Before establishing a skin care regimen, it’s important to understand your skin type. Knowing this will help you to choose the best products for your skin, and to avoid products that could affect how it looks and feels.
There are a number of factors that can determine the type of skin you have including water content, oil content and the level of sensitivity. Here’s what you need to know about some of the most common skin types and how you can care for them.
If you’re lucky enough to have normal skin, you’ll have skin that has the right amount of balance between water and oil (lipids). Those with normal skin will have no problem with issues such as sensitivity and regular imperfections, but this isn’t to say that they won’t still have to take steps to care for their skin. For example, don’t go to sleep while wearing makeup, avoid becoming too dehydrated, and always wear broad-spectrum sunscreen that will protect you against UVA and UVB rays.
If you have dry skin, you’ll tend to have almost invisible pores and suffer from more visible lines and a dull, rough complexion. When your skin is exposed to drying factors, such as hot weather, it can become irritated, itchy or inflamed. Sometimes there isn’t much you can do about this, as our skin type can be determined by genetics and ageing, but it can be worsened by factors including certain medications, certain cosmetic ingredients and regularly taking hot baths or showers.
To take better care of dry skin:
- Take shorter showers and baths and try to avoid very hot water
- Use mild soaps and cleansers, avoiding deodorant soaps
- Apply a good quality moisturiser directly after bathing
Oily skin tends to be more common in younger people as it occurs when the skin produces too much oil. This can cause enlarged pores, blackheads and spots, and a dull or shiny complexion. It can be worsened by puberty or any other type of hormonal imbalance, be a side effect of certain antibiotics or worsen with overexposure to humidity.
To take better care of oily skin:
- Use gentle, natural skincare and avoid scrubs
- Never pop or squeeze spots, this will only prolong the healing time and can leave scars
- Look for cosmetic products that are labelled ‘’
- Don’t wash your skin more than twice a day
Combination skin is a skin type that can be dry in some areas, and oily in others. Those with combination skin tend to suffer from an oily T-zone meaning that the nose, forehead and chin will produce more oil than other parts of the face. Combination skin can, therefore, cause issues such as overly dilated pores, shiny skin and blackheads and this usually comes from your genetics or hormonal imbalances that affect how much oil is produced and where.
To take better care of combination skin:
- Apply a hydrating and non-irritating toner that can moisturise dry areas and minimise oiliness
- Use a water-like BHA exfoliant that will help to get rid of dead skin without being too abrasive
- Add oil-absorbing products only where needed rather than on your whole face
With sensitive skin, it’s good to be aware of exactly what it is that makes it react so that you can make a conscious effort to avoid these products in the future. Sensitive skin can cause redness, itching, dryness and, in the worst cases, burning and these can be caused by common irritants such as sleep deprivation, stress, pollution, and a change in hormone levels. For some, sensitive skin might be a symptom of a skin disorder such as acne, rosacea or contact dermatitis.
To take better care of sensitive skin:
- Keep a record of any new foods or cosmetics that might have negative effects on your skin
- Avoid skincare products that are alcohol-based
- Try to avoid touching your skin throughout the day
- Establish a healthy eating and sleeping schedule
- Consider a full-panel allergy test if your symptoms worsen or continue