Understanding Your Skin Type

woman with oily skin type smiling

We carry quite a few products at the salon, but often they’re created with different skin types in mind. We live with our skin day in and day out, but if you’re not big into skincare, you might not be aware of the skin type you possess, making it challenging to choose the best products for your skin.

So, without further ado, let’s look at the three skin types and discuss how you can tell the skin types apart; chat about the difficulties you might face and the types of products you want to avoid.

Note that as we age/our hormones change, you might find that your skin type moves around the different types. This is normal and just something to be aware of.

Skin Types

Dry Skin

Do you have dry skin?

Dry skin is often characterised by flaky and tight skin or skin that easily cracks, which you can feel around your lips, nose and scalp. Dry skin happens when our skin doesn’t produce enough Sebum. Sebum protects the skin and acts as a barrier for liquid proofing – this is something that we want; otherwise, the skin dehydrates and becomes dry and sometimes uncomfortable.

If you have patches of tightness, roughness or flaking, you likely have the dry skin type.

Difficulties with dry skin

Dry skin can be quite an annoyance, especially if you work outdoors, where your skin will need to deal with lots of changing air temperatures. It can also be a pain for wearing makeup, especially if you like to do a quick get up and go style of makeup for your day since you’ll need to make sure the skin is adequately cleaned and moisturised before you even add a primer.

One of the other difficulties with dry skin is how it looks without added moisture. Dry skin can look quite dull, and sometimes lines can be more prominent.

Types of products that you want to avoid with dry skin

The main difficulty you’ll encounter when discussing products is ingredients that strip the skin or dehydrate too much.

Alcohol: A product that you’ll see quite often in skincare, makeup and fragrances. If you’ve got dry skin, you’ll want to give these products a wide berth. Alcohol evaporates from the skin very quickly, which causes the skin underneath to become dehydrated. Avoid using products like face wipes or anything with alcohol on the label.

Exfoliation/Salicylic Acid: As we’ve mentioned, dry skin is caused by a lack of Sebum. This doesn’t mean that you don’t produce any, but the sebum layer that protects your skin is lower than it should be. Exfoliation and products that we use for exfoliation should be avoided for the most part. Salicylic acid is one of the common trendy chemicals on the market to exfoliate and clear blocked pores. Using these can cause already dry skin to become more dehydrated and more irritated, especially if you do it too much.

Oily Skin

Do you have oily skin?

Oily skin is the overproduction of Sebum on the skin. It’s the opposite issue for those with dry skin. If you’ve got an oily skin type, you’ll find that your skin can be quite shiny and greasy. You might have enlarged pores, and spots are an ongoing issue for you.

Producing too much Sebum can leave your skin with these unwanted side effects due to the Sebum doing its job, locking in the moisture. But, as it locks in the moisture, it can also collect and trap bacteria, which causes skin breakouts.

Difficulties with oily skin

So, oily skin does too much of a good job. Sadly, oily skin can be a side effect of too much product on the skin, so we always find it best to simplify when possible. Skin is very adaptive, meaning that when it sees too much of something, it tries to lower the amount; when it sees too little, it tries to overproduce. For example, perhaps you read that alcohol works to dry out the skin, which would seem like a benefit to someone with oily skin. However, your skin notices that you suddenly have a lack of Sebum and will overcompensate.

So, if you have started a new skincare routine recently and have found that your skin has turned oily (or dry), that may be the reason.

The biggest downside that people usually find with oily skin types is skin breakouts. This makes it trickier to apply makeup, and it can be a real self-esteem downer.

Types of products that you don’t want to use for oily skin

You are doing too much: First up, as we mentioned above. Think about your skincare routine. Are you using any products that might be stripping the skin too much? Are you exfoliating too much per week? Adding too many products can sometimes be the source of oily skin problems – start there.

Avoid products with excess oil: If you are using products that have an oily substance or base, these could be contributing to the oil collection on your face. You still want to use hydrating products as these are different to oily. Hydrating means adding more water content to your skin; oily products will lock the moisture that’s already there.

Wash your skin as needed: It’s easy to conclude that avoiding washing oily skin will stop or slow the overproduction of oils, but it’s a good idea to try and keep to at least once a day. It’s unavoidable with oily skin as the film created on the face can be an irritant.


Do you have a combined skin type?

The combined skin type is a little bit of both; many people will have a combination of dry and oily patches of skin on their faces. This makes sense as the glands that produce Sebum are connected to the fuzzy facial hairs. The size and production of these across the face can vary wildly.

If you notice that parts of your face are dried out and irritated whilst others are shiny and oily, then you might have the combined variant.

Common dry spots – scalp, sides of the nose, under the eyes, around the lips.

Common oily spots – forehead, t-zone, eyes, temples

Difficulties with the combined skin type

The difficulties here come from needing to use a combined effort to get the same results as the oily/dry counterparts. It just makes getting your skincare right a bit more detailed.

Types of products to use with combined skin types

The main tip here is to use different products for the separate areas of the face struggling. So, if you’ve got dry skin around the nose and oily cheeks/forehead, you’ll want to adapt your routine to use products that serve those skin types individually.

Finding your skin type

If you still aren’t sure what category you fit into after reading this, we’d be happy to help you figure it out and advise the kinds of products you want to be using on your skin. Book in for a facial session with us at our Maidenhead salon and ask for skincare advice based on this blog post!

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Ana Harmony


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