What Is Your Skin Type?
Unlike your blood type which is the same from the day you are born, your skin type is something that will change throughout the different stages of your life.
If you think about it, your skin type is not even the same for all of the areas of your body.
The skin on your face is different from the skin on your hands, which is different from the skin on your back which is different from the skin on your feet ...etc.
Understanding your skin type is a good starting point before trying or switching to natural products.
Often products will be categorized by skin type, but even if a product is labeled for a specific skin type, it may work just as well for other types depending on the individual.
Your skin type is genetically determined and unique to you, but your skin condition and needs can change depending on a number of factors. Some are:
- Hormone Cycles
- Exposure to Irritants
I’m going to share a few characteristics of the most common skin types which may help you decide which products may work best for you.
But please keep in mind what I said before-- that everyone is unique, so a product that works well for one person with “normal” skin might work just as well for someone with dry skin or combination skin.
For example, my dry (old) skin loves some products that we know work best for oily skin. For me, it seems like I am more often looking for products based on my "skin preferences" rather than my actual "skin type."
We have a nice resource on our website called the "Product Knowledge Base" where you can find help with products based on a specific skin condition or sensitivity.
The key is to test different products and find out what works best for you!
What is Normal Skin?
“Balanced” means that the skin is not experiencing any extreme issues.
The sebum, or the oil naturally produced by the skin’s sebaceous glands, is balanced, neither too oily nor too dry. It also has good blood circulation.
Characteristics of Normal Skin
- Not too dry, not too oily
- Barley visible fine pores
- Few to zero imperfections or blemishes
- Few or no breakouts
- Few or no breakouts
- Smooth texture
- No extra sensitivity
- Radiant complexion
- No sensitivity
How To Care For Normal Skin
If you have normal skin, the goal is to maintain that balance and care for it so that it stays healthy. Keeping normal skin clean and hydrated is vital. Choose a mild natural soap and massage your skin to help stimulate circulation.
Moisturizing is always important regardless of your skin type. Choose a natural moisturizer made with wholesome ingredients that will nourish your skin.
Use a natural exfoliator about once a week. But remember is important to understand the needs of your own skin.
What is Oily Skin?
Oily skin is the result of excessive secretions of sebum, an oily secretion of the sebaceous glands. Oily skin tends to attract more dirt and dust than dry skin and may be prone to blackheads, acne, and excessive shine.
Oily skin usually appears shiny and is characterized by a thicker feeling texture and large pores. People with oily skin struggle with keeping shine down during the day and often want to wash their faces often.
Characteristics of Oily Skin
- Large, more visible pores
- Shiny complexion
- Blackheads, pimples, or other blemishes
- Oiliness can vary depending on: time of year, weather, hormones
How To Care For Oily Skin
Many people with oily skin tend to over-clean and over-exfoliate which does not lessen oil production.
Be gentle - sebum is natural, and is not your enemy.
In fact, over-cleaning can dry out your skin, cause skin surface damage, and can create a vicious cycle in which your skin actually produces more oil to compensate for the dryness.
Moisturizing is important. While many folks with oily or acne-prone skin tend to shy away from moisturizing, it is actually a very important step. Even though our skin produces natural oil, it is not the same as hydration.
A moisturizer helps increase the water content in the skin and prevents further moisture loss. Again, when oily skin is dry, it can trigger even more oil production, thereby exacerbating the problem. But a moisturizer that slows the evaporation of moisture, actually causes sebum-producing cells to shut down.
Wash your face at least two times a day to remove dirt and bacteria that may clog your pores. But be careful not to overwash. Use a mild natural soap because soaps made with synthetic chemicals can strip natural oils from your skin and contribute to oily skin.
To encourage healthy skin turnover and growth, use gentle exfoliants. Exfoliating sloughs away dead skin cells unclogs pores and removes the extra buildup that comes with oily skin.
It is important to choose a gentle scrub that doesn’t dry out or aggravate the skin. Read our blog, "The Nitty Gritty of Exfoliation."
Clay face masks can also work wonders for your skin. Activated Charcoal Clay Face Mask is especially good for oily and blemish-prone skin.
For more information see, Help Me Choose Products for Oily Skin
Dry Skin Type
What is Dry Skin?
While most people with dry skin have fewer breakouts and less unwanted shine than other skin types, dry skin can become uncomfortable, and feel itchy and tight.
Dry skin is a result of a decrease in sebum production, the natural skin oil necessary to keep the skin moist and lubricated. Since dry skin has a decreased oil barrier, water easily evaporates through the skin. A lack of moisture results in skin that is flaky and has a rough appearance.
Dry skin is more common during cold winter months, in dry climates, in individuals with a history of eczema, and it increases as we age.
Characteristics of Dry Skin
- Small or invisible pores
- Dull, rough complexion
- Red patches
- Less elasticity, more visible lines
- Often be made worse by weather, hormones, medications, indoor heat, ingredients in soaps, other products
- Itchy and easily irritated skin
- Skin looks rough with fine flakes and dry patches
- Skin may appear red, or gray and ashy
- Skin is more prone to fine lines, wrinkles, and cracks
How To Care For Dry Skin
It is very important to make sure the products you use will not strip your skin’s natural oils even further.
A moisturizing, mild, natural soap is recommended for dry skin. Dry skin conditions are often exacerbated by harsh detergent soaps that contain fragrance oils and synthetic chemicals that wash off natural skin-protecting oils.
Moisturizing is the best treatment for dry skin. Daily lubrication with a pure and natural emollient helps decrease the evaporation of moisture from the skin. The main goals for dry skin treatment are to stop the itching and prevent moisture loss.
Exfoliation for those with dry skin is very important. When our skin feels dry we too often slather on heavy creams to compensate for the dryness. Dry skin flaky skin means you have a build-up of dead, dry skin cells. You need to exfoliate those dead skin cells away and then moisturize the skin.
For more information see, Help Me Choose Products for Dry Skin
Sensitive Skin Type
What is Sensitive Skin?
Many people tell us they have sensitive skin. The question is...sensitive to what?
Some people have thin or fine-textured skin that is often dry, delicate, and prone to allergic reactions.
Other people have skin that is sensitive to the environment and to products that come in contact with the skin. Seasonal temperature and humidity changes, very hot water, detergent soaps, synthetic fragrances and colors, preservatives, alcohol (used on the skin), and other artificial additives cause irritation or inflammation, which leads to red, blotchy, and itchy skin. It is important to try to find out the triggers so you can avoid them.
Characteristics of Sensitive Skin
- Reacts quickly to both heat and cold
- Sunburns and windburns easily
- It is often dry, delicate, and prone to allergic reactions
- Responds to ingredients in skincare products
- Reactions produce redness, itching, burning, and dryness
How To Care For Sensitive Skin
When caring for sensitive skin, your priority is to be as gentle with it as possible.
Choose products that will not irritate your skin can mean the difference between healthy skin and irritated skin.
Simple, wholesome skin care is best. Choose skin and hair care products carefully. Read labels and choose products that have simple, natural ingredients. The fewer ingredients in a skincare product, the better it is for sensitive skin.
All of the items in our "Baby" product line are excellent for sensitive skin.
Choose a cleanser that is gentle, and that won’t strip out all the natural oils in your skin. A gentle simple, natural soap is best.
All skin needs exfoliation, but sensitive skin types can be damaged by ingredients in some scrubs. Avoid scrubs with harsh acids, salt, or large particle ingredients.
Choosing a simple natural exfoliator like Adzuki Micrograin Scrub will gently exfoliate without irritating sensitive skin.
Old-fashioned ointments or salves are great for spot treatment of sensitive skin areas. Natural salves help soothe, protect, or promote the healing of the skin.
The concentrated organic formulation of nourishing oils and the healing power of herbs acts as a barrier on the skin’s surface.
Sensitive skin is also often dry. Moisturizing helps protect skin from water loss and maintains a healthy barrier from environmental factors.
It is important to choose moisturizing products with simple, natural ingredients that will hydrate and soothe skin. Gentle natural creams and body and face oils are calming and kind to sensitive skin.
We suggest that folks with sensitive skin do a patch test before trying any new product. This is really important if you want to avoid your skin reactions and irritation.
For more information see, Help Me Choose Products for Sensitive Skin
Combination Skin Type
What is Combination Skin?
The most difficult issue with combination skin is the struggle to find products that are just right for you. This skin type features two or even more different skin types on the face which can change with the seasons.
Your skin can be dry or normal in some areas and oily in others, such as the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). Many people have this type of skin and it often needs slightly different care in different areas.
Characteristics of Combination Skin
- dry, flaking skin on the cheeks
- excessive oil on the T-zone
- larger pores on your nose than your cheeks
- dry patches and acne breakouts at the same time
How To Care For Combination Skin
Every skin type, including combination skin, needs moisturizing and the key here is balance.
Find gentle natural products that offer enough moisture to dry areas, without increasing shine and oil in others.
Use a gentle natural soap twice a day to cleanse away dirt, excess oils, and impurities.
Exfoliation can help open up and clear out the clogged pores in oily sections of the face while at the same time allowing moisture to penetrate the skin in dry areas. Be sure to use gentle exfoliators and be careful not to over-exfoliate.
Using a natural clay face mask is a great way to take care of combination skin especially if you do Multi-Masking or Targeted Application.
Multi-masking involves applying different face masks to different areas of your face to address different issues at the same time, making it the perfect technique for combination skin types.
Everyone’s skin is unique, so it may take some trial and error to determine which products work best for your combination skin.
**We have a nice resource on our website called the "Product Knowledge Base" where you can find help with products based on a specific skin condition or sensitivity.
Not sure about your skin type?
You can find many online quizzes that may help you find out your skin type. Unfortunately, I tried one and discovered that I have normal, combination, and dry skin. It was not very helpful but it may be helpful for you.
What’s your skin type? What products do you use to keep your skin healthy?
Share with us in the comments below.