What is your skin type? Don’t know, well this week I’ll be going through some of the most common skin types and their characteristics. I’ll also provide you with some tips on how to best manage what you have. Remember that even identical twins may have different skin types so don’t compare yours to anyone elses, love what you have and learn to look after it accordingly.
Why do we need to know our skin type?
Because it is a guide to know what products are likely to work and which ones are not. I look at it like knowing your clothes size, no point going shopping and picking up a size 16 when you are a size 8 because it will not fit well and was not designed for your body type. The same applies to skincare, by knowing your skin type you will be able to better navigate skincare products, saving you time and money and skin irritation.
Normal Skin Type
You lucky duck! This is skin at its optimal health which is ALWAYS the goal. A perfect balance of moisture and oil, not dry, or oily, easily absorbs product without irritation and protects the skin from environmental damage. This skin is elastic, and youthful looking, with no texture, acne or scarring. Perfection.
Tip: If you have normal skin, you need to work on maintaining your healthy skin, try and switch to natural alternatives if you are not using them already but otherwise don’t change anything.
Oily Skin Type
Many of us have oily skin which usually starts in our teens and doesn’t go away. Oily skin is shiny and prone to acne due to the overproduction of sebum. Your skin thinks it’s dry and produces lubricant to be elastic and enhance protection from external aliens. Only in oily skin, the receptors are faulty and your skin goes into overdrive making more oil than necessary. Oily skin can be exacerbated during your monthly circle or pregnancy due to your hormones or through a poor diet that is high in processed sugars and unhealthy fats. In summer it combines with sweat, and you feel like an oil slick. It’s not all bad though, you tend to age like fine wine and don’t have to worry about fine lines or deep wrinkles.
- Oil cleansing is one of my favourite ways to manage oily acne/prone skin. The theory is that oil breaks down oil and water breaks down water so when you apply oil to your oily skin they combine and can be removed more effectively than if you just add water.
- Lifestyle is important, so drink your water and mind your business, do things that reduce stress, eat clean and whole, get rest and sleep well. We often are in such a rush to buy our way out of skin issues, but a lot of the time these issues are rooted in lifestyle so check that first.
- Exfoliate using a BHA (I like fruit enzymes), they are gentle, effective and help cell acceleration. Do this no more than once a week as you don’t want to damage your skin barrier.
- No matter what you heard, NEVER APPLY NEAT ESSENTIAL OIL ON TO YOUR SKIN. I know because I have done this was disastrous results. Protect your skin at all cost and always be gentle.
- My number one tip for people with oily acne-prone skin is to NEVER SKIP SPF. It really goes a long way in not only protects your skin from harmful sun rays, but also preventing, and in some cases reversing post-inflammation hyperpigmentation caused by acne (skin darkening where a spot once sprouted). Trust me sis, if you do nothing else wear the SPF, 30+, broad spectrum with UVA & UVB protection.
- Seek professional advice, go to your GP and ask to be referred to a dermatologist where you can get help if it’s not getting better or it’s stressing you out.
Combination Skin Type
You straddle the uncomfortable fence between oily and dry skin. Your t-zone (forehead nose and chin) is SHINY and prone to breakouts, but your cheeks are DESSERT dry and rough to the touch or vice versa, either way, your skin is simultaneously desert dry and oil sleek oily.
- Diet is king. Go for a balanced diet that is rich in whole foods, vitamin rich, folic acid, and good fats. Also look at your gut health as that can be a good indicator of overall health so add pre and pro-biotics to your diet (after seeking professional advice).
- Double cleansing is a great way to address your oiliness and your dryness, the oil in oil cleansing breaks down your excess oil and prevents breakouts whilst your foam cleanser adds hydration to your dry bits.
- Don’t forget your SPF, 30+ broad spectrum UVA &UVB protection is best.
Dry Skin Type
Your skin is tight, flaky, itchy (at times) and soaks up everything yet never feels hydrated and feels rough to the touch. Your pores are invisible, but you tend to look older, tired and dull, sorry girl but you do not have “the glow”.
- For dry skin you need things that add moisture to your skin, cleansing with a moisturising cleansing balm is a great way to start your skincare routine. They clean the skin without removing any excess oil or disrupting your skin’s pH balance.
- In terms of diet, girl you need to add as much healthy fat to your diet as humanly possible, oily fish, nuts and other such things. Speak to a dietician for advice but get that avocado toast with smoked mackerel girl.
- On the outside, you need to focus on HYDRATION and preventing transdermal water loss. retaining as much as possible, oils DO NOT HYDRATE, you need WATER!!! You can experiment Look into hydrating serums, go for high-quality serums and creams with potent actives, and splash the cash. In creams and serums, you are paying for the quality of ingredients and expert synthesis of ingredients. After the serums and creams SEAL in your moisture, that’s when oils and butter come into play. GO HAM! Slugging is an excellent method of slowing water loss on the surface of the skin. You can (glumps*) use petroleum (shudders) as the final step to really locking in your moisture, it’s one of the most allergen-friendly skincare ingredients on the planet. It’s not natural, its not sustainable but it does work if you have extremely dry skin with a tendency to be sensitive.
Sensitive Skin Type
You can have oily sensitive skin, dry sensitive skin, and combination sensitive skin, I think sensitivity is a symptom of another underlying problem in overall health or skin, but I don’t think it’s a standalone skin type but that’s my personal opinion.
If you have sensitive skin your skin reacts very easily to anything applied. You might get redness, inflammation, cracked skin, and even blisters, or rashes. Your skin might also look patchy with an uneven tone and textured to the touch. A good description I found described sensitive skin as “An unpleasant sensation (stinging, burning, pain or tingling sensations) in response to stimuli that normally wouldn’t have this reaction.”
- On the inside you need to look at diet and GUT HEALTH, sensitive skin is often an indicator of poor internal health so examine your food and drink. Reduce sugar, caffeine, and processed fats, eat clean and whole, look into pro and pre-biotics and see how your skin behaves after that.
- Allergies, you could be allergic to absolutely anything so look at what you are wearing, and washing your clothes with. laying on, look at your environment and food and get tested so you know officially what the issues are.
- Speak to your Dr and ask to be referred to a dermatologist and dietician to look at this problem from a professional gaze.
- On the outside, you need to focus on HYDRATION and look for simple hydration, glycerine is an amazing humectant that has a larger size molecule so it’s less likely to cause irritation. Smaller molecules do penetrate better BUT they are also more sensitising, so tread carefully.
- Avoid any fragrances, artificial or natural as they too are sensitisers and irritants, that list sadly includes essential oils as they can penetrate far into the skin and even reach the bloodstream meaning they can still cause irritation, even when heavily diluted.
- Use a gel moisturiser that is light but effective, then seal with an unscented balm that contains shea butter and or beeswax (unless allergic to either). Shea is a wonderful elixir as it super moisturising with potent occlusive properties, it also protects the skin from light UV protection, isn’t sensitizing (for most), doesn’t clog pores and is very gentle, even gentle enough to use on newborn baby skin.
- Beeswax is very protective, a natural humectant it draws water to the surface of the skin making it softer and more supple and reinforcing the skins barrier. It contains antibacterial properties, is anti-inflammatory, soothes and calms skin and in my opinion is of the most underrated beauty ingredients that are suitable for all skin types. If you are vegan I have yet to find an equivalent to beeswax that has all its properties, as I continue to research I will update this post. But for now, beeswax is the bee’s knees.
Damaged skin is skin that has had its barrier compromised, over sun exposure, bleaching products, over exfoliation and chemical peels can all lead to damaged skin.
- Seek medical advice. Do not use anything scented or with extracts because these may cause further problems.
- Try aloe vera which aloe is a wonderful skin healer. It has a soothing and cooling effect, is rich in vitamins and minerals and is wonderful for all skin types. Apply the aloe and seal with a light oil like shea oil, which has anti-inflammatory, high in fatty acids, vitamin-rich and just as soothing as the heavier shea butter.
- Damaged skin leaves you vulnerable to disease and other long-term health issues as your skin is no longer protected from external attacks from the environment. It is imperative that you focus on skin healing before anything else. You also need to protect your skin from the sun. Wear a big hat, wear a mask, and girl you must absolutely wear the highest SPF possible. Slather on the SPP 50+ with UVA & UVB broad spectrum protection every two hours, stay away from direct sunlight and please please please, don’t skimp on the SPF. Do your whole face including just behind the hairline, your ears and your neck & chest.
That is all for this week, please let me know what your type is and if you have found this post helpful. I get that there is a lot of information so grab a cuppa and sit back. Any questions my inbox is always open to connect with me and I’ll do my best to answer.
Have an amazing week and remember to always be good to yourself.