How do I determine my skin type?
Knowledge is power. Skin care is not something we are born knowing, we must teach ourselves. The trick to caring for your skin is knowing your skin. Understanding it means you can find the right products that work for you, as well as combat potential issues without causing more problems.
Problem Skin Care Products Can Hide Your Real Skin Type
Your skin care products can be hiding your real skin type. When skin care products contain harsh, abrasive, or skin-aggravating ingredients, they can trigger problems that wouldn’t normally be there.
For example, if you have dry skin using the wrong products can make your dry, flaky skin worse. If you have acne and you aren’t using products containing the critical ingredients like salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, you’re unlikely to ever get the bumps and clogged pores under control or just make matters worse.
If you have oily skin and use heavy, thick products, you’ll make your skin oilier and maybe even clog your pores and cause breakouts. If you’re using a mix of skin care products with harsh ingredients and products that are softening, you could be creating combination skin. This is why it’s so easy to alter your natural skin type with the wrong products!
All of this ends up being the very definition of running your skin around in circles. The merry-go-round stops now. All skin types must avoid these things:
- Alcohol denatured or SD alcohol
- Unfriendly ingredients such as menthol, peppermint, eucalyptus, citrus oils, citrus juices, lavender, and witch hazel. Non-irritating and gentle are the only appropriate choices for everyone!
- Thick, heavy products (unless you have extremely dry skin)
- Fragrance (natural or synthetic, even those with the term "essential oils")
- Abrasive scrubs
- Stiff-bristled cleansing brushes
- Harsh or drying cleansers
Throw. Them. Out.
How to Identify Your Real Skin Type
Once you've stopped using all of those problematic ingredients and products on your skin, your real skin type will begin to reveal itself (note: not immediately). Now you can take a closer look and start seeing improvements!
Before you get out your mirror and have a closer look, it's best to wash your face with a gentle cleanser and then wait about 15 to 30 minutes and see how your skin behaves.
If your skin quickly starts showing oil diffused over the face, you have oily skin.
If your skin starts experiencing some dryness and feels tight, you have dry skin.
If your T-zone (the area around your nose, chin, and central forehead) starts looking oily but your cheeks and jaw area start feeling slightly to moderately dry, you have combination skin. This is the most common skin type because everyone has more oil glands in their center of their face than on their cheeks.
This is not a fool proof plan - this doesn't work for every time for everyone. So, let's dive into the different skin types and how they act. See if any of these skin types ring true to how your skin behaves!
How to Tell: You don’t experience many breakouts. Your skin doesn’t tend to react negatively to new products or weather changes. You don’t feel like you need to constantly moisturize or blot oil from your face all day long. Your skin is firm, with minimal fine lines and wrinkles.
Skin Care Tips: Lucky you! With normal skin, you experience almost no sensitivity, dryness or oiliness. Your skin can tolerate most ingredients, meaning you can play hard with beauty products and have tons of fun experimenting with cleansers, moisturizers and masks until you find exactly what works for you.
How to Tell: Your skin always seems to be glowing. You’re likely no stranger to blotting sheets or mattifying powders. You might find that makeup and skin care products don’t always stay put like you’d want them to.
Skin Care Tips: With oily skin, shine control is a top concern. Although there are benefits to having oily skin (like fewer wrinkles!), you should avoid ingredients like mineral oil, petrolatum and alcohol. Products labeled “non-comedogenic” work great for oily skin as these won’t clog up your pores. Oil-free moisturizers are your best friends (yes, you still need to moisturize!), as are chemical exfoliants and clay masks. Be sure not to over-wash your face, as drying out your pores can cause them to produce even more oil to compensate.
How to Tell: Dryness and dehydration are actually two separate concerns, but they have very similar symptoms. Here’s how to identify them in your skin:
- Dryness is caused by a lack of oil in the skin. Symptoms include flakiness, sensitivity, itchiness and cracks. It may be caused by lifestyle and environmental factors or a chronic condition (in case of eczema or related conditions).
- Dehydration is the result of your skin not retaining enough moisture. Your skin may be feel tight, have a papery appearance or show small, fine lines when your skin is pinched together.
Skin Care Tips: To care for dry skin, you’ll want to seal in moisture by applying a rich moisturizer several times each day—especially after washing your hands or bathing. Try to keep the air in your home warm and moist to help heal. Avoid using harsh soaps or products containing citrus oils or lots of fragrance.
If your skin is dehydrated, on the other hand, be sure to look for water-based products, as oil-based products can actually make your skin condition worse. Most important, be sure you’re drinking enough water each day!
How to Tell: If you’re having trouble figuring out what type of skin you have, it’s likely combination. Is your skin dry in certain areas, while oily in others? Combination skin is most easily defined by an oily T-zone (the strip across the forehead and the line down the nose) and dry or normal skin on the rest of the face.
Skin Care Tips: You’ll want to stay away from the same ingredients as oily and dry skin, such as alcohol-based products. The name of the game with combination skin is balance. Isolate problem areas with spot treatments and use toners or balancing cream to even out the skin.
How to Tell: If you get frequent breakouts (or ones that just never seem to go away), you likely have acne-prone skin. This means that your pores tend to clog easily, making you more susceptible to whiteheads, blackheads or pustules than other skin types. You can have oily or dry skin and be prone to acne.
Skin Care Tips: Use cleansers specifically formulated to treat acne, as well as exfoliants and moisturizers that will help minimize breakouts. Gently cleanse your face to avoid trauma to existing breakouts, and use topical gel to treat and lighten acne scarring. Look for acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, clay, benzoyl peroxide or retinol.
Important Note: Consult with your dermatologist or trusted aesthetician before using products for acne prone skin. Layering multiple of these products can be too harsh and break down the protective skin barrier, resulting in more breakouts, over exposure to the elements, and irritated skin.
How to Tell: While not everyone’s skin ages at the same pace, the signs are fairly universal. You might notice a wrinkle here and there or more dryness than in your younger years. For more mature skin, you may notice sagging, dark spots, dullness and dehydration.
Skin Care Tips: Mature skin requires enhanced skin care to tackle past and future damage. There’s no wrong time to create an anti-aging routine with restorative treatments, which can boost collagen, as well as protect against environmental aggressors and cell turnover.
Think you have finally figured out your skin? Start creating a skin care routine that is right for you! On top of your home skin care routine, monthly visits to a trusted skin care professional can be extremely beneficial for your skin.
At Skin Ink & Laser, we offer:
- Laser Skin Rejuvenation
- Dermal Fillers
- Tattoo Removal
- Scar Reduction
Call and schedule a free consultation with our R.N.! 479.755.2024
3900 N. Parkview Drive
Fayetteville, AR 72703
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