The most important part of skincare isn't the products you use. Instead, it's understanding your specific skin type and how it reacts to different seasons and circumstances. The skin is the largest organ of the body. It's just as sophisticated and intelligent as other vital organs like the heart, lungs, and liver.
Using excessively harsh products (even if they are formulated for excessive oiliness) may send signals to your skin that more oil is needed. Conversely, applying moisturizers that are too thick results in decreased natural oil production. Your skin becomes even drier.
That's why taking time to understand your skin's specific needs will help you choose the right products.
Every person's skin is unique. However, there are three main skin types: Dry, Oily, and Normal/Combination. Here are two simple ways to determine your skin type:
The Bare-Faced Method
Wash your face with a gentle cleanser, then pat it dry. Don't apply any product for at least an hour. Check whether your skin feels parched, especially if you smile or frown. If your face is shiny all over, your skin is oily.
If your skin feels tight, you have a dry skin type. If your forehead and nose are shiny, but cheeks are dry, you have combination skin.
The Blotting Sheet Method
If you're short on time, try this faster method. Use a blotting paper to pat different areas of your face gently. Hold the paper up to the light to check how much oil is visible. Little to no oil indicates that you have dry skin. If the sheet has oil from the forehead and nose areas only, your skin is normal/combination. However, if the blotting paper has lots of oil, your skin is likely the oily type.
This skin type usually feels tight throughout the day. You may also experience noticeable flaking. As with the other skin types, dry skin is primarily due to genetics. Other causes include climate, lifestyle & diet, and hormonal changes. Dehydration is another culprit, so make sure you drink plenty of water and avoid diuretics like caffeine.
Use gentle, non-abrasive ingredients to exfoliate daily. This helps promote skin cell renewal without removing the skin's natural oils. Removing this layer of dead skin ensures that serums and treatments are absorbed quickly.
Which moisturizers are best for dry skin? Choose those containing hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate), glycerin, and marine actives like algae. These ingredients are good at attracting water and infusing it to skin cells. Emollients such as squalane and camellia oil help smooth and hydrate the skin evenly.
If you often experience dryness on the cheeks and oiliness on the T zone, you have normal/combination skin. Thus you need to find a moisturizer that's not too heavy but retains moisture where it's needed most. This skin type experiences minimal to no breakouts on the cheeks and tends to have a well-moisturized T-zone. To keep the T-zone and cheek areas balanced, gentle daily exfoliation is necessary. Go for moisturizers with a gel-like texture since these are absorbed quickly and are less likely to cause breakouts. During moisturizing, start with a small amount and increase as needed to avoid over-moisturizing and stressing your skin.
Excess oil and dirt clog skin pores, leading to blemishes and breakouts. However, oily skin looks younger because it has more natural moisture, thus less prone to wrinkles. This skin type needs daily enzymatic exfoliation, which promotes cell renewal and prevents excessive sebum production. You may also use a gentle physical exfoliator to balance your skin's texture and tone.
Oilier skin is also vulnerable to PIH (post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation). This condition leaves dark spots on the skin after breakouts heal. Exfoliation lightens these dark spots by removing the uppermost layers of skin. Those with moderate to severe acne should use an exfoliator that contains anti-bacterial ingredients for faster healing and to prevent future blemishes.
Managing sensitive skin can be challenging. You spend a lot of time and effort in finding out which ingredients are irritants. To alleviate this, introduce one new product (both skincare and cosmetics) at a time.
Test a new formula on a small patch on your inner forearm and note how your skin responds. If your skin shows no symptoms of irritation, apply the product to the area behind your ears as a final test before using it on your face.
Choose products labeled as non-irritating and non-sensitizing. They should also be free of chemicals such as mineral oil, parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, sulfates, TEA, urea, or DEA.
Our skin's needs usually change over time. Taking steps to identify its needs in different seasons is essential for it to function and look its best. Keeping the health of your skin in mind and "checking in" regularly to determine whether you need to adjust your current regimen will keep it balanced and beautiful.
The Sole Toscana Skin Care Team