Have you ever wished you looked younger? More energized? Clearer skin? A makeup application worthy of an Instagram close up? All of these are possible and begin with your skin. That’s why we are starting the new year with fresh faces and an in-depth skin care series. So let’s start with the basics and why it is important to understand your skin type. Question: Don’t I just wash my face, moisturize and spf? Answer: Yes and no. Your skin type actually has an effect on treatment options and outcomes, both over the counter and professionally. In the world of estheticians and dermatologists we are actually unable to perform certain procedures on specific types while other types will have the ideal results. This will also help you determine your everyday regimen and products. So let’s dive in to the basics!
What is your skin type?
Skin types include normal, oily, dry and sensitive. Some people also have what is referred to as combination, which is exactly like it sounds- a combination of skin types in different areas of their skin. Your skin type can also change over time, for better or for worse. For example, younger people are more likely to have a normal skin type than the older version of themselves.
Skin types vary depending upon a combination of factors. They include your skin’s:
- Water content, which affects your skin’s comfort and elasticity.
- Lipid (oil) content, which affects your skin’s softness and nutrition.
- Level of sensitivity, which affects your skin’s tolerance to certain substances.
Here’s what you need to know to help determine what skin type you have and how to take better care of your skin.
Normal skin type
If you have a normal skin type, you have skin that has a good balance and the right amounts of water and lipids. Normal skin has:
- No or few imperfections
- No severe sensitivity
- Barely visible pores
- A radiant complexion
Combination skin type
Combination skin type can be dry or normal in some areas, and oily in others, such as the T-zone. The T-zone is the nose, forehead, and chin area. A common skin type, combination skin may benefit from slightly different types of skin care in different areas.
Combination skin can produce:
- Overly dilated pores
- Shiny skin
This type of skin results from genetic or hormonal factors that cause an imbalance in how much and where lipids are produced. It can also vary, depending on the weather.
Dry skin type
Dry skin can produce:
- Almost invisible pores
- Dull, rough complexion
- Red patches
- Less elasticity
- More visible lines
When exposed to drying factors, skin can flake, crack, peel or become itchy, irritated or inflamed. If your skin is very dry, it can become rough and scaly, especially on the backs of your hands, arms, and legs.
Dry skin may be caused or worsened by:
- Ageing or changes in hormones
- Weather such as wind, sun, or cold or ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Basically think most extreme weather conditions.
- Indoor heating
- Long hot baths and showers
- Ingredients in soaps, cosmetics or cleaning agents
Here are some tips for taking better care of dry skin:
- Take shorter showers and baths, no more than once daily.
- Use mild, gentle soaps or cleansers. Avoid deodorant soaps.
- Don’t scrub while bathing or drying.
- Apply a rich moisturiser right after bathing. Ointments and creams may work better than lotions for dry skin. Reapply as needed throughout the day.
- Use a humidifier and don’t let indoor temperatures get too hot.
- Buy natural cleaning products.
- Wear gloves when using cleaning agents, solvents or household detergents.
See Deynece’s skin care routine and favorite products for dry skin here.
Oily skin type
Oily skin is more common in youth. It occurs when glands in the skin secrete too much oil (lipids). Oily skin can produce:
- Enlarged pores
- Dull or shiny, thick complexion
- Blackheads, spots or other blemishes
Oiliness can change, depending upon the time of year or the weather. Oily skin can be caused or worsened by:
- Puberty or other hormonal imbalances- thank you pregnancy for that adult onset acne!
- Exposure to heat or too much humidity
Here are some tips for taking better care of oily skin:
- Wash your skin no more than twice a day, and after you perspire heavily.
- Use a gentle cleanser and don’t scrub, I would highly recommend using an oil based cleanser.
- Don’t pick, pop or squeeze spots. This prolongs healing time and can cause scarring. It can also create skin sensitivity which we will discuss later.
- Use makeup products labelled as “noncomedogenic.” They don’t tend to clog pores.
- MOISTURIZE!!!! So many people think that they shouldn’t moisturize because they are oily but in fact that can be the reason they are oily.
Sensitive skin type
If your skin is sensitive, it’s helpful to find out why so you can stay away from things that make it react. You may have sensitive skin for a variety of reasons, but often in response to particular skin care products.
Sensitive skin can show up as:
These are a few of the most common reasons for sensitive skin:
Acne is from oil in the skin that clogs pores and allows for the overgrowth of skin bacteria. Treatment may include:
- Tea tree oil
- Benzoyl peroxide
- Salicylic acid (in topical treatment or chemical peel)
- Chemical Peels
Rosacea is a common skin condition with symptoms including flushing, pimples, and broken blood vessels. Treatment includes the use of antibiotic gels.
Contact dermatitis can be caused by allergens or irritants. If you’re allergic, your immune system makes antibodies against certain substances, causing a reaction. Allergies are real and not necessarily determined by the quality of product (although that does seems to be a factor in general cases) but when you consider there are people who are allergic to sunlight, water and their own blood it makes sense that even some of the best products that work great for all of your friends, could cause you to have an allergic reaction. A dermatologist can perform patch testing to see if you are allergic to a substance such as a fragrance or preservative. You can also be sensitive to irritants. It’s important to realise that even natural or organic ingredients, such as essential oils and fragrance, can cause reactions in sensitive skin.
The basics of skin care
These tips will help your skin stay healthier, no matter its type.
- Use a broad spectrum sunBLOCK that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Avoid direct sunlight and wear a hat and sunglasses.
- Drink lots of water to stay hydrated.
- Wash your skin thoroughly every day and please for the love of all that is holy never wear makeup to bed! For you new mamas I know it can be such a temptation. We feel like we have a major win by getting the makeup ON our face- who has the time (or energy) to remove it! I feel you on this! That’s why at the very least get some makeup remover wipes that you can keep near your bed. This isn’t ideal or should take the place of an actual washing but it is better than nothing.
- Moisturise your skin.
- Don’t smoke. Smoking may worsen acne scars, according to a new study presented at the British Association of Dermatologists’ Annual Conference.
I hope that covered the basics to begin this skin care series. If you are curious what skin type you have and what product we recommend we would be more than happy to give you some recommendations within your price point. Just shoot us an email or let us know down in the comments. It can be helpful to have a few close up pictures of your skin to help. Or if you are in an area near to either of us we can take a peek in person!
Join us as the skin care series continues while we discuss the Fitzpatrick scale, microdermabrasion, chemical peels, laser treatments, masks, at-home solutions and more!
**This was a guest post by Deux Bella.
About the Deux Bella
Melissa & Deynece are two best friends who now live 2500 miles away from each other. One of the ways they have stayed connected is sharing their love of all things beauty, style, home, travel and life. Between the two of them, they have over 20 years of experience in the beauty & esthetic industry. Deynece is currently a national artist and trainer for Bobbi Brown cosmetics. She loves traveling with her job and teaching women all over the country as well as working at various events including New York Fashion Week. Melissa is a master esthetician, makeup artist and psychotherapist (her love of beauty helped finance her education) who is currently practicing the art of being a WAHM (work at home mom) and learning to balance. They have 2 husbands, 2 fur babies and 3 kids between the two of them! So they understand that a beautiful life is not just skin deep. Their goal is to share their knowledge and the tips and tricks they have learned (and continue to learn)during their many years in their professions. They want to help others as well as themselves, in creating a beautiful life and recognize that this looks different for everyone. Most importantly they want to build connections with other like minded women and foster a community of living life beautiFULLY! Follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram.