These days, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to skincare products – every season there seems to be new advances in technology that promise smoother, softer, brighter skin. With hundreds of cleansers, creams, lotions, essences, toners, serums, peels (we could go on all day) on the market, picking the right product for our skin type can be a daunting task for the uninitiated.
The first and most important step, however, is knowing what skin type you actually are (not what you think you are) – only then can you decide which products you need and which ones you don’t, and how to pick the ones that will work best for you.
Knowledge is power, so dive right into our quick and easy guide to skin types and find out how to keep your unique visage bright and beautiful everyday!
Description: Count yourself lucky! Despite the name, it’s pretty rare to have skin that’s perfectly balanced – neither dry nor oily, but well-hydrated and supple even without the assistance of added moisturisers. However, our skin is a delicate beast, so even if you have great skin it’s vital to care for it well so that it stays that way.
Care Guide: Gentle, non-stripping cleansers and light moisturisers are the way to go for those with unproblematic skin. Cleansers of the creamy or foamy variety remove makeup and the day’s dirt effectively without drying out your skin, while water and gel-based moisturisers – think serums and emulsions – keep the skin hydrated without weighing it down.
Description: Even after applying moisturiser, your skin tends to feel tight throughout the day, possibly even flaking in particularly dry patches around the nose, chin and cheeks. Environmental factors such as diet, hormonal imbalances and even whether you live in a dry or cold climate can also exacerbate dryness.
Care Guide: While it’s important not to use harsh chemicals or abrasive materials on dry skin, you might not have realised that it’s equally as important to exfoliate. Why? Without removing the surface layer of dead, flaky skin, moisturising products aren’t able to properly penetrate and do their job. Using a gentle exfoliator before layering on those all-important gels and creams will make them work way better – trust us!
Beyond that, commit to a multi-step moisturising regime, particularly at night, to keep your skin hydrated. Avoid drying makeup remover wipes, instead opting for cleansing oils or cold creams to remove waterproof eyeliner and mascara. Clean your face with a gentle, sulfate-free cleanser before layering on lotion, serum, eye cream and moisturiser. For added hydration, use face masks regularly, while dabbing natural oils such as rosehip and jojoba can heal persistent dry patches.
Description: Oily skin results from having overly-active sebaceous glands, so that even if you apply no products on your skin after washing, your skin becomes oily and shiny after a short period. Those with oily skin have a greater tendency to get clogged pores, sometimes resulting in blackheads or acne. It’s not all bad news, however – oily skin is more hydrated and supple, acting as a natural defence against wrinkles later in life.
Care Guide: Although you might be tempted to, avoid using drying products or over-exfoliating, as your skin may interpret dryness as a signal to compensate for lost moisture by producing even more sebum. Make sure to completely cleanse your face every night, removing pore-clogging makeup and dirt before applying a light, oil-free moisturiser. To combat blackheads and acne, try a chemical exfoliant with glycolic or salicylic acid to remove dead skin and debris from pores.
Description: Like the name suggests, those with combination skin experience dryness in some parts of their face, usually the eyes and cheeks, while the T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) gets oily and shiny. Most people lie somewhere along the combination skin spectrum, as it’s natural to have more active sebaceous glands in those areas.
Care Guide: With combination skin it’s often necessary to treat different areas of the face differently so that you get all-over care. So you might apply thicker moisturisers on your eyes and cheeks while only applying serum on your T-zone – it’s all about finding which combination (pardon the pun) of products works best for you.
Description: While sensitive skin is not a stand-alone skin type per se, it’s a symptom that anyone can experience, where the skin reacts to certain products by becoming irritated or inflamed, resulting in itchiness, redness or dryness.
Care Guide: There are a multitude of factors that can result in sensitive skin, from medication to allergies to lifestyle factors, so it’s all-important to get to the root of its cause, which a doctor or dermatologist can assist you with. In terms of day to day care, before using any new products do a “patch-test” on your inner forearm to make sure you won’t react badly to it on your face.
Description: While it’s impossible to lump all mature skin into a single neat category, inescapable factors such as UV sun damage, loss of collagen and elastin and slower skin cell regeneration can lead to dark spots, fine lines and dullness.
Care Guide: It’s best to choose products that will compensate for skin’s slowdown in natural moisture production. Look for moisturisers containing collagen or hyaluronic acid – they’re extra hydrating and bring back that plump and supple feeling. Serums with vitamin C can also help fade sunspots and hyperpigmentation.