Knowing your skin type, or knowing it right, is one of those supremely important yet vastly misunderstood aspects of skin care, and self care. In our minds, the significance of this dilemma, and the resulting loss of money purchasing products that are not meant for you, comes close to not knowing your bra size (women with a slightly uncommon shape would agree).
Unfortunately, it’s not just about the money lost using products that are not improving your skin or giving your face a natural glow. They may surreptitiously be causing harm to your skin, that will be visible years later.
That makes it very important for each of us to take time and identify our skin type. Here’s a guide that aims to help you identify your skin type by yourself at home, so the next step of buying skin care products is worth your time and investment.
What are the different skin types?
Skin types cannot be just grouped into dry skin or oily skin. Our skin is far more complex than we imagine it to be. The skin types can be broadly categorised into normal skin, oily skin, dry skin, combination skin (both oily skin and dry skin) and sensitive skin.
This skin type is neither too oily nor too dry. People with this skin type have a regular texture and soft appearance. Normal skin is blemish free, has good blood circulation and consists of fine pores. The normal skin type exudes a radiant complexion and usually only needs a healthy maintenance ritual.
One may have a dry skin type because of external factors like cold and dry weather conditions, taking hot water bath frequently, consuming alcohol and caffeine in large quantities and dehydration. In some people, dry skin can also be a lifelong condition. Dry skin feels brittle and rough. It also has more visible lines as the skin lacks elasticity. Extreme dry skin even tends to chap and break.
Oily skin is a common skin type which is associated with excess sebum production and a glossy shine. It may be because of genetic or hormonal reasons. Oily skin usually has enlarged pores, with lower skin elasticity around the pores. This skin may also have a high propensity to acne.
Combination skin has characteristics of both dry skin and oily skin. This is because the distribution of sweat glands and sebaceous glands are not uniform in this skin type. You will notice a shiny look in certain areas whereas a feeling of tightness in other areas. One needs to carefully choose a combination skin care routine to keep the skin healthy and trouble free.
Sensitive skin is naturally more reactive than any other skin type. It can be either oily sensitive skin prone to acne, or dry sensitive skin prone to redness, rashes, rosacea or dry acne breakouts. Often, your skin becomes sensitive, or what is more rightly called sensitized, because of laser treatments, chemotherapy, and other dermatological treatments done over years. This skin type needs special care and a consistent skin care routine.
How to identify my face skin type?
Wondering how to test skin type at home? There are a couple of ways to do it. Here are our favorites.
Bare face method
This testing method involves just observing how your face behaves sans skin care products. All you need to do is wash your face with a mild or gentle face wash and leave it for sometime. If your face feels parched and tight especially when you are giving expressions that involve stretching your skin muscles like smiling then you most likely have dry skin. If there is a noticeable shine on your T zone i.e. the region containing your forehead, nose, and chin then you have combination skin. If your face is visibly oily throughout then you have oily skin.
Blotting sheets absorb oil well and can be used to easily determine one’s skin type. To use this method, we would recommend first washing your face with a gentle face cleanser that is suitable for all skin types. After washing your face, pat it dry and let it rest for 30 minutes without applying anything to it.
After 30 minutes, press the blotting sheet on various parts of your face and hold it against light to look for oil markings. If the sheet has oil markings all over then you have oily skin. If it has oil markings only in your T zone (forehead, nose, and chin) then you have combination skin. In rare cases, you might have reverse combination skin, in which case you may find oil markings mainly on your cheeks. And if you notice minimal oil on the sheet from all over your face then you most likely have either a dry or normal skin type.
Note: The above testing methods are not effective to know whether you have sensitive skin. As you may have dry skin or oily skin which can be sensitive. The only way you can determine if you have sensitive skin is by noticing the way your skin reacts to different products, touch and exposure to sunlight and pollution.
Know your skin with Oleum Cottage
At Oleum Cottage, we have carefully designed a quiz with questions that will help you know your skin in under 60 seconds. All you have to do is answer a couple of simple questions, get your results and then we display a set of custom, plant based formulations suitable for your skin type and concerns.
How to take care of different skin types?
We understand that each skin has a different set of concerns that need to be addressed in order to achieve specific skin goals. At Oleum Cottage, we are strong believers in oil-based formulations that are packed with the goodness of cold pressed plant oils and therapeutic essential oils and have helped give a clear and even-toned skin to different skin types for centuries. This natural method of taking care of skin seldom results in undesired skin reactions and keeps your skin healthy.
We also understand that if you have sensitive skin or combination skin you are wary of trying anything new, as you would have already invested a lot of time and money without getting results. Based on our extensive experience of working with different Indian skin types, we’ve observed that products made for oily or combination skin increase oiliness instead of reducing it, by stripping off sebum.
However, oils that suit a skin type, actually heal it from within, and improve the health of the skin. For example, cold pressed oils of Grape Seed and Hemp Seed are uniquely nutritious for oily skin. Jojoba oil reduces oiliness by mimicking our natural sebum. Cold pressed Argan and Shea Nut oils provide resilience to weak skin barriers.
We have unique synergistic oil blends for every skin type and concern that you can easily incorporate into your skin care routines through our OC Mini Rituals. For sensitive skin and oily or combination skin, you may need additional hand holding when you switch to a plant oil based ritual, where we love to help. Additionally, for sensitive skin types, we ask you to patiently add one product at a time to your ritual, giving your skin time to adapt.
We hope that this article took you a step closer to knowing your skin better. If you still have any doubts about your skin then feel free to reach us in the comments section below or via our Instagram and Facebook handles.