Image: Imaxtree from Byrdie

We all look at our skin every day, we touch it, and we apply numerous lotions we believe will help to keep it looking its best. It goes without saying that one of the best ways to maintain a clear and glowing complexion is to choose products that work with, rather than against, your skin type. It should be easy, especially now practically every skincare product or you tube vlogger review comes with a recommended skin type.

‘Buy this if your skin is dry’
‘Avoid this if you have oily skin’

It should be easy enough; after all, there is only really four types: oily, dry, combination and normal. But what if you have no idea what your skin type really is? Fear not, because SkinBase have collated some of the best hints and tricks from across the web to help you identify the exact skin type you are.

Read on…

Mirror, Pore & Pinch Test

Step 1: Find a mirror.

Step 2: Examine your pores. “Large pores and the appearance of an orange peel texture indicates oily skin,” Vargas says. “No visible pores means dry skin. And larger pores in the T-zone and no visible pores on the cheeks is combination.” If none of that sounds like you, and your pores are neither enlarged nor invisible, you probably have that skin type called normal.

To confirm your suspicion, move onto the next test…

Step 3: pinch yourself. “The second thing you need to do is give your skin a tiny pinch on the cheek. If it appears plump and smooth, your skin is nice and hydrated.” That means you can rule out dry and combination skin. “If it wrinkles easily, it’s dehydrated,” Vargas says. That means you probably have dry or combination skin.

And there you have it. It’s as simple as that. Who knew pores and pinched cheeks were the clues we’d been missing? Thanks Byrdie for clearing this one up!

The Dab Test

Step 1: Wash Your Face with a gentle cleanser and pat dry. Remove make-up. This cleans away oils and dirt that may have accumulated during your day, giving your skin a fresh start. Do not over wash though.

Step 2: Wait an hour. During this time, your skin should return to its natural state, the characteristics of which will determine your skin type. Act normally and, please, don’t touch your face!

Step 3: Dab your face with a tissue. Pay attention to the ‘T-zone’, the area of your forehead and nose.

Step 4: Determine your type:

  • Normal skin shows neither oil nor flaking skin. It should feel supple and smooth. If you have it, consider yourself lucky
  • Oily skin is characterised by the grease on the tissue. It is also common for a person with oily skin to have large pores and shine.
  • Dry skin may feel taut or show flakes of dead skin. It is associated with small pores. Moisturizing is important for this skin type.
  • Combination skin is most common. It exhibits traits of all three of the above skin types. Usually, the skin is oily in the T-zone and normal to dry elsewhere.

Determine if you have sensitive, under-circulated or acne prone skin

Skin that gets red and flushed easily from products, being touched, hot showers, alcohol consumption and spicy foods is sensitive. This skin type will benefit from gentle ingredients, such as white tea, a potent antioxidant. If you have sensitive skin that reacts easily, avoid products with synthetic fragrances and choose products formulated to reduce inflammation.

Under-circulated skin barely turns pink at all, even from activities like facials, using a scrub, or taking a hot shower. This skin type will benefit from ingredients like peppermint, ginseng extract, and rosemary, which encourage the dilation of blood vessels. They allow the skin to accommodate more oxygen and nutrient-rich blood, resulting in brighter, glowing skin.

Because not all acne is equal (cysts, pustules, papules, etc.), it isn’t always easy to determine if you have acne-prone skin. Acne can also occur at any age, in any region on the face. It can be very severe or just occasional, but most anyone with any acne at all will always categorize him or herself as acne-prone.

Thanks to Refinery29 for lots of brilliant info!

Thanks to Eczemablues.com for the above image.

How to eliminate products that aren’t working for your skin

Before you can truly decipher your skin type, you need to get rid of any products which might be leading you down a merry path…

If a product stings and burns…

Get rid of it! These reactions often make people believe they have sensitive skin, however in reality it could mean your product is simply irritating. The only exception to this rule is a product that contains acid, which will produce a stinging sensation. This is expected.

Product leaves a greasy residue…

It’s easy to assume that if you’re left with greasy skin, that your skin type is oily. In fact, there’s a possibility the moisturiser you’re using is too rich. Try a lighter formula and take note of the result. Remember your skin can only absorb so much product, the rest will sit on the top – leading to clogged pores.

Product leaves skin feeling tight and dry

There are lots of products (mostly sulfate-based foamers and alcohol-based toners that can severely strip skin of moisture. Don’t automatically think this means you have dry or dehydrated skin though. Chuck out these tightening products and try something organic.

If a product is exfoliating your skin, but you’re still left dry and flaky…

Your skin-care routine isn’t working and you might be over-exfoliating. Too much exfoliation can damage the skin’s moisture barrier, resulting in invisible cracks in the skin that allow moisture to escape, ultimately making skin very dry and flaky. Use cleansing brushes, microdermabrasion, acid serums, and facial scrubs in moderation. Then, take note of the state of your skin.

If a product is leaving your skin irritated and out of balance…

Stop using it! Inflammation is the underlying cause of aging. Inducing topical skin irritation, albeit unintentionally with the use of a product that your skin doesn’t agree with, is a no-no. Always listen to your skin and work with Mother Nature — never against her.

Hopefully this post has given you a better insight into how to determine your skin type and choose the best products for your skin. Remember that if you’re prone to acne, acne scarring, dry, pigmented or ageing skin (that’s fine lines and wrinkles) that SkinBase microdermabrasion is one of the very best treatments. You can find a therapist in moments, here. 

Much love, SkinBase x

Header image from Imaxtree from this Byrdie post

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