1. How does your skin feel immediately after patting it dry after a bath or shower?
- Normal and combination skin will typically feel clean and comfortable.
- Oily skin often feels as if it's not clean enough, or may even still feel slightly greasy. Pore generally appear larger on oily skin.
- Dry skin will feel tight or itchy, may look visibly taut or stretched, and often has dry patches or flakiness. Pores will likely be less visible on dry skin.
- Contrary to popular belief, seeing shine on the skin is NOT in itself a sign of oiliness. It's normal for your skin to produce oil- that's how it protects itself. If you're not noticing the shine until midway through the day (say, lunchtime) then you're probably not truly oily, but rather normal/combination.
- If you notice oil all over your face within an hour or two of washing, you may be oily.
- Dry skin may not show oily breakthrough at all, or if it does, it probably won't be until well into the evening.
- If you think this is a horribly rude question because you're one of the lucky few that simply wouldn't change a thing, then good for you! Protection and prevention should be your main focus. Sunscreen and antioxidants are your best friends, and if you're in your twenties or beyond, look for products with peptides or niacinamide to fend off wrinkles.
- If you're already concerned with signs of aging like fine lines, wrinkles, or dark spots, peptides and niacinamide can help you too. Products with alpha or beta hydroxy acids can also help to some degree, but more advanced expression lines and dark spots are most effectively treated with prescription retinol.
- For those plagued by breakouts, you may want to try a gentle cleanser with salicylic acid. For dry or sensitive skin with breakouts, sulfur or charcoal are good ingredients that generally don't cause the dryness and irritation that salicylic acid can. Since acne is caused by bacteria in the skin, severe cases can be treated by prescription antibiotics. This is also a concern in which prescription retinol can be helpful, so if over the counter options aren't helping, talk to your doctor.
- Two common mistakes people make when trying to control oil are over-cleansing and skipping moisturizer- creating a vicious cycle. Over-cleansing strips your skin of its natural oil and disrupts its protective barrier, which triggers your skin to pump out even more oil to compensate. This leads to more cleansing to get rid of that oil, and so on... Instead, choose a gentle foaming cleanser and use an oil-free gel or lotion moisturizer. Your skin is smart- it’ll sense the moisture you’re providing and, in time, cut its own oil production back since the excess oil is no longer necessary.
These indicators are tough to describe in writing, but often in cases where the skin is doing confusing things it can be traced back and remedied by changing a step or two in the skincare process. For instance, if you feel tight after cleansing, but have oil peeking through by lunch, you probably have normal/combo skin but are using a cleanser that's too harsh. That's just one example...skin is as unique as...well...a finger print, and everything from diet to heredity weighs in.
Armed with this knowledge, analyze your answers to the questions above- average them together and a clear skin type may present itself. As always, if you’re not confident after reading this, feel free to leave questions in the comments (or even message me) and I'd be happy to help!