Combo, oily, dry, oh my!
The best route to complexion perfection is to get to know your skin type. If you don't know your skin type, you won't be able to properly care for your face, which can lead to irritation, blemishes and clogged pores (no thanks). If you need a refresher course on your skin, we're here to help. Read on to get reacquainted with your type.
Skin Types 101
We break down the main characteristics of each skin type so you have a better idea of how to care for your complexion.
This skin type is characterized by a lack of oil and often renders skin flaky, thin and with some redness. Skin that feels tight after you wash it (but before you apply products) can also indicate dry skin.
Sometimes skin doesn't quite know what it wants to be – dry or oily. If you see large pores in the T-zone and normal cheeks, you have combination skin. When you have combination skin, it can be oily to normal, but never too oily or too dry.
When it comes to oily skin, your sebaceous glands produce too much oil creating blackheads, whiteheads and acne. If your pores are more visible (with blackheads and/or whiteheads) and your complexion has a tendency to look shiny through the day, your skin is oily.
The skin type we all covet is normal skin, which functions perfectly. Normal skin can feel dehydrated but never to the extent of truly dry skin.
The ultimate skin care routine
Once you know your skin type, it's time to get your complexion looking great by building the best routine for your specific skin.
Wash with cleanser best suited to your skin type. This can be tricky with the wide selection of skin care products that line store shelves, but a good rule of thumb is to stick with creamy, soap-free cleansers if you have dry skin and foaming or gel cleansers for oily, normal or combination. If your skin is acne-prone, seek out a medicated cleanser (look for salicylic acid) that can help keep breakouts at bay.
Skip this step if you have severely dry skin and avoid an alcohol-based toner in the winter months so you don't dry out your complexion. But in general, for normal, oily and combination skin, a toner is important to remove oil and excess cleanser from the pores.
Make a note: When it comes to what kind of exfoliator to choose, use a granular scrub for oily and oily/normal skin, use a light/mild scrub for dry, sensitive skin and use a benzoyl peroxide scrub on acne-prone skin.
If you want smooth, soft, youthful skin (and who doesn't?), exfoliation is key. Exfoliate to remove dry skin and cleanse pores of oil and debris. People with dry and normal to dry skin should exfoliate once or twice a week. Oily and oily to normal skin types should exfoliate every other, or sometimes every day depending on the skin's condition.
One of the most important skin care steps is making sure your face is properly hydrated, no matter your skin type. Opt for an oil-free formula for oily skin, a lotion (or lighter textured cream) for combination and normal skin and choose a creamier product for dry skin. If your skin is very dry, consider adding a hydrating serum to your routine. Let it dry and then finish with your face cream.
No matter your skin type, there is a mask available to treat your main complexion concerns. Use a mask once or twice weekly to target any issues you may have. Use a hydrating mask for dry skin, an exfoliating or blemish clearing mask for oily skin and a skin brightening mask for normal skin. If you have combination skin, consider using two masks at the same time – something for oily skin on your T-zone and a hydrating formula on your cheeks.
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