Every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed, you should spend a few minutes taking care of your skin. But first things first: You need to figure out what kind of skin you have. (If you’re not sure, read the next section.)
Once you know how to identify your skin type, it’s easier to choose skincare products that work for your individual needs. From cleansers and moisturizers to sunscreens and anti-aging products, knowing whether your skin is dry, oily, or somewhere in between will help you determine which products will work best for your complexion.
Factors That Determine Your Skin Type
As you age, you lose the natural moisture in your skin, especially if you’re exposed to sunlight frequently. This leads to drier-looking and feeling skin.
Your environment can also determine the kind of skin you have. For instance, if you live in a humid area, your pores will become larger and produce more oil than usual. While if you live in a dry area, your skin is going to be drier than usual.
The skin type you have is dependent on your genes. If both of your parents have oily skin, then most likely you are going to inherit this skin type from them.
Another factor that determines the type of skin you have is the fluctuation of hormones in your body. This is common during pregnancy and menopause when women experience increased oil production in their skin which results in acne breakouts.
Dehydration occurs when our bodies don’t have enough water, causing our skin to become dry, dull, and less elastic. The best way to prevent dehydration is to drink plenty of water throughout the day, as well as add hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid into your skincare regimen.
Do you drink enough water? Do you smoke? How much time do you spend outdoors? What about the quality of your diet, or the amount of sleep you get each night, are you stressed? All of these lifestyle factors contribute to how your skin looks and feels.
5 Different Types of Skin – How to Identify Skin Type
Different skin types and different skin problems require different treatments. Here are five types of skin, along with the appropriate treatments for each.
Normal skin is generally well-balanced, it’s neither too oily nor too dry. The classic example of normal skin is that of a young child: smooth, soft, and blemish-free.
People with this type of skin experience few if any, imperfections or irritations and have a healthy glow.
Characteristics of normal skin
- Normal skin is pliable and resilient.
- It has a smooth surface, uniform color, and adequate distribution of melanin in the epidermis.
- The pores are small and not easily visible.
- The sebaceous glands are moderately active and the sweat glands are active but not hyperactive.
- Normal skin does not show signs of aging such as wrinkles, freckles, or age spots.
If this is what your skin looks like (and how it feels), feel lucky: normal skin is generally easy to keep healthy through simple cleansing and moisturizing. You may want to try an exfoliant once a week or so, just make sure not to overdo it.
Dry skin lacks moisture and can often feel itchy. It is often prone to flaking and redness. Dry areas of the face can become irritated more easily than other areas.
A lack of natural oils in the epidermis causes dry skin that can also show signs of cracking or peeling. Using moisturizers designed for dry skin can help restore hydration.
Characteristics of dry skin
- Your skin feels tight, especially after showering or bathing
- You have rough patches on your skin
- You have flaky or scaly skin
- Your skin feels rough
- You have a dull complexion
Dry skin needs extra moisture, so apply a good quality moisturizer after cleansing and use gentle products that won’t strip the natural oils from your face.
Oily skin is usually shiny and thick. Pores are noticeable on the nose and forehead and maybe blackheads (small bumps filled with oil). Oily skin tends to be prone to blemishes and breakouts and can have visible shine even after washing.
Oily skin results from overactive oil glands, which produce large amounts of sebum (oil). This type of skin is shiny and thick and can have large pores and an increased risk of acne breakouts, blackheads, or pimples. Oily-skin products should be gentle but effective at removing excess oils — they should not strip the face completely bare.
Characteristics of oily skin
- Oily skin is the result of overactive sebaceous glands, which are producing an excess amount of sebum.
- In most cases, this excess oil is a result of hormonal changes, not diet or lifestyle.
- Oily skin can appear shiny and greasy and feel heavy and thick.
- Oily skin is prone to blackheads, pimples, and other acne problems.
If your skin tends to be shiny, feels greasy, and has large pores then you may have oily skin. It’s important not to strip oily skin of its natural oils as it can produce more oil in response. Instead, choose oil-free moisturizers and cleansers that are designed for oily skin.
Sensitive skin is easily irritated, leading to redness and itching often accompanied by a burning sensation.
This can be caused by a variety of factors, including climate, lifestyle choices, and even genetics. If you have sensitive skin, you’ll notice that your face can get red easily, especially after using certain products. When you put moisturizer on your face or when someone touches your face, it feels painful or itchy.
Sensitive skin characteristics
- Itching or burning easily
- Redness, flushing, and other forms of irritation
- Severe reactions such as hives, rashes, and swelling
- Dryness and cracking can lead to bleeding
- Reactions from exposure to the sun such as sunburns and Premature aging of the skin.
If you have sensitive skin, it’s important to avoid products with harsh chemicals, fragrances, and alcohol that can cause even more irritation. Instead look for all-natural products with calming ingredients like aloe, chamomile, and lavender.
Combination skin is a mix of both dry and oily areas, typically having more oil production in the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). This can cause your forehead and nose to be shiny while your cheeks are flaky and dry.
Characteristics of combination skin
- It is a shiny T-zone. It might be more evident in some people than in others, but it is always there. The T-zone spans the forehead, nose, and chin.
- There is dryness around the cheeks, mouth, and eyes. These areas are also known as the U-zone.
- It has large pores on the T-zone. The pores in this area are enlarged due to excess oil production.
- There are blackheads and whiteheads on the T-zone.
If this sounds like your skin, look for products geared towards oily areas as well as moisturizing treatments for dry spots.