With so many skin-care products targeting specific skin conditions, you may be left wondering, “What type of skin do I have?” The answer isn’t always so clear.
But you can’t give your skin the attention it needs if you don’t understand what you’re dealing with. Do you have dry skin, or is it more combination – part dry and part oily?
Let’s take a closer look at the different skin types and their identifying features.
What are the Different Skin Types?
Skin types are usually broken up into five specific categories:
- Normal Skin
- Dry Skin
- Oily Skin
- Combination Skin
- Sensitive Skin1
Each one of these skin types has different needs.
Identifying Features: Not too oily, and not too dry.
Now, the term “normal skin” doesn’t imply that your skin is perfect. No one has truly perfect skin. Normal skin is just well-balanced.
Normal skin may get a bit oily or dry from time to time, it may also get a few blemishes. But generally speaking, any issues are easily resolved. Skin texture is generally soft and smooth.
Normal skin doesn’t tend to be overly sensitive. It has a well-balanced amount of sebum to keep it hydrated and healthy-looking.
Identifying Features: Skin feels tight and may appear dull. Fine lines are more visible. Skin may be flaky.
Dry skin lacks adequate oil. Because of this, it may feel rough and tight. It also has less elasticity. Fine lines and wrinkles may show up more.
Those with dry skin may long for bright, smooth skin. Their skin appears dull because it’s often covered in a layer of dead skin cells. Once skin is properly hydrated, the smoother surface will appear more radiant.
Even if you’ve had oily skin for most of your life, it’s common to develop dry skin with ag. This is because everyone’s oil barrier (lipid barrier) gradually dries up over time.
Identifying Features: Oily skin is shiny, with larger pores, and prone to breakouts.
Those with dry skin dream of moisture, but oily skin types wish they could give some of theirs away!
Why is my skin oily? Well, oily skin is caused by an overabundance of sebum production. This excess oil often leads to clogged pores and more frequent blemishes.
Identifying Features: A combination of several skin types – most commonly, an oily T-zone with normal-to-dry cheeks. The T-zone is an area that includes the forehead, nose, and chin.
Combination skin can vary widely. Some people might have a different skin type between winter and summer. Those with combination skin might find their T-zone excretes too much sebum (the skin’s natural oil), while their cheeks need more sebum.
Trying to decide on a skin care product can be confusing if you have combination skin. Using different products on different zones might be beneficial.
Identifying Features: Sensitive skin is easily irritated skin that’s prone to flare-ups, rashes, and redness. It can be aggravated by things like beauty products, weather, alcohol, or stress.
Sensitive skin can also be a combination-type skin as you can, in fact, have both dry and sensitive skin.
The good news is that when you find the right skin care routine, the irritation of sensitive skin usually settles down.
The Best Care for Your Skin Type
Embracing the right skin care routine for your skin type can make all the difference – and have you loving your skin in no time!
Let’s take a look at how you can best protect your skin, no matter your skin type.
Normal skin is well-hydrated, so it only requires light moisturizers and serums. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser, use an antioxidant-rich toner (with ingredients like green tea), and exfoliate with gentle alpha hydroxy acids. And, don’t forget the sunscreen!
Everyone’s skin requires moisture, regardless of whether it’s dry or oily. But dry skin needs the OIL replenished.
But before it can take in that deep hydration, built-up layers of dead skin must be cleared away. Choose a gentle AHA or BHA exfoliator (like lactic, salicylic, or glycolic acid) to clear the way. Then, slather your skin in a rich, creamy moisturizer at least twice a day.
Mild chemical peels – like glycolic acid peels – can also help give the skin a smoother, brighter look.2 You may also want to consider rich serums containing hyaluronic acid, which can hold 1,000 times its weight in water!3
If you have dry skin, it’s important to avoid very hot showers and baths, and harsh soaps and detergents. And steer away from makeup ingredients that may emphasize dry skin – like powder-based products.
Oily skin types should avoid heavy creams and stick to lighter, oil-free moisturizers.
Cleansing with an oil-free cleanser, with ingredients like witch hazel, may also be helpful. You should also seek out oil-free sunscreens.
Because oily skin can easily become clogged, exfoliation is also key. AHAs and BHAs are both suitable for oily skin.
You may find that carrying some blotting paper in your handbag can also help to keep oil at bay without ruining your makeup.
As combination skin involves more than one skin type, you should use different products on different areas of your face.
For example, use oil-free products on oily zones, and hydrating creams and serums on dry areas.
Chemical exfoliators can help out both zones by clearing clogged pores on oily skin, and skin cell debris on dry skin. The BHA, salicylic acid, is particularly great for both of these skin types.4
Sometimes, the very act of washing your face can set off irritation in sensitive skin. So can sun exposure.
Starting and ending your day with a gentle facial cleanser is a good start. Seek out skin care products and makeup specifically aimed at sensitive skin types. Even then, it may take a little trial and error. Doing a patch test with a new product is always a smart idea.
Take care not to use too many active ingredients at once – like AHAs and BHAs – as they may cause irritation. So, if your face wash or toner already contains these ingredients, you should avoid it in your face cream.
Know Your Type
If you’re still wondering, “Why is my skin dry?” the best thing you can do is to visit your dermatologist. They’ll be able to help you understand why your skin operates the way it does – and advise the best skin care for it.
Just remember that everyone’s skin needs moisture – even if you suffer from very oily skin. As oil and moisture are quite different things,
Meanwhile, whatever your skin type, sun damage also affects everyone. Be sure to always wear a broad-spectrum SPF30+ sunscreen daily. This will help you avoid dangerous UV exposure, premature fine lines, and dark spots.
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