Shopping in the beauty department with your BFF is all fun and games – until it comes time to decide which products are actually right for your specific skin type. With hundreds of labels that read: "for oily skin," "for dry skin," or "for combination skin," it can be difficult to decipher which type of product is best for us – especially when we aren't one hundred percent sure of our skin type.
The surface of our skin is covered with a hydrolipid film – a mixture of sweat and sebum – that forms the skin flora. Sebum protects the skin by preventing water from evaporating and fighting against germs. This is what sometimes gives our skin a rich texture.
Sweat, in turn, eliminates heat and regulates the hydration of the skin. And if you feel like you've had a little too much science for one day, we'll finish off by letting you know that It is the quantity and quality of the hydrolipidic film that determines our skin type.
And although the vast amount of beauty products that we see on a daily basis may make it appear as though there are a similar amount of different skin types, there are actually only 4: dry skin, normal skin, combination skin, and oily skin. Knowing your skin type will allow you to choose the right products, and ensure healthy, flawless looking skin. Keep in mind that your skin type can change over time, and younger people are more likely than older people to have normal skin types.
Dry skin lacks elasticity, and tends to produce almost invisible pores, a dull rough, complexion, red patches, and more visible lines. When exposed to external aggression and drying factors, dry skin has a more intense reaction than other skin types, which can include: cracked skin, peeling, and itchy, irritated, or inflamed skin. If skin is very dry, it can become rough and scaly, especially on the backs of your hands, arms, and legs.
The key to keeping dry skin under control is to moisturize on a daily basis – morning and night. Stay away from toners and acne treatment products that will dry out your skin. And don't forget to apply SPF daily (no matter what the season) because your dry skin may be made worse by the sun.
For those of you who are lucky enough to be blessed with a normal skin type, your skin isn't too dry nor too oily, has no or few imperfections, no severe sensitivity, barely visible pores, and a radiant complexion.
Combination skin is the most prominent skin type, and can be dry or normal in some areas and oily in others, such as the T-zone (nose, forehead, and chin). Trying to determine your skin type? Look for overly dilated pores, blackheads, and shine in your skin.
If you have oily skin, it's difficult not to know. Especially if you find yourself applying oil blots to your skin a few times throughout the day. But if you're still unsure, oily skin is known to produce enlarged pores, a dull or shiny, thick complexion, as well as blackheads, pimples, or other blemishes. Don't be confused if your skin is oily one day, and dry the next, as oiliness can change depending on the time of year or the weather. If you're stressed out, or have been exposed to heat or too much humidity, the oil factor on your skin may be turned up a notch.
To keep oily skin under control, use a gentle cleanser and try not to scrub when washing your face. Use products labeled as "noncomedogenic" that don't clog pores, and make sure not to pick or pop pimples, as healing time will be prolonged. Use L'Oreal's Rejuvenating Toner after cleansing before bed to keep oil under control.
HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR SKIN TYPE
To determine your skin type once and for all, start off by simply washing your face with a gentle cleanser like L'Oreal's Sublime Soft Soothing Gel-Cream Wash, and pat it dry. Don't forget to remove your makeup – this will clean away oils and dirt that may have accumulated during the day.
After about an hour, your skin should return to its natural state – the characteristics of which will determine your skin type. Go about your day (without touching your face) and proceed to step 3 when your hour is up.
Dab your face with a tissue. Pay attention to the T-zone (nose, chin, and forehead), to see if it has accumulated any oil. This will help to determine whether or not your skin is oily when reviewing the characteristics of each skin type.
If your skin is normal, it will feel supple and smooth will show no signs of oil or flaking. If your skin is oily, you will have found grease on the tissue. It also common to see shine or large pores if you have oily skin. If your skin is dry, it will feel taut or show flakes of dead skin. Lastly, if you have combination skin, your face will exhibit all three of the characteristics listed above. You may find oil on the tissue, but normal or dry symptoms elsewhere on your skin.