Do You Actually Know Your Skin Type?

We’ve all heard this ad play over a video of some woman splashing water on her face… “want younger, clearer, more radiant skin? New from [Insert brand name here] UltraCreamy Cream [insert woman smiling to herself in the mirror while she puts product on]” Snore. This needs to STOP. I am reporting all of them to 311 for false hopes and unrealistic application processes!

So many of these companies do not care about you. I say this because they want ANYONE to buy and use their product, even if it is not meant for your skin type and may not improve your skin at all. In some cases, it can and will make your skin worse! Big skincare companies advertising a cure-all, for-all probably aren’t putting a whole lot of TLC into that bottle.

Additionally, do NOT be fooled by influencers’ skincare stockpiles. You know the photos. A colorful array of expensive jars, squeezies, electric doodads. Pretty bathroom. Natural lighting… Hold up. You do not know if those products work on your skin. Just because it works for her doesn’t mean those exact products will have the same reaction with your personal chemistry. If you trust her, perhaps the brand may be great for you, just make sure if you pick a product from the line, that it is one that has ingredients that benefit your unique skin. Don’t pick the exact one she has just because.

Here are some general guidelines to finding your personal skin type so you can navigate the skincare section, and product labels, with a little more ease. Incorporate one new product at a time, see how your face reacts, and then decide whether to keep it or not. Bringing on a lot of new things at once makes it hard to decipher what each thing is doing (benefitting you or not).

Oily? - You can see your pores and hair follicles when you look closely in the mirror. When you first wake up in the morning, your face looks a little slick. The texture of your skin is slightly dimply, due to the visible pores.

Dry? - For the most part, you don’t see any pores or hair follicles. When you first wake up in the morning, your face is dry. You may experience flakiness. The texture of your skin is almost shiny because of the smoothness, and may look thin in areas like the forehead. Remember, dry skin is different from dehydrated skin. Dry = lacking oil. Dehydrated = lacking water. Dry is more genetic, while dehydrated is a temporary condition.

Normal? - You can see very small pores, but generally your skin is neither too dry nor too oily. The texture of your skin is like that of a tangerine. Slightly dimply, but not very. You could wake up and comfortably go about your day without washing or moisturizing (not that I necessarily recommend that).

Combination? - This is fairly straightforward, but this means in some areas you experience one thing and in another, something else. This is common in the T-zone, which can be more oily, while the rest of your face may be dry or normal. Use clay masks and anything oil mitigating on your t-zone, and more moisturizing products on the rest.

My recommendations for all skin types:

These are the things I recommend for ALL skin. No it is not a miracle product, it is effort.

  • Drink 2L of water per day. Fine lines? You could be dehydrated. Most superficial fine lines are a sign of dehydration and tense muscles in that part of your face. Acne? Acne is not just a problem in and of itself. It is a sign that something is going on inside you. Most of the time it’s hormones, but diet and water intake play a huge role as well.

  • Facial massage. Stimulate bloodflow and clear out toxins by massaging the skin gently. I recommend perusing youtube for this. Watch professionals and their recommended massage techniques to get things moving. Always use clean hands and start with a freshly washed face.

  • Oil. Every skin type can benefit from some kind of natural oil, but not all are created equal. I personally do not like coconut oil and haven’t had any skincare aficionado convince me otherwise, so it remains on my naughty list. I recommend jojoba and rosehip for everyone, unless you have an allergy to either. If you are using water based products, apply those first and oil last. Oil acts like the lid on a jar (your skin). You want to put the water in first, then cover with the lid to hold it in!

  • Don’t overindulge. Heard of wine face? Gluten face? Dairy face? Sugar face? All of these come from having too much of a good thing (and by good thing I mean tasty thing). Wine face = red cheeks, broken capillaries, under-eye wrinkles. Gluten face = puffy cheeks, bloated face, chin spots. Dairy face = bags under eyes, breakouts, swollen eyelids. Sugar face = thin skin, forehead wrinkles, widespread breakouts, grey/pasty hue to skin. Everything in moderation or even hardly at all.

  • Get regular facials. See a facialist at least once per month for tailored product recommendations and treatments to enhance your skin. Getting facials is a surprisingly underrated health measure, yet it has completely changed my life. Not all facialists are created equal, so do your homework!