Skin Types 101:

Knowing your skin type is important to make sure you get the right products in your skin care routine.

If you have a hard time determining your skin type – you’re not alone. That’s why we put together this quiz.

There are five types of skin:

  1. normal
  2. dry
  3. oily
  4. combination
  5. sensitive

In this guide, you’ll learn about the different skin types, how to determine your skin type, and the difference between skin types and skin tones.

[tqb_quiz id=’15389′]

The Anatomy Of Skin

Before we dive into all of that, let’s take a quick look at the anatomy of skin, since it is the body’s largest organ.

In fact, if we could remove all our skin, it would have an area of about 20 square feet.

The skin protects our internal organs from microbes and elements, helps regulate our body temperature, and lets us feel sensations.

Your skin has three layers:

Skin Layers

 

The epidermis, or outermost layer, gives us a waterproof barrier and our skin tone.

The dermis, or the layer underneath the epidermis, is where you’ll find the connective tissue, sweat glands, and hair follicles.

The bottom later, the hypodermis, contains the subcutaneous tissue made of fat and connective tissue.

Your skin’s’ color is created by cells known as melanocytes, which create the pigment melanin. Your body’s melanocytes are in the epidermis layer.

Each skin type has its own set of characteristics and symptoms. Understanding what those are means you can give your skin the right attention it needs to remain healthy and youthful for as long as possible.

It’s also important to remember that skin changes over time. As we age, it’s possible to go from one skin type to another. If you have no skin problems right now, you could develop them in the future. Things like puberty, pregnancy, diet, stress and menopause all have an effect on our skin. Yoga can help with digestion and stress, which in turn can improve your skin.

Any hormonal changes can lead to a hormonal acne breakout. When and if this happens, you need to adjust your skin care routine accordingly.

Additional Resources:

Normal Skin

If you have normal skin, you wouldn’t describe it as either dry, or oily.

When both oiliness and dryness are an issue, it’s rare, but easy to remedy. We’ll cover that in the chapter on combination skin.

When you have normal skin, your pores are small, and they’re not easy to see, or engorged. There isn’t an excessive amount of shine, but you don’t see cracks or flakes, either.

With normal skin, you can see a few lines and wrinkles, but there’s a generally even tone and no marked blemishes.

Example of Normal Skin

With normal skin, you can see a few lines and wrinkles, but there’s a generally even tone and no marked blemishes.

You can have a normal skin type and still have a few blemishes, but that’s when using the right skin care regimen can clear it up and keep it healthy.

You do not have to have flawless skin for it to be considered normal.

People with a normal skin type need to use products that don’t make their skin feel greasy. These products should not cause excessive dryness. Normal skin types do not require as much maintenance as others, but consistency is key in any skin care routine.

Resources on Normal Skin:

Dry Skin

If you have dry skin, it’s common for you skin to feel tight.

You may also see flaking, or even scaly patches. Your pores will be almost invisible. You may experience premature signs of aging such as lines and wrinkles.

You may also find your skin is easily irritated.

Example of Dry Skin

Causes Of Dry Skin

Many things can cause dry skin. While it’s easy to assume it’s caused by a lack of moisture – that’s not always the case. Water content of dry skin is similar to the water content of oily skin, so adding water is counterproductive to treating the skin condition.

Normal Vs Dry Skin

Moisturizer is critical, because it will bring more moisture to the skin and keep it there. Oily products are helpful here.  Drinking water will help keep your body healthy, but won’t directly improve the health of your dry skin.

As important as a quality moisturizer is, it’s essential to avoid any treatments with benzoyl peroxide. These will cause the oil glands to produce even less oil, which will worsen the problem. Any harsh cleansers will cause the skin to dry out further.

Treating Dry Skin

Using an all natural glycerin soap can help because the glycerin is a natural humectant that will attract and hold water in place, while also cleansing the skin. It will not cause dryness, thereby allowing the natural oils in the skin to stay in place for moisture. It will take consistent use to see results, but you won’t be relying on any synthetic ingredients to get the job done.

You can also make lifestyle changes, such as avoiding showers that are too hot. The hot water has a drying effect on the skin. Limit yourself to five minutes in lukewarm to warm water. If you live in a dry area, using a humidifier can help keep your skin moisturized. Just be sure to replace the water daily, and keep filters clean so bacteria won’t grow

Dry skin can also be an indication of an underlying health condition.

If you notice a significant amount of redness, flaking, or irritation, speak with your doctor or dermatologist. Have them rule out any skin conditions such as: allergic contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, athlete’s foot, or eczema.

Resources on Dry Skin:

Oily Skin

If you have oily skin, you likely have a lot of shine on your face, and find yourself combating acne breakouts fairly regularly.

Oily skin is typically the result of genetics and hormonal changes.

If you have a genetic predisposition to active oil glands, your skin will naturally produce more sebum – the oily substance the body makes to keep the skin soft and hydrated. It comes from inside the epidermis to the surface of the skin through the hair follicles and pores.

Example of Oily Skin

Causes of Oily Skin

When your hormone levels fluctuate, this produces androgens which increase sebum production.

When too much sebum is made, it can expand the size of the pores and lead to blockages which cause blemishes and pimples. Oily skin is more acne prone and may have an array of blackheads, whiteheads, pustules, or papules. Pores are generally more visible, and skin may look greasy through the day. Makeup wears may find it slides off easily.

Treating Oily Skin

It may seem like a good idea to look for products that dry the skin, but if you use these and it dries the skin out too much, it can cause the body to work harder to produce even more oil, creating more oily skin, and leading to more blockages.

Instead, use a gentle exfoliator to remove the dead skin and build up of dirt, oil, and bacteria in the pores.

Oily skin does come with an advantage – fewer visible signs of aging. Oily skin tends to be thicker, meaning fewer fine lines, since your skin is less prone to dehydration.

You can make dietary changes to address your oily skin. Eat a healthy diet, as eating greasy/fatty foods can make it worse. Avoid thick, heavy, makeup that can block your pores. Opt for oil-free products made specifically for oily skin types.

Make sure to remove your makeup at night with a gentle cleanser, such as glycerin soap. And, clean makeup brushes and other tools regularly to avoid bacterial build up that can spread all over your face. Avoid picking at any blemishes or lesions as this can make bacteria worse.

Resources on Oily Skin:

Combination Skin

The most common skin type, combination skin features places on the face where skin is dry and flaky, and other areas that are oily.

Many of us believe we have oily skin when we in fact have combination.

Unless your skin is oily everywhere, you likely have parts of it that are dry or normal, so that means you qualify as combination.

Example of Combination Skin

Despite the fact that is the most common type of skin, it can be hard to identify, and even harder to treat. The skin is often shiny in the T-Zone – the forehead, nose, and chin, since these areas have more active oil glands. Other parts of the face are dry. If this is you, you have to find a skin care routine that will exfoliate, but not irritate the skin.

Caring For Combination Skin

This means avoiding any products that use synthetic ingredients – sticking to natural alternatives. You don’t want anything that will dry out the already dry places on your skin. You also don’t want anything that will promote excess oil production in the oily areas.

Use a light moisturizer on your T-Zone, and a heavier moisturizer on the cheeks and other dry areas. Make sure to exfoliate to prevent build up of dirt and dead skin in the pores.

Resources on Combination Skin:

Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin can have characteristics of dry, oily, or combination skin.

However, they also deal with a great deal of irritation and redness.

It’s possible for someone with normal skin to have sensitive skin, but typically they don’t overlap.

Example of Sensitive Skin

You may have sensitive skin if your skin easily flushes. While this could also be a sign of a genetic condition like rosaca, it’s often the reaction to certain ingredients. If you have a reaction like this often, you’ve got sensitive skin. The same is true if you notice the beauty products you use cause burning or stinging sensations. This is due to a thinner skin barrier. Opt for gentler, hypoallergenic products made specifically for sensitive skin.

If you’re prone to bumps and rashes, you’ve likely got sensitive skin. If you’re trying a new product, it’s best to try it out on a small, hidden area of the skin first. Wait a day to see if any rash develops before applying it to your entire face or body.

If you find yourself turning red within minutes after walking out into the sun without sunscreen or your hat, your skin is photosensitive. This can cause a rash on your face, chest, and outer arms. To beat this, wear an SPF 30+ broad spectrum sunscreen made with either titanium dioxide or zinc oxide. Synthetic sunscreens are more likely to cause trouble for your sensitive skin.

Resources on Sensitive Skin:

Skin Types vs. Skin Tones

You can have any of these skin types, regardless of what your skin tone is.

Two people can have the same skin color and type, but different skin tones and undertones.

This affects how makeup appears on their face, along with how other topical applications and invasive skin care treatments may impact the skin.

Skin Types vs. Skin Tones

Skin Tones

First, we look at the color on the surface – or what you see when you look in the mirror, and then we look at undertones.

  • If you’re fair skinned, you are pale and burn easily in the sun.
  • If you’re light skinned, your skin is still light in color, but there’s more yellow or beige in your undertones.
  • If you’re medium, your skin is darker, and likely has olive undertones.
  • If you’re dark, your skin is dark and you may have a deep complexion.

Your surface color can change – like when you tan in the summer and become lighter in the winter. Your surface color can also be affected by skin conditions.

Determine your surface color by looking at your jawline since this area is less affected by skin color changes compared to the rest of your face.

Undertone refers to the subtle color underneath the skin – or the color that’s always there as a shadow. Surface color can change, but undertones remain the same. Your undertone forms the basis of your overall skin tone. Use the undertone to identify the best foundation for your face.

Undertones can be classified in three ways:

  • Warm – yellow, peachy, and golden.
  • Cool – red, pink, and bluish.
  • Neutral – olive or a mix of those above.

You can determine your undertone by looking at your veins on the underside of your wrist. If they are blueish purple, you’re cool. If they are greenish, you’re warm. If they look blueish green, or your just not sure, you may be neutral.

Also, think about whether you tan or burn? If you tan easily, you’re usually warm toned, but if you turn red, you’re usually cool. If you blush easily, you’re cool. Those who look better in silver jewelry are generally cool. Those who look better in gold are generally warm.

Resources on Skin Types vs. Skin Tones:

Determining Your Skin Type

If you have a hard time determining your skin type – you’re not alone.

Using the wrong products can make problems worse – even if you have normal skin.

Taking the time to figure out what skin type you have ensures you can build the right care routine and keep your skin more youthful looking longer.

Your skin type is generally a result of genetics. If lots of people in your family deal with oily skin, then it’s likely you will, too. But, certain habits can make a skin condition worse.

A quick and easy way to figure out which type of skin you have is the blotting method.

Pat a blotting paper on the different areas of your face. Hold the sheet up to light to see how much oil is on it. If you picked up little to no oil – you’ve got dry skin. If you see oil from the T-Zone, you have normal/combination skin. If the blotting paper is saturated with oil, you have oily skin.

If you notice your skin is easily irritated by many skin care products, it’s likely you have sensitive skin.

Your skin type is generally a result of genetics. If lots of people in your family deal with oily skin, then it’s likely you will, too. But, certain habits can make a skin condition worse.

A quick and easy way to figure out which type of skin you have is the blotting method.

Pat a blotting paper on the different areas of your face. Hold the sheet up to light to see how much oil is on it. If you picked up little to no oil – you’ve got dry skin. If you see oil from the T-Zone, you have normal/combination skin. If the blotting paper is saturated with oil, you have oily skin.

If you notice your skin is easily irritated by many skin care products, it’s likely you have sensitive skin.

Still not sure? Take the skin type quiz at the top of this page.

 

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