One of the most overlooked steps of skincare routines is actually checking to see what kind of skin type you have. Generally, skin types are categorized into normal, dry, oily, combination, acne-prone and sensitive – but skin type is also prone to changing with age and even the seasons. Skin type can go from oily to dry or dry to oily depending on a variety of lifestyle factors, as well as changes in environment and age. By checking your skin type regularly, you’re better informed to achieve optimal skin health and a radiant complexion with the right kind of daily care.
How to determine your skin type
The easiest way to determine your skin type is to take a regular blotting paper, and gently pat your whole face with it. If It has picked up little to no oil, then your skin type is most likely dry. If it comes away oily and translucent on certain areas of your face such as your T-zone, then your skin type is normal or combination. If the blotting paper shows noticeable grease from every part of your face, then your skin type is likely oily, therefore also more acne prone.
If you don’t have blotting paper at hand, then grab a mirror and take a look at your pores. Combination skin types will tend to notice pores that are larger around the nose, yet small and unnoticeable on the cheeks and other areas, whereas normal skin types will have barely visible pores. Oily skin types will have enlarged pores all over the face that are often clogged with sweat and oils.
Another way to determine skin type is to first wash your face with a gentle cleanser and lukewarm water, and leave face bare for a few minutes. Dry skin types will feel their facial skin tightening up to the point of discomfort, as the skin becomes dehydrated more quickly. Normal skin types will feel nice and clean, with only a little moisturizer required. If the skin turns red, itchy or irritated in reaction to the cleanser, you most likely have sensitive skin.
If you are prone to frequent breakouts, then you likely have acne-prone skin. Acne-prone skin types can stem from oily or dry skin, and special care is needed to help minimize skin trauma.
How to care for different skin types at home
Dry skin types can experience skin tightness and noticeable flaking as the day wears on. It’s largely due to genetics, but can also be caused by hormonal changes, climate, and the most prevailing factor of them all – dehydration. Apart from drinking plenty of water, those with dry skin should consider keeping humidifiers in the house to boost moisture content in the air. Avoid stripping off too much oil from the skin by using a gentle cleanser with lukewarm water, followed by a good moisturizer and a facial oil to lock in hydration.
Our home skincare tip: Look for products that use vitamin A derivatives such as retinol, antioxidant ingredients such as vitamin C and hyaluronic acid, and emollients such as squalene. Remember to exfoliate regularly with gentle and non-abrasive ingredients so your skin will absorb serums more easily!
When sebaceous glands produce excess sebum (an oily substance made of fats), this can lead to oily skin – and even clogged pores and acne. Often, overactive sebaceous glands are the root cause of whiteheads and blackheads, which appear when sebum traps dirt and dead skin in the hair follicles. On the plus side, oily skin types tend to age much better, as sebum can form a protective barrier on the skin and keep it smooth and moist for longer!
Our home skincare tip: Focus on preventing breakouts. Remember to cleanse your face regularly, especially after excessive sweating. Use a gentle exfoliator daily to polish away the uppermost layers of dead skin to prevent the buildup of sebum in pores.
Typically, combination skin types are oily on the nose, chin, and forehead areas (aka the T-zone), and dryer on the cheeks. Those with combination skin might notice that the T-zone in particular is more prone to breakouts, or that pores are enlarged on the nose.
Our home skincare tip: Use a gel-like moisturizer all over the face, and simply switch to a richer cream if your cheeks feel too dry. Gel-like textures of moisturizer are easier to absorb into the skin and are less likely to cause breakouts.
The skin type that requires the least effort in maintenance, normal skin boasts the ideal balance and texture with little to no imperfections. Normal skin types are neither dry nor too oily, and don’t require much special care.
Our home skincare tip: If you’ve been blessed with a normal skin type, it still doesn’t exempt you from keeping a good skincare routine at home! Maintenance is key – including daily facial cleansing, and plenty of sun protection with SPF30 or higher to reduce the effects of photoaging.
Those who are prone to frequent acne breakouts have pores that tend to clog more easily. While oily skin is commonly linked to acne, dry skin can just as well be the cause for breakouts due to the skin’s overcompensation of oil to make up for lack of water.
Our home skincare tip: Focus on firstly, restoring balance in the sebaceous glands, and secondly, killing off acne-causing bacteria. Consider trying LED Light Phototherapy, which is a popular non-invasive treatment that does both. The clinically proven blue light frequency kills the P. acnes bacteria that causes breakouts to occur, while restoring balance of sebaceous activity deep below the skin surface.
The biggest indicator of sensitive skin is if it’s prone to redness and inflammation. Sensitive skin is much more delicate than normal skin types, and can exhibit symptoms like heat, roughness, tingling, and tightness when exposed to common irritants.
Our home skincare tip: Opt for fragrance-free, low-pH products that are rid of aggressive stimuli, and avoid harsh exfoliants such as scrubs and beads that can tear delicate skin. When cleansing, use a soft microfiber cloth or konjac sponge, and always use a gentle, non-foaming cleanser.
Related: Best Skincare through the Ages
Skin type can change over time. As we age, our skin becomes thinner, less luminous, and more easily dehydrated – making it more susceptible to environmental damage. The regenerative healing power of our skin also weakens over time, making it our duty to restore glow at a cellular level through deep-reaching energy facials.
In the end, we are all unique individuals with different needs – and so is our skin. Customize a skin ritual that works best for your skin, and listen to your body as it changes over time!