Have you ever walked up to a cosmetic counter looking for some skin care products and the salesperson asked you the simple question, “What is your skin type?” You look at her with a blank stare and realize you have no idea.
Now for a skin care and beauty junkie, I find this very odd but I know you exist and I want to help. After a few simple questions, some sharp observations and some communication with you, the salesperson should be able to make that call – but you can’talways guarantee the person selling you products knows any more than you do. Don’t rely solely on them. You could get lucky and encounter a professional, career skin care beauty advisor with years of experience with many brands, perhaps even with an esthetician’s license. On the other hand, however, you may wind up dealing with someone who is just learning the biz herself. Everyone has to start somewhere, right? You just never really know.
Why is skin type important?
When you are purchasing any skin care product, it is so important to understand what is going on with your skin and how it reacts day to day, and season to season, and to be able to verbalize this clearly. In some cases you may be left to your own devices to make your selections so you definitely need this knowledge.
Why is this so important? If you randomly select skin care products without paying attention to the skin types they are made for, you could be throwing your hard-earned money in the toilet. You may not get the results you are after or you could be causing your skin to look worse by using the wrong products for your skin type. The salesperson is there to not only sell to you but to guide you in making the proper selections. The more information you can give about the condition of your skin and your lifestyle, the better chances you will get great products that will give you maximum results.
Knowing your skin type has one other distinct advantage, and it can help save you money. The less you know about your skin, the more opportunity the salesperson has to take advantage of that lack of knowledge and sell you the moon and make you actually believe you need it. If you know your skin in and out, you’ll be able to work with the salesperson to make an informed decision that is best for your skin.
Determining Skin Type
There are several simple and effective ways in determining your skin type. One is purely by observation. The other uses a “tool” to help you. When I say “tool” I mean a simple piece of tissue paper.
The condition of your skin when you first wake up as well as in the late afternoon tells us a lot. Look in the mirror when you get out of bed and also when you get home from work or school. A magnifying mirror is ideal for this. What do you see?
Is it shiny all over? Shiny only in the t-zone? Visibly enlarged pores? Do you wake up greasy? Does your make-up seem to melt off by late morning or are you blotting and touching up all day? Do you have enlarged pores that get congested easily? Does a humid summer day cause your skin to gush oil that seems out of control? Then you probably have oily skin.
Does your skin feel normal? Minimal shine and dry patches? No sign of any large pores or maybe just a few? Rare breakouts and minimal blackheads? A random pimple every now and again but nothing that really concerns you? Depending on the weather it can lean dry or a little oily but really, not to any one extreme. Then you probably havenormal skin or combination skin (has a little of both). Lucky for you if your skin looks good and stays normal. The only concern you will have is finding the right balance of products. Nothing too strong or you may become dry and conversely, nothing too mild that won’t be effective. You may also have to change products seasonally if your skin changes.
Do you wake up with uncomfortably tight skin that looks dull and drab? Do you moisturize before bed only to wake up dry as a bone? Tight pores, flaky patches? Does this get worse in cold, dry weather? Yep, you have dry skin.
Have you found where you fit in one of the 3 categories of skin types above? Additionally, do you experience redness and get easily irritated by certain products or ingredients? Does your skin look blotchy and uneven? If so, then you also have sensitive skin.
The Paper Test for Telling Skin Type
The second way to determine your skin type is to use a piece of tissue paper, plain facial tissue or eyeglass lens cleansing tissue. Cleanse with a gentle, soap free cleanser and pat dry. Wait 3 hours for the skin to normalize. Press a piece of tissue paper each to the cheeks, chin and forehead.
Did the tissue paper stick? Do you see patches of oil on the paper when you hold it up to the light? Oily skin. Does the paper stick on your skin but when you remove it you don’t see any oil or maybe just a bit from were you pressed on the t-zone? Normal skin. Does the paper not stick at all? No oily spots on the paper at all? Dry.
Once you have figured out your skin type, it is essential to realize that it may change depending on your health, the season, the temperature and many other environmental factors. You don’t have to lock yourself into a skin type forever but be aware of its condition and type now and select appropriate products. Most importantly, now that you know your skin type, make sure that you select an appropriate skin care regimen - there is no one-size-fits-all skin care system.
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