Looking to identify your skin type but don't know where to start? Here are 2 easy methods to identify your skin type.
Before attending aesthetics school, I didn't have a proper skin care background so I wasn't surprise when I didn't even know how to identify my skin type.
I was blind to the risks that misdiagnosing my skin type could cause but the good news is that there are easy methods that can help identify your skin type without it being a headache.
I dreamed of flawless skin and simply expected it, with time I realized the hard work I would have to commit to for clear skin.
Acne is a condition of the skin that affects adolescents, as well as, young adults and it can persist into adulthood.
According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 85% of people between 12 and 24 experience at least minor acne.
Meaning, most of us aren't blessed with healthy skin and actually have to work for it.
I had to learn about the different skin types there are, to be able to know how to identify my skin type and get my skin looking refreshed, young and glowy.
If you want to learn how to identify your skin type, keep on reading!
Nothing Worth It Comes Easy
Ever since I can remember, I wanted clear skin. Sadly, no matter how many dermatologists I went to, none of them helped me which was frustrating.
I used all the skin care products and took all the medicines prescribed (I even took Isotretinoin better know as Accutane for a while, which I wouldn’t recommend due to its many long-term side effects) but it only worked for a couple of months.
Once I stopped taking it, some of the acne, as well as, the blackhead and whiteheads came back.
I'm not saying it didn’t help me because it did but consuming the pill comes with a price; if I had known, I wouldn’t have taken it.
I was young, desperate and just wanted fast results.
Taking Matters Into My Own Hands
The summer after my school graduation, I traveled to Lebanon and during my stay, I broke out horribly (like I never had before) and it made me feel embarrassed.
Specially because a few people kept bringing it up as if I hadn't tried to find a solution to the problem.
I felt like I had no control and couldn't take it anymore, it was the last straw for me and I decided to take matters into my own hands.
Then in January of 2017, I started attending aesthetics school and it was just like I imaged if not better, it not only helped me a lot but I LOVED it.
It was then, that I was really indulged into the skin care world, was taught how to identify different skin types and understood its importance; each in need of a different routine, method, products and procedure.
I have to highlight that being an aesthetician was always a dream of mine (but I wasn't planning on studying it until the last minute which I am so grateful for), so don't just apply to be an aesthetician if you don't love it because it's not for everyone.
Where To Start
When I first dived into the skin care world, I didn't know where to start which lead to frustration.
There was so much information, going in so many different directions that I became overwhelmed.
So if I could boil it down, to begin taking proper care of your skin, you must first:
- Have an understanding of your skin.
- Identify your skin type.
Different skin types use different skin care products, for instance, dry skin doesn't use the same skin care products as oily skin does.
If you use the wrong skin care products because you misidentify your skin type, you could aggravate your skin which could lead to irritation, cause an overproduction of oil, cause breakouts or even dry your skin out excessively.
Understand Your Skin (Basic Info)
The integumentary system, also known as the skin, is made up of three important layers:
- The epidermis: skins first layer and composed of five layers which are essentially dead.
- The dermis: skins second layer, which is composed of two layers, here is where the blood vessels and nerves are found.
- The hipodermis/subcutaneous layer: skins last layer, fat is stored here.
Each of these layers serve a purpose and should be taken care of, I've written an easy guide to help you understand the skin more in depth.
Our skin reflects our inner health which provides an insight into how healthy we are and each zone represents a specific health concern.
That's why you should always pay attention to your skin and the way it reacts.
Being able to identify your skin type will guide and help you understand whenever you're suffering from more than a skin condition to perhaps a health concern.
Skin Type vs. Skin Condition
These two terms can often be confused but it's important to understand the difference between them when it comes to skin care.
A skin type is predetermined by genes, it affects your basic skin care needs. While a skin condition is determined by internal and external factors which are temporary.
Identify Your Skin Type
Skin types are assigned when you are born, it's in your genetic makeup. To be able to identify your skin type, you need to know how many, as well as, which ones there are.
There are 5 different skin types which are:
How to Identify: if your skin is not to dry nor to oily, well-balanced t-zone, slight oily shine and rare breakouts or flakiness, you have normal skin.
What to Avoid: alcohol and harsh chemical based products, as well as, over-hydrating the skin since it can clog the pores ultimately causing breakouts.
How to Identify: if your skin overly produces oil which clogs and congests pores all throughout the skin, it's shiny looking, feels greasy and it's prone to breakouts and blemishes, you have oily skin.
Causes: the sebaceous glands are genetically predisposed to overproduce oil (or sebum), hormones and humid climate.
What to Avoid: skin care and makeup products that are oil-based and products that are alcohol and sulfate based because they dry the skin.
How to Identify: if your skin is rough and dull looking, scaly and flaky and you feel mild to intense itch or irritation, you have dry skin.
Causes: the sebaceous glands are genetically predisposed to produce less oil (or sebum), hormone imbalance, medications, age, environmental factors, heaters and hot showers or baths.
What to Avoid: alcohol and sulfate based products because they strip the skin from its natural oils and skip hot showers, baths and heaters because it draws moisture from the skin.
How to Identify: if you skin has a combination of oily and dry areas on the skin, oily t-zone but dry elsewhere, you have combination skin.
Causes: genes, oil (or sebum) overproduction throughout the t-zone and using wrong skin care products.
What to Avoid: alcohol based products which dry the skin out.
How to Identify: if your skin reacts easily causing redness and dryness, you have sensitive skin.
Causes: there's no single cause to skin sensitivity but a number of factors such as genes, hormones, environmental factors and products that contain harsh chemicals.
What to Avoid: products that contain fragrances, heavy dyes, harsh chemicals and any ingredients that might cause an allergic reaction or irritation.
Methods that Help Identify Your Skin Type
Trying to identify your skin type can be confusing but these 2 easy methods will help you identify your skin type within minutes.
The Bare-Face Method
Wash your face with a mild cleanser (which preserves the natural components, proteins and lipids found in the skin), pat dry gently and avoid applying skin care products. After 25-30 minutes, examine your skin.
If your skin feels very oily and greasy all throughout, you have oily skin. If it feels rough, scaly, flaky and tight then you have dry skin.
If you have certain oily and dry areas, then you have combination skin, but if it has a balance of both with a slight oily shine then it's normal skin.
Last but not least, if your skin shows signs of irritation and redness then it's sensitive skin.
The Blotting Sheet Method
It determines your skin type based on the amount of oil visible on the blotting sheet.
Pat a clean blotting sheet gently onto different areas of your skin, hold the sheet up in a place where there's light and examine how much oil the sheet absorbed.
If the sheet didn't absorb any oil, then you have dry skin but if there's slight oil visible then it's normal skin.
If the sheet absorbed oil from the t-zone but not from everywhere else, you have combination skin but if it's saturated in oil (to the point where you have to get another blotting sheet for the remaining oil), you have oily skin.
How to Care for Your Skin Type (The Basics)
Now that you have learned to identify your skin type, you need to know how to care of it.
This skin type shows early signs of aging so incorporating hydrating and anti-aging skin care products into your routine is key. It's never too early to start using anti-aging products, as a matter of fact, after the age of 21 collagen production decreases by 1% each year.
BEST SKINCARE ROUTINE FOR NORMAL SKIN
Maintaining the skin under oil control is key, use gel-base skin care products, products labeled 'oil-free', 'non-comedogenic', or 'non-acnegenic' because it won't clog pores and exfoliate 2 to 3 times per week to eliminate dead skin cells to promote cell turnover.
It's important to find products that won't strip the skin from its natural oils because it's what moisturizes and protects the skin.
Keeping the skin barrier hydrated is key, use products formulated to hydrate, moisturize and nurture the skin.
BEST SKINCARE ROUTINE FOR DRY SKIN
Keeping the skin balanced is key, use products formulated for all skin types.
BEST SKINCARE ROUTINE FOR COMBINATION SKIN
Use products that are labeled 'non-irritating' and 'non-sensitizing', as well as, free of parabens, synthetic fragrances, mineral oil, sulfate detergents, phthalates, urea, DEA or TEA, because such ingredients have been shown to cause irritation or inflammation.
I'd recommend patch testing before applying any product on your skin just to make sure it's good for you and that you're not allergic.
BEST SKINCARE ROUTINE FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
The last but most important step for ALL skin types is wearing sunscreen on a daily basis every 2 hours because it prevents skin cancer and premature aging.
I have written a very detailed article on the importance of sunscreen and I highly recommend you read it!
Why Should You Take Care Of Your Skin?
It's a common fact that the largest organ in the human body is the skin, therefore, it's importance is apparent.
There are countless reasons taking care of your skin is important, from physically feeling good and comfortable to being health, which are:
- Healing Faster: a skin that's healthy has the ability to regenerate and heal itself faster, as a result, you'll be less susceptible to infections.
- Preventing Illness: the skin is a shield that keeps us safe from germs, illness and harmful elements that can cause damage if they penetrate the body.
- Preventing Cancer: using sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun, will prevent skin cancer.
- Appearance: there's nothing wrong with wanting to look your best and a healthy skin is better looking skin because it prevents aging and provides a younger complexion.
5 Myths About Skin Types
In order to achieve a healthy complexion, you need to educate yourself to be able to make informed decisions in relation to your skin.
You need to stop believing these 5 myths about skin types.
MYTH # 1: Your skin type never changes.
Throughout our lifetime, our skin type changes due to the difference of the water content, oil content and sensitivity on the skin. These factors are affected by health issues, hormones, age and environmental factors.
As a result, it's important to pay attention to our skin because as our skins needs changes so does our skin care products and skin care routine.
MYTH # 2: People with oily skin are the only ones that can get acne.
Acne is caused by clogged pores and bacteria, so any skin type can suffer from this condition. However, it is obviously more common on oily skin types due to the over-production of oil which clogs pores ultimately causing acne.
MYTH # 3: Certain skin types don't need to wear sunscreen.
All skin types, as well as, skin tones need protection to prevent health-damaging effects caused by UV rays from the sun.
MYTH # 4: People with dry skin age faster.
The main causes of premature aging are:
- Genes: According to a study conducted by The Human Genome Project, from the 25,000 genes that humans have, around 1,500 genes impact the health of our skin.
- Sun Exposure: being expose to the sun without proper protection causes collagen fibers to break down and inhibits new collagen fibers from forming; collagen gives skin its structure.
- Smoking: the harmful substances found in cigarettes decrease collagen production, increase oxidative stress and cause vasoconstriction of blood vessels which result in a dull complexion.
MYTH # 5: People with oily skin don't need to moisturize.
Oily skin types should moisturize because it will help reduce and stabilize oil production preventing breakouts and you'll experience a clearer complexion.
Paying attention to your skins needs is a step ahead in the right direction towards healthier skin. Take care of your skin because you've only got one!
Were you able to identify your skin type? Which method worked for you? Let me know in the comments below, I'd love to know!
Frequently Asked Questions
The 5 types of skin are:
- Normal Skin
- Oily Skin
- Dry Skin
- Combination Skin
- Sensitive Skin
Normal skin, also known as eudermic skin, is considered to be the best skin type because it is well-balanced, it has a balanced pH level and sebum production.
However, there's no such a thing as the "best skin type", each skin type has its advantages and disadvantages.
The most common skin type is combination skin which varies from person to person.
Yes, your skin type can change depending on water content, oil content and sensitivity and these factors are affected by health issues, hormones, age and environmental factors.
These tips will help you treat premature aging:
- Avoid sun exposure.
- Stop smoking.
- Avoid repetitive facial expressions.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Avoid drinking alcohol.
- Incorporate exercise into your routine.
- Make sure to clean your skin gently.
- Use moisturizer every day.
- Avoid using harmful skin care products.
The bare-face method and the blotting sheet method are 2 easy methods will help you identify your skin type within minutes.