Determining Your Skin Type

Posted by Kathleen Carney, CEO on Jan 9th 2020

Determining Your Skin Type

There are THREE main skin types: Dry, Combination, and Oily. Skin type is determined by sebum (oil) production, or lack thereof. The amount of sebum we produce is genetically determined by the size of our sebaceous gland, and the gland determines the size of our follicle (pore). Sebum is responsible for keeping our skin soft and supple. As we age, we produce less sebum, but once the follicles are enlarged, they usually remain enlarged (Photo Facials and Microneedling treatments might reduce follicle size).

Generally, as we age, we produce less sebum, so skin becomes dryer. Hormones and medications (retinoids, androgen inhibitors, contraceptives, etc.) can affect our sebum production. Some women well into their 50s and 60s continue to have oily skin due to hormonal fluctuations. Although oily skin is more likely to have blemishes, people with combination skin and dry skin can experience blemishes during times of hormonal fluctuations (period, pregnancy, menopause, etc.), during inappropriate skin care, and/or if they have underlying skin conditions such as rosacea.

The best way to determine skin type is to wait at least 3 hours after washing and then, with clean finger tips touch the skin before your ears. Without lifting your fingertips, glide them towards your nose. Stop when you feel a slight stickiness (oil). Now you know where your oil zone begins. If you do not feel any sticky feeling, you have dry skin.

Dry skin may be more sensitive and suffer from tightness, flaking, premature lines and wrinkles. If you have oily skin, you will have large follicles and may experience shine and acne. Keeping your skin exfoliated on the surface and inside the follicles (salicylic acid) will be helpful. The good news is that oily skin is usually thicker and ages more slowly. Be careful not to strip the skin by over exfoliating as that might cause your skin to produce more oil. If you have combination skin, you can experience dry and flaky skin on outer edges of the face, with excessive oil in the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). Products for combination skin need to exfoliate without irritating the skin.

Knowing your skin type will determine which Skin Blends products are best for you. Using the correct products will help keep the water and oil levels in your skin balanced so it can function properly. Using incorrect products can cause your skin’s barrier to become compromised and it will not be able to take in beneficial ingredients or rid itself of wastes. The water content of properly hydrated skin is similar, whether the skin is dry, combination or oily. Sometimes a person with oily skin may think he/she has dry skin, when the skin is dehydrated (water dry not oil dry). Unfortunately, if you have oily skin, using products formulated for dry skin can create bigger problems for your skin.

Skin conditions can be present in any skin type, whether dry, combination, or oily, including sensitized, acne, aging, dehydration, irregular pigmentation, rosacea, etc. Each of these conditions can range from mild to severe and include various subcategories. In professional skin care, we address the condition with serums that can be used directly on the skin or mixed into skin products to further customize it to treat your specific skin conditions.