The most important step you need to take when it comes to taking proper care of your skin is to determine your skin type. You need to know exactly what characteristics your skin has, so that you can understand what kind of care it actually needs. You should never just randomly choose a face cream, a body lotion, or any other skin care product, and start using it without even thinking about whether or not your skin will respond well.
Skin care is definitely not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. Every single person’s skin is different and, as such, it requires different care. If your friend is using a particular skin care product and it works wonders for them, it certainly does not mean that it will work exactly the same way for you. This is precisely because of different skin types, so determining yours before you start taking care of it is absolutely crucial if you want your skin to look beautiful and radiant and be truly healthy on the inside.
There is one very important thing that you should know concerning the type of your skin – it can change. Your skin type is greatly influenced by your genes, aging, climate, lifestyle and, most importantly, your diet and hormonal changes. This means that you may not have the same skin type that you once had if you have completely changed your diet or perhaps experienced particular hormonal fluctuations (these are typical for puberty and menopause).
Therefore, you need to determine the qualities your skin currently has, so that you can make sure you provide it with the right care it deserves. There are a few useful methods to help you do that, so check them out.
Methods for Determining Your Skin Type
The Bare-Face Method
This method involves washing and thoroughly cleansing your face with a mild cleanser, so that you can remove all the dirt and oil and let your skin start fresh. Don’t apply a moisturizer or any other product on your skin, but instead wait about an hour before examining your face to determine how your skin behaves and what characteristics it has.
Afterwards, start examining your T-zone (nose, chin and forehead) and your cheeks. If your skin feels tight and dry, then you have dry skin. If you notice a bit of shine only in your T-zone, it doesn’t mean that your skin is oily – it means that you have combination skin. Also, combination skin can sometimes feel tight and dry on the cheeks.
However, if you notice some shine on your cheeks as well, you definitely have oily skin. If there is no oiliness or dryness and your skin feels smooth, then your skin type is normal. If you notice some dry patches on your skin and it starts itching, even gets red and irritated, then you definitely have sensitive skin.
The Blotting Paper Method
The blotting paper method is one of the easiest and quickest ways to determine the type of your skin. All you need to do is take a blotting paper and pat it gently around your T-zone and cheeks. If the paper does not pick up any oil and instead gathers some flaky residue, then you have dry skin. On the other hand, if you notice a lot of oil on the blotting paper, then you certainly have oily skin.
If, however, the paper picks up oil only from your nose, chin and forehead, then you probably have combination skin. If there is very little or no oil on the paper, your skin type is normal.
Note: This method doesn’t actually reveal any characteristics of sensitive skin, which is why the former method of visual examination may be a bit more effective, in case your skin turns out to be sensitive. Therefore, it would be best if you tried both methods, so that you can be completely sure.
The Common Characteristics of Every Skin Type
Normal skin usually has very few or no imperfections at all and its pores are not easily noticeable. It is not usually sensitive to various skin care products or environmental factors, so dry or red patches are not common. People who have normal skin have a bright and radiant complexion and an even tone. They do not even feel the need to apply a moisturizer, because their skin is already hydrated enough throughout the day. Their T-zone may become a bit oily during very hot weather but, in general, it is neither oily nor dry.
Combination skin is the most common skin type, and its main characteristics are oiliness in the T-zone and dryness on the cheeks. People with combination skin have more open pores in the T-zone, which tend to get clogged easily because they are larger than normal. This often leads to breakouts. Since the skin around their cheeks is dry, it often feels very tight, especially right after washing and cleansing.
Dry skin feels very taut throughout the day and it is very prone to cracking and flaking, since it is less elastic. This is all because of dehydration, which is also why dry skin can sometimes become inflamed and irritated, becoming itchy and developing dry and red patches. However, this is definitely not always the case.
When you have dry skin, the pores on your skin are extremely small, almost invisible, and fine lines and wrinkles can appear earlier than usual, and they tend to be more visible. With this skin type, your skin doesn’t only feel pretty tight after you cleanse it, but it feels like that throughout the day. Also, your complexion may be somewhat dull and rough.
Oily skin has very enlarged pores which easily get clogged, and that opens the door for blackheads and acne. This type of skin is very oily and the only time it feels completely oil-free and fresh is right after cleansing, as all the excess oil the skin’s glands produce returns almost immediately. People with oily skin usually have a thick and shiny complexion.
Sensitive skin is, obviously, very sensitive to different kinds of products (most of them) and can be easily irritated not only by these, but also by various environmental factors. People with sensitive skin often experience redness and itching, because of which finding the right skincare product can be quite a challenge. Sensitive skin may not only develop red patches, but also dry ones that can become flaky.
Basic Skin Care Routine Tips for Each Skin Type
Now that you know what kind of skin type you have, you can start developing a proper skin care routine and choose the right face cream, makeup remover, face mask, or any other skincare product. Here are some basic tips for each skin type, so make sure you implement those related to your type of skin into your daily skincare routine:
If you have normal skin, you don’t need to provide it with a lot of different skincare products, because it is already perfectly balanced. Don’t use heavy products, but instead stick to lighter lotions and creams to keep your skin properly hydrated and protect it from environmental factors.
Make sure you exfoliate your skin regularly, so that you can effectively remove dead skin cells from the outermost layer of your skin. However, use a mild and gentle exfoliator, so that your T-zone and cheeks can stay well-balanced.
In order to take good care of combination skin, you should use different products for different areas of your face. When it comes to your dry cheeks, you need to use a lightweight cleanser and moisturizer, while using something a tad heavier for your oily T-zone. Also, make sure you exfoliate the oily areas of your skin on a regular basis.
If you have dry skin, you need to do more to keep it hydrated, so make sure you apply a proper moisturizer every day (both in the morning and at night, after thoroughly cleansing your face). You need to make sure the moisturizer you use contains hyaluronic acid and glycerine, as well as emollients that will keep your skin smooth and hydrated.
You don’t have to exfoliate if your skin is extremely dry but, if you do it, use a gentle exfoliator that will stimulate skin cell renewal without removing your skin’s natural oils.
If you have oily skin, you need to cleanse and exfoliate it daily, so that you can remove the excess oil and prevent your pores from getting clogged, as well as protect your skin from breakouts. Don’t use heavy creams and lotions, so that you don’t add extra oil to your skin, but rather opt for a lightweight moisturizer designed for oily skin to apply after cleansing.
Sensitive skin requires careful treatment, so don’t scrub or exfoliate it, but rather use a mild product with no fragrances or alcohol, so that you can keep your skin calm. Make sure you conduct patch tests for any new product on a small area of your inner forearm first in order to make sure they don’t cause a reaction. Also, always wash your face with lukewarm water, as too hot or too cold water can irritate your skin.
A proper skin care routine is essential for having a beautiful, radiant and young-looking skin, not to mention for keeping your skin healthy. Therefore, make sure you correctly determine your skin type, follow these tips and provide your skin with the best care it deserves.