Like most things these days, the quality of your skin lies on a spectrum ranging from dry skin through normal, and all the way to oily. Indeed, your skin may identify with different parts of the scale all at once! So what’s your skin type?
Normal skin is a skin type that is used to refer to well-balanced skin. Skin tone may not be even, and the challenging T-zone may need a little extra attention to manage oiliness, but generally sebum production and moisture retention remains stable under typical conditions.
Read more about skin undertones here.
That said, normal skin can also be prone to drying or breaking out depending on changes in the weather (temperature and humidity), your habits (diet and exercise), or even your age. As you get older, your body naturally retains less fat and a gradual drying out of skin may be noticed.
Normal skin can still be susceptible to conditions that may benefit from early medical attention, so even if you do feel generally blessed, inspect your skin regularly for any abnormal changes.
Read our Learn About Skin blogs to find out more interesting information about what healthy skin is, how it functions, and what we can do to improve the quality of our skin through simple maintenance techniques and well-considered diet.
Dry skin typically appears as roughness or flaking and is usually easily treated with the application of hydrating moisturizers. Dry skin, as the name suggests, is prone to drying out, and this may be attributed to a minor deficiency in sebum production in your skin.
While often considered less of a problem (since moisturizing should be a part of everyone’s skincare regimen), dry skin can be more susceptible to burning and peeling under extreme conditions, and more extreme cases may be attributed to mildly sensitive skin. We can usually adapt our habits to quickly treat the problem through frequent application of skincare and potential tweaks to our diet.
After cleansing, people with dry skin are advised to use hydrating serums and moisturizers to maximize water retention. While including oils into your routine won’t cause any harm, and massaging oils into your skin may indeed feel soothing, don’t expect long term benefits by supplementing dry skin in this way. If your skin itches following a cleanse, you may have sensitive skin, or may be using products that are too harsh for your needs.
Here are some tips to help your skin stay clean and avoid drying out:
- Wash your face with warm water; cold water won’t loosen all the grime on your face like warm water will, but hot water may also irritate your skin and result in drying out.
- Avoid harsh soaps on your face that may disrupt your pH balance; our skin functions best when mildly acidic, so check the products you wash your face with and consider switching to using milder cleansers and toners, or even cream bars.
- Avoid products containing alcohol that may further dry your face out.
- Gently pat-dry your face and avoid abrasive action.
- Stay hydrated, use clothing to retain heat and humidifiers to inhibit excessive moisture loss to the air.
Looking for products after reading What’s Your Skin Type? Then check out some of Mongoose & Mink’s skincare products, including cleansers and hydrating moisturizers that are ideal for dry skin.
Managing oily skin needs a double pronged approach. On one hand, we want to immediately address the excess oil seeping through and affecting our appearance (both shine and pimpling), and on the other hand, we want to address the over production of sebum underneath the surface of our skin. These two agendas can conflict in their treatment and so finding a stable balance can take time, effort and sacrifice.
Fundamentally, our skin needs to be oily to some degree to avoid drying out. But overactive glands may be the result of your skin overreacting to the threat of moisture loss. Oily skin may be oily because it might also be sensitive! Using carefully selected oil treatments applied to the skin may seem counter-intuitive, but the idea over time is that increased hydration locked into your skin earlier will settle glands down to more manageable levels going forward. Your skin is afraid of drying out, and we have the ability to reassure it!
Not every oil is good for use on your face. Look for non-comedogenic oils that are high in linoleic acid, like Hemp Seed Oil; these will soothe and seal in moisture but won’t clog your pores in the process. Good picks also include Rosehip Oil (non-comedogenic and scentless), Grapeseed Oil (also rich in Vitamin E), Tea Tree Oil (with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that may benefit sensitive skin), and Jojoba Oil. Jojoba is particularly interesting as an ingredient as it’s actually a wax ester, which means that it most closely resembles the oily sebum that your skin produces. Further, unlike oils that can go rancid over time, Jojoba’s waxiness means that it is more stable and keeps better for longer.
Anyway, the epidermis can take almost 2 months for it to fully regenerate under optimal conditions, so be prepared to face consistent maintenance for 4-6 weeks before you really start to notice the difference.
So, when should you use face oils in your skincare routine? Simple, at the end, but don’t delay! Once we’ve hydrated our skin with serums, moisturizers and creams, we’ll want to lock in all that watery goodness with an oily barrier before it evaporates through your skin into the atmosphere. Applied oils provide longer-lasting moisture sealing for your skin and retaining hydration in your epidermis for longer should pacify overreacting sebaceous glands, over time.
Applying oil treatments on your skin sooner will do little more than waste any moisturizers that you may use on your face following, or indeed the oil that had just been applied if you use a cleansing product.
So now you’re sitting there with more oil on your face, trying to reduce the amount of oil on your face… Don’t worry! Eventually (give it about 20 minutes to half an hour), the benefits of the oil treatment will fully absorb into your skin, and with frequent moisturizing throughout the day, seeping oil may be kept at bay as your sebaceous glands gets used to having ample hydration around.
If you have oily skin, but even oil control products leave you with breakouts, then you might just have really sensitive skin. Working with a Dermatologist or Allergist may help you identify factors contributing to your problem that you wouldn’t have naturally linked – seek help instead of suffering.
If you wear makeup and you’re tired of oily patches cramping your style, there are few things you can do.
- Use a facial primer with the tip of a clean finger to smooth the surface of your skin before application of makeup. This will also provide a moisture sealing layer and protect against oil seepage.
- Use a setting spray or buff setting powder onto your face to keep your makeup holding in place for longer.
- Use blotting powder or papers to absorb any excess oils that seep through before it ruins your makeup.
Looking for products after reading What’s Your Skin Type? Then check out some of Mongoose & Mink’s skincare and makeup products that are more suitable for oily skin types.
Combination Skin is simply having a mix of dry and oily skin patches around your face. Most people have a somewhat oilier T-zone (forehead, nose and chin), and combination skin is prone to having these patches accentuated with both oily and flaky areas at the same time. Enlarged pores on your nose, localized dandruff or facial skin flaking are also signs of combination skin, especially for those who also experience excess sebum production.
Treating combination skin, essentially, is similar to adopting a skincare routine to manage the excess oil production. We all need to retain moisture, but certain products may help our bodies need to produce less sebum over time. The only difference is that we may choose to localise targeted treatments to only the affected areas.
Sensitive Skin is skin that is easily irritated. You may find that certain environmental factors or products may cause you to break out or develop red, itchy patches.
However, there are a few medical conditions that may cause similar symptoms, which are commonly mistaken for sensitive skin (e.g. indications of allergic contact dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea or even vitiligo), so checking with your family physician on your next visit is never a bad idea when putting together your skincare plan. In every case, avoid scratching an itch that won’t go away as it will typically make the problem worse before going away!
If you do have sensitive skin (whether dry, normal, oily or a combination), then you probably notice symptoms flaring in response to certain chemical triggers like soaps or detergents, fragrances, skincare and maybe even some household products. Further, your skin may experience redness when exposed under direct sunlight, cold temperatures or brisk wind. Redness like rashes, bumps, flushing and dilated blood vessels usually dissipate with minor treatment, having isolated the affected skin away from the irritant.
If you feel any stinging or burning during your cleansing routine, it may be an indicator that the products you are using are too harsh for you. Some gels or products that contain alcohol can be too drying, or key ingredients in specialist skincare products may be unsuitable for your complexion. Even if temporary, skincare shouldn’t be painful, so consider eliminating steps to try and identify the culprit.
Even with a gentle routine, you may still be prone to breakouts. Combined with sensitive skin, finding the right acne products that won’t cause irritation can be difficult. You may need to seek advice from a doctor or dermatologist to get things back on track.
Looking for products after reading What’s Your Skin Type? Then check out some of Mongoose & Mink’s skincare products that may be better for sensitive skin types.