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Determining Your Skin Type

Posted Jun 27 2011 4:50pm

Since being in school I have learned a lot about skin types, conditions, etc and still have so much more to learn. This weekend part of my practical my basic facial review was to determine what type of skin my client had. This is so I would know what products to use to better achieve her skin care goals.
As an esthetician this is the most important thing to determine correctly or I could totally mess someone’s skin up. No pressure, just the worst thing EVER! ha-ha jk I know what I’m doing;)
Most people think they have oily and/or sensitive skin which is usually wrong. Especially in the summer it’s easy to think this since we’re sweating more and misinterpret as oil. In most cases many of us have normal skin that we’re mis-diagnosing and using products for the wrong skin type that irritate our skin causing us to think we’re sensitive too. See the pattern?
There really isn’t a “test” on how to figure out your skin type. The way I tell someone’s skin type is looking at their T-zone. This helps me to determine how much oil they are producing if any. Another thing I look at is their pore size. Usually oily skin types have larger pores, but not only in their T-zone. Pore size tends to be larger in everyone’s t-zone except for dry skin types, but if you’re like me and have large pores in the t-zone but nowhere else, you have a normal skin type.
Oily Skin
If you have oily skin right after washing your face and the oil covers more than just your T-zone than you definitely have oily skin.


Moderately oily

Normal Skin
When you wash your face and you have oil on your T-zone after a while and dryer on your cheeks you have Normal/combo skin. Normal skin types fluctuate between more dry and more oily, but have a good balance of both oil and water.




Dry Skin 
When you wash your face and it produces oil after a long time or not at all you have dry skin. Dry skin feels tight and can be flaky or have a matte finish.




Sensitive Skin
Another skin type that can also just be a condition is sensitive skin. I have always been super sensitive to SO many products all my life. It’s really ridiculous and annoying when shopping for products and realizing after you’ve spent $30 that you will look sunburned, but enough about me.

A lot of people think they have sensitive skin. But, most people who think they have sensitive skin, actually have normal skin! Particularly common are women who breakout from products and think that means they’re sensitive. But sensitive skin has nothing to do with breakouts. Instead, it has to do with rashy irritation, redness, itching and burning sensations. If you do have sensitive skin, of course, be careful; but if you don’t, you could be missing out on some great products perfectly suited for the skin type you do have!

If you breakout from products when you first try them that could just mean your body is ridding itself of toxins. It takes a good 2 weeks before your skin gets used to a product. Also, switching back and forth between all different products could cause irritation because of all the chemicals you’re putting on your skin. If you have itchy, rash like irritation that burns than that could be a sensitivity to something in the ingredients. I am especially sensitive to perfumes and dyes added to products, I get hives thinking about Bath and Body Works.

Dry vs. Dehydrated

This is tricky but more common than you’d think. It is possible to have normal or oily skin and still be dehydrated. The difference in dry and dehydrated is the lack of water. Dry skin lacks oil and is flaky while dehydrated skin can look crepey(very fines lines when skin is pushed together). To avoid having dehydrated skin it’s important to drink lots of water and get in your electrolytes!

Having a certain skin type doesn’t mean the end of the world if you’ve been using products for a totally different skin type. It may actually help combat problem areas that keep reappearing. When I started school I thought I was normal and sensitive and found out I was more on the dryer side. It’s made a huge difference because my skin regimen has changed to where my skin is more hydrated and looks healthier! WINNER!

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