All women have a type—of skin, that is.
Your skin is as unique as you are, but there are certain characteristics you’re likely to notice in your skin and there are specifics things you should do (and NOT do) to care for it.
Let’s take a closer look at the different skin types and how to care for them.
Generally speaking, there are four different skin types, though some beauty experts throw in a fifth. The different skin types are as follows:
Now, let’s take a closer look at each of them.
The condition of your skin may be what you consider normal but, by dermatological standards, normal skin is neither oily nor dry. It is generally well-balanced in terms of tone, texture and pore size—it looks fairly healthy without any product on it.
If you have normal skin, you may still find that your skin becomes dry or oily from time to time but, for the most part, your skin is fairly healthy. The official term for healthy skin is “eudermic.” Your pores are small and your skin doesn’t have an excessive amount of shine. In terms of texture, it is neither flaky nor cracked, and you have fairly even skin tone with few blemishes.
This type of skin usually feels tight due to dehydration and there may also be patches of scales and flaking. Women with dry skin usually have invisible pores and they may have more visible fine lines and premature wrinkles.
In most cases, dry skin is hereditary, as genetics can affect the amount of sebum produced in the skin. Sebum is simply oil produced by the sebaceous glands which is responsible for keeping the skin supple and soft. Low sebum production can leave your skin feeling dry and tight.
It is easy to identify oily skin because it usually has a high degree of shine. Oily skin is also more prone to frequent breakouts. Oily skin is the result of several factors including a hereditary predisposition to overactive oil glands as well as hormonal changes.
Sebum helps keep the skin moisturized and protected, but too much of it can lead to problems like acne breakouts. Excessive sebum production is often linked to an increase in androgen production. Androgens are male hormones that trigger sebum production. When excess oil is produced, the pores may expand and become blocked by oil, dirt and dead skin cells which leads to breakouts. Women with oily skin often have visible pores and they may have trouble keeping makeup on their skin all day long.
As you can imagine, combination skin is a combination of dry and oily, often on different portions of the face. Combination skin is the most common skin type, though it can sometimes be hard to identify. In many women with combination skin, the T-zone is oily and shiny while the cheeks may be dry. The T-zone includes the forehead, nose and chin.
Though sensitive skin is not a skin type in the same way that normal, oily and dry skin are, there are certain characteristics that identify this skin type. Sensitive skin often exhibits a significant amount of redness and irritation. This type of skin becomes inflamed very easily, so it is important to choose the right beauty products for your skin type and to use them correctly.
Now that you know more about the different skin types, which type of skin do you have? And how do you care for it properly?
The key to knowing how to properly care for your skin is understanding the cause of your skin problems in the first place. Dry skin, for example, may experience water loss from perspiration which can also compromise the skin’s barrier function can lead to further loss of moisture. Oily skin, on the other hand, is the result of overproduction of sebum which can be triggered by genetic, hormonal or stress-related factors. Oily skin can also be dehydrated.
There are a variety of factors that influence your skin type and its condition. Everything from climate and pollution to the medications you take, your stress level and hereditary factors influence your skin. Knowing your skin type is half the battle, but you also need to know how to (and how NOT) to care of your skin based on your skin type.
As you can see, caring for your skin type is not difficult. You simply need to know what kind of skin you have and what to do (and NOT do) to keep it healthy. If you’re still not sure what type of skin you have, or if you’re dealing with serious skin problems, consult your dermatologist.
Beauty products are a dime a dozen. Every brand has their own line and it may seem impossible to choose the right products. Now that you have a better understanding of your skin type and how to care for it, however, you’re on the right track.
So, how do you buy the best products for your skin type?
First, think of your goals. Refer back to the Dos from the previous section.
For dry skin, you want to add moisture and lock it in. For oily skin, you want to remove excess oil. For combination skin, you want to accomplish both of these goals on different parts of your face. For normal skin, you just want to keep things clean, clear and healthy. Take this skin care routine quiz to find out the best products and routine for your skin type.
The key to keeping your skin clean, clear and healthy is to choose the right products and to use them properly. Don’t slather your face with heavy moisturizers or scrub the life out of it with exfoliants. The gentler you are with your face and with your skincare products, the better.
But what about acne-prone skin? How do you choose the best beauty products?
Any of the four skin types can be prone to acne, so treating it can be tricky. If you are prone to acne, you should still develop your skincare routine according to your skin type then add in some acne-fighting products that won’t destroy your results.
Even if you feel like your skin is healthy, there are probably simple changes you can make to your skincare routine to tackle issues such as dryness, shine, uneven tone and acne.
Knowing your skin type and building a daily skincare routine around it is the best way to keep your skin hydrated, supple and smooth. If you’re using the wrong products, you could actually be making matters worse, and that is the last thing any woman wants.
So, take what you’ve learned here and take a closer look at your skincare arsenal to see if there might be room for improvement. Best of luck!
Want more skincare tips from the pros? Check out the hers blog.