There are many people out there who have great intentions with their skincare routines but may not realize that they are using the wrong products or techniques for their skin type. Sometimes, these products or habits may be causing more harm than good. But it’s never too late to adjust your routine to match your skin type so that you can get the results you’re looking for. There are plenty common mistakes out there, so let's discuss a few of the biggest ones, how to tell if you’ve fallen into these traps, and how to stop the problem and make your skin much happier.
Good skincare products aren’t always cheap, so it’s best to know you’re not wasting your valuable time and money on the wrong ones. Do your skin the favor of nourishing it how it wants to be nourished!
How to Figure Out and Manage Your Skin Type
If you have dry skin…
There’s a good chance you’re overusing retinol products and other actives. Many people with dry skin assume a “more is better” approach to retinol products and other similar active ingredient options. In fact, it’s better to start slow and take the “less is more” approach. Dry skin needs time to adjust to the affects of these products, so don’t start using them and immediately go for daily application. Start with a small amount a couple times a week and work your way up to a stronger or more frequent dose of retinol.
How can you tell if this is you? You may be experiencing extra dryness, flakiness, and roughness. Those might have you wondering if these supposedly helpful products aren’t all they’re cracked up to be! If you’re encountering redness, cracked skin, bumps, or other dry-feeling discomfort, you’re not using the right strategies for your dry skin.
How can you help your dry skin? Make some adjustments by slowing down on your actives and retinol products and building your way up slowly. Use a light exfoliating scrub, but don’t over-exfoliate. Use heavier, deeply nourishing moisturizers. Choose creams over lotions.
If you have oily skin…
There’s a good chance you’re over-exfoliating or using the wrong cleansers. Exfoliating too much makes the skin more sensitive, which can cause the opposite result of what you’re hoping for. And when it comes to cleansers, many people with oily skin will go too far in the wrong direction, choosing a product that is far too drying and strips oils. Your skin doesn’t want to be completely rid of oils and bone dry! Over-drying your skin actually leads to increased oil production, therefore completely undoing the benefits of a cleanser and often giving you a greasy effect. And while it may seem counter-intuitive, using a gentle face oil when you have oily skin is actually a good thing, though many people assume the worst and stay away from them. Using face oils replenishes your skin’s beneficial natural oils, which balances your oil levels and ultimately improves your skin.
How can you tell if this is you? If you’ve been putting in the effort to relieve your oily skin and instead it’s gotten worse, or greasy, or even just hasn’t improved, you’re probably using some of these counterproductive tactics. You may notice extra oils, more blackheads, or major breakouts, all of which are signs that something isn’t working.
How can you help your oily skin? Start using a face oil regularly, to balance your skin’s natural oils. Cleanse your face daily, but not with a cleanser that dries out your skin! You want to maintain hydration and moisture or your skin will overcompensate and ramp up oil production. If your face feels quite tight after cleansing, there’s a good chance the cleanser is too strong for your skin. Exfoliate, but don’t over-exfoliate. If you think you’re doing it too often, try reducing your exfoliation frequency and see if you notice an improvement.
If you have combination skin…
Combination skin features two or more different skin types on your face–usually dry and oily. You may have heard of the “T-Zone” which is often referring to the forehead, nose and chin. In these areas typically shiny, greasy skin occurs. In the cheek area and the temples is where one might find dry, flaking skin.
How can you tell if this is you? It’s likely that you’re familiar with the T-zone or have patches of dry skin in one part of your face and an area that always feels oily. You may find that if you use one product on your whole face it works great for one section, but perhaps exacerbates another.
How can you help manage your combination skin? Although genetics plays a large role in determining skin type, combination skin can be dealt with by finding products that offer extra moisture to already dry areas without increasing shine and oil in other areas. Following the guidelines for oily skin in that “T-zone” and for dry skin in the other areas, you can actually normalize your skin. Try out using two different products for the separate zones as needed.
If you have dehydrated skin…
Often people think they have dry skin when they actually have dehydrated skin. Dry skin is a skin type, like oily skin, normal skin, and combination skin, but dehydrated skin is a condition that can be had by an oily-skinned person too. Dehydrated skin has a lack of water in the top layer of the skin.
How can you tell if this is you? The look of dehydrated skin is dullness, fine lines are more obvious, and skin tends to feel tight. Have you had enough water recently? Probably not!
How can you help manage your combination skin? Besides obviously hydrating your body from the inside out, you should consider hyaluronic acid, like our HydroSurge Hyaluronic Acid Serum, as it is especially good for maintaining water in skin. Treat your skin kindly by avoiding hot or hard water, avoid extreme temperature changes, and take care to not give your skin too much direct sun.
Most of the time people think they have sensitive skin when they truly have sensitized skin. Sensitive skin is a skin type, but sensitized skin is a condition that can be had by anyone. Just as in the case of dehydrated skin, sensitized skin is a function of our environment. When it is exposed to certain ingredients or products (think chemical exfoliants like glycolic acid), skin becomes more sensitive as old layers are sloughed off and new layers exposed. Through a specific process, chemical, or environmental feature, your skin has become sensitized.
Sensitive skin, on the other hand, is often something you’re born with or develop. It is considered a medical condition which dermatologists can diagnose. It reacts more strongly to most actives, and you have likely found that any percentage of actives (things like vitamins or acids) might lead to unhappy results. Skin is prone to respond poorly with unpleasant sensations when exposed to ingredients that shouldn’t induce that reaction.
Taking care of sensitized skin is basically learning what your triggers are that you should avoid. Perhaps it’s just one ingredient like Lanolin that causes sensitization, so you can steer clear of products with Lanolin.
In regards to sensitive skin, general skin care advice applies, but more strictly. For example, take shorter showers with warm rather than hot water. Avoid harsh (or perhaps all) astringents and exfoliators, use gentle and fragrance-free soap–the list goes on.
There are a lot of misconceptions about how to deal with various skin types, and it’s likely you have a lot of questions. I hope this blog is a useful starting point for you to figure out your skin type and how to treat it. I'd love to hear what your favorite products or routines are for your skin type.