The world of skincare can be tricky at the best of times, but it can get even tougher if you’re not sure on your skin type. You might have that one BFF with gorgeous, glowing skin who swears by a generous slather of coconut oil every night (really?), but it doesn’t mean her magic formula is going to work wonders for you.
Much like our personalities, our skin types are unique to each and every one of us. After all, things would be super dull if we were all the same!
There are five main skin types, each with their own unique quirks. Our genetics, lifestyles and environment can also influence how our skin behaves (both good and bad!).
We obvs want to have perfect skin all the time—but it really rarely exists, even those seemingly blessed with a flawless glowy look suffer from a pimple or two now and then (or even a volcano type shape growing...), but that shouldn’t stop you from loving the skin you’re in. Once you understand your skin type, you can start building a killer skincare routine to achieve a happy and healthy glow—no Insta filter required. So, listen up!
If you’re lucky enough to have a normal skin type, you won’t notice any excess oil or dryness on your face. Breakouts very rarely happen, aside from an occasional blemish, likely around PMT time (or that date you’ve been excited about all week…).
Your skin will tolerate most beauty products and ingredients, but that doesn’t mean you should put it through its paces. To maintain a healthy balance, cleanse twice a day and use a gentle exfoliant once a week.
If you have an oily skin type, you’ll experience excess oil (aka ‘sebum’) on areas of your face. It’s usually noticeable on the ‘T-Zone’, which is made up of your forehead, nose, and chin - although it can appear anywhere for some. Your pores are also likely to appear enlarged, and acne breakouts are a common problem that you deal with.
We get it—it’s really tempting to try and banish these excess oils with harsh scrubs and cleansers, but did you know that this can have the opposite effect? Stripping away too much sebum can cause your skin to overcompensate and produce even more oil - ughh.
There’s no need to throw in the face towel just yet though. Oiliness can be controlled by using gentle, but powerful ingredients, such as kaolin clay or niacinamide. Salicylic acid is also fantastic for oily skin, although its best to use strong acids only once or twice per week. Understanding the acids you use is also important, so look out for our next Acid 101 which will break this down further.
If you have a dry skin type, you’ll experience dry, flaky, and irritated skin that can also feel tight and uncomfortable. You might find that it becomes worse with certain products, which can make it super difficult to find ingredients that work in harmony with your skin. Dry skin is typically caused by a weakening in your skin’s natural protective barrier, but it can also be caused by specific skin concerns like psoriasis and rosacea.
The good news is that you can support your skin’s natural defences by using products containing nourishing and hydrating ingredients, such as hyaluronic acid or ceramides. These will not only quench your skin with a boost of hydration but also prevent moisture loss by supporting your skin’s natural barrier to do what it does best. It’s like a cold glass of water for your skin!
As you can probably guess from the name, combination skin is a mix of both dry and oily patches on the face. If you’ve ever found yourself complaining about a breakout and itchy, dry skin at the same time, chances are you have a combination skin type.
Combination skin can be a tricky one to treat, although far from impossible! Your best bet is to use multiple products to help both the dry and oilier sections of your face. This can mean using a lightweight moisturizer on your T-Zone while applying a richer moisturizer to the dry patches of skin on your face. If you’re using chemical exfoliants, such as salicylic acid, make sure to avoid using them on the drier, more sensitive patches of skin.
If you have sensitive skin, you’ll typically experience redness, itching and irritation, especially after using skincare products. You’ll also know the very real struggle of trying to find a product that won’t cause your skin to flare up. Thankfully, calming ingredients such as liquorice root and chamomile are great at soothing and reducing inflammation caused by your sensitivities. Knowledge is power too, using the right combination of products which aren’t likely to react together will keep those pesky flare-ups at bay.
Be good to your skin...
Skin is living and changing all the time, and taking care of it now, will save you serious ££££ in the future! Knowing exactly what works with your skin (and what makes it tick), is essential for planning the perfect daily routine. Equipping yourself with a glow-boosting combo of skin saviours will not only give your skin a well-deserved treat but also give you the confidence to love the skin you’re in ♥.
And remember, whichever skin type you have—always use an SPF product as part of your routine to protect your skin from UV rays and pollution. UV ages your skin as well as damaging it, and we advise you to fake it, instead of baking!