Skin Type: What’s Mine and What’s the Best Way to Care for It?

As seasons shift and temperatures fluctuate, we’re reminded—sometimes painfully—of our skin type and the unique challenges of caring for it. That is, if you even know what type of skin you have. 

Unless you’re an outlier on the dermatological spectrum, your skin falls into one of four main categories: normal, oily, dry or combination. You probably have a pretty good idea what type of skin you have, but if not, there’s no need to fret. The Internet is chock-full of tools to help you classify the pliable, porous layer that covers your body from head to toe.  

Now that you’ve laid to rest any lingering doubts, it’s time to accept the good and bad of your skin type and embrace the proper care regimen. Since skin transplants aren’t a thing, you’re stuck with the skin you entered this world with. Might as well meet it halfway with these expert skin care tips. Let’s start with the most coveted—and least common—skin type: normal.  

Normal Skin

OK. First of all, not fair. Normal skin is the unicorn we’ve all read about but rarely gazed upon. Is it more lore than legit? Could be. Some beauty experts have even questioned if normal skin really exists

If you’ve been blessed with this godsend, your skin doesn’t suffer from a summer-induced oil slick or wither up in the winter. It doesn’t throw a splotchy tantrum when you try out new products or pull on a wool sweater. It is, by all accounts, low maintenance. So congratulations—and color us jealous! 

In addition to its all-around agreeableness, normal skin is characterized by nearly invisible pores and very few wrinkles or lines. Add in a cherubic complexion, and you have an enviable combo that’s hard to beat. But try as it might, normal skin isn’t flawless.

Caring for normal skin is all about preserving the gift you’ve been given. Be sure to wear sunscreen when you venture out and give that glorious skin plenty of water by hydrating like heck. The don’ts for normal skin are few. Pass on the toner but moisturize on the daily. Beyond that, run free, unicorn!

Oily Skin

If you’re a reluctant member of the oily skin club, you’re susceptible to all sorts of internal and external factors that have your sebaceous glands working overtime. Stress, hormones, weather and diet can trigger your skin’s oil spigot—and the results are, well, greasy.

The “oil” is actually sebum, which lubricates and protects skin, but too much of a good thing can lead to an undesirable sheen, clogged pores and acne breakouts. And larger pores tend to produce more sebum, which means an even oilier complexion. Thankfully, with a good routine and a little discipline, you should be able to curb overactive oil production and take that shine down a notch or two.

The don’ts for oily skin are many. Don’t wash your face too frequently. Avoid products with alcohol, mineral oils or petroleum. And steer clear of oil-based makeup and moisturizers, lest you further dam up those pores. 

Managing oily skin is simpler than you might think. Start by washing your face at least once in the morning and once at night with a cleanser that’s not too harsh or too gentle. This may require some trial and error, but there’s a world of products to choose from. Find a good moisturizer and do the same. And lastly, consider using non comedogenic toner and other cosmetics that are specially formulated to keep your pores clear.  

Dry Skin

If oily skin is a swampy bog, then dry skin is the arid desert. And those who suffer from the latter routinely struggle with cracked, tight skin that can be especially miserable in the wintertime. 

If you have dry skin, you probably have tiny pores that are stingy about sebum. You’re also no stranger to bouts of itchiness, irritation and flaking that have you wishing you could permanently plop your face in a bowl of lotion. Sadly, though, many lotions only incite dry skin to come back with a vengeance. Skip skincare products with exfoliating agents, retinol and fragrances to keep the peace.  

With dry skin, controlling your environment is just as important as your care routine. In those punishing cold stretches, try setting your thermostat lower and find a quality humidifier or two to blast in the rooms where you spend most of your time. Most importantly, deny your natural tendency to take long, hot showers when it’s freezing outside. Short showers with warm water are a must.

There are tons of tactics out there for fighting dry skin, but here are some fundamentals. Be sure to moisturize when your skin is still damp, exfoliate sparingly and embrace face masks. These steps alone should make a world of difference!

Combination Skin

As it turns out, not everyone’s skin falls into one of these clearly defined categories. There’s a substantial gray area for people whose skin prefers not to be pigeonholed. If your skin has hybrid attributes that keep you guessing, you’re likely in the combination skin camp.

The most common kind of combination skin is a whammy of oily and dry. On your face, this combo often manifests itself in the dreaded T-zone—an oily configuration that includes your forehead and nose. Conversely, your cheeks and chin tend to be drier. As if skin care wasn’t complicated enough already. 

Skin with these blended traits call for a blended strategy. Because of its prominence, your T-zone is the primary skinemesis. Again, you’ll want to avoid the same ingredients noted above for oily skin and consider a mattifier to tamp down the shininess. Use a hydrating serum for your entire face and an oil-free sunscreen that’s at least 30 SPF to protect that delicate dermal mix. Need some recommendations? Check out these lotions, potions, creams and cleansers for combo skin

Regardless of your skin type and its unique challenges, your feet can always benefit from one of our exfoliating peels. Even if your soles or heels are rough, dry or prone to dead skin, our peels will make them miraculously smooth. Hop on over to our Instagram page to see for yourself.