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Skin Types 101 + key ingredients for each skin type

Healthy, happy skin = a healthy, happy YOU.

How do you get healthy skin? Welp, long answer entails making intentional choices throughout your day to support your skin & self (I can help with that!) but short answer is by using SKINCARE!

Why does skincare matter?

At the most basic level, a skincare routine helps to keep your skin happy, healthy & strong. It prevents a buildup of bacteria & pollutants, prevents inflammation, protects against UV damage, and boosts the natural functions of the skin, including collagen & elastin production (both key for healthy skin!). You can learn more about the importance of skincare here. The health of our skin is connected to our overall health, so - regardless of age, race, gender, skin type... a skincare routine is right for you. Skincare is health care!

Don't have a routine yet? The best time to start is now!!

Step 1: Figure out your skin type

Real quick: skin type refers to the physical characteristics of your skin - oil content, moisture content, reactivity, etc. Your skin type is primarily determined by genetics but is also impacted by seasons, hormones & lifestyle, and can change over time. There are four skin types: dry, combination, oily, and sensitive. The only "normal" skin type is what's normal for YOU - and even that can change!

There are 3 easy steps to determine your skin type

Note: this isn't an exact science, it just gives you a starting place when it comes to what ingredients to look for in your skincare routine.

Step 4: use some moisturizer :)

You have dry skin if your skin feels tight, dry and/or flaky. If your skin feels tight & dry in some places but oily in others, you have combination skin!

If you can see diffused oil on your skin, you likely have oily skin. Again, not an exact science, but a great starting place.

Step 2: Get to know your skin type

Dry skin can be caused by genetics, environmental factors (ex. harsh soaps or low humidity) or by a nutrient deficiency, such as not eating enough healthy fats. To combat dry skin, look for hydrating ingredients in your routine. Double cleansing with an oil cleanser is a great option, and look for heavier moisturizers like oils, creams or salves. Make sure your diet is full of healthy fats - nuts, seeds, avocado, salmon, etc - this will make a huge difference in your skin!

Sometimes, skin feels dry but can look oily - this is a sign that your skin is dehydrated. Dehydrated skin isn't a skin type, but rather a condition that can come and go. For example, when I was in the thick of my acne I was using a lot of drying ingredients and my skin got very dehydrated. It felt really dry and would sometimes flake, but I was still looking shiny/oily throughout the day. When I cut back on these products, my skin stopped being dehydrated.

Dehydrated skin can occur from using the wrong products for your skin type, using harsh or skin-sensitizing ingredients, or overexfoliating. Your best bet for treatment is to cut back on active ingredients (like retinol or chemical exfoliants) and instead focus on antioxidants & skin-replenishing ingredients - like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, or Vitamin C.

Oily skin can get a bad rap. Pro: it'll keep ya lookin younger for longer! Con: your skin is more prone to blackheads/breakouts. Rather than trying to strip the oil away by over-washing or using drying ingredients, try to work with your skin to better control your oil production. Exfoliate regularly with salicylic acid, use a lighter moisturizer, & fill your plate with whole foods, esp those with Vitamins A & C - key for keeping your skin (& oil production!) healthy.

Oily in some places but not others? You, my friend, have combination skin.

Due to the location of our oil glands, combination skin commonly appears (but not always!) as oily in your T-zone (forehead, nose & chin) and dry around the cheeks. Because combination skin is a combo of dry & oily, you’ll use a combo of those same ingredients in your skincare routine! I recommend supplementing the drier areas with a heavier moisturizer but otherwise, you can likely use a lot of the same ingredients.

Last but not least...sensitive skin. I was hesitant to include this as a skin type, because similar to dehydrated skin, sensitive skin is more of a skin condition than a skin type. If you have sensitive skin, you'll know you have sensitive skin.

Sensitive skin is a sign of an overactive immune system that’s making your skin especially reactive to ingredients. If a client comes to me with sensitive skin, we’ll deep dive into their lifestyle & health history to find out WHY their immune system is so triggered. Often just a few small changes will make a huge difference in how their skin looks/feels/reacts! Are you struggling with sensitive skin? I'm here to help - shoot me a message!

Step 3: build your skincare routine

Now for the fun part: building your skincare routine.

Your skincare routine will consist of these 5 steps regardless of which skin type you have. The key ingredients that you look for will be the only things that change - more on those below!

You can likely get away with using a facial cleanser that's not specific to any skin type. Key ingredients really come into play when you're looking at serums, moisturizers, exfoliants and SPF. You'll notice that there's some overlap between skin types when it comes to which ingredients to look for. This is great, given that our skin type can change depending on seasons, hormones, lifestyles, etc.

As a reminder, this is just a starting point when it comes to building a skincare routine. When it comes to specific concerns, such as breakouts, blackheads, hyperpigmentation, fine lines/wrinkles, etc etc, you'll need to use targeted ingredients. Make sure to follow me on Instagram for more info on all things skincare!


Want help finding the right products for your skin? I'm here for you! Think of me as your Skincare Concierge - a personal shopper for your skin. I take the guesswork out of shopping for skincare.




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