it's also becoming a increasingly common addition to products from high end to mass market, so look out for it, It will make all the difference!