What's my skin type?
Not sure what skin type you are? Don't worry, you'll learn all about it below.
Every skin type has different needs and needs different treatments. In order to get the best results, knowing your skin type is key. Your skin is your body’s largest organ, as complex and intelligent as your heart, lungs, liver and other vital organs.
Every person’s skin is unique, but there are a few common skin types that may help you to identify where you skin fits in the most.
Testing what skin type you are: The Bare-Faced Method
Cleanse your face thoroughly with a mild cleanser and gently pat dry. Leave skin bare (and do not apply any additional moisturizers, serums or treatments). After 45 minutes, your skin will be one of the below:
- TIGHT: if your skin feels tight, especially when smiling, or making facial expressions, your skin is likely dry
- Noticeable Shine ON NOSE AND FOREHEAD: then your skin is likely normal/combination
- If there's also shine on your CHEEKS (in addition to nose & forehead), you most likely have oily skin
- Large pores and dark spots (pigmentation) are self-explaining
Dry skin can feel tight throughout the day, and may experience noticeable flaking. Dry skin is largely due to genetics, environmental factors such as lifestyle & diet, hormonal changes, and climate. Dehydration is also a leading cause of dry skin, so drinking plenty of water and avoiding diuretics like alcohol and caffeine can make a significant difference in how your skin feels and looks.
Daily exfoliation with gentle, non-abrasive ingredients help promote skin cell turnover without removing skin’s natural oils. Without an additional layer of dead skin, serums and treatments will be absorbed more easily. The best moisturizers for dry skin are those containing hyaluronic acid (often listed as sodium hyaluronate in ingredients), glycerin, and marine actives like algae, because of their ability to attract water and deliver it directly to skin cells. Emollients, including squalane and camellia oil, help smooth and hydrate your skin evenly and effectively.
People with normal/combination skin often experience dryness on the cheeks, making it important to find a moisturizer that is not too heavy but one substantial enough to retain moisture where needed most. Those with normal skin are not prone to breakouts on their cheeks, and 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.
Excess oil can oftentimes leave pores congested and clogged. The happy news however is that oily skin looks younger and more supple because it has more natural moisture and is less prone to wrinkle. Daily enzymatic exfoliation is essential to promote cell turnover and prevent sebum buildup in pores. A gentle physical exfoliator (that does not use abrasives such as crushed nuts or seeds that can cause tiny tears in the dermis) is also useful for balancing the tone and texture of your skin.
Oilier skin is also prone to PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), a condition which 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. Those with moderate to severe acneic breakouts should consider using an exfoliator that includes anti-bacterial ingredients to speed healing and prevent future blemishes.
SPECIAL NOTE FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
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. If your skin shows no sign of flaring up, apply the formula to the area behind one of your ears before using it on your face.
Look for labels that identify formulas as non-irritating and non-sensitizing and free of parabens, synthetic fragrances, mineral oil, sulfate detergents, phthalates, urea, DEA or TEA, as these ingredients can result in redness and itchiness.
Our skin’s needs can change over time, and taking steps to best identify its needs is essential for it to function and look its best. Keeping the health of your skin in mind and “checking in” regularly to determine whether any adjustments to your current ritual are needed will keep it balanced and beautiful.