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How to Know My Skin Type?

An important part of determining the appropriate cleanser for your face is knowing your skin type. You may think it easy to tell, but unless your skin exhibits a specific type to an extreme you might be surprised at what type you actually have. Luckily, there are two simple tests you can use to make a definitive determination.

Bare-Faced Method

Start by cleansing your face with a mild cleanser then pat dry. Then, as the name suggests, leave your skin bare for approximately 30 minutes, adding other products will render the test moot. After 30 minutes has passed, closely examine your cheeks, chin, nose, and forehead for any shininess or oil. Repeat this process one more time, waiting 30 minutes and then examining your face again.

 

If your entire face is still oily and shiny after the combined 60 minutes, you likely have oily skin. However, if your face feels particularly tight or dry, especially when you make facial expressions, you most likely suffer from dry skin. And finally, if there is minimal shine on your nose, forehead, or other limited areas of your face, you probably have normal skin. Oily patches on some areas of your face, however, would indicate that you have combination skin. Although this method takes some time and careful evaluation, you will be able to clearly see how your skin behaves in its natural state.

Blotting Sheet Method

If you are crunched for time, or just don’t have the patience to wait around, you can gently pat a blotting sheet on the different areas of your face, examining the sheet between each by holding it up to a light. If the sheet is saturated with oil regardless of where it was blotted, you presumably have oily skin. Little to no presence of oil on the sheet could mean you have dry skin. While picking up some oil in certain areas may mean you have normal or combination skin.

 

Once you have a handle on your skin type, you will be better equipped to select the right cleanser for your skin. Whether it is a gel cleanser or foaming face wash, the goal is to provide your skin with a thorough wash that will leave it clean and ready for the next steps of your routine. But it is up to you to determine what the best regimen for your skin looks like and the products you will incorporate. If you have questions or trouble deciding, reach out to your esthetician for guidance.

 

DRY SKIN

Dry skin can feel tight throughout the day, and may experience noticeable flaking. Dry skin is largely due to genetics, environmental factors such as lifestyle & diet, hormonal changes, and climate. Dehydration is also a leading cause of dry skin, so drinking plenty of water and avoiding diuretics like alcohol and caffeine can make a significant difference in how your skin feels and looks.

Daily exfoliation with gentle, non-abrasive ingredients help promote skin cell turnover without removing skin’s natural oils. Without an additional layer of dead skin, serums and treatments will be absorbed more easily. The best moisturizers for dry skin are those containing hyaluronic acid (often listed as sodium hyaluronate in ingredients), glycerin, and marine actives like algae, because of their ability to attract water and deliver it directly to skin cells. Emollients, including squalane and camellia oil, help smooth and hydrate your skin evenly and effectively.

 

NORMAL/COMBINATION SKIN

  
People with normal/combination skin often experience dryness on the cheeks, making it important to find a moisturizer that is not too heavy but one substantial enough to retain moisture where needed most. Those with normal skin are not prone to breakouts on their cheeks, and tend to have a well-moisturized t-zone. Gentle, daily exfoliation is also important to keep the t-zone and cheek areas balances. Moisturizers with a gel-like texture are absorbed more quickly and less likely to cause breakouts. Start with a small amount and increase as needed to avoid over-moisturizing and stressing the skin.

 

OILY SKIN

Excess oil can oftentimes leave pores congested and clogged. The happy news however is that oily skin looks younger and more supple because it has more natural moisture and is less prone to wrinkle. Daily enzymatic exfoliation is essential to promote cell turnover and prevent sebum buildup in pores. A gentle physical exfoliator (that does not use abrasives such as crushed nuts or seeds that can cause tiny tears in the dermis) is also useful for balancing the tone and texture of your skin.

Oilier skin is also prone to PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), a condition which leaves dark spots on the skin after a breakout has healed. Exfoliation will also help lighten these dark spots by polishing away the uppermost layers of skin and revealing new cells. Those with moderate to severe acneic breakouts should consider using an exfoliator that includes anti-bacterial ingredients to speed healing and prevent future blemishes.

 

SENSITIVE SKIN

Managing sensitive skin can be challenging, as it takes considerable time and effort to determine which ingredients cause inflammation and irritation. To make this process easier, introduce only one new formula or product at a time. This rule applies to both skincare and cosmetics. Patch testing a new formula on your inner forearm is an excellent way to minimize potential reactions on the face. If your skin shows no sign of flaring up, apply the formula to the area behind one of your ears before using it on your face.

Look for labels that identify formulas as non-irritating and non-sensitizing and free of parabens, synthetic fragrances, mineral oil, sulfate detergents, phthalates, urea, DEA or TEA, as these ingredients can result in redness and itchiness.