What is your skin type?

Since I began working in the cosmetics world, I’ve often noticed that my customers find it difficult to determine their skin type. And yet it’s essential to know your skin type if you want to take care of it properly. Just as a doctor has to make a diagnosis before finding the right medication, if you know your skin type, you can choose appropriate products to meet your needs. What’s more, just as a wrong medication can aggravate a medical problem, so a bad choice of product can worsen the state of our skin. So that’s why I’ve written this article: to help women who haven’t yet found their skin type.

Here is a summary of the different skin types that will help you to find yours.

Normal skin

If you have normal skin, you’re lucky because there are not many of you! Women with normal skins often don’t know it because when you ask them, they simply say that they don’t have any obvious problems. Everything’s fine! So, if you have no problems, you have a normal skin.

On the other hand, if you don’t take care of it, it could easily change and become dry or even combination. It could become dehydrated because of the weather (as in Northern countries for example), a lack of moisture, certain medications etc. It could become oily if you use too-rich products or products containing occlusive agents (prevent the skin from breathing). In this case, you could develop blackheads or other irregular symptoms. Again, it could become sensitive and develop redness. Sun exposure, stress and pollution are all examples of factors which can change a normal skin to a sensitive skin. So, don’t rest on your laurels, take care of a normal skin as you would any other type of skin; that means choosing the right products.

Dry skin

Dry skin is the exact opposite of oily skin. Oily skin produces too much sebum whereas dry skin doesn’t produce enough.

You have dry skin if it feels tight and uncomfortable at times, is always matte (lacks shine and luminosity), absorbs creams completely, peels and sometimes feels rough.

Sebum protects the skin so dry skin is especially vulnerable. Apply a rich cream twice a day without fail. Forget foaming cleansers, they’ll dry it out even more. Go for cleansing milk, creamy cleanser or micellar water.

Oily skin

As I said previously, oily skin has a problem with over-production of sebum. People with oily skin usually know they have it.

The symptoms speak for themselves: you have a shiny face (including the cheeks) even after cleansing, your makeup runs and won’t stay on, you often get blackheads and breakouts and you feel a need to cleanse often to feel fresh, etc.

Surprising though it may sound, oily skin also needs moisture because it can become dehydrated. But you must choose the right moisturizer. Gels and anti-shine lotions are ideal because as well as moisturizers, they contain sebum-regulating agents and anti-shine ingredients which absorb oil and reduce shine.

Even if they make you feel fresh, avoid lotions containing alcohol. Other ingredients such as menthol can give a sensation of freshness but don’t cause dehydration like alcohol. What’s more, the skin defends itself from alcohol by producing more sebum so you’re just making the situation worse.

Avoid exfoliating too often, because as with alcohol, exfoliation stimulates the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. Exfoliate but don’t rub harshly; once a week is enough.

And obviously, you can forget rich and oily creams; use light, fluid water-based products.

Combination skin

Combination skin resembles normal skin but is unbalanced: there’s an over-production of sebum in certain areas and not enough in other areas. So you have partly oily and partly dry skin. We often refer to the oily area as the T-zone because it refers to the forehead, nose and chin; creating the shape of the letter T. The dry skin is often on the cheeks.

Combination skin is the most common type. In fact, it’s an unbalanced normal skin.
To restore balance, use products that hydrate the dry areas sufficiently without aggravating the oily areas, and contain anti-shine agents to reduce shine in oily areas. Fortunately there are lots of skin care products for combination skins.

Skin care for combination skin should be water-based, non-occlusive (so as not to obstruct pores and create blackheads and breakouts), hydrating but not oily, and in certain case, anti-shine. Yes, such products do exist!

Universal skin types

I call these universal because the two following skin types can be combined with all the other types and therefore we can’t really say that they are categories in themselves. I prefer to call them “conditions” rather than skin types.

Sensitive skin

As I said before, sensitive skin can also be oily, dry or combination. But it requires specific skin care so you have to consider this issue and choose products accordingly.
Sensitive skin nearly always has redness. It becomes easily irritated, inflamed or itches and stings because it’s also often reactive.

Many skin care ranges are designed for sensitive skin. They contain fewer ingredients which could cause reactions, are un-perfumed because perfume is the worst enemy of sensitive skin, and contain soothing, active anti-redness ingredients, since an inflamed skin must be soothed.

As well as using these types of skin care products, make sure you always wear sunscreen with a high SPF when you go outside because the sun aggravates redness.

Avoid alcohol as well as perfume, also harsh cleansers and exfoliants which risk irritating your skin. Some people think, wrongly, that they have sensitive skin because they use aggressive products. This is especially the case for those with oily, blemished skins (anti-shine products, scrubs, anti-acne creams, etc.). Often, when they stop using them, their skin becomes less sensitive with less redness and tightness.

Dehydrated skin

This type lacks moisture. It can be occasional (seasonal) or more frequent, it depends on the person.

Obviously, the interior affects the exterior so someone who isn’t sufficiently hydrated (lacks water) will have a dehydrated skin also.

If you’re not sure whether you have dry skin or dehydrated skin, here’s an article that will help you to make a more informed judgment.

Dehydrated skin often has the same symptoms as dry skin but with other symptoms that dry skin doesn’t, either at the same time of year or for the rest of the year. Dry skin is dry all the time, all year round and probably will be for life. Dehydrated skin is subject to a yoyo effect. If you have even a moderate amount of oil on your nose or a few blackheads or if your dry skin symptoms only appear at certain times (temperature changes, hormonal changes, pregnancy, medication, stress etc.) then you surely have dehydrated skin.

As with sensitive skin, it’s quite possible to have a combination and dehydrated, oily and dehydrated or dry and dehydrated skin. So it’s an extra problem.
Taking care of a dehydrated skin is simple; you have to give it some hydration. This type of skin doesn’t lack oil so don’t use dry skin products (unless it’s dry and dehydrated in which case go for a cream specially designed for dry, dehydrated skin: yes, it exists!). Skin care products for dehydrated skin are water-based and are designed for deep moisturizing without being greasy.

So there you are; I’d like to know if you recognize your skin type now. Do you already take care of your skin the right way or will this article change your skin care routine????

If you’re really unlucky, you could have oily, sensitive dehydrated skin, all at the same time…………but there’s a remedy for that too!

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