Do you know what your skin type is?
If you found that question hard to answer, you're not alone!
Figuring out what's right for your skin is usually not as simple as categorizing yourself into "oily," "dry," "sensitive" or "acne-prone."
Frankly, I find that's an outdated way to think about skin—and it could actually keep you from achieving a healthy balance.
Here's why I don't believe in skin types:
Your Skin is Always Changing
You're not born with a certain skin type and destined to have it forever. Your skin is constantly changing and evolving over the course of your lifetime.
There are many factors that influence how your skin looks and feels on any given day, including:
- Hormonal status (progesterone, estrogen, thyroid, serotonin and cortisol levels)
- Day of menstrual cycle
- Bowel function
- Climate, season and weather
- Emotional state
- Stress level
- Products and skincare routine
That's why you could be dealing with sensitivity and redness one week, and breakouts and oiliness the next.
Most importantly, I want you to know that it is absolutely possible to change your so-called skin type by improving your health and hormonal balance. I touch on some of the basics in the first two lessons of Better Skin in 7, my FREE email course.
Addressing root causes can bring your skin much closer to "normal"—neither dry, nor oily, nor sensitive.
Nothing should EVER be seen as fixed when it comes to the body.
Everyone Has Combination Skin
Another reason I dislike categorizing people into skin types is because it implies that you're only dealing with one issue, or a cluster of related issues.
But skin isn't logical that way! In my experience, most adult women have two or more concerns that bother them, and they're not necessarily connected to a "type."
Think: acne and sun spots; rosacea and dark circles; dryness and blackheads; and so on.
We all have combination skin (as Into the Gloss has also pointed out)—and there are many possible combinations!
So you can do your skin a huge disservice by limiting yourself to a "type."
It encourages you to treat your skin the same way all over, every day—when in reality, you might only need to treat certain areas, at certain times. This can lead to over-drying or over-hydrating, which leaves skin more confused than ever.
It also limits the possibilities for your skin, and what you can achieve from your routine. Rather than settling for skincare that caters to one "type," I'd encourage you to choose products and ingredients based on specific issues.
You Need a Skincare Wardrobe
Above all, the "skin type" concept keeps you out of tune with what is really happening with your skin and body.
I know we're all busy, and it's easier to just grab your tried and true products day in and day out.
But I'd rather you touched and examined your skin each day to determine what it needs. This not only allows you to customize your daily skin treatments, but it also helps you pinpoint and treat problems before they become more serious.
(Although PLEASE don't start staring into a magnifying mirror—those things can make you too obsessive!)
Once you get a sense of what your skin is asking for, a skincare wardrobe is essential.
By skincare wardrobe, I mean you should have a selection of skincare products to choose from with varying textures (both light and rich) and active ingredients. That way, you always have options!
At minimum, I think it's useful to have:
A Multitasking Oil:
Squalane, jojoba and coconut oils are the safest, most versatile oils. My favourite is squalane (read more about it here), such as Peter Thomas Roth Oillless Oil 100% Purified Squalane, Indie Lee Squalane Facial Oil or The Ordinary 100% Plant-Derived Squalane.
A Weightless Hydrating Serum:
Of course, I always recommend Consonant HydrExtreme (reviewed here), because it's all-natural and outperforms hyaluronic acid. But I also like Éminence Strawberry Rhubarb Hyaluronic Serum, Schaf Radiance Firming Serum and Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum.
A Hydrating Face Mist:
A Rich, Silicone-Free Cream:
For any dry patches, I'm obsessed with LXMI Crème du Nil Pore-Refining Moisture Veil (reviewed here). Another good one is Odacité Beautiful Day Moisturizer (reviewed here). I avoid creams with silicones for these reasons.
A BHA Treatment:
BHAs are less irritating than AHAs—and they aren't just for acne! Read more about their benefits here. COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid and Paula's Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid are two of the best.
A Niacinamide Treatment:
Niacinamide is the most versatile, well-tolerated active ingredient—it works as an antioxidant, pigmentation-fader, wrinkle treatment, pore-shrinker and acne-fighter! Try The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% (reviewed here) or Paula's Choice Resist 10% Niacinamide Booster.
I hope this encourages you to think outside the box about skin types!
Instead of wondering "is this right for my skin type?" think about how your skin looks and feels at this moment—not necessarily forever.
You might require less moisture some days, or more frequent applications of your BHA to prevent breakouts. At other times, you may find you need to layer your serum, cream and oil to beat dryness. It's all about mixing and matching!
And if you're really having trouble figuring out what your skin likes and dislikes, I suggest you keep a skincare diary.
Track things like sleep, diet, body temperatures and stress levels, along with which products you used that day. You'll start to see patterns, and may even be able to predict what your skin will need, and when!
Let me know what you think about the "skin type" concept:
Do you believe in skin types?
How would you describe your skin?
Do you have a skincare wardrobe?