You may struggle with dry skin or oily skin – or you may simply be unsure how to best care for your normal skin. While everyone’s skin is different, and there is no single “best” way to care for skin, there are some things you can do for your specific skin type to keep it feeling and looking healthy.
If you have Normal Skin…
Consider yourself lucky – but don’t become complacent. Use a mild cleanser to cleanse morning and evening, and be sure to moisturize – especially at night. Avoid heavy creams that may clog pores, and be sure to exfoliate; once a week should be enough.
If you have Dry Skin…
People with both oily and dry skin tend to fall into the “trap” of thinking that more (more moisture, more cleansing, etc.) is better. While it’s true that dry skin requires more moisture, you can do yourself a disservice by overloading on heavy formulations – as that may cause your skin to produce even less natural oil (sebum) on its own, making skin even drier. Use a moisturizing cream, avoid anything with alcohol or fragrance, and be prepared to switch if you find that your skin is not improving. Also, use a moisturizing cleanser, avoiding anything that has detergents that may strip oil from your skin.
Finally, remember that dry skin can also benefit from exfoliation. A gentle chemical exfoliant (such as glycolic acid) can remove dead skin cells from the skin surface, allowing your moisturizers to work more effectively.
If you have Oily Skin…
Again, less is more when you have oily skin. Going overboard with harsh cleansers or astringents may cause skin to produce more sebum on its own – exacerbating the problem. Instead, use a gentle cleanser and toner – and don’t skip the moisturizer.
While it may seem counterintuitive to apply moisturizer to skin that’s already oily, it’s still important. You want to protect skin’s natural barrier by making sure it’s hydrated properly. Also, you don’t want your skin to overcompensate for your attempts to dry it out by producing even more oil.
If you have Combination Skin…
You’ve likely heard of the “T-zone” – the area from your forehead to your chin (including your nose) that tends to get oily, even when the rest of your facial skin may be normal, or even dry.
Combination skin can be tricky, but common sense still applies. Keep skin cleansed with a gentle cleanser, and use a light moisturizer to keep skin hydrated and protect its natural barrier. You should still exfoliate once per week, and if you choose to use an astringent product, use it sparingly – and only on the areas with excess oil. You can also try blotting excess oil with blotting papers throughout the day.
If you have Sensitive Skin…
Sensitive skin requires a bit more TLC. While everyone should be cautious about the ingredients in their cosmetics (skin care products and makeup), those with sensitive skin should be particularly vigilant about avoiding things like fragrance, alcohol, abrasive scrubbing ingredients, and any kind of “detergent” (usually foaming/sudsing agents, etc.)
Look for skin care formulated specifically for sensitive skin – but you still need to read the labels.
For all skin types…
There are certain habits that everyone – regardless of skin type – can employ to keep skin healthier and free of blemishes.
Drink plenty of water. Not only will it help your skin, but water helps keep all your other bodily functions running more smoothly as well,
While you want to make sure you use a sunscreen that’s formulated for your skin type, you need broad-spectrum sun protection no matter what. And don’t fall into the trap of thinking your skin looks better or healthier with a tan. A tan is skin damage, any way you look at it.
Avoid touching your face unless it’s necessary. Your hands pick up plenty of dirt, oil, and bacteria from every surface they touch. Depositing that dirt, oil, and bacteria on your skin is unhealthy, regardless of your skin type.
When you’re sleeping, your skin is repairing itself. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your skin (and your body) is getting shortchanged in the repair/rejuvenation process. Let yourself rest.
The best thing you can do for your skin is to visit a dermatologist regularly (at least once a year). The dermatologist can examine you for any signs of skin cancer, and address any skin care issues you may have. She can also make recommendations for the best products and routines to keep your skin type looking its healthy best.