What's your skin type and why do you need to know it?
There are a few different ways to categorize skin types. First is by its' oil content. Oily skin, as it sounds, has an abundance of oil. Dry skin doesn't have very much oil at all. (Dry skin shouldn't be confused with dehydrated skin, although the two often go hand in hand.) Some people have regions of the face that are Dry and others that are Oily and this is often referred to as Combination Skin. And then there is somewhere in between all of these and is usually called "Normal". But let be real... If you have skin, no matter what the condition, IT'S NORMAL!!! Dry skin isn't weird and oily skin isn't uncommon. All skin types are normal!
So how do you know if you are Dry, Oily or somewhere in the middle? You can try what I like to call the "Tissue Test". First cleanse your skin with a water based cleanser that foams a bit in order to remove more or less all surface oil on the skin. Now wait for 10 minutes without applying any additional products. While you are waiting, search around your house for a random piece of tissue paper left over from the Holidays... After 10 minutes, smooth out the crinkles in the old tissue paper and press in into your forehead. Then use another area of the paper and press it into your cheeks, then your nose and chin. Are there any oil blotches on the paper? If you answered "No" to all areas of the face then you have dry skin. If you got some oil from either the forehead, nose or chin but nothing on the cheeks, you have combination skin. If you got just a tiny bit of oil from all over the face you have "Normal" skin. (We really need to come up with a new name for that! How about Neutral? Or Balanced?). If you got a good bit of oil from everywhere on your face after 10 minutes, you have Oily skin.
The vast majority of adults have a Neutral to Dry skin type. It is often mis-categorized because of skincare marketing for Acne products. Many of these products talk about oil clogging pores leading consumers to believe they must have oily skin to have acne. This just isn't true, but we'll save that for another blog post...
Now that you know what your skin type is, you can shop for products that will help you get the results you are looking for. Read the labels on your skincare products and see what they say. Almost all brands will say somewhere on the packaging whether they are good for Oily Skin, Dry Skin, Combination Skin or All Skin Types. You will still have to experiment to see what textures and smells you prefer, but at least you will be able to eliminate the majority of the products on the shelf from your decision making process.
There is another way we classify skin types and this is by color. We measure the pigment in the skin with the Fitzpatrick Scale. There are 6 Fitzpatrick skin types ranging from very pale to very dark and are assessed with a series of questions related to how easily the skin burns, eye color, freckles, etc. So why is it important to know what your Fitzpatrick Score is? Well, for the most part, it's not... It IS however important for your skin therapist to know. Some treatments are not advised for darker skin tones due to the greater likelihood of hyperpigmentation post procedure. And with lighter complexions there is a higher incidence of skin cancer that your esthetician or dermatologist will want to be on the lookout for.
Now that you are armed with a better understanding of your skin type, hopefully you will have an easier time trying to decide which skincare products are most suited for you. As always, if you have questions about any other products you currently using or are thinking about using, take a screen shot and DM me on Instagram @Holladayspa. I am always happy to nerd out on products and ingredients!! And if this information has been helpful, subscribe to our email list and follow us on Instagram for more skincare tips and tricks. Don't keep your friends in the dark. Share this post! They deserve healthy skin too.
Laura Has been an Esthetician since 2003, started working for herself in 2008 and took the leap into business ownership in 2018. She strives to bring you the truth about skincare and take the guess work out of your cosmetic purchases.