Get to know the skin you’re in
If we’ve learnt anything from these very uncertain times, it’s that looking after one’s well-being is of utmost importance. Taking the time to care for ourselves should no longer be seen as an act of indulgence but rather a necessity.
While a long, warm bath or getting your full eight hours (or more) of sleep could be considered the ultimate form of self-care, looking after your skin should be way up on your list of self-love, too. After all, the pandemic has forced us all to relook our beauty regimes as many have forgone their usual makeup looks and are focusing on putting their skin first by curating the best possible routines. But before you start looking at products, understanding your skin type is an important first step towards discovering the most effective way to take care of your skin.
DISCOVER YOUR SKIN TYPE
Although your skin’s condition can change due to stress levels, the season, or as you age there are generally five basic skin types to consider: Dry, oily, normal/combination, sensitive and acne-prone. To help you determine your skin type and cultivate an effective skincare routine, there are two methods to consider:
The easiest way to discover your skin type is to study your bare skin. Start by cleansing your face with a mild cleanser and then gently pat dry. After about 60 minutes, observe your bare skin. If it flakes and feels tight, you most likely suffer from dry skin. If your cheeks and T-zone area is shiny then you most likely have oily skin. If you see an unbalanced mix of oiliness and dryness, you most likely have normal to combination skin. If your complexion is red and blotchy then you suffer from sensitivity and, lastly, inflamed skin with break-outs indicate an acne-prone skin type.
Another way to determine your skin type is using blotting paper. Faster and often an excellent differentiator between oily and dry skin types, this method requires you to gently pat blotting paper on various spots of your face. Then, hold the sheet up to a light to see how much oil was absorbed. Plenty of oil indicates an oily complexion, little to no oil means you most likely suffer from dry skin, and if the blotting sheet reveals oil from the forehead and nose areas, your skin is normal/combination.
PRODUCTS THAT WORK WELL WITH:
To help alleviate dry, dull and flaky skin, avoid irritating acids, alcohols and chemicals, and opt for gentle hydrating products with emollients and hyaluronic acid.
Greasy patches and enlarged pores are all signs of an oily skin type. Products that won’t overdry the skin or contain clay are perfect as they drain excess oil and unclog pores.
It’s the most common skin type and usually accompanies an oily T-zone area (the area that crosses the forehead and down the nose and chin) and then drier patches on the cheek. Invest in products with fruit acids and retinol, as these help rebalance the skin.
Opt for gentle formulas that can help strengthen the skin barrier, and look for treatments that are formulated to help treat visible redness and skin discomfort. Avoid ingredients such as alcohol, phthalates, sulfates and parabens that can irritate sensitive skin. Instead, go for good ingredients like aloe vera and antioxidants like vitamin C to soothe skin and fight environmental aggressors.
Aside from actual breakouts, acne-prone skin is also more prone to inflammation and, therefore, any emollient-type product should be avoided. While retinoids such as retinol are ideal for this skin type, it’s best to visit a dermatologist to explore treatment options.