What Type of Skin Do I Have?
Failing to determine your skin type can lead to an improper skincare routine, which can make skin blemishes like clogged pores, blackheads, and acne breakouts even worse than leaving them alone! Generally, there are 4 skin types that determine what your daily routine should look like, including:
- Normal Skin
- Dry Skin
- Oily Skin
- Combination Skin
Knowing how to determine your skin type can be tricky, but fortunately, we’ve got you covered! In this article, we will focus on introducing each skin type: normal, dry, oily, and combination skin types, then we’ll explain how to manage and treat the problematic symptoms of each type of skin.
The “normal” skin type can be characterized as well-balanced, that is, skin which is not too oily or too dry.
In addition, the normal skin type is often associated with fine pores, good blood circulation, smooth texture, even tone, and a lack of skin blemishes.
Of all the different skin types, normal skin is the most ideal because of its well-balanced and healthy appearance. And while most people are born with normal skin, it’s important to maintain healthy skin care habits, like avoiding prolonged exposure to the sun and wearing sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30.
If normal skin isn’t cared for, then the skin will become more at risk for developing skin blemishes like sunspots or becoming dry and coarse.
To protect normal skin from the pollutants in the atmosphere and to repair existing skin damage, we recommend using the anti-inflammatory properties of powerful antioxidants like Vitamin C and Vitamin E to help brighten, repair, and protect your skin from the elements.
Dry Skin Type
The “dry” skin type is characterized by a lack of sebum, which makes the skin unable to retain moisture and build up a protective barrier against external stressors like the sun or dry weather.
Individuals with dry skin will often feel as if their skin is tight, inflexible, and more susceptible to becoming irritated.
Symptoms of Dry Skin
Although dry skin isn’t usually serious, it’s still worth paying attention to, as dry skin can not only make day-to-day activities like exercise uncomfortable, but it can also lead to premature aging!
Below are some of the most common symptoms of dry skin:
- Scaling or flakiness
- Rough appearance
- Gray or ashy skin
- Deep cracks that may scab or bleed
Causes of Dry Skin
Dry skin, like Oily Skin and Combination Skin, can have a variety of different causes, some of which can be internal, like genetics, while others are external, like the weather.
Below are some of the most common causes of dry skin:
The weather can play a significant role in the quality of our skin, especially during the winter months when humidity tends to drop.
Indeed, when the weather is cold and dry, the moisture in our skin tends to evaporate more quickly, leaving it feeling tight, dry, and irritated.
What’s more, many of us like to indulge in long hot showers or baths during the winter months, which can make our dry skin problems even worse.
Washing your skin and especially your face can leave it feeling dry and coarse. This is because many facial cleansers strip your face its natural oils, which can make it more prone to drying out and getting damaged by the sun’s UV rays.
Remember, sebum is an important characteristic of healthy skin, as it helps moisturize and protect your skin from external stressors, and if this protective layer is removed, your skin will be completely exposed and vulnerable to the elements.
Aging is a part of life, and unfortunately for our skin, aging means that it will become more prone to drying out.
This happens because as our skin ages, it begins to lose elasticity and its natural ability to heal itself. Why does this occur? As we age, our epidermis thins out, and our blood vessels get thinner too, reducing blood flow to the surface of our skin.
In addition, as skin ages, it also loses oil glands, making it more important than ever before to moisturize and to limit exposure to the sun.
Skin & Health Conditions
Finally, there are several skin and health conditions that can dry out our skin.
For example, individuals suffering from diabetes will have a higher risk of developing dry skin due to excessive levels of glucose in their blood, which can cause the body to lose fluids at a faster rate.
In addition, skin conditions such as Eczema and Psoriasis can also cause dry skin. In these cases, it’s important that individuals not only live healthy lifestyles, but also that they consult their doctor to ensure that they are on the best course of treatment for their specific issue.
How to Fix & Prevent Dry Skin
To prevent dry skin, we recommend using a daily moisturizer that uses a trio of calming plant extracts, antioxidants, and ultra-hydrating algae complex to keep your skin calm and dewy both day and night.
In addition to using a daily moisturizer, we also recommend limiting your skin’s exposure to water, especially in the shower. For best results, we recommend limiting showers to 10 minutes or less, and we also suggest using only warm (not hot or scalding!) water.
Finally, we recommend wearing your favorite sunscreen every day—even if you’re only going to be spending a few minutes outside. It doesn’t take long to accrue skin damage, so it’s always best to take precautions!
Oily Skin Type
Unlike dry skin, the Oily skin type is characterized by excess sebum production. Indeed, for people with this skin type, keeping their skin clean and not “greasy” can feel like a never-ending battle.
Oily skin is most known for causing acne and enlarged pores, but there are other problems associated with oily skin as well.
These include combining makeup or foundation with sebum, which can create an unfavorable consistency, and what’s more, this sebum can create the sensation of the person’s makeup “sliding off”, which is not at all what we want to happen!
However, there is one benefit to having oily skin: it helps reduce the signs of aging.
As a matter of fact, individuals with oily skin will tend to show fewer signs of aging, as the excess oil will help lock in moisture and protect their skin from stressors in the environment.
Symptoms of Oily Skin
Oily skin types have a range of symptoms, some of which are listed below:
- Shiny or greasy appearance
- Enlarged pores
- Skin appears thick or rough
- Clogged pores and blackheads
- Makeup doesn’t stay on and “slides” off
Causes of Oily Skin
There are many causes of oily skin, some of which can be genetic, while others are related to washing and cleansing habits.
While it’s true that excessive washing with harsh soaps can cause your skin to dry out, it can also cause the exact opposite effect: excessive sebum production.
Indeed, the use of harsh soaps can disrupt your skin’s natural production of sebum, and in response, your skin may produce excess sebum to make up for the oils that were removed.
Therefore, we recommend washing your face no more than twice a day when attempting to balance out your skin.
With oily skin, the temptation is to use acne fighting acids and to skimp out on moisturizing. This, of course, is a mistake. If your skin’s oil glands don’t go into overdrive, acids such as salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide can dry out your skin, which as we just discussed, isn’t ideal.
Dry skin causes premature aging and unwanted irritation, so if you’re going to use an acid-based product to fight oily skin, you’re going to want to use a moisturizer of some kind to replace the oils that you’ve washed away.
If you don’t use a moisturizer, then you’re basically just trading one problem for another. Sure, you might reduce acne breakouts, but in the process, you will have rougher skin that’s more prone to premature aging, cracking, and a whole host of other symptoms associated with being too dry.
Hormonal changes such as those experienced during puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause can be responsible for causing excessive sebum production, leading to breakouts and clogged pores.
In addition, stress and illness can also stimulate sebum production, as these experiences can cause hormonal shifts that lead to oil production.
In the case of stress, it is believed that the stress-related hormone CRH, or corticotrophin-releasing hormone, is one of the culprits behind increased oil production.
You’re Using the Wrong Kind of Makeup
For individuals with oily skin, it’s important to use oil-free makeup products; otherwise, you will literally be layering different kinds of oil on top of each other, which isn’t good for you pores.
What’s more, when oils of different consistencies are mixed together, it can feel as if your makeup is sliding off your face or “melting”, which as you can imagine, isn’t very confidence inspiring.
Luckily, there are a number of great, oil-free makeup and foundation products on the market, so makeup enthusiasts with oily skin type will still have plenty of options!
How to Prevent & Treat Oily Skin
To help prevent and treat oily skin, we recommend using a serum with simple glycolic acid and tea tree oil. Tea tree oil helps smooth and clarify skin tones which decreasing the size of enlarged pores.
To help lock in moisture, we recommend using our a hydration serum.
By incorporating phospholipids, these serums can help keep your skin feeling supple long after it has been applied.
Combination Skin Type
As the name implies, the Combination Skin type is characterized by skin that, depending on the region, can be both oily and dry.
For example, a hallmark of the Combination Skin type is oily skin along the T-Zone (i.e., forehead, nose, and chin), and dry, flaky skin around the cheeks.
Indeed, combination skin is one of the most common skin types (after normal skin) and can be tricky to remedy due to having to use different kinds of products for each part of your face.
Symptoms & Signs of Combination Skin
Because combination skin is literally a combination of dry and oily skin, they have overlapping symptoms like dry, flakey skin that is prone to premature aging, and slick, greasy skin that is prone to pimples and blackheads.
Indeed, combination skin can sometimes be tricky to spot, leaving many individuals to ask: “What’s my skin type?” To diagnose combination skin, look at the skin type test below:
What Happens After You Wash?
After washing your face with your favorite daily cleanser, what happens to your skin? Does your skin appear dry in some areas, and oily in others? If so, then your skin most likely falls into the combination skin type category.
What Happens After You Moisturize?
When using your favorite moisturizer, does your skin look soft and supple in some areas, but oily, greasy, and shiny in others?
If so, you probably have combination skin, in which case, you’re most likely going to want to invest in two kinds of moisturizers: first, a moisturizer that locks-in moisture and hydrates your skin, and second, an oil-free moisturizer that won’t clog your pores, which is especially important for keeping your T-Zone free of breakouts.
Do You Have Different Size Pores?
If the pores around your nose are larger than the pores around your cheeks, then you most likely have combination skin.
Unclogging and cleaning your pores can be tricky at first, but with the right skincare regimen, it’s more than possible to reduce and even eliminate the appearance of enlarged pores.
Do You Get Breakouts & Dry Skin?
Finally, a telltale sign of combination skin is experiencing both breakouts and dry patches of skin at the same time.
For these situations, it’s best to use two kinds of skin serums: an acne-fighting serum for your T-Zone, and another serum that will help moisturize your skin to help prevent dry skin from forming.
How to Treat Combination Skin
Treating combination skin is a bit tricky and usually requires multiple kinds of facial cleansers.
For starters, anyone with combination skin will want to pay extra close attention to their T-Zone to ensure that their pores are as clean as they can possibly be, If you have combination skin, then you’ll almost certainly want to use acne fighting products.
Finally, for your dry skin regions, using a hydration moisturizer is the perfect remedy for patches of dry skin that never seem to go away.
By using a combination of products on the different parts of your face that have different needs, you should be able to overcome the issues associated with having combination skin, helping you look and feel your very best!