Having trouble determining your skin type?
First things first: a person’s skin type varies, and no one has the same skin as someone else. It is vital to acknowledge your skin type, how to treat it and how this is impacted by numerous factors. Skin is generally divided into five skin types: normal, oily, combination, dry and sensitive. It can be quite difficult to establish what skin type you have, bearing in mind that our skin is constantly changing. This article will provide all the information you need to determine your skin type and what to do to have healthy, radiant, skin.
How to identify your skin type…
Skin characteristics signify the type and healthiness of your skin.
- Normal skin is the easiest to identify; as suggested in the name, it is the most common skin group. The best way to identify if you have normal skin is to analyse whether you are prone to breakouts, if you are not and have a well-balanced t-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) then that is a strong sign that you have normal skin. If you do not have normal skin then identifying your skin type does become trickier, especially when you don’t know what to look out for.
- Individuals with oily skin tend to produce excess oil on their t-zone. Unlike normal skin, oily skin is highly prone to breakouts and blemishes. Therefore, differentiating between the two is simplified. There are numerous ways to determine if you have oily skin:
- Makeup does not stay on, seems to ‘slide off’.
- Your face becomes greasy throughout the day.
- Pores are noticeably augmented, particularly on your nose, jawline, and temple.
- Dry skin is also easier to identify; its characteristics are primarily based on appearance and feeling. Dry skin tends to look and feel dehydrated, with high possibilities of itchiness, irritation, roughness, and flakiness.
- Combination skin is a mix of all the skin types but mainly obtains areas that are both dry and oily. To give you more of an idea with combination skin, skin is typically shiny on the t-zone areas while appearing dry or normal on the cheeks.
- Sensitive skin is becoming more common, nevertheless, it is the most difficult to identify and treat due to its complexity. Sensitive skin (which is what I have myself) varies widely from person to person and is characterized by visible redness and dryness. Sensitive skin may not always show visible signs and may simply have feelings of discomfort. For this reason, keeping a record of what products you are using is imperative when determining why your skin is having a reaction.
A bit too much…
Let’s break this down even further. The most straight-forward approach when determining your skin type is the ‘bare face’ method. This involves thoroughly cleansing your face with a mild cleanser, patting it dry and leaving it bare for 30 minutes (this means no serums, moisturisers, or additional treatments). Once this is complete, analyse your t-zone area (which hopefully you remember is your nose, chin, forehead, and cheeks) and check for any shine. After another 30 minutes, examine your skin once again and see if there are any signs of dryness, (an effective way of identifying this is to smile/ make facial expressions). If your skin feels tight or restricted in some way, then that gives you probable cause to identify your skin type as dry. If there is evident shine on your forehead and nose it is likely that you have normal/combination skin. If your cheeks are shiny, as well as your forehead and nose then you have oily skin.
Want to try another approach?
The blotting sheet method is a technique which is faster and frequently a magnificent differentiator between oily and dry skin types. Blotting paper is made of highly absorbent material, it is used to absorb fluid substances from the outer layer of your skin. It is easily accessible and can be purchased in local high street drug stores/ beauty shops such as Boots and Superdrug, and online forums such as Amazon and eBay. Tenderly pat blotting paper on your face. Hold the sheet up to the light to decide how much oil is apparent. On the off chance that the sheet has practically no oil, you undoubtedly have dry skin. If the blotting sheet uncovers oil from the brow and nose regions, your skin type is combination/normal. Lastly, if the sheet is immersed with oil, all things considered, you have oily skin.
Wondering how to treat your skin?
The number one tip for treating all skin types is to stay hydrated. Drinking water is key to keeping your skin nourished (BBC, 2020). Now, it is vital that you are aware that solely drinking water will not keep your skin healthy. There are other factors which contribute to the healthiness of your skin. Nevertheless, this is the first step to having sought-after and ‘instagram-able’ skin.
For dry skin, moisturising is imperative. Sounds obvious, but the reason why your skin is dry is because it is not receiving enough hydration. As we are coming up to summer your skin will become drier due to the change in weather. Therefore, always keeping face moisturiser on hand will help prevent dull and flaky skin. For those with oily skin cleaning your face day and night will help stop build up which results in oil.
For normal/combination skin a balance is required- not only do you need to be conscious of the products you are applying to your face (fragrance free cleansers are recommended) but also what you’re consuming within. For this reason, it is suggested to eat foods with more fatty acids and nutrients. Salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed are known for providing nutrients and moisture to the skin without adding oil. Last but certainly not least, for those with sensitive skin it’s all about trial and error. It can be difficult to determine what products work for sensitive skin as reactions/irritation levels vary. In general, it is advised to use products without added fragrances and chemicals as this will lead to less skin inflammation. A great way to discover what products work for you specifically is to patch test products before applying it all over your face. For instance, applying a small amount of product to a small section of your face such as behind your ear, a corner on your forehead or even the underside of your jaw. To effectively test a product there should be no other products on your skin. This way you can truly see what does and does not work for you.
Below is a chart, depicting how often you should wash your face depending on your skin type.
IMPORTANT NOTE – Washing your face twice a day may end up being aggravating for sensitive or dry skin types. If you choose to wash your face twice a day, cleanse appropriately around evening time using a gentle formula and just wash with lukewarm water.
|—||Once daily||Twice daily||Morning||Night||As needed|
|Oily or acne-prone skin||x||x||x|
|Dry or sensitive skin||x|
|Normal or combination||x||x||x|
|If you perspire or exercise||x||x||x||x|
|If you wear makeup||x||x||x|
Individuals should wash their face both morning and night, says Kanika Tim, founder of Revita Skin Clinic. Sweaty cases may require a third wash, Dr. Joshua Zeichner, notes that “in reality, this doesn’t always happen.” If you can just focus at least on washing your face once daily, do it before you head to sleep, adds Zeichner, who is the overseer of corrective and clinical exploration in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital. This will help eliminate grime and oil that is developed throughout the day, alongside things like cosmetics.
Temperature is also an important factor that impacts the effectiveness of regularly washing your face. Lukewarm water is ideal. Suggested by the American Academy of Dermatology, lukewarm water will make for the best face washing experience and general skin wellbeing. As per Rivera, most healthy skincare products were tried or made considering this ideal temperature. Rivera additionally calls attention to lukewarm water helps guarantee that your facial cleanser gets the perfect measure of frothing activity, eliminates sufficient dirt from the outside of your skin, and equilibriums your normal skin oils properly.
Knowing what factors affect your skin will help prevent breakouts and acne…
KEY FACT- what you put into your body impacts its outer appearance.
Having a nutritious and balanced diet will surely help the healthiness of your skin. First things first, thinking that you can eliminate junk food or your bad habits straight away and all at once not only creates highly unrealistic expectations but can also be harmful to your skin as it is not receiving all the needed components.
|Mangoes||Known for containing compounds with antioxidant components.|
|Kale||One of the best sources of lutein & zeaxanthin (trusted source against light-induced skin damage, especially from UV rays).|
|Avocadoes||Good source of vitamin E (important antioxidant that helps protect your skin from oxidative damage) & contain compounds that may help protect your skin from sun damage.|
|Tomatoes||Great source of vitamin C.|
|Omega 3 (e.g. fish, pumpkin seeds, walnuts)||Help prevent dryness & scaliness of skin.|
|Legumes (e.g., chickpeas, lentils, peas, soybeans)||Loaded with nutrients & a great source of iron.|
|Seeds (e.g., sunflower seeds)||Good source of skin boosting nutrients.|
Other ways to help prevent breakouts…
A lot of people do not realise how much bacteria can build up in places we deem to be the cleanest. Pillowcases and duvets are prone to carrying germs. Because of this, washing them at least once a week will help stop breakouts. Additionally, towels are also prone to bacteria build; the germs generated tend to be invisible to the human eye. Drying your face with a towel can cause more harm than good. To help prevent breakouts, after showering dry your face with a cotton pad or paper towel- this is easily disposable.
Breakouts do not occur only on your face, it is important to develop and maintain a good quality hygiene routine, changing your washcloth regularly will help avoid spots/blemishes on other acne-prone areas of your body such as your neck, shoulders and back. For those who are susceptible to allergies, it is important to spot allergens and consequently remove them. This is not as easy or practical as it sounds. When getting any skin irritation/ reaction note what new products or food you consumed within those 24 hours- this will help you identify what needs to be eliminated from your skincare routine or diet. There are allergies which occur that are more out of our control or at least harder to prevent, such as hay fever, insect bites and stings, pet allergies and so forth. These can all have an impact on our skin, therefore, the main lesson to take from this is cautiousness – as they say prevention is better than cure.
What a journey! You’ve gone from not knowing your skin type at all to virtually becoming an expert on what characteristics align with each skin type and how these types can be treated. Once again, it’s not all about skincare products, your routine and diet contribute significantly to the healthiness of your skin. Remember, reaching your desired skincare goal is a process. It’s not going to happen overnight, even celebrities such as Kendall Jenner, Katy Perry, and Cameron Diaz, have openly discussed their skincare issues; so, you truly are not alone.
“Beauty is the illumination of your soul.”- John O’Donohue.