When selecting skincare products for your routine, you’re likely to run into the same confusing recommendations over and over again. That’s because many skincare products are classed by “skin type,” but a skin type isn’t like a blood type – it isn’t something you can test for or even an unchanging trait. Rather, your skin type is a reflection of biology, lifestyle factors, and your existing skincare routine, and it can also be a mix of a few dominant types. How, then, are you supposed to declare a skin type so that you can pick out the right skincare products?
In order to determine what type of skin you have, you need to evaluate the following factors and, of course, learn the language of skincare. From normal skin to oily skin, hyaluronic acid to benzoyl peroxide, the world of skincare uses a language all its own.
Dry Skin Versus Oily Skin
The two most common problem skin types are dry skin and oily skins – two sides of the same coin. Visually, dry skin tends to look dull; it carries a layer of dead cells on its surface, which can be caused by aging, hot showers, sun exposure, or overuse of exfoliating products. It’s important to evaluate whether any of those factors, specifically preventable ones, are causing your skin to be dry before changing your skincare routine. Cooling down your showers and using gentler products could be all you need to reverse dryness.
As for oily skin, the most common complaints among those with this skin type is frequent breakouts. What many people don’t realize, though, is that oily skin can also be dry. Dry skin lacks water volume, and oily skin can have the same problem, just combined with overproduction of oil. Products containing salicylic acid can fight acne by penetrating the pore and clearing away sebum, while others with this skin type swear by benzoyl peroxide. Benzoyl peroxide can be drying and irritating, however, so anyone with mixed skin complaints or sensitivities should be careful with benzoyl peroxide products.
If things seem straightforward right now, it’s about to get more confusing – but you’re not in this by yourself. If you’re looking for guidance on what type of skin type you have, programs like French Pharmacy’s Beauty Buddy can help you evaluate your skin type and select the right products. This kind of guidance can be absolutely vital, especially if you have combination skin and need to juggle conflicting advice.
Despite what many people think, combination skin doesn’t only mean having an oily T zone and dry skin elsewhere on your face; dermatologists still consider that to be oily skin. No, combination skin can actually reflect and mix skin types and needs, such as oily skin and sensitive skin, normal skin and dry skin, or anything in between. Essentially, when your skin doesn’t seem to check one box, you’re dealing with a combination situation.
The good news about combination skin is that in most cases, hyaluronic acid is just what the situation calls for. That’s because hyaluronic acid hydrates without making skin greasy, won’t clog your pores, and can even minimize fine lines. Compared to many other skincare products, it’s also relatively gentle.
The Sensitive Set
Finally, we would be remiss to leave out those with sensitive skin when evaluating the different types. While those with sensitive skin may also demonstrate elements of other skin types from oily to dry, what’s most important about this group is its tendency to react dramatically to products. Those with sensitive skin may suffer redness, itching, and burning and should be careful to read all product labels.
The most important thing you do to address persistent irritation is to identify those ingredients that cause symptoms and eliminate them from your skincare routine. Each person with sensitive skin will have slightly different needs, but the best products are unscented and contain minimal ingredients. Simple, natural ingredients will put the least strain on your skin.
Our skin can change with age, with our stress levels, and even with the products we use, so it’s important to pay attention to how your skin responds to different conditions. Your skin deals with constant exposure to chemicals, dirt, sun, and air pollution. It deserves care tailored to its specific needs.