Written by: Chisom Okoye
I don’t know about you, but the skincare industry has slowly seeped into every aspect of my social media experience. I see it when I’m swiping through stories on Instagram, when I’m trying to watch a YouTube video, when I’m researching just about anything on Google… In fact, I think the only place I do not see it is on my banking app…and thank God because that would be scary.
Anyway! My point is moving back to the US in the middle of the worst Winter I have ever experienced forced me to go back to the drawing board to figure out what my skin needed. So I have been researching endlessly about skin and the internet’s algorithm has obviously caught on!
Luckily for me, the pandemic has seen the online skin care community grow exponentially and become more accessible to normal people like me who just desire to have good skin and are willing to learn without having to earn a ten year medical school degree!
While the flood of information from various sources can be a good thing, it can also be an overwhelming place for those who are just dipping their feet into the water for the first time and seeking cost free guidance. The scariest part is when your first and last stop of research is the aggressive marketing strategies we see from companies selling you what they swear is the best product around or influencers with perfect skin sharing their not-so-secret secret skincare routines and threatening to die by the latest product their promoting. This is the crossroads that I found myself in, drowning in the information overload and not really knowing who and what to believe.
What I did walk away with during my research is that the beginning of any skin care journey should start with you knowing what your skin type is FIRST! It may seem obvious and simple, but many people fall into the trap of mistaking their skin type for another which then leads to them buying the wrong skincare products for their skin.
The status of your skin is affected by various factors including but not limited to the oil and water content of your skin, seasonal changes, environmental factors including pollution and dust, medications and age. Depending on the status of your skin and the factors affecting it, your skin type may change and you have to be able to identify these changes when they happen so that you can buy the right products for YOU.
According to Eucerin, there are four skin types that you may fall under:
- Oily – The over production of sebum, also known as seborrhea.
- Dry – The under-production of sebum, lacking the lipids needed for moisture and protection against external influences.
- Combination – Mix of both oily and dry skin.
- Normal – well balanced skin.
Reputable skin brand, CeraVe shared two methods on their website on how to know what your skin type is right at home.
“Watching and Waiting”
This at-home test allows you to understand what kind of skin you have by just observing how your skin behaves after cleansing. To start, wash your face with a gentle cleanser then gently pat it dry. If after 30 minutes your skin appears shiny throughout, you probably have oily skin; if it feels tight and is flaky or scaly, you may have dry skin; if the shine is only in your T-Zone (forehead, nose and chin), you probably have combination skin; and if your skin feels hydrated and comfortable, but not oily, you likely have normal skin.
When pressed to the skin, blotting sheets absorb oil—and you can use them to help you understand what type of skin you have. After washing your face with a gentle cleanser, patting it dry and allowing it to rest 30 minutes, press blotting sheets to various areas of your face, then hold the sheets up to the light to see the oil markings. If the sheets reveal an abundance of oil in all areas of the face, you have oily skin; if they absorb little to no oil, then you probably have dry skin; if the sheets show only a small amount of oil from your T-Zone, you have combination skin; and if you only see minimal oil from every area of your face, you most likely have normal skin.”
While I am new to this life of becoming my very own skin care guru, this made me feel like an expert! I cracked the code! My breakouts in the beginning of spring after struggling to get my skin to behave in winter suddenly made sense – I was using the wrong products for the status of my skin!
I have started using a different face wash to balance the oils on my face since I have observed my skin producing more sebum now than in winter. It’s only been a week but I am already seeing my skin clearing up and glowing so I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me!
For more information I have plugged a few websites and videos you can watch: