Your skin type can change
Before rushing out to the store to buy a whole bunch of creams and skincare products, the first essential step is to find out what type of skin you have. Just because the lady in Sephora once told you back in 2008 that you had dry skin, it does not mean that you should still head straight for the “dry skin” range of your favorite brand.
I’m not saying that Madame Sephora (I think her name was Jaqueline) doesn’t know her stuff, I don’t know her and she may be very well qualified. It’s more due to the fact that – I hate to break it to you – 2008 was 16 years ago!
Our skin type is not unchangeable; quite the contrary. It changes according to the seasons (we often have drier skin in winter than in summer), hormonal changes (our skin is not the same during puberty, menopause, menstruation, etc.) or environmental factors (sun, pollution, etc.), among other things.
The products that you use can also change your skin type. For example, if you use a cleansing product to get rid of oily skin – or heaven forbid, skin that you think is oily but isn’t really – you could end up with dry skin. But don’t worry, what has been done can be rectified!
How to determine your skin type
- Cleanse your face with an appropriate product (probably best to avoid Dreft).
- Tap it dry and do not apply any other products to your skin.
- Leave your skin alone for a few hours and avoid going out or exercising – do this test when you have a quiet day at home. Then, take a good look at your face:
– If your skin feels tight, you notice certain areas that look flaky or as though they are about to peel right off, or the skin is rough to the touch, then you have dry skin.
– If the T-zone (forehead, nose, chin) is shiny, your pores are dilated, and you often have pimples or blackheads, then you have oily skin.
– Does it depend on the area of your face? For example, you have a shiny T-zone but the skin over the cheekbones is tight? You have combination skin.
– What if you don’t have any shiny or dry areas and your skin looks… normal? Bingo, you have regular skin. (Yep, that’s all there is to it folks! It’s not rocket science!)
Let’s talk about mature skin
Mature skin is not really a skin type per se, it’s simply the natural course of events that we will all experience sooner or later. Over the years the skin becomes thinner and loses elasticity, and wrinkles and brown spots may appear. Some factors (such as tobacco or sunlight) can speed up this process, while others (diet or use of antioxidant-rich cosmetics, for example) can slow it down. Mature skin can therefore also be dry, oily or regular.
What about sensitive skin?
Do you often have red, blotchy, irritated or prickly skin that reacts to cold wind or the products that you use? Then you most likely have sensitive skin. This does not mean that it can’t also be oily, dry, or even mixed – the ultimate combo. Some people classify sensitive skin as a skin type, but personally I’d rather put it to one side, a bit like mature skin. You can have regular skin without dry or oily areas, but at the same time it can be sensitive, in that you have to be careful with the products that you use.
A few key ingredients depending on your skin type
Do you have oily skin?
Go for AHA (glycolic/lactic/citric) and/or BHA (salicylic) acids, which will help to purify and unclog your pores. More and more products are also starting to combine them, which is even better.
My favourite skincare products for oily skin is the range from Caudalie’s Vinopure, which are salicylic acid-based – I particularly love the purifying lotion and the serum. I’m not gonna lie, it’s a bit expensive, but in this case it’s really worth it. In addition to using the serum all over my face, I also dab it on any pimples that have decided to appear despite my best efforts, and it helps to reduce them very quickly. I love the way the lotion tightens the pores and leaves the skin feeling super cleansed.
Do you have dry skin?
Lean towards ceramides, which are perfect for strengthening the skin’s barrier function and limiting the loss of hydration.
My favorite brand for dry skin is CeraVE. All of the brand’s products contain 3 essential ceramides to restore and protect the skin’s natural barrier, they are good value for money, and can often be used on both the body and the face – convenient when you want to have as few products as possible in your bathroom.
Do you have regular skin?
You don’t have any special requirements, so you might as well take advantage of it! Rely on vitamins and antioxidants to keep your skin healthy and slow down the natural aging process.
My advice for regular skin: buy two products (one vitamin C-based and one vitamin E-based) which can be combined. Each product reinforces the effects of the other! For example, you could use a vitamin C serum followed by Klairs’ Freshly Juiced Vitamin E Mask night mask for radiant skin the next morning.
Do you have mature skin?
Go for collagen-based products, or better still, ingredients that stimulate the skin’s natural collagen production. Examples include vitamin C (also effective for reducing brown spots), retinol or bakuchiol (a natural alternative to retinol which is less well-known but much better tolerated by the body, to such an extent that it can even be used during pregnancy. Retinol must be introduced gradually to allow time for the skin to adapt, which is not the case with bakuchiol!)
My favorite product for mature skin is the SQUALANE & BAKUCHIOL sleeping pack from Ondo Beauty 36.5: another Korean night mask, with a gelatinous texture that turns into a liquid on contact with the skin. A very small amount is enough and the pot lasts a long time.
Do you have sensitive skin?
Look out for centella asiatica, which soothes irritation, reduces redness and repairs the skin. I don’t personally have sensitive skin, so I would prefer not to recommend any products to you.
Two final ingredients that are great for all skin types:
- Snail mucin: yes, I am talking about snail slime. Soothing, hydrating and suuuuuuper restorative, snail mucin is becoming more and more popular. It’s not only useful for reducing acne scars but also for smoothing out some of the first wrinkles. My all-time favourite: Advanced Snail 96 Mucin Power Essence from Cosrx, which contains 96% snail mucin! One drop is enough, and the bottle lasts for ages.
- Hyaluronic acid: obviously, I couldn’t leave it out. It can absorb up to 1000 times its weight in water (that said, it doesn’t weigh very much)! This makes it an excellent skin moisturiser. It moisturises intensely without adding any oil, which means that it is also perfect for moisturising oily skin. My favourite is HYALURONIC ACID 2% + B5 made by The Ordinary as it is simple, effective and cost efficient, and you can use it like a serum.