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What’s Your Skin Type, and How Can You Take Care of It?

There are a lot of people who don’t know their skin type. Then there are those who know but have no clue what to do to take care of it.

I want to help you with both!

It took me along time to figure out my skin type. And once I did discover what it was, I didn’t have a clue what to do about it. Analyzing the skin can be difficult and for most of us, our skin changes over time or may even switch back and forth over the seasons.

Let’s talk about skin real quick…

Did you know that your skin is an organ? In fact, it’s the body’s largest organ. As simple as it looks on the outside, it’s actually very complex. Our skin has three layers; the epidermis, the dermis, and the hypodermis. Today we’re going to talk about the epidermis and the dermis since those two are affected by skincare.

The epidermis provides protection to the body. It’s considered the immune system’s first line of defense. It also contains melanin, which is the pigment that determines the color of our skin.

Your epidermis has five layers which is crazy to think about since there are already three main layers! It’s a mishmash of different proteins and cells that are constantly evolving and moving through each layer until they reach the top where they die and flake off. It’s a fascinating process.

Since it’s the first thing to meet the elements, the epidermis is one tough cookie. Despite that, it definitely needs some TLC to keep it strong and healthy.

Now the dermis is where most of the inner workings of the skin occur –– it contains your important tissues, like collagen and elastic. When those start to conk out, that’s when you see wrinkles appear and you may notice your face start to sag a bit.

There are also sebaceous glands, which are the little guys who produce oil. They’re in charge of keeping the skin hydrated. I’m sure many of you know them all too well.

Okay, that’s it for the biology lesson. Thanks for listening 😉

Now onto the good stuff.

There are technically only four different skin types, but I also included sensitive skin in the list below. Sensitive skin is usually coupled with one of the other skin types detailed below.

The four main skin types are normal, oily, dry, and combination. The way your skin works is usually due to genetics, but there are many ways to care for issues you may have. What you’re putting on your skin and what you’re putting in your body can positively or negatively affect the look of your skin.

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty and examine each type and what to do to take care of it.


Normal Skin

Ah normal skin. The Holy Grail of skin types. Balanced and usually very easy to take care of, those of us who struggle with the other three types look on enviously.

With balanced skin, the key to taking care of it is just that… balance! When it comes down to it, don’t mess with a good thing. Choose products that are meant for normal skin types. They’ll usually say so on the bottle or jar. Even if you experience oiliness or dryness occasionally, don’t start treating it as though your skin has changed. This could mess up the balance. Care for it just as you have been, and it’ll pass.

Count yourself as one of the lucky ones. We all aspire to be like you.


Something great for Normal skin:


Oily Skin

Ugh, this is what I struggle with. Shiny shine shine every day, girl. My sebaceous glands are working overtime to make my face a greasy mess. With a dab dab here and a dab dab there, it’s a definite chore keeping up with my oily face.

So, are you in the oily skin club?

Let me tell you what I do to take care of my skin and make it much easier to work with. Oily skin is usually a genetic thing. However, the things you do to try and make it less oily can actually cause it to be worse.

Show of hands, who has used an astringent or another alcohol-based product to suck up the oil and make it disappear? And how did that go?

Probably not too well.

By trying to dry out the skin or choosing to hydrate it less, it can actually cause your pores to produce more oil! When your skin dries out, it triggers the sebaceous glands to start pushing out excessive amounts of sebum (that’s oil) in order to rehydrate the face.

Avoid doing this at all costs. What you actually want to do is hydrate MORE. Give your skin some moisture and drink that water! Lots of it! Your skin wants to drink it all up and give you a radiant, not shiny, glow.

Another thing to remember with oily skin is to cleanse daily and exfoliate 2-3 times a week. Excess oils can block your pores, which in turn can cause blackheads and pimples. By getting rid of that build up, your skin will be clearer and your pores will be smaller.


Something great for Oily skin:


Dry Skin

Let’s go to the other extreme, dryness. Dry skin happens when those sebaceous glands take more than their allotted breaks. Your skin is not producing enough oil, which is causing it to look less alive, and the worst part is that your foundation will often start cracking on the surface.

Pro tip: moisturize. That’s really what it boils down to. Be consistent with your skincare routine. Look for heavier products meant for dry skin. As mentioned before, some cleansers and toners actually strip the skin. Look for products that have hydrating ingredients, like honey or almond extract.

There are also hydrating serums and oils that can really give an extra boost of moisture. Create a skincare routine that really caters to dryness. Oil-based creams are typically better than thinner products like lotion or gel-based moisturizers.


Something great for Dry skin:


Combination Skin

You know how the best way to order at Panda Express involves choosing half chow mein, half fried rice? Having both options is the best… but not necessarily in the realm of skin care. Combination skin is probably the most frustrating skin type, because you have to treat two issues at once.

Typically, the t-zone is the oilier area of the face. This is your forehead, your nose, all the way to your chin. The rest of the face is going to be on the drier side. So, what do you have to do? Well… you have to treat both issues, sometimes with different products.

There are a lot of cleansers and toners that are made for combo skin. The most difficult to figure out is the moisturizer. Your best bet is to use a lighter cream or lotion on your t-zone and something heavier on the rest of your face.

As far as having two different moisturizers goes, I try to think of it this way… you’re only going to use half the amount for individual uses which means your creams will last twice as long!


Something great for Combination skin:


Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is usually paired with one of the other skin types. When you have sensitive skin, you often experience redness and irritation. There are several ways to avoid flare ups when it comes to taking care of sensitive skin.

Avoid any products with fragrance. Many brands add fragrances to their creams, and it’s important to stay away if you tend to be sensitive. I know it smells good, but the chemicals in fragrances are not going to be your friend. Another way to keep sensitive skin under control is to use products that contain natural ingredients. There are so many great brands that don’t use as many chemicals in their products, and those with sensitive skin are going to rejoice!

A trick to seeing if you’re sensitive to a product is to put a little in the nook of your arm. You can see if it reacts in any way, rather than having to deal with a flare up all over your face.


Something great for Sensitive skin:



Getting a Second Opinion on Your Skin Type

Don’t ever feel nervous about going to a skincare counter or store to ask the beauty advisors what they think about your skin type. They know the right questions to ask, and some stores even have devices that can measure your skin’s hydration level. They can also advise you on products that will address any skin issues you may have.

Before I knew what my skin was all about, I always hated asking for help because I felt silly for not knowing myself. Don’t feel that way! Skin is complicated and beauty advisors have received training on how to recognize different skin types.

Staying educated on how to care for your skin is super important to keep it healthy. It may seem like a hassle at first, but I promise it becomes like second nature after a while.

What type of skin do you have? What tips and tricks do you have up your sleeve to take care of it? Let us know in the comments!

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