Did you know that every skin type reacts differently to each ingredient? Commercial products made for the entire population may not really be the best bet for your skin! Which is why knowing your unique skin type is extremely essential for your skincare.
Let’s take a look at how to determine your skin type.
What Are The Different Skin Types?
1. Normal skin
Normal skin is neither too oily nor too dry. It has balanced sebum production and good blood circulation.
2. Oily skin
Oily skin is characterized by a greasy appearance. This skin type is prone to acne breakouts. Oily skin is the result of excess sebum production.
3. Dry skin
Dry skin is determined by flaky and rough texture. It can at times feel tight and cause irritation.
4. Combination skin
Combination skin is a mix of oily skin and dry skin. Usually in combination skin types, the T-zone is oily and the cheeks are dry.
5. Sensitive skin
If your skin flushes with spicy food and adversely reacts to new products, you may have sensitive skin.
How To Determine Your Skin Type?
1. The Blotting Sheet Method
Take a sheet of blotting paper and gently pat it on your face. Hold it against a bright light. If you see little to no oil, you likely have dry skin. If the sheet picks up some oil from the T-zone, you have a combination or normal skin. If it picks up oil from all parts of your face, you likely have oily skin.
2. The Bare-Faced Method
Cleanse your skin with a mild cleanser and pat dry gently. Leave it bare (without applying any product) for half an hour and then check your cheeks, nose, forehead for any shine. After another half an hour, notice whether your skin looks parched on any facial movement or smile. If your skin feels tight, you are likely to have dry skin while if it's shiny on the nose and forehead, you have combination skin. If your cheeks, nose and forehead appear shiny, you have oily skin.
How To Identify Each Skin Type And Take Care Of Them?
Normal skin type
1. What is normal skin?
Normal skin is also called eudermic. This means it is well-balanced. It is neither too oily nor too dry. Normal skin tends to have balanced pH levels and sebum production.
2. How can you identify normal skin?
- Smooth texture
- Fine pores
- No sensitivity
- No blemishes
- Few or no breakouts
- Radiant complexion
3. How to take care of normal skin?
It’s as simple as this - if you don’t have diabetes, will you take insulin? However, that doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to binge on high carbs and your favorite chocolates every night while watching TV shows.
Your skin needs to be taken care of too. If you have normal skin, you don’t have to go all out with a skincare routine. However, you should make it a point to stay healthy, hydrated and follow a basic skincare regimen.
4. If you have normal skin, these steps will help maintain it:
a. Stay hydrated
If you don’t drink enough water throughout the day, your skin may dry up and start getting flaky. It can also lead to excess sebum production.
b. Wear sunscreen
Sunscreen is a must for overall skin health maintenance. Direct sun exposure can dry up your skin, cause wrinkles and dark patches. An oil-free sunscreen is recommended to avoid clogging skin pores.
Moisturizers are a must for any skin type. They keep the skin moist and prevent it from overproducing sebum.
d. Remove your makeup before sleeping
Makeup can clog pores and lead to breakouts. You want to avoid that by taking it off after a long day.
e. Wash/Cleanse your face before sleeping
Even if you don’t wear makeup, wash your face every night before you sleep. Dirt and bacteria from outside can clog pores.
Oily skin type
Oily skin is primarily a result of excessive sebum production. This type of skin has excess oil secretion and is mostly shiny, sweaty, and more prone to suffer from acne, blackheads, etc.
1. How can you identify oily skin?
- Greasy appearance
- Open/Big pores
- Prone to breakouts
- Blackheads, other blemishes, etc.
2. What causes oily skin?
a. Hormonal changes
Hormonal imbalances during puberty or pregnancy can result in oily skin.
Where you live and the time of the year can contribute to oily skin. If you live in a humid or hot environment, it is likely to result in oily skin.
Look around you. Do your immediate family members have oily skin? If the answer is yes, you most likely have it too!
d. Large pores 
Large pores tend to produce more sebum.
e. Exfoliating too much/Using harsh soaps
Sometimes, what you think is contributing to glowing skin may actually be the cause of diminishing skin health. Exfoliating too much or too hard can stimulate sebum production. Using harsh chemicals, not suitable for your skin type can also contribute to oily skin.
3. Tips for oily skin:
a. Moisturize regularly
Moisturizing regularly will keep your skin hydrated and prevent it from overproducing sebum. Choosing the right moisturizer is important. A lotion-based, lightweight moisturizer is advised for oily skin types.
b. Stay hydrated
Drink enough water to keep your skin moist. This will prevent your skin from producing excess oil.
c. Wash your face twice a day
Wash your face two times a day to remove dirt and bacteria that may clog your pores. Don’t overwash. Overwashing can remove necessary oils from your skin. This can result in sensitive skin and make it more oil-prone.
d. Makeup Regime
Avoid using chemical-laden, thick skincare products and ingredients. Instead look for non-comedogenic makeup products that won’t clog pores. Also, use gentle cleansers and don't scrub. Make sure you remove all your makeup residue before hitting the bed.
e. Avoid touching your face constantly
If you have an oily skin type, breakouts and blemishes now and then are nothing new. However, you must avoid popping or picking any pimples to prevent further spreading.
Dry skin type
A lack of moisture in the skin can result in a flaky and rough appearance. This is called dry skin. Dry skin tends to produce less oil and lacks vitality. This type of skin is exposed to dryness and is vulnerable to weather changes.
1. How can you identify dry skin?
- Flaky and rough skin
- Uneven texture
- Skin feels tight
- More visible lines
- Less elasticity in skin
2. What causes dry skin?
If most of your family members have dry skin, you are likely to have it too.
Dry skin is more common in dry climates and in the winter season due to lack of humidity.
c. Long showers
If you spend long hours in the shower, it can rip your skin of its necessary oils. This contributes to dry skin.
As you grow older, sebum production in your skin reduces. This can result in flaky skin.
Sometimes ingredients in soaps, cosmetics, or other skin care products you use can make your skin dry. Always use mild, gentle soaps, cleansers and avoid deodorant soaps.
3. Tips for dry skin
a. Moisturize your skin regularly right after bathing to keep it soft and hydrated.
b. Don’t spend too much time in the shower. Take shorter showers, not more than twice daily.
c. Pat your skin gently while drying yourself up. Don't scrub while bathing or drying.
d. Drink lots of water to keep your skin hydrated.
e. Use a humidifier to retain your skin’s natural moisture.
f. Use sunscreen to prevent your skin from getting dehydrated.
g. Wear gloves while using household detergents, cleaning agents, etc.
UV rays can dehydrate your skin and cause premature skin aging. Wear sunscreen 30 minutes before you step-out of your home, irrespective of your skin type.
Combination skin type
Combination skin is a mixture of two skin types - dry skin and oily skin. This type of skin needs to be well protected from sunlight as it is oilier than other types of skin and sensitive to sun damage.
1. How can you identify combination skin?
a. Oily T-zone and dry cheeks
b. Breakouts only on forehead, chin and nose
c. Sensitive cheeks
d. Large, open pores
e. Shiny skin
2. What causes combination skin?
If any of your parents and other family members have combination skin, you may have it too.
Sometimes, harsh products can cause a change in skin type and contribute to excess sebum production in the T-zone.
You may see a change in your skin type depending on the change in climate. For example, summers may make your skin oily. Your skin may feel dry during the winter months.
3. Tips for combination skin
a. Use cleansers
If you have combination skin, the pores in your T-zone are larger than the rest of your face. Harsh products may clog your pores. Using a gentle cleanser is recommended.
b. Exfoliate gently and once in a while
Exfoliating everyday isn’t recommended for any skin type. It can remove necessary oils from your skin. When you exfoliate, don’t scrub your T-zone too much . Scrubbing too hard can damage your skin.
c. Wear sunscreen
Sunscreen is a must-have skin care product. Choose an oil-free sunscreen if you have combination skin.
d. Maintain two separate skin care routines
Products that work for dry skin may be harsh on oily skin. Follow a separate skincare regimen for your T-zone. Don’t use the same products for your T-zone and the rest of your face. For example, use two different types of moisturizers - a dense one for your cheeks and an oil-free, lightweight moisturizer for your T-zone.
e. Buy oil-free/fragrance-free products
Whether it's sunscreen or makeup, buy oil-free products to avoid clogged pores. Moreover, opt for fragrance-free, natural skin care products that soothe your skin.
Sensitive skin type
Skin that’s easily irritated and is more reactive than normal skin is referred to as sensitive skin . This type of skin is fragile, usually prone to heat, redness, itching, etc. and loses its barrier, thus allowing microorganisms and irritants to easily enter and leading to infections and allergic reactions.
1. How can you identify sensitive skin?
a. Skin feels itchy and tight
b. Parts of your body have uneven texture
c. Becomes oily in summers
d. Gets dry in winters
e. Reacts to skincare
f. Becomes red after a hot water bath
g. Feels itchy while wearing tight clothes
h. Flushes easily after eating spicy food
2. Are allergies the same as skin sensitivity?
Allergies are more severe and can sometimes cause difficulty in breathing and nausea. If you are allergic to dust, it doesn’t necessarily mean your skin is sensitive.
In skincare, you may be allergic to a particular ingredient but your skin may not be sensitive. It may be able to adapt to other products that don’t contain that ingredient. However, if you have sensitive skin, your skin will most likely react to harsh chemicals and skin products.
3. Tips for sensitive skin
a. Conduct a patch test
This is mandatory if you want to avoid your skin from reacting. Don’t use a product without testing it on your hand. Wait for 24 hours after the patch test. If your skin doesn’t react to it, go ahead and apply it to your face.
b. Don’t overdo your skincare routine
Buy a mild cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen. Don’t apply too many products to your face. You can start with a mild, sulfate-free cleanser that does not form lather on your skin. Choose products formulated with ingredients that have soothing properties like green tea extracts, chamomile, etc.
c. Don’t blindly believe the “hypoallergenic” label
Products claiming to be “hypoallergenic” may not necessarily suit you. Conduct a patch test before applying these products as well.
d. Avoid hot showers
Long and hot showers can make you feel good, however, they can make your sensitive skin red and irritated by stripping off the essential oils. Avoid taking hot showers to prevent any aggravation.
Basics Of SkinCare
Irrespective of your skin type, you need to follow these simple tips to protect its health and sport a glowing look.
1. Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen to protect your sk8n from UVA and UVB rays.
2. Avoid coming into contact with direct sunlight. Wear protective clothing, hats, sunglasses etc.
3. Keep yourself adequately hydrated.
4. Wash your skin gently regularly. Avoid using too much make and products that contain harsh chemicals.
5. Moisturize your skin from time to time .
6. Eat plenty of fresh fruits, green vegetables, etc. Avoid eating junk foods, too much sugar, or spicy foods.
7. Exercise regularly to be stress-free. Practice hygiene and other healthy habits.
The needs of our skin changes over time, hence, taking necessary steps to identify its needs is crucial for it to function properly and look the best. Knowing your skin is important to determine what products to use on it and how to address your skin concerns and issues like acne and dark spots. So, take some time to develop a suitable skincare routine for your skin. Consult a dermatologist in case you are not sure about the products and their effects on your skin.
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