To have a skin routine that works for you and helps rather than harms your skin, it’s important to understand your skin type. Having your skin type wrong can leave you throwing a variety of products at your skin that might not be suited to it, which can lead to damage.
Before you can choose products for your skin type, you’ll need to work out what your skin type is. One way you can do this is by using blotting paper and patting it onto different areas of your face.
Dry skin types will only leave a little or no oil, combination types will leave oil on the paper from the nose and forehead areas, and blotting paper covered with oil indicates oily skin. Normal skin types won’t leave much oil, and sensitive skin can be identified by no oil left on the paper, as well as a tendency towards redness and reactions to the environment and new products.
Normal skin is often difficult to define. People with this skin type usually don’t have any regular problems with oiliness or dryness. Normal skin usually has few lines or wrinkles, and generally the tone is fairly even.
Even if you’re lucky enough to have normal skin, including some clear skin precautions can help keep any hormonal acne flares under control. Those with normal skin can still experience hormone fluctuations and changes in the skin due to age. Therefore, cleaning thoroughly, moisturising and using an occasional BHA to control breakouts can be useful.
Moisturising is perhaps the most important thing for dry skin, and finding the right moisturiser is a great first step for your routine.
In addition to this, you should avoid harsh cleaners and benzoyl peroxide products, as they can both cause less oil to be produced by the skin. Dry skin lacks oil, so face oils and moisturisers containing specific ingredients such as ceramides can help.
This skin type tends to mean that people have larger pores and more sebum, and they are often prone to acne. This is because the sebaceous glands in oily skin produce too much oil and so the pores can easily be blocked. Oily skin also often looks shiny.
When caring for oilier skin types, heavy moisturisers aren’t needed, instead dimethicone-based formulas can be less pore-clogging . The most important features of your routine are keeping your skin clean and exfoliating to prevent breakouts. AHAs are useful for this.
Lots of people have combination skin, which means patches of alternately oily or dry skin on their face. Normally the cheeks and eye area stay dry, whereas the nose, chin and forehead stay oily. This can be challenging because these different parts of the skin need different things.
If you have sensitive skin, you will usually have very small pores, and your skin will frequently feel dry or tight. People with sensitive skin need to pay close attention to their routine as it’s easy to inflame or irritate this skin type.
Common issues include itchiness, spots and tingling. Reactions to skincare products are very possible, so avoid fragrances and harsh ingredients.