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Skin Types and Care for Each

Updated: Mar 1, 2023

Every skin has a type and knowing what skin types and characteristics you have will help you understand how to best approach skincare.

With endless products on the shelf, having this knowledge can save you some experimentation — and money. It lets you know what exactly your skin needs. That said, we've created your ultimate guide to skin types and care.

Skincare Basics

First, know that your skin type can change over time, and it often does. It can vary depending on how sensitive your skin is, how oily your skin is, and how much water your skin holds. Other factors that affect your skin include genetics, age, hormonal changes, stress, weather, ultraviolet radiation, medications, and the ingredients in the makeup and soaps you use. Sensitive skin means your skin is easily triggered by one or more of these things, often resulting in redness, itching, burning, and dryness.

Whether your skincare goals entail preventing aging or controlling acne, it’s important to understand the basics. Let’s start with identifying textures. You’ve likely heard some of these buzzwords before, but let’s break each down.

Dry skin. This skin type is often characterized by nearly invisible pores, dull complexion, redness, flaky skin, and visible lines. It's also known for easily becoming irritated and inflamed or having a rough, scaly, cracked, or peeling texture. Even more, dry skin can become worse with cold weather, wind, hot showers, and certain medications, to name just a few factors. Dry skin is typically best cared for with a thick, rich moisturizer. Tips: Take shorter, cooler showers and baths, use a mild cleanser, and avoid scrubbing too hard. Avoid harsh exfoliating products and products with alcohol, too.

Oily skin. Oily skin can be obvious because it's typically shiny. It can also be defined by large pores, blemishes, and other imperfections. This skin type is prone to breakouts and can also be worsened by weather, stress, and hormonal changes. Using a gentle cleanser can help oily skin. Use clean, water-based products that won’t clog your pores. Make sure your moisturizer doesn’t have an excessive sebum amount. This can produce excess oil, leading to further issues as your pores become more heavily clogged. Avoid oil-based moisturizers, face oils, and charcoal masks.

Combination skin. Combination skin is partially dry and partially oily and is one of the most common skin types. This often manifests in your T-zone, which includes the forehead, nose and chin. To best care for it, create a custom routine that uses a thick moisturizer in dry areas and uses less oily products in oily areas. Neutral formulas are best for combination skin.

Normal skin. If you have normal skin, you’re fortunate. Normal skin means your texture is not too dry and not too oily. You have little to no imperfections, small pores, a glowy complexion, and little sensitivity. Normal skin benefits from a simple moisturizer and toner. Target your specific problem areas as they arise with pimple creams or anti-wrinkle products, for example. With normal skin, spot treatment is key.

Understanding Pigment with Fitzpatrick Skin Types

Beyond skin type, you want to understand your skin pigment. The Fitzpatrick Skin Types Test is a commonly used scale for classifying pigment, developed in the 1970s by Harvard dermatologist Thomas B. Fitzpatrick. The system is used primarily for identifying the risk of sunburn and skin cancers.

UV exposure causes almost 65% of melanoma and 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers, research has shown. The Fitzpatrick scale can help you understand how sun exposure affects your skin type. Here are the six Fitzpatrick skin types:

Type I: Light, pale white. This skin type easily burns and never tans.

Type II: White, fair. This skin type usually burns and is difficult to tan.

Type III: Medium. White to olive. People with medium skin tones sometimes burn mildly, and then gradually tan to an olive tone.

Type IV: Olive, light brown tone. Olive skin tones rarely burn and tan with ease.

Type V: Dark brown. Darker skin tones tan easily.

Type VI: Black. Deeper pigments mean your skin tans very easily.

At the end of the day, consulting a dermatologist is always best if you have questions or concerns. What will help every skin type, though, is staying hydrated, using sunscreen, and washing your skin daily — all with products tailored to your skin type.

To learn more, get in touch with us today. 

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