If you've ever invested in a promising skincare product only to have it aggravate your skin, then you know the frustration. You’ve spent your hard-earned cash on something that's working against you instead of for you. And when the skincare options available today feel endless and overwhelming, it's no wonder why people throw in the towel and give up on their healthy skin goals.
But it doesn't have to be that way. My team and I are here to partner with you in achieving healthy, balanced skin. Together, I'm confident that we'll be able to build the routine that works best for you. And it all starts with figuring out your skin type.
Get To Know Your Skin
Significant results from your skincare routine depend upon choosing the right skincare products for your skin type. But first, you need to get to know your skin. Discovering your skin type isn't a one-time event. Your skin will behave differently over time as you age, from one climate to the next with traveling, and often with every shift in your hormones. Staying in tune with your skin's needs will allow you to adjust your plan along the way. Before long, you'll become an expert in the ever-changing fluctuations in the condition of your unique skin.
What's Your Skin Type?
If understanding your skin type is the key to choosing the right skincare products for you, then how do you figure out what your skin type is? While skin types can be divided and subdivided in a multitude of ways, let's keep it simple. I’ll review the five main skin types, their most common symptoms, and how to focus your unique skin care approach.
Normal Skin Type
Even, well-balanced skin that isn't overly oily or overly dry is what we refer to as "normal" skin. This type of skin exhibits little to no blemishes or signs of irritation.
- Focus: Prevent and protect. While normal skin might seem to require little care, it's essential to focus on both prevention and protection with your skincare routine. Normal skin can tend to show signs of age sooner than some skin types. Choosing anti-aging products that maintain your healthy balance while also nourishing your skin with protective antioxidants and hydrating moisturizers is your best bet. A daily SPF is also essential for keeping your radiant complexion over time. Sorella's Quench & Protect Hydrating SPF 30 is an excellent choice for a daily moisturizing sunscreen that gives your skin a dewy finish.
Oily Skin Type
You know you've got oily skin when that ever-present shine just won't let up and you struggle to keep your makeup in place. Blotting your skin throughout the day might help keep the shine down, but it doesn't solve the problem. Excess oil on your face quickly leads to clogged pores, blackheads, whiteheads, and acne-prone skin. Each of these issues may need to be addressed separately. First, it's important to make sure that your oily skin isn't dehydrated. While that might seem like a contradiction, it's not uncommon for dehydrated skin to over-produce sebum in an attempt to find balance.
- Focus: Oil-control and gentle exfoliation. If you're drinking plenty of water and keeping your skin hydrated with a quality oil-free gel hydrator, the next step is to address oiliness. Facial serums, such as Sorella's Main Squeeze Hydrating Serum, work to maintain both moisture and balance in your skin without the greasy texture. Oil-absorbing clay masks, such as Face Reality's new Soothing Clay Mask and BiON's Green Tea Clay Poultice, will help to draw impurities from the skin. For an exfoliant, a studio favorite is Face Reality's Mandelic Scrub. This product will gently lift dead skin cells and debris from the surface of your skin, helping to clear your skin while also fading acne scars.
Dry Skin Type
If your skin looks dull or rough, possibly with red patches or visible fine lines, you’re likely a dry skin type. Skin that feels tight when you smile, or perhaps itchy and flaky, is skin that is trying to tell you something. It could be that your sebaceous glands have slowed down oil production with age and your skin needs a little help to achieve balance. Dry skin is more susceptible to environmental damage than any other skin type because of its weakened skin barrier. Without proper moisture levels, your skin cannot adequately defend itself against sun damage.
- Focus: Hydrate inside and out. Rule number one for a healthy body is drinking enough water. The same rule applies to skin, our largest organ. Many health issues, as well as skin troubles, can be resolved by simply making sure that we have sufficient water intake. Cutting back on diuretics, such as alcohol and coffee (sorry, but it's true!), will help increase your hydration levels overall. Note: Dry skin and dehydrated skin are not the same things. Dry skin lacks oil, while dehydrated skin lacks water. Once you know you have your inner hydration taken care of, you can address your skin's hydration from the outside. Hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate), glycerin, and marine-derived algae (for those who aren't acne-prone) deliver hydration straight to your skin cells. For added hydration, try a moisturizing sleep mask such as Face Reality's HydraCalm.
Combination Skin Type
Skin that shows signs of both oiliness and dryness is appropriately labeled "combination" skin. This skin type may present an oily t-zone (forehead, nose, chin) area and normal-to-dry on your cheeks and jawline. The reason for this common combination is the fact that there are more oil glands in the center of the face than in the outer areas. Your skin may have pores that look larger. You may also deal with blackheads, pimples, and a shiny face at times.
- Focus: Balance and spot treatment. Choosing the right moisturizer for your combination skin will go a long way in helping you find balance. Gel hydrators are great for this reason. Le Mieux's Hyaluronic Serum and Face Reality's Hydrabalance are both excellent choices for hydration that feels both light and moisturizing on your skin. If you have dry areas outside of your t-zone, you can spot treat those areas with an additional moisturizer such as Sorella's Daily Greens.
Sensitive Skin Type
Any skin type can present with signs of sensitivity. The wrong skincare ingredient can quickly set off even healthy skin into a downward spiral of irritation and breakouts. Chronically sensitive skin types are characterized by skin that's easily irritated, inflamed, itchy, dry, or flushed. This skin type also includes those who suffer from skin conditions such as eczema and rosacea. Sensitive skin will often present as red, uneven, and bumpy.
- Focus: Proceed with caution. You cannot be too careful with your sensitive skin. As perhaps you've already discovered, testing out a new product on your skin for the first time can result in burning and inflammation. It's vitally important to test out all new skincare products (including makeup) with a patch test prior to use on your entire face. Exfoliating products, in particular, can easily exacerbate sensitive skin. Apply a new product to your inner forearm, behind your ear, or along your jawline, and then watch for signs of a reaction for the next 24 hours. Also watch out for products containing sensitizing ingredients such as fragrances, dyes, sulfates, parabens, and essential oils. For inflammation-reducing skincare that’s free of common irritants, many of my clients love Hale & Hush products.
Will The Real Skin Type Please Come Forward?
Your skin type can change over time. Generally, younger folks exhibit more oily skin as this is when the oil glands are most active. With age, your skin tends to show signs of maturity as oil and collagen production slows down. While you may have pinpointed your current skin type, it's important to note that a skin type is not a static condition. In addition to genetics, other influencers of skin type are climate, hormones, prescription drugs, food sensitivities, and improper skincare products. Variations in any of these factors can lead to a change in your skin's needs and will often mask your true skin type.
If you’re still unsure about what your skin type is, try this simple skin type test known as The Bare-Faced Method:
- Cleanse your face with a gentle cleanser and pat dry.
- Do not apply any additional products to your skin.
- After 1 hour, take a close look at your skin. Does your skin feel tight? Is it oily and shiny? Or does it appear dry and perhaps flaky? Follow the chart below to discover the results of your skin type test.
Want Help Choosing The Right Products For Your Skin Type?
I understand how confusing the skincare world can be. Your skin is unique and deserves individual attention. My team and I are here to help you tailor your skincare routine and lifestyle to your specific needs, goals, and interests. I recommend scheduling an online consultation with one of our skincare experts to receive a complete personalized skincare routine with suggestions for both products and lifestyle adjustments. Most AOS clients do this once each season.
An effective skincare routine begins with the right gentle cleanser. To choose the right cleanser for you, check out our learn page on The Best Face Cleansers For Your Skin Type And Concerns.