If you’re a regular reader of my blog or use my skincare line, you know that I believe there is more to the skin than the standard dry, normal and oily skin types. I have determined there are nine types of skin. While I have an easy skin type quiz that you can take to determine which one best fits you, many people will answer the quiz questions incorrectly which won’t give an accurate result.
Three common mistakes people make when trying to determine their skin type.
Mistake #1: Only focusing on one or two of your skin’s needs, instead of looking at the big picture.
People can get hyper-focused on just one or two things going on with their skin, instead of focusing on ALL of their skin’s needs.
For example, a 35-year-old woman might start to get occasional hormonal cystic breakouts that seem to appear out of nowhere and now she thinks she has an acne-prone skin type. (Understandably so.) She will then purchase products for “problem skin”, similar to how a teen might and completely ignore that her skin has other needs such as preventing discoloration, lines, and wrinkles. Using harsh products for acne-prone skin will only leave her skin dry, irritated and flaky. If she’s getting cystic acne (those hard, painful bumps under the skin), it rarely responds to regular blemish products anyway. So, not only is she not getting results, but she’s compromising the health and integrity of her skin. (Products that WILL help with acne cysts without drying out the skin is Anti Bump Treatment and Rapid Response Detox Masque.)
Many of the nine skin types do address breakouts, but it’s important that you take into consideration how often you are breaking out as well as other needs you might have.
Mistake #2: Not understanding the difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin.
Dry skin means there is little to no oil being produced and the skin can appear rough and flaky. Therefore, oil-based products are needed to replenish the skin’s moisture levels so it can look soft, smooth and supple. Dry skin is fairly straightforward this way.
Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, can be harder to understand. When the skin is dehydrated, it means the skin is lacking water in the skin. You can still be an oil producer but the skin can feel tight. People will associate the tightness with being a dry skin type and start to use the wrong products. This is particularly problematic for those who get breakouts and over-dry their skin with acne products and compensate it with using oil-based products. For dehydrated skin, you want to use lighter, water-based products with humectants to restore the water content within the skin’s cells.
The video below is of one of my clients who is a skin type #2 who got severely dehydrated from using too many exfoliants.
Learn more about the difference between dry and dehydrated skin.
Look at what happened to my nephew’s skin when he overused drying acne products.
Mistake #3: Misunderstanding the true meaning of sensitive skin.
When people are asked if they have sensitive skin, most people will say “yes.” However, sensitive skin has different meanings to different people.
People can think their skin is sensitive because:
- They get blemishes when they use too heavy of a moisturizer. (Solution: Lighten up your moisturizer. Skin Recovery Lotion is a great one.)
- Their skin can get red and irritated when they use harsh or drying products. (Solution: Don’t use harsh or drying products.)
- Their skin gets red, hot and flushed from showers, exercise and even from skincare products.
- Their skin can get a rash or irritation even when gentle products are used.
- They have been diagnosed with a condition called rosacea.
To me, the last three are what I consider sensitive skin and skin types #5 and #9 address these concerns really well. A product like Phytolipid Comfort Creme can quickly help repair the skin’s barrier to make it act less sensitive.
When it comes to skincare products causing a tingling sensation, that gets a bit more complicated. Read what it really means when your skincare products are stinging.
What’s the solution for determining your skin type?
The important thing here is you don’t want to go it alone if your skin is making you confused. Put your skin in the hands of a trusted skin care professional who can help you determine your true skin type and suggest a skin care program that’s perfect for you.
If you have products for the wrong skin type or that did not work laying around, consider donating your gently used products.
Celebrity Esthetician & Skincare Expert
As an esthetician trained in cosmetic chemistry, Renée Rouleau has spent 30 years researching skin, educating her audience, and building an award-winning line of products. Trusted by celebrities, editors, bloggers, and skincare obsessives around the globe, her vast real-world knowledge and constant research are why Marie Claire calls her “the most passionate skin practitioner we know.”