Taking good care of your skin involves committing to a skincare routine that includes high quality, gentle skincare products designed to care for your unique type of skin. Knowing your skin type is one of the most important steps to skincare, yet it’s one that many of us stumble on.
Skin is your body’s largest organ, and it can be just as complex as your heart, lungs, or any other vital organ that keeps you alive. By caring for it properly, you’re enabling it to do its job of both protecting you and helping you look your absolute best. Taking the time to learn what your skin type is, and how to care for it, goes a long way in accomplishing this goal.
Every person’s skin is unique, which sometimes makes it a challenge to pinpoint an exact skin type. For instance, two people with oily skin might struggle with different skincare concerns and respond differently to products – even when they’re formulated for oily skin. Here’s what you need to know.
5 Skin Types Explained
For some, categorizing their skin type is easy. They have all the telltale signs of one skin type, and they never really need to do any further investigating to determine which category they fit in. For the rest of us, the subject is a bit more complicated.
There are 5 main skin types, and most of us shift through several of them during our lives. Skin type can be determined by genetics, but also influenced by other factors like hormones, medications, stress, and the environment. When you think of all the factors that play into skin type, it can become a little like trying to solve a complicated puzzle.
Before you can even dive into knowing your skin type, you have to start by understanding what the 5 skin types are, and what characteristics define them.
- Normal: Normal skin doesn’t lean too far towards being oily, dry, or sensitive. It maintains a healthy balance without too much effort or products designed for problem skin. Normal skin is generally smooth and even-toned, without too much shine or issues with dry flaking. Normal skin may experience an occasional breakout or fluctuation but generally bounces back pretty easily.
- Oily: Caused by an overproduction of sebum in the skin’s oil glands, oily skin tends to develop a slight sheen to it throughout the day and is typically more prone to inflammation and breakouts. Those with oily skin may also have more visible, enlarged pores.
- Dry: Dry skin is caused in part by underproductive oil glands. Dry skin can appear “splotchy”, or with patches of irritated red skin. Dry skin may also appear flaky, dull and take on greyish hue due to the dead skin cells accumulating on the surface. Dry skin can also be more sensitive due to fewer skin oils on the surface to protect it.
- Combination: If you have combination skin, you’ve probably shopped for skincare products, completely confused about what to use on your skin. A little bit oily, a little bit dry, and seemingly normal in spots. Combination skin might have an oily “T zone” or become excessively oily or dry based on the weather and other external factors.
- Sensitive Skin: If you have sensitive skin, you might be afraid to use anything on your face. Sensitive skin can be dry, oily, or a combination but it’s also easily irritating and may be prone to inflammatory skin conditions such as acne, rosacea, or dermatitis.
What Skin Type Am I?
Now to answer the big question…what skin type describes yours best?
If only this were a simple question to answer, and one that stayed consistent so that it didn’t need to be asked repeatedly. Your skin type will change throughout your life, it’s inevitable – unless you have sensitive skin, which can be a lifelong issue.
The problem is that most of us struggle with determining our own skin type. For instance, someone who gets the occasional pimple might think that’s it’s impossible they actually have dry skin, and people with sensitive skin often go along thinking that oily skin is the reason behind their constant struggle with acne.
There are a few things you can do to assess your skin type.
The first is simple, and something you do every day. Simply wash your face in the morning but use a very gentle cleanser – one that’s formulated for normal or combination skin, without any added ingredients that might cause irritation. Wash your face with slightly warm water, pat it dry, and then don’t do anything for about 30 minutes.
This means no moisturizers, toners, cosmetics, etc. After 30 minutes, you can assess how your skin has naturally responded. Does your skin feel a bit oily or look shiny in most areas? You likely have oily skin. Does your face feel dry, parched, and almost like it’s chapped? You likely have dry skin. A little of both? Welcome to the world of combination skin. If your skin is red, irritated and feels itchy, sensitive skin may be the culprit.
If you’re still not sure, a little slip of blotting paper pressed against your skin can be an indicator. Dry skin will show little residue, while oily skin will leave its mark on the paper.
Skin Care Designed for You
Choosing the right skincare products, formulated for your unique skin type, is one of the most important things you can do to maintain and support healthy skin throughout your entire life. The next step is choosing skin care products that are gentle, on both your skin and the world around us – for a beautiful you and beautiful life.
To learn more about exactly which skincare products would benefit you and your unique skin type, take our personalized Skin Care Quiz.