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Different Skin Types and Tips to Improve Your Skincare Routine
Disclosure: I am not mediacl doctor. All the information shared in this post comes from reading different scientific articles and my own experience. If you have doubts about what is the best treatment for your skin, consult with your doctor.
In the previous post about the skin, we discussed about skin, its structure and its functions. In this post, we are going to touch on a more practical topic about the skin, the different skin types. We will see how to identify your skin type and the characteristics and care tips for each type.
Different Skin Types
Several factors are influencing the skin type such as genetic factors, weather location one lives, medication and diet among others. The main skin types are:
Normal skin. It is soft skin, with small pores and pink colour. It is equilibrated skin that does not react negatively to products.
Dry skin. Dry skin suffers from a lack of sebum and hydration and, consequently, it is rough, flaky, and tight skin. It can be itchy sometimes.
Oily skin. This skin type can be the consequence of genetic factors, stress or hormonal imbalance. It has a bright appearance caused by excessive sebum production. The pores are normally opened and blackheads and acne can appear.
Combination skin. It has the characteristic of dry and oily skin due to non-homogeneous distribution of sebaceous glands. The so-called T-area (forehead, nose, and chin) is oil whereas cheeks are normally dry.
Sensitive skin. It is fragile skin, it can frequently present discomfort as tightness, redness, or itching. It can be easily irritated by new cosmetics and can present roughness. This skin type requires a lot of care.
How can I identify my skin type?
If Simple reading the characteristics of each skin type does not tell you which type of skin you have, there is an easy and quick test can do at home to understand your skin type.
- Deeply cleanse your face, carefully removing all makeup and impurities.
- Pat-dry your face with a soft towel or cloth.
- Do not apply any product on your skin for at least one hour.
- After one hour, check how your skin feels and look for those feelings in the following table.
After washing my face and wait 1 hour…..
My skin is shiny, especially the T-area
My skin feels tight, is flaky or scaly
My skin is oily in the T-area but normal in the cheeks
My skin is hydrated and comfortable, but not oily
Sometimes my skin is red and irritates easily
There is a second method to identify your skin type. Gently pat blotting paper on the different areas of your face. Hold the sheet up to the light to determine how much oil is visible. If the sheet picked up little to no oil, you most likely have dry skin. If the paper reveals oil from the forehead and nose areas, your skin is normal/combination. If the paper shows oil in every area, you may have oily skin.
You should know your skin type because it is the only way to choose the right products for your skin.
Now that you know your type, let’s dive deeper into each one. We are going to see the main characteristics of each skin type, why skin presents these characteristics, and I will give you skincare tips and some advice on how to exfoliate it.
Normal Skin refers to a skin that has a good equilibrium, sebum is homogeneously distributed and is not produced in excess. Normal skin is the skin type that requires little care.
Characteristics of normal skin
- Small pores
- Good blood circulation
- Soft and smooth texture
- Soft pink colour
- It is not sensitive
How to care for normal skin
- Clean your face twice a day, morning and night
- Exfoliate your skin twice per week to remove impurities and dead cells
- Use moisturising products
- Use a specific cream for the eyes area
How to exfoliate normal skin
You can exfoliate your skin using exfoliating gloves, sponges, or brushes with soft and circular movements. You can make a chemical exfoliation but the product shouldn’t stay a long time in contact with the skin.
Always apply a moisturising cream after exfoliation.
People with dry skin have a reduced sebum production and hence, there is not enough lipid that helps to retain moisture and the skin barrier gets damaged. Dry skin tends to show signs of ageing like fine lines and wrinkles earlier than other skin types.
Characteristics of Dry Skin
- Flaky and rough skin
- Uneven texture
- The skin feels tight
How to care for dry skin
- Drink at least two litres of water to hydrate your skin from inside
- Use sunscreens, hydrating serums and moisturising creams
- Avoid products containing alcohol and sulphates
- Avoid the use of very hot water
How to exfoliate dry skin
People with dry skin should avoid mechanical exfoliation as exfoliating brushes, gloves, or sponges. You can use a physical scrub with a small particle size if you don’t use it frequently.
The better way to exfoliate dry skin is with chemical or enzymatic exfoliation. The ideal way is to use AHA, mainly glycolic acid. You will find information about how to use AHA in my post “What you need to know to exfoliate your skin“.
As against the dry skin, oily skin has overproduction of sebum. That can be due to different reasons such as genetic factors, hormonal imbalance, stress, medication, etc. The good news is that signs of ageing will appear later compared with other skin types.
Characteristics of Oily Skin
- Greasy appearance
- Big and open pores
- The skin is prone to breakouts
How to care for oily skin
- Use antibacterial products to clean your face
- Avoid oil-based cleansers
- Wash your face twice a day to avoid sebum accumulation
- Use products containing activated charcoal
- Avoid rubbing the skin, this will increase sebum production
How to exfoliate oily skin
The better exfoliation method for oily skin is mechanical exfoliation. You can use brushes, sponges, gloves, or scrubs with any particle size.
Avoid the use of AHA but BHA and PHA, like salicylic acid, lactobionic acid, or gluconolactone, are highly recommended.
People with combination skin have areas where skin is dry and areas where the skin is oily. Normally the T-area (forehead, nose and chin) is oily whereas the cheeks used to be dry.
Characteristics of Combination Skin
- Oily T-zone and dry cheeks
- Big and open pores in the T-zone
- Sensitive cheeks
How to care for combination skin
- Avoid products containing alcohol
- Don’t use a product for oily skin all over the face
- Wash your skin twice a day
- Use lukewarm water to wash your skin
- Use products indicated for combination skin
How to exfoliates combination skin
As combination skin has both oily and dry areas and the better way of exfoliating it is to alternate between physical and chemical exfoliation methods. Never use both types of exfoliation on the same day.
Many people are affected by sensitive skin. It is not a medical condition. Sensitive skin is a skin type that is more prone to inflammation or adverse reactions. People with sensitive skin may have strong reactions to chemicals, dyes, new skincare products and fragrances.
Characteristics of Sensitive skin
- The skin feels itchy and tight
- The skin becomes oily in summer and dry in winter
- The skin reacts to skincare products
- Becomes red after a hot water bath
How to care for Sensitive Skin
- Avoid the use of products with fragrances
- Always use sunscreen
- Pat-dry your skin after washing with a soft towel
- Use milk cleanser or micellar water as a makeup remover
- Use lightweight texture product
How to exfoliate sensitive skin
People with sensitive skin should be very careful with the products they apply as some products can cause irritation. I am not going to recommend any exfoliation method for people with this skin type as I am not a medical doctor. The best choice is to ask your dermatologist or pharmacist.
|Some of the tools you can use for a mechanical exfoliation|
Irrespective of your skin type, there are few common recommendations you should follow for healthy skin.
- Never go to bed with makeup on
- Wash your face at least once a day
- Have a skincare routine consisting of at least two-step: washing and moisturising
- Always use sunscreen, even on winter or cloudy days
- Hydrate your skin from inside by drinking plenty of water.
In the next post about the skin, we will see the most common skin concerns and problems. We will discuss what the problems are and how to avoid or deal with them. If you don’t want to miss any post and want to be the first to know when a new post is published, subscribe to the mailing list.