Our skin is our body’s largest organ and is responsible for protecting us against UV damage and microbes, regulating the body temperature and supporting absorption and excretion in and out of the body. Skin’s role is as crucial as that of our heart, lungs or kidneys! However, our skin also ages with our body and just like our vital organs need care, our skin demands care too.
Before you build a skincare routine for yourself, it’s imperative to understand your skin type, the kind of care it requires and the ingredients as well as formulations that work for you! While the later two questions are answered only when you embark on the journey of skin care and face a few hits and misses, the former question is something that must be figured out right in the beginning.
While everyone’s skin is unique, there are four broad types of skin and here’s how you can determine yours by following the “The paper-napkin test”!
Nicely cleanse your face with a gentle, mild cleanser and pat dry. Leave the skin bare i.e., skip applying any toner, serum or moisturizer post wash. Wait for 30 to 45 mins. Meanwhile, take a clean paper napkin and cut it out into small squares. Take one piece at a time and gently press it against different parts of the face such as cheeks, forehead, nose, chin. Hold the napkins close to the light to determine how much oil each square has absorbed.
LIf the napkin is saturated with oil from all parts of the face, your skin type is 'oily'. Oily skin requires products that help rebalance sebum production and do not congest or clog the pores. Ingredients like hemp, rosehip, grapeseed, tea tree and rosemary are often loved by oily skin types.
If the napkin barely absorbs any oil, your skin type is 'dry'. Dry skin requires products that deeply hydrate the skin and help improve moisture retention. Ingredients like argan, marula, camellia, shea butter and mango seed butter are often loved by dry skin types.
If the napkin absorbs a little bit of oil, your skin type is 'normal'. Normal skin requires products that are moderately moisturizing. Ingredients like jojoba, tamanu, rose and saffron are often loved by normal skin types. However, normal skin can easily experiment with the ingredients as per the requirements of the skin.
If the napkin absorbs oil from T zone only i.e., forehead and nose as opposed to the rest of your face, your skin type is 'combination'. Combination skin requires products that are a combination of oily and dry skin products.
There is another major category which is ‘Sensitive Skin’ and it can be clubbed with any one of the above i.e., your skin can be ‘oily and sensitive’ or ‘dry and sensitive’. A sensitive skin is one which tends to react easily due to exposure to sun, pollution or new products. It may develop redness, rashes, itching or even breakouts as a reaction. Anyone with sensitive skin must be extra cautious while incorporating new products to the routine and a patch test is highly non - negotiable.
Apply the product on your inner elbow / jawline and observe for the next 24 hours. If there’s no reaction, you can apply the product on your face. If skin is sensitive, continue the test for 7 days. This helps ensure you are not allergic to any ingredient. If irritation occurs, please discontinue the product and consult a dermatologist.
Yes! Skin tends to change as weather changes. An oily skin in summers may become normal / combination in winters and a normal skin in summers may become dry in winters. Sometimes, skin type also alters with age due to hormonal changes, health concerns and even genetics. Needless to say, as skin type varies, your routine must also be tweaked in accordance.
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