What skin type do you have and what does it need?

If you sometimes wonder, what is my skin type, then I’m here to help you understand it. When you know your skin type — combination, dry, or oily — then you can have a much better idea of the products or ingredients that suit your skin and, perhaps more importantly, the ones that don’t.

The simple way to know your skin type is to wash your face and then leave it untouched for one hour. When you then look in a mirror you should be able to see if it is dry, or shiny from oils, or both. If you’re still unsure of your skin type after this, the details below might help.  

Signs you have dry skin:

  • Fine or invisible pores
  • Prone to sensitivity/redness
  • Feeling of tightness
  • Rarely oily
  • Flaky or rough texture

Dry skincare tips:

Oil cleansing morning and evening will help replenish the oils and moisture missing from your skin. Also using a few drops of facial oil in your cream, or applying it separately at night, will be a huge help. Look out for products that list Vitamin B5, E and hyaluronic acid in the ingredients.

Oil for dry or sensitive skin: Almond, peach kernel, Evening Primrose, St John’s wort, avocado.

Sign you have oily skin:

  • Large, visible pores
  • Shiny skin
  • Prone to blackheads and spots
  • Visible layer of oil, especially in the afternoon

Oily skincare tips:

Don’t over cleanse! Your skin isn’t dirty, it might just be out of balance. If you over cleanse and strip the oils too much, your skin will just go into overdrive and produce even more. This might come as a surprise but incorporating oil into your evening skincare routine can help balance it out and reduce the amount of oil your skin produces.

Oil cleanse before your face wash and try skipping moisturiser at night and using an oil instead. Also avoid manual exfoliation (i.e. scrubs) and go for BHAs (beta-hydroxy acid), these can go deep into the pores so will help with oil as well as preventing blackheads and spots — salicylic acid is a great and very popular choice.

Oils for oily or acne-prone skin: moringa, apricot kernel, olive oil, hemp, borage, safflower, milk thistle.

Signs you have combination skin:

The most common appearance of combination skin is to have an oily T-zone (across the forehead and down the nose to the chin) but have dry cheeks. But anyone who experiences a mixture of dry and oily skin on different parts of their face have combination skin.

Combination skincare tips:

Use a gentle face wash and mid-range acid exfoliator such as an AHA (alpha-hydroxy acids). Try glycolic acid, the smallest form of AHA, and if that causes any sensitivity, go for a larger molecule that won’t go so deep into the skin such as lactic acid.

Mask blocking once a week will also be helpful, such as using a clay mask on the T-zone and a moisture mask on the cheeks (or wherever your differences are).

Try incorporating oils into your nighttime routine either by adding to your moisturiser, or experiment using it alone before or after.

Oils for combination skin: borage, pomegranate, rosehip seed, sea buckthorn.

Here are some of my favourite beauty and skincare products.

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