What is my skin type?
Each skin has a personality, just like humans. Just like some people speak with an accent or have curly curls, our genetics, age, and even where we live can all influence the way our skin looks and feels.
Because we are all so special, this can make shopping for a particular complexion complicated. The good side is that despite the differences, experts have been able to identify several types of skin that cover common features of some of us: dry, oily, combination, normal and sensitive.
How to determine the type of skin?
The first step to creating an effective skin care program is to understand what your skin needs. Based on this, you can write down ingredients that are best for your complexion and will actually bring you visible results. Since the skin types are quite obvious (after all, dry is dry and oily is oily), most of us can easily tell what our complexion is. However, if this is not so intuitive for you, we suggest you do the following "tissue test" to test your sebum production:
- Wash your face and pat it dry. Wait 30 minutes.
- Gently press the handkerchief against your face. Press the paper over different areas of your skin, such as the forehead, nose, cheeks, and chin.
- Hold the sheet against the light to see how transparent the paper is.
- If the handkerchief is:
- Your skin is oily soaked
- Oily in some places but not everywhere, you have a combination skin type
- Not oily, but the skin is scaly or tight, you have a dry complexion
- Not oily, but neither tight nor flaky, you have a normal skin type
You can also have sensitive skin along with the addition of one of the above. Still not sure? Talk to your dermatologist.
Skin types and skin problems
The main difference between skin type and skin problem is that skin type is based on genetics while skin problem is not. You were born with a skin type that will likely never change. However, the problem with the skin can change throughout life. For example, aging is a problem for the skin. When you were born you didn't have fine lines and thick texture, right? The same is true for sensitive and dehydrated skin which can be a temporary condition.
You may hear some experts refer to a sixth type of skin for people prone to breakouts, known as acne. There is no acne gene, so technically it is not a skin type. However, there is evidence that some immune systems are better than others at fighting acne-causing bacteria. If you are prone to constant breakouts and have had it all your life, you may consider your skin acne.
5 types of skin
Now that you know your skin type, learn how to care for it.
Note: Since skin types are based on genetics, there is no "cure" for them. However, you can opt for ingredients and products to help relieve your symptoms.
If you have dry skin (not to be confused with dehydrated skin), your skin lacks enough oil to moisturize. The skin of the entire body (not just the face) can be red, scaly, itchy and ashenish. Dry skin can also appear dull, have less visible pores, fine lines and be prone to sensitivity.
If you have dry skin, avoid excessive cleansing, which can make your skin feel tight, or use an oil-based cleanser instead. A gentle tonic can help restore the pH to normal, and your skin may crave for more hydration at night. Look for products with ingredients like papaya seed extract.
People with oily skin consider matting papers, and their favorite cosmetics are the "non-comedogenic" ones because this type of skin naturally produces excess sebum. Pores can be more visible and blemishes more often than others.
If you have oily skin, you want products, especially moisturizers, to be light (don't skip this skincare step though - it may encourage your skin to keep producing oil to compensate for the lack of hydration). Exfoliation and the use of masks is also especially beneficial for these skin types to remove excess sebum that is trapped in the pores, minimizing their appearance and reducing acne. Incorporate ingredients like salicylic acid into your routine to control sebum production and excess shine.
If you've ever asked yourself "why is my skin dry in one place and oily in another," you have combination skin. This mix of greasy and dryness can happen anywhere, but most often you'll notice the oily area of the T-zone, while the cheeks and rest of the face may feel dry or normal.
Combination skin types only need to use the products in certain areas. For example, you can focus more on exfoliating on the nose and chin, and apply facial oil only to the cheeks. Look for hybrid products to reap multiple benefits at once, or consider masking multiple times to combat multi-faceted problems. Ingredients like aloe vera are also helpful as they keep the oil under control without drying out the skin.
Not too oily, not too dry, but just right - you have a "normal" skin type (this term, of course, refers to a stable level of sebum produced). If your complexion is normal, the entire skin care shelf is at your disposal. Focus on your specific skin problems using ingredients like Vitamin C, and feel free to explore advanced treatments like facial scrubs and face shaving with a scalpel.
Remember: Since this type of skin is the only one that is not directly related to sebum production, you can be any of the above and sensitive. Sensitive skin is usually the result of an overactive immune system or a genetically reduced barrier function, experiences inflammation, stinging, tingling, itching, etc., often after introducing a new product or applying a stronger formula.
Sensitive skin types may feel the need to choose skin care products more carefully for fear of skin irritation, but there are many gentle options that can ease symptoms and keep the barrier in check. Keep your eyes peeled for "correct pH", which can help prevent inflammation and maintain a calm moisture barrier. Lactic acid is one of the soothing ingredients that can be added to the care of sensitive skin. Basically, we recommend introducing one product at a time and doing a neck patch test.