You're Just My (Skin) Type


What is my skin type?

I have oily acne prone skin, but I can sometimes be dry and flaky, but I also think I may be in the sensitive skin category, so does combination cover it?

This is always the first question that you, or a sales associate asks at the start of any skin related shopping experience. I also think it’s the hardest one, especially if you live in places where the type of products you need, changes with the seasons! Luckily being in California I can pretty much use the same skincare products all year round, but this was not the case when in lived in New York — in the summer I needed products that helped mattify my face, in the winter I needed a heavier moisturizer that would absorb nicely into my skin helping with dry patches, but not making me look oily.

So what is the difference between the skin types?

Dry Skin
Dry skin (I feel) is a little easier to identify. If your skin has a tendency to be flaky, feel a bit tight, sometimes have dry patches, or feels a little rough; you probably fall into this category. Dry skin can be attributed to a few factors: genetics, weather conditions, lifestyle and not staying hydrated (drink more water).

TIP: You want to try and seal in as much moisture into your skin throughout the day as possible, stay hydrated and use a heavier moisturizer. Avoid harsh cleansers that tend to strip even more of the oils from your skin. Try creams instead of lotions for moisturizer, this may help absorb into your skin better.

Normal Skin
People who identify with normal skin typically don’t describe their skin as dry or oily. If they do get a little dry/oily it’s pretty easy for them to fix it. Normal skin types typically doesn’t respond negatively to new products or see any significant changes to their skin in different seasons. They have all the good things: like small pores, don’t have shiny faces, even skin tone and texture, hardly any acne… lucky you, you’re perfect.

TIP: I got nothing. I’ll slow clap you as you check out at Sephora with all your new fun things.

Oily Skin
Oily skin, this is another easy one to identify. If you face is always shiny or possibly reflective, like mine, you are in the oily category. Luckily for us, highlighter is a trend right now, so we just look like we have great dewy or glowing skin. Genetics are the reason why we fall in this category, as our oil glands produce more oil than most. We are acne prone and tend to have bigger pores due to oil clogging them. Silver lining, oily skin tends to age slower because it’s a natural moisturizer and reduces the appearance of fine lines.

TIP: I would recommend gently exfoliating your face at least once a week to help remove dead skin cells that can clog your pores. Don’t use harsh products or loofas to exfoliate, it will irritate or possibly over-dry your face causing your skin to produce even more oil! Salicylic acid is your friend.

Combination Skin
This is actually the most common skin type, and some people mis-diagnose themselves as oily but are actually combination. Do you have dry spots in some areas of your face, and are oily in your t-zone? Then you are most likely considered combination skin! What’s tricky about this skin type is you have to maintain a balance with your skincare routine.

TIP: You may do better with natural ingredients, as some traditional ingredients will help with oil but be counter productive for your dry skin and vice versa. Gentle daily exfoliation could help you stay balanced as well as using a toner.

Sensitive Skin
Sensitive skin types, like combination, can be oily and dry. But the biggest difference is people with sensitive skin also deal with redness and/or irritation. Sensitive skin can be caused by genetics, weather conditions and allergies. If you have sensitive skin, you may react negatively to new products causing break outs or redness to the skin.

TIP: If you want to experiment with new ingredients/products, I would introduce one new thing at a time so you know what is working or not. Avoid products that have alcohol or antibacterial ingredients. Look for products where it says non-irritating on the label or contain ingredients with calming, healing or anti-inflammatory ingredients.