One of the basic tenets when it comes to caring for your skin is knowing what your skin type is. You need to know the base level of your skin before you start adding products, as they’ll inevitably interact with your skin in varying ways. However, you might also need to rethink the skincare rules you think you know: the cosmetic industry has advanced so much in the last couple of decades that myths about skin that have long prevailed are now being contested.
Luckily, you probably don’t need an expert to tell you what sort of skin you have: the best form of knowledge in this case comes from lived experience.
Perhaps the most obvious skin type,oily skin is characterised by an overproduction of sebum, leaving skin looking slick and shiny. Often, pores are more obvious, and those with oily skin are prone to blemishes. We know oily skin can be a pain, and often leaves people feeling self conscious. There are some benefits, though - those with oily skin tend to have fewer lines and wrinkles than their drier-skinned counterparts, though that’s little comfort when you’re battling breakouts! Unfortunately, it can be tempting to reach for a harsh cleanser that will strip skin in an effort to be rid of the excess oil. This will have the opposite effect, though: stripping your of moisture causes your skin to produce even more sebum, as it’s trying to rebalance hydration levels in your skin. Instead, reach for a gentle cleanser that will rebalance sebum levels without exacerbating the problem. OurDaily Detox Facial Wash contains moringa peptides, which cleans oily skin whilst calming breakouts and protecting against everyday pollution. One myth to dispel about oily skin is that you shouldn’t use oils in your skincare. Reaching for a non-comedogenic oil (one that won’t block your pores) can help to soothe skin, and oils can make fantastic cleansers too!
All the way at the other end of the spectrum isdry skin. You’ll know you have this if you find your skin often flaky or cracked, or perhaps just looking a tad dull. Benefits include being less prone to acne and enlarged pores, but this comes with the downsides of potentially painfully dry skin and a propensity to wrinkle. Natural product choices include moisturiser, and it can be tempting to skip a cleanser, especially after a lifetime of seeing them marketed towards oily skin types. Thankfully, there are plenty of cleansers designed specifically with dry skin in mind, and it’s important to use one - it will remove dead skin from the surface, as well as any pollutants that have found their way onto your skin during the day. Why not try out ourGentle Cleansing Melt,which comes in balm form and glides onto skin to nourish and rejuvenate skin. It will remove any irritants left on the skin, whilst also protecting against free radical damage thanks to the fantastic baobab oil it contains. And if you’re after a little pampering, try it out as a mask: smooth on a thick layer and relax for ten minutes or so - we like to use this time to meditate, or perhaps catch up on that book we’ve been neglecting. When you rinse it off, skin will be hydrated and plumped, ready for whatever comes next in your routine!
The next two skin types are a little more difficult to identify.Normal skin can suffer from breakouts, but won’t feel overly dry day to day.Combination skin is generally a mixture of two of the three skin types already mentioned. Typically, either the T-zone (forehead and nose) is oily while the cheeks and chin are normal to dry, or the T-zone remains normal while the cheeks and chin are dry. Arguably, this is the most difficult of the four main skin types to have, as products that work well for one area of your face won’t work brilliantly for the others. The first option is to reach for separate treatments for the different parts of your face. Try using ourTrue Balance Lotion on your nose and forehead, which will mattify the area while providing healthy moisture so your skin doesn’t dry out, and ourDaily Renew Natural Face Cream on your cheeks and jawline. This gets more complicated when it comes to cleansers, so we’d opt for the second method: using products that nourish and look after skin without being designed for either dry or oily skin. This obviously works for normal skin, too, and again we wouldn’t recommend skipping steps like cleansers or serums, because there will definitely be one that works for you!
The last skin type is arguably just a secondary quality of any of the above skin types:sensitive skin. You can easily have oily-sensitive or dry-sensitive skin, for example. Sensitive skin is just skin that reacts more easily to irritants - this may come in the form of excessive dryness, redness, or itching. These reactions are definitely best to avoid! Those with sensitive skin will often find that reaching for natural products works best for their skin, as they contain fewer synthetic chemicals that are prone to irritating skin. Combine a natural cleanser with a natural serum and moisturiser that works with your primary skin type, and you’ll more often than not have a winner! Try to introduce just one new product at a time, as that way, if you react badly, you’ll know exactly what caused it. You can always do a patch test, too, and for stronger treatments like retinol and some acids, try building up tolerance slowly by using them less frequently or diluting them with water or other products.
As we said, you don’t need an expert to know what kind of skin type you have. The most important thing is to trust what your skin is telling you, and try to use products that work with your skin rather than promising immediate solutions - often these don’t have any long term effects, or even make the underlying issue worse.