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Understanding Your Skin Type

Finding the perfect skincare regime can be overwhelming especially when you're not quite sure how to treat your skin. If you're anything like me, you've probably spent a good amount of money trying out various skincare products recommended by friends or top ten lists found in the latest issue of Cosmopolitan magazine. Understanding your skin is vital and you have to be willing to dig a little deeper than just the basic knowledge of identifying your skin as dry, oily, or combination. This is an in-depth breakdown on how to diagnose your skin's needs that will hopefully educate you enough to feel confident in selecting your next beauty product.



Skin Type 101

It's a common misconception that if you're acne prone, you have oily skin. People with dry skin can battle the horrors of acne as well. This is why figuring out your skin type can be more difficult than your initial assessment.


Dry & Tight

  • After washing your face, does your skin feel tight and thirsty for some moisturizer?

  • Do you notice dry patches that can appear flaky and occasionally be accompanied with redness?

  • When you look in the mirror, do you feel as if your skin appears dull?

  • Are your pores almost non-existent?

If you answered YES to all or most of these questions, you most likely have dry skin. Dry skin can be caused by the water temperature used to shower, the actual water quality, the weather, your genetics, and even the products you're choosing to use on your skin. People who deal with dry skin tend to welcome wrinkles and fine lines faster than those with oily or combination skin so it is very important to take the steps necessary in balancing your skin's pH level.


Oil Slick

  • After all that hard work put into your makeup, do you notice it slipping and sliding around your face an hour after application?

  • Are you acne prone with whiteheads and blackheads? (Not every case but most common for oily skin)

  • Enlarged pores?

  • Do you shine bright like a diamond without the help of a highlighter all of your face?

If these questions relate to you, you most likely have oily skin. Despite the battles with unwanted acne flares, people with oily skin tend to look younger than those with dry skin because of the skin's greater elasticity. Many people have identified with the disadvantages of oily skin during puberty but it is common for some to maintain this skin type throughout adulthood due to genetics. Like any other skin type, contributing factors may apply to affecting your skin's pH imbalance such as stress and weather.


All The Things

  • Did you relate to some of the questions for dry skin AND some for oily skin?

  • Do you have shiny skin focused on your T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin)?

  • Do you have dry patches focused more on your cheeks and eye area?

Combination skin can be one of the most difficult skin types to identify because you notice the oily factors as well as the dry factors but sometimes one or the other tends to be more distinct. This can cause confusion and lead you to treating your skin in all the wrong ways.


Why So Sensitive?

  • Does your face tend to itch?

  • Is fighting redness a common issue?

  • Do you have dry patches?

  • Do you feel the burn?

Fortunately, diagnosing sensitive skin can be easily fixed by figuring out the common denominator. Is it an ingredient or a particular product? Pay attention to any new step added to your beauty regime to help narrow down when the irritation began. If it's been going on for awhile, you may want to consider an elimination test to see if an ingredient is the cause. In some cases, this could be genetic and handled with products designed for sensitive skin.


Perfectly Normal

  • Is it common for you to feel clueless when it comes to handling an occasional breakout?

  • Are your pores unnoticeable to the human eye?

  • Do you receive compliments regarding your radiantly perfect skin?

Congratulations, you're just perfect! Normal skin types maintain a balanced pH. It is important for these skin types to use products directed for normal skin to avoid throwing the pH off and causing the skin to slide of the rails.


pH Balance

A balanced pH can sometimes be difficult to achieve because just about anything can throw it off. The pH scale ranges from 0 (acidic) to 14 (alkaline) and your goal is keep your skin at that healthy level of 5.5 which slightly favors the acidic side. When your skin leans more to the alkaline side, that is the when your acid mantle (a thin acidic film which acts as a barrier to the skin and protects against bacteria, pollution, etc.) breaks down and causes a decrease in collagen, dryness, and inflammation. Less commonly, if your pH scales below the desired 5.5 level, your skin can become inflamed and prone to painful breakouts. If you're curious what your pH level may be, you can find pH Test Strips at drugstores and even on Amazon.


Maturing Skin

Attaining more wisdom and understanding of life and one's self can be exciting to some when it comes to aging but to most, aging can be daunting. Puberty is one great thing we escape but as you age, your skin matures which can leave you with fine lines, deep wrinkles, dryness, hyper-pigmentation and a decrease in elasticity and collagen. Hormonal changes and genetics are inevitable but you can help slow the aging process by treating your skin fairly and protecting it as best possible.

  • Hydration is key to skin replenishment. To make sure you're drinking enough, log your water intake using the Waterlogged app.

  • Premature aging is no joke. The sun's rays and pollution can affect our aging process. Protect your skin by applying a good sunscreen and make sure to cleanse your face morning and night.

  • Believe it or not, weather can unfortunately be a contributing factor to aging as well. In the cold months, make sure to stay moisturized to avoid cracked dry skin.

  • Stress, stress, stress... try to remove yourself from everyday stresses to have 10-15 minutes of you time. Read, rest those eyes, listen to music, do some yoga, pray... figure out what works for you but definitely do not forget to make time for YOU!

  • If you're a smoker, quit. Smoking causes a decrease in collagen and much needed nutrients such as Vitamin A.


Locking down a good skin regime can be tricky but I hope this gave you a better understanding of your skin. Feel free to post any questions in the comments below so I can better help you if needed.


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