The first and most important step when starting a skincare regimen is to find out your skin type. This helps you choose the right products to use so that your skin benefits most, in the shortest possible time. Most cosmetics, cleansers, toners, facial masks and other products have the skin type they are best suited for mentioned prominently on the packaging. When shopping for products, make sure to pay special attention to this information.
Another advantage of knowing your skin type is that you know which ingredients are likely to be harmful to your skin. For example, for those with sensitive skin, apricot scrub is best avoided because it is too aggressive and harsh. Salicylic acid is good for acne prone skin. For those with oily skin, products containing salicylic acid are also a good choice. To make a judicious choice of products, you do need to look at their ingredients. Knowing your skin type lets you pick products with all the right ingredients to give you healthy and great looking skin.
Caring for Normal Skin
Normal skin is the easiest to care for. The best products to use for this skin type are those that support normal skin functions. Of course, even normal skin does break out at rare times or develops rashes or skin blemishes when exposed to certain products. But this skin type usually bounces back to its normal healthy glow with some help from you with the right skin care products.
To care for normal skin you need a gentle cleanser which also works as your makeup remover. Keep your skin well hydrated with moisturizers and toning gels. Use a hydrating gel mask once a week to keep the skin supple and to keep dry skin problems well away. Serums and day creams to nourish and protect the skin during daytime and firming eye creams, night time creams and oils allow normal skin to repair cell damage and regain a healthy glow for the day ahead
Caring for Dry Skin
Dry skin requires extra special care, especially during winter months. Regular and effective cleansing is very important for dry skin since clogged pores further reduce the available sebum. Use a mild cleansing milk to ensure that the dryness is not worsened by the cleansing process. Avoid washing your face too many times as it strips the skin of essential oils and moisture. Cleansing once before applying makeup and once at night is sufficient. Cleansers that have good moisture retention are good choices for dry skin. Avoid alcohol based toners that dry out your skin.
Use a toner with honey or mint instead. Use nourishing creams generously. Pick creams that have vitamin E to give your dry skin new life. Vitamin E also postpones the appearance of wrinkles and lines. Under eye creams are also good options. But if you are using a heavier one during the daytime take care to remove it thoroughly at bedtime.
Oil massages with natural oil (e.g.: olive/coconut) before bath help your skin stay hydrated after the wash. Take short warm showers and keep away from all bath soap bars (except those with high fat content). Apply a rich moisturizer right after your bath so that it can penetrate your skin most effectively.
Caring for Oily Skin
Oily skin has a natural barrier against moisture loss which is why you can avoid rich moisturizers for this skin type. However, some oily skin types may be prone to dryness in winter months. Then moisturizing is necessary.
Proper cleansing is a very important part of your oily skin care regimen as to prevent acne. Cleansing clears your pores and ensures that there is no debris clogging them leading to blackheads, infections and other common oily skin problems. Use oil control cleansers (e.g.: with activated charcoal) or those containing salicylic acid and avoid those containing sulfates.
People with oily skin may, if necessary, carry out exfoliation twice a week. This removes buildup over the epidermis. Moisturizing serums are better choices than lotions or creams. If your skin becomes dry with the serum use one that hydrates.
Although oily skin does have its own natural protection, you should apply sunscreen when you go out. Avoid sunscreen- moisturizer combos and opt for lightweight sunscreen-only products. For your weekly facials, use clay based masks that absorb the excess oil from your skin.
Caring for Combination Skin
For those with combination skin, choosing products that suit both the dry parts and the greasy parts is a difficult task. Sometimes, it may be better to simply use two different products for either. However, most people can care effectively for this skin type by choosing their skincare products from a range that is specially designed for combination skin.
When it comes to dealing with specific skin problems, it is relatively easy to use the product, say, an acne treatment gel, only on the affected or problem prone areas. For instance, you could use the acne cream over your T-zone and use a moisturizer around the eyes and over your cheeks where the skin is dry and flaky.
Antioxidant rich products or those containing cell communicating ingredients are a good choice for people with combination skin. If the greasiness is causing most of the skin problems you encounter, then light weight gels, serums and lotions are the better choice.
If you are breaking out more after the use of a specific product, it is likely that you are allergic to ingredients it contains. Avoiding this product could correct your skin problem and also make your skin more balanced and easier to care for.
Cleansing your face with a gentle cleanser is the very first step in combination skin care. Water soluble products are the best as they help avoid dryness and irritation. Gel based cleansers or mild foaming ones are perfect to control the breakouts in the oily parts of your face. But if your skin is already irritated or sun burned, opting for a lotion cleanser may be a better option. If a toner is part of your daily skin care regimen then use only products that have no alcohol, menthol or fragrances. Citrus oils are also best avoided in toners.
Use an effective sunblock no matter how short your trip outside is going to be. Sunscreens and sun blocks keep your skin looking healthier and younger for longer and keep wrinkles away. Lotion or cream moisturizers applied to the dry areas keep the skin here problem free. But avoid these on the greasy parts at all cost.
Caring for Sensitive Skin
This skin type is perhaps the most challenging one to care for mainly because it is very prone to irritation at the slightest provocation. A good first step in sensitive skin care is to only use products that are labeled fragrance free or perfume free. Fragrances can cause skin reactions; in fact, they may be the cause of more skin reactions than any other ingredients in your skin care product.
Other things to avoid are products with too many chemicals (or preservatives). If finding a preservative free product is proving difficult, try experimenting with different products to find the preservatives that affect you least. Products with alcohol content are a no-no (example, some toners) as they dry out the skin and leave it more vulnerable to irritation. Avoid oil based makeup products. To ensure that the products you buy are suitable for your skin type, always test them out on a small area of skin that is not readily visible to others.
What you can use are skincare products that are hypo-allergenic. Rather than face washes or soaps, use a mild cleanser to wash your face. Keep your skin from becoming too dry by moisturizing with a water based moisturizer. For sun protection, use a sun screen whenever you step out. Remember that sensitive skin burns very easily when exposed to the sun’s rays.
Avoid using makeup on irritated /broken skin or rashes as this will exacerbate your problem. When drying your skin after a wash, always pat dry rather than rub dry to keep your skin irritation free.