Do you really know what your skin type is?
You may not have a type, but your skin sure does, and figuring out your skin type is one of the first things you should do before building a skincare routine. Being aware of your skin type will help you to tailor the right products to your skin and avoid making any rookie errors. Using the wrong products can do more harm than good, so you want to get it right.
But even when you know your skin better than anyone, it can be tricky to understand what skin type you have. There’s a lot of conflicting information out there, so it can be hard. To make things easier, we’ve compiled an easy guide to highlight the symptoms of each skin type, so you can figure out which routine will work best for you.
Oily skin is caused when you have overactive oil glands – sometimes it’s genetic and sometimes it’s a result of using the wrong skincare products – if you strip too much moisture from your skin, it compensates by overproducing oil. If you have oily skin, you’ll experience shine, enlarged pores, and blackheads. You may also be prone to breakouts (caused by oil clogging pores) and will find your makeup doesn’t last well in your oily areas.
Dryness is triggered when the skin’s surface becomes damaged and invisible cracks allow moisture to escape (and irritants to get in). The symptoms? Skin feels tight, looks dull, lacks elasticity, and feels rough and itchy – often with patches of flakiness.
Combination is skin is neither oily nor dry, in fact, it’s both – which means it can be confusing to diagnose. You’ll experience the main symptoms of oily skin – excess oil, clogged pores, and shine in your T-zone, but you’ll also have dry patches (with flakiness and redness) in areas such as your cheeks, jaw, or hairline.
Acne can be caused by a number of different things – everything from diet, genetics, hormones, and bacteria plays a role. Ultimately, it manifests in the same symptoms – blackheads, whiteheads, oiliness, and sore, swollen red blemishes which heal slowly and persistently pop up again in the same areas.
You may also experience scars or red marks when your blemishes disappear – this pigmentation happens when the inflammation from the breakout damages the collagen in your skin. As long as the marks still have color in them (typically red or brown) then they can heal. For healing acne scars and marks.
Typically, sensitive skin is prone to redness and easily irritated, leading to small bumps and uneven tone and texture. These flare ups can be triggered by anything from removing your makeup to trying a new product or a treatment with strong or active ingredients.
N.B. Technically, sensitive skin isn’t a skin type – everyone’s skin experiences a certain degree of sensitivity, just some more so than others. If you find your skin is particularly reactive and identifies with the characteristics below more than the other routines, this might be a good routine for you to follow.
You may be able to identify with some of the skin types above, but as skin is so affected by hormones, your skin can be all over the places in your teens before settling down later on. Most commonly hormones can trigger oil production, leading to clogged pores and breakouts. It’s important to establish a skincare routine during this time to keep your skin calm and clear.
Whilst you might still identify with the symptoms above, as skin matures, it starts to show signs of age as well. From our early- to mid-twenties, our bodies produce less elastin and collagen (the proteins that keep skin plump and firm), this leads to skin being looser and thinner, which in turn causes lines and wrinkles to form easily. This also effects skin’s moisture levels, so you’ll find your skin gets drier as you get older.