Our skin is our largest organ, and taking care of it is absolutely vital. Skincare is both an art as well as a science, that needs to be navigated through carefully and thoughtfully. The most important aspect of skincare is not finding a 10 step routine or using exotic ingredients but finding the right products that work effectively for you. Unfortunately, skincare products do not have a magical one-size-fits-all potion, so it is imperative to know your skin type to get the most out of your skincare routine and cater to its needs.
Why is it important to know my skin type?
When it comes to skincare, a lot of us want to use and buy the right products for our skin but simply do not know how to. The market today is flooded with different products that are tailored for specific skin types, so understanding your skin type can go a long way in finding products that work well for you and combat your concerns without causing any harm or side effects. Misdiagnosing your skin type can aggravate your skin and lead to unnecessary irritations like excess oil production, breakouts, acne or even dryness.
While everyone has a unique skin type, they can be broadly classified into four main categories.
Here is a simple test you can take in order to determine your skin type.
Take the test:
Wash your face in the morning with a gentle cleanser of your choice. Ensure you use a mild formula that is not too harsh on your skin.
Next, pat your face dry with a soft napkin and leave it bare.
Do not apply any products on your skin for an hour.
After an hour, take a clean tissue and spread it evenly over your face. Dab your skin gently.
Look at the tissue paper in your hands and feel the quality of your skin as well.
What the results will reveal
1. Your bare skin will feel greasy and have a glossy shine.
Tissue: The tissue paper will be smudged and stained with oil.
This means you have Oily skin.
2. Your skin will feel tight and dry. It may even feel a little flaky or itchy.
Tissue: The tissue paper will have some fine flakes on it.
This means you have Dry skin.
3. Your skin will feel greasy on the T-zone, your nose will be shining, whereas your cheeks may feel normal or dry.
Tissue: The tissue paper will be blotted with oil in the shape of a T, mirroring your T-zone.
This means you have Combination skin.
4. Your skin will feel not too dry, or not too oily.
Tissue: The tissue paper will be clear.
This means you have Normal skin.
Watch the video below for a step by step breakdown of the test.
What do these skin types really mean?
Oily skin has a persistent shine to it, due to the skin’s tendency to overproduce sebum, especially around the areas of your face and neck. The excess oil production can clog your pores or make them appear enlarged, leading to breakouts and acne. A common skin concern for oily skin is often comedones such as blackheads and whiteheads which occur due to the accumulation of dead cells, dirt and oil in the pores. However, the upside is that you are likely to age slower, as the natural oils protect the skin's barrier and prevent the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines.
Skincare tips: In terms of products, look for lighter, more hydrating formulas that are more water-based or matte. Regular exfoliation with ingredients like Salicylic Acid, using an Alcohol-free toner/mist and double-cleansing twice a day can help in removing impurities and excess sebum to balance the moisture levels of your skin. Avoid using too much comedogenic makeup that can plug the pores and cause acne too.
Dry skin is a skin type that can feel tight, brittle, or even rough at times. Skin elasticity tends to be low for those having dry skin, leading to patchiness or itchiness. This occurs due to the lack of natural oil production which is mainly influenced by our genetics, as well as external factors such as hormonal changes, climatic conditions and lifestyle choices. The advantage of having dry skin is that your pores are smaller, so not only does your skin look less greasy, but it also is less prone to breaking out.
Skincare tips: The lack of natural oils and lubricants needs to be compensated for, so opt for products with an oily or creamy base. Using humectants helps the skin regain its natural moisture and strengthens its barrier. Face oils that are high in Oleic Acid like Avocado Oil and Sweet Almond Oil can help to nourish your skin along with your usual moisturisers and serums. Moreover, emollients like Squalene can help hydrate the skin and make it smoother and more even toned.
Combination skin is categorised by an oily T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) and drier areas around the cheeks and jawline. The oilier parts of the skin are caused due to an overproduction of sebum, whereas the drier parts lack sebum and essential lipids. This is a tricky skin type as different issues need to be addressed simultaneously to achieve optimal skin balance.
Skincare tips: Ideally targeted treatments should be used for different parts of the face. For the oily areas, use a BHA exfoliator and a lightweight, gel moisturiser to prevent your pores from clogging. On the other hand, for the dry areas use a creamy, oil-based moisturiser to hydrate and nourish. Together, these help restore the skin’s balance.
Normal skin is definitely a blessing in disguise, as it is the perfect combination of not too oily or dry. Both moisture and sebum levels are well balanced, leading to fine pores, good blood circulation and an even skin tone. Even the occasional breakout or period of dryness go away quickly.
Skincare tips: Since your skin is not too oily, dry or sensitive, you have the freedom to try and experiment with newer products and formulas without the chance of a bad reaction. However, focus on protecting your skin well by cleansing, hydrating and applying sunscreen every day to keep it radiant and balanced. Normal skin is more prone to ageing, and is one of the first skin types to show signs of it. Thus, it is best to start including hydrating and anti-ageing formulas in your regime in your 20s itself for good prevention and care.
The Bottom Line
Always remember, you do not have to use a lot of products to see results, you just have to find the right products for your skin type. Now that you know your skin type, you can choose products specifically designed for it for better efficacy and higher results. In order to get personalised product recommendations, take our Skincare Quiz to find the right products for your specific skin type and concerns.
- By Krisha Jhaveri