Skincare has dominated 2020 and will continue to do so, mainly due to our new-found way of life. The pandemic has given us all the time we needed to invest in our beauty regimen. From trying new skincare routines to adding the right ingredients to achieve a flawless face---it’s safe to say that 2020 has made us woke about the human body’s largest organ. But while creating a strict skincare regimen is important, it’s equally vital to pick one that suits your skin type. Products that may work on others might not necessarily work for you. Picking skincare products and routines that don't match your skin type can do more harm than good.
Figuring out your skin type is not rocket science. There are 4 basic types of skin—dry, sensitive, normal/combination and oily. Once you find out which category you fall under, the rest of your skin journey will be easy-peasy. Don’t worry, you don’t need to consult a skin specialist or go through 100 steps to determine your skin type, we’re going to help you with these easy DIY steps.
Note: Keep in mind that your skin changes with the seasons, so products that work in the summer might not necessarily perform the same during the winter or monsoon season. While doing these tests, make sure your face is wiped clean, with no makeup residue, no dirt or grime left behind.
For this test, you will need to take one hour out of your day. A mild cleanser and water are all you need to figure out your type of skin.
Step 1: Cleanse your face thoroughly with a mild cleanser and pat the skin dry.
Step 2: Keep the skin as is, do not apply any moisturisers, creams or serums.
Step 3: After 30 minutes, examine your cheeks, chin, nose and forehead for any shine or excess sebum.
Step 4: Wait another 30 minutes and check your face again for dryness or shine. Here’s when you can really determine your skin type.
After an hour, if your skin becomes flaky or feels parched or tight while making any facial expressions, then you fall under the dry skin category. If only your T-zone is shiny, then you have normal/combination skin. If you have a shine or your skin feels oily on your forehead, nose and cheeks, you have oily skin.
If you don’t have 60 minutes to spare, then this one is for you. The blotting sheet method is quick, easy and simple. It will help you determine if your skin falls under the oily or dry category! For this method, you’ll need one main ingredient i.e. blotting paper.
Step 1: Wash your face clean with a mild cleanser and pat it dry.
Step 2: Wait for about 30 minutes, after which take your blotting paper and gently dab it on your T-Zone, forehead, cheeks and chin.
Hold the sheet up to the light to check how much oil it has absorbed. If the sheet has little or no oil, then you have dry skin. If it’s packed with excess sebum, then you have oily skin. If paper picked up oil only from your T-zone area, then you have normal/combination skin.
What Causes It?
The causes of dry skin are plenty. Genetics play a huge role, so if many family members have dry skin, chances are you might too. Aside from the family trait, other causes can be a change in season or continuous long hot showers that strip away the natural oils from the skin. Age can also be a defining factor. So, don’t be surprised if your normal/ combination college days skin turned dry and flaky in your 30s.
Taking Care Of Dry Skin
For people with dry skin, the sebum production that keeps the skin soft and hydrated is reduced so skincare products are necessary to quench the skin.
- Avoid hot showers, no matter how good it feels on those cold winter mornings. Hot water is bad for any skin type as it damages the keratin cells. It prevents the cells from locking in moisture and strips away the natural oils which can lead to itchy, flaky skin and even eczema.
- Always use a hydrating moisturiser after a shower. When water evaporates from the skin, it leaves it dry so apply the moisturiser while the body is still damp to lock in moisture and keep the skin hydrated.
- Opt for moisturisers and creams which have a heavy consistency. Your skin needs all the moisture it can get, so lightweight creams are a big no for dry skin. Heavy formulas will keep the skin hydrated, eliminate flakes and keep the skin soft, smooth and supple.
What Causes It?
Just like dry skin, genetics play an important part here too. With combination skin, only the T-zone tends to get oily. Sometimes the wrong products can also result in the production of excess sebum around these areas on the face.
Taking Care Of Combination Skin
Taking care of combination skin is the easiest as compared to the other skin types. If you fall under this category, you just need to keep a few things in mind.
- Use products that work for your skin. This is especially true for your cleansers. Since the pores on your T-Zone are larger, to avoid clogging, choose cleansers that are gentle on the skin.
- Just like any skin type, exfoliation is a must. Exfoliating your skin once a week is good enough to remove dead skin, dirt, bacteria and other grime that settled on the epidermis.
- Use different products. Since you technically have two skin types, it’s beneficial to use oil-free products only on your nose and forehead and your regular products for the rest of your face.
What Causes It?
There are many factors that cause oily skin. Hormonal changes during puberty or pregnancy, genetics and climate---people tend to develop oilier skin during the monsoon season due to the high humidity levels---are a few. People with oily skin have large pores which clog easily resulting in breakouts.
Taking Care Of Oily Skin
- Don’t exfoliate too much. The biggest misconception when it comes to oily skin is that the more you exfoliate, the less oily it will be. This is absolutely wrong and if you exfoliate every day, you need to stop ASAP! Over exfoliating just leads to the production of more sebum in the skin, which can actually cause more damage. Exfoliate only once or twice a week.
- If you have oily skin, avoid products that have a thick consistency and opt for lightweight and non-comedogenic creams and moisturisers. These skincare products will keep the skin moisturised without blocking pores, in turn, reducing the chances of breakouts.
- Pick a toner that doesn’t have alcohol in it. Toners help balance out your pH levels, remove excess dirt, oil and makeup residue, minimize pores and help control acne. An alcohol-free toner like Kiehl's Cucumber Herbal Alcohol-free Toner won’t dry out the skin and will keep it soft, clean and toned.
What Causes It?
If you’re wondering why sensitive skin is not on the DIY methods well, chances are if you fall under this skin type category, you will already know! Those with sensitive skin are easily prone to skin issues. So, if you try a new product—whether it’s soap, perfumes, creams, makeup, etc., and you develop rashes or the skin starts to sting or even become dry, red or inflamed, you have sensitive skin.
While genetics can play a role in this skin type, most people have acquired sensitized skin. Skin disorders like eczema, rosacea, and other allergic reactions can result in this skin type. Identifying sensitive skin is not that difficult; if it’s itchy or tight skin, it becomes red easily, burns while using certain skincare products, then you have sensitive skin.
Taking Care Of Sensitive Skin
- Always do a patch test before using any new products. When it comes to sensitive skin, you need to be extremely careful about what you put on your skin. Before trying a new skincare product, always test it on your hand first (even if the product claims to be hypoallergenic). This applies to makeup as well.
- Choose mild cleansers, moisturisers and sunscreens. Harsh products can cause a lot of skin damage.
Now that you have the full low-down on how to test your skin and the precautions you need to take; you can choose the right skincare routines that will make your skin happy.
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