The key to good skin is knowing your skin type and finding the right products that work for you. There are seven basic skin types, namely: unproblematic, oily, dry/dehydrated, combination, acne-prone, sensitive and mature. I have explained each skin type below to help you identify your own so that you can search for products best suited to you.
Typically, unproblematic (also referred to as ’normal’) skin is not prone to breakouts, and is unlikely to react badly to new products or environmental changes. Unproblematic skin is well balanced, meaning that it is neither too oily nor too dry. Your skin is probably supple, soft and fine-pored. If your skin has these characteristics, you will be able to try a variety of products until finding a routine you enjoy without causing irritation to the skin. I would recommend a cleanser that doesn’t strip your skin’s natural moisture, a good moisturiser and serum to ensure a healthy, glowy-look
If your skin tends to be shiny, you are likely to have oily skin. Individuals with an oily skin type have heightened sebum production and are, therefore, more prone to blackheads and acne. Oily skin can be genetic, or occur when experiencing hormonal changes/imbalances, when taking certain medication, or from stress. Shine control is a top concern for oily skin and ingredients like mineral oil, and petrolatum should be avoided. Instead make use of exfoliators and moisturisers that help minimise breakouts. Look for products like oil-free moisturisers, chemical exfoliants and clay masks to keep oily skin happy and healthy.
Dryness is caused by a lack of oil in the skin, which may result in flakiness, sensitivity, and itchiness. Lifestyle and environmental factors, or chronic conditions like eczema can cause dry skin. Dry skin is less elastic and tight because the skin lacks lipids or fats. To care for dry skin, it’s essential to seal in moisture by applying a rich moisturiser daily, avoid using harsh soaps, or products with high fragrance levels. Try introducing a serum to your moisturising routine as serums generally contain higher active levels relative to moisturisers, and prioritise drinking enough water everyday.
Combination skin takes its name from the fact that it is a mixture of two skin types: unproblematic and oily. An individual with combination skin will have oily skin and develop blemishes in the t-zone of the face, or the area across the forehead, down the nose, to the chin. By contrast, the rest of the face tends to be well-balanced and sometimes dry. With this skin type, it’s best to avoid both high oil and alcohol based products, isolate problem areas with spot treatments, and use toners or balancing creams to even out the skin.
If your skin is susceptible to frequent breakouts, you are likely to have acne-prone skin. Individuals with this skin tend to have pores that clog easily, making you more disposed to blackheads and pimples. With acne-prone skin, it is important to use cleansers specifically formulated to treat acne, and make use of exfoliators and moisturisers that help minimise breakouts. Look for products that incorporate acne-fighting ingredients like salicylic acid, clay, benzoyl peroxide or retinol. If skin is irritated, look for ingredients like Aloe Vera to help with soothing.
Skin sensitivity stems from genetics, allergies or environmental factors. The tell-tale signs of this skin type include skin that flushes easily, frequently develops rashes or bumps, often stings or burns after using skin care products (especially ones with fragrances), and has areas of flaky, irritated skin. Individuals with sensitive skin must be careful when choosing skin care products. Sensitive skin types need to avoid using products that are highly fragranced or have levels of irritants like alcohol. Look instead for products with less additives and ones that are calming, soothing and have anti-inflammatory properties.
Every skin ages differently, but the signs of mature skin are fairly universal. Aging is a natural process where the skin’s cell renewal and collagen processes slow down, weakening the internal support structure and natural protection barrier of the skin. The characteristics of more mature skin include sagging, dark spots, wrinkles, dullness and dehydration. Mature skin needs advanced care to counter act past and future damage. There’s never an incorrect time to start an anti-aging routine, and starting from as early as 25 years of age is recommended. It is also key to incorporate SPF into your daily skincare routine to protect skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays, which can speed up skin aging.