How To Determine Your Skin Type (Without Paying to See a Beauty Therapist)
At Jersey Beauty Company, we firmly believe you are remarkably unique – just as no two fingerprints are the same, so too your skin is unique and individual with its own unique concerns.
And we know your skin will change, as it is affected by genetics, age, hormones, weather and lifestyle. So the way you care for your skin will need to change in different stages of your life. We exist to help you understand your individual skin and how best to care for your skin at every stage. A part of that is debunking the myth of the ‘four generic skin types’ that you may have read about in many beauty blogs and articles.
As skin therapist Christine tells us, “99.9 percent of people are mixtures of types and have their own kind of concerns and they might be not fall into any of the categories”. That said, it is an important step in determining our skin type, to first understand the four generic skin types, and then to understand our skin can be a real mix of those types at any one time.
Debunking the Myth: Four Generic Skin Types?
It’s common in skin care to hear four generic skin types referred to. We think this is by no means exhaustive, but that it is a good starting point for understanding our skin. It’s worth pointing out now that we, at Jersey Beauty Company, actually know our skin to be a complex organ, so it is entirely possible, reading this description you may identify with all four types - either at different times in your monthly cycle, or in different areas of your face and neck.
The four types are often classified as:
1. Dry Skin
As skin therapist Christine explains, “when your skin flakes a little bit, that’s a sign of dryness”. It’s important not to confuse dry skin with dehydrated skin (yes, there’s a difference!). Dry skin lacks oil so it may feel dry or rough to the touch, can be itchy or prone to irritation and may look dull. This is because in healthy skin, the upper layer of skin, the epidermis, is built a bit like a brick wall. Dead skin cells form the bricks and are held together by lipids, which act as a kind of oily glue. This layer provides an important protective barrier which prevents excessive water loss through the skin and also protects the deeper layers of skin from external factors. Dry skin is a sign that this lipid barrier function is damaged or weakened, that there is a lack of oily lipids holding the brick wall of dead skin cells together that make up the epidermis. The result can appear as flaky, irritated skin patches.
2. Dehydrated skin
Often confused for dry skin, dehydrated skin lacks water. Skin therapist Emma explains that this can be caused by “trans-epidermal water loss”, which she explains simply as “where water is being lost more quickly from your skin.” This again affects the epidermis – the upper layer of skin. Skin may feel tight, become dull or lined, and you may get a buildup of dead skin cells. Dehydrated skin may feel ‘thirsty’, absorbing products into the skin really quickly.
3. Oily Skin
If dry skin lacks oil, oily skin quite simply is producing excess oil that sits on the surface of the skin. The skin is covered in tiny sebaceous glands, regulated by testosterone, that produce an oily substance which lubricates and waterproofs the skin. As skin therapist Christine points out, it’s important to address oily skin as “excess oil on the skin does lead to breakouts and impurities".
4. Sensitive Skin
Skin that is prone to reaction from environmental factors, hormones and skin care products can be called sensitive skin. There may be redness or the skin may be hot to the touch, sometimes there may be breakouts, blotchiness, itchiness and pain. Sensitive skin is caused by nerve endings in the top layer of your skin being irritated and reacting to this irritation. Our skin barrier, the epidermis, which is designed to keep irritants out, may become damaged through environmental or hormonal influences, which will lead to our skin being more sensitive.
Understanding Our Skin: Skin Analysis
So if you are sat there, having read this far, thinking my skin doesn’t easily fit into any one of the four skin types, well, the good news is – you are not alone! Most people don’t easily identify their skin as one particular skin type. And actually, you shouldn’t. Your skin is more than capable of simultaneously having dry and oily areas, some sensitivity and dehydration.
So how do we determine our skin type, without paying to see a beauty therapist? We’d like to introduce to two skin analysis tools - one from our friends at Dermalogica, and an online tool you can access for free on Jersey Beauty Company’s website.
Dermalogica Face Mapping
Face Mapping, Dermalogica’s unique skin analysis tool, provides an insight into your skin’s past and present, and allows the subsequent prescription of a targeted home care regime for a healthy skin future. In a five to ten minute free analysis, a Dermalogica therapist will analyse your skin. Skin therapist Emma explains this process to us:
“we basically split the skin into fourteen sections, not one skin is the same, every skin is different. Even those fourteen sections can be very different. Your nose, for example, could be dehydrated; your cheeks could be oily. That then gives us and the therapist an all around view of exactly what type of conditions the client has on the skin. It gives us an idea of maybe where they've come from and how to treat them, to give them the best skin care possible after that.”
Face mapping also includes a list of lifestyle questions to help the therapist determine the best skin care for your unique skin. The results may mean you need to focus on different treatments for different areas of your face. Your Dermalogica therapist will be able to advise you on the right products for your unique skin makeup, rather than one of four generic skin types.
Jersey Beauty Company’s Skin Profile
As an introduction to Skin Analysis, you can complete our Free Skin Profile on our website. By answering a short series of questions about five zones of your face and neck, and about your lifestyle, we give a professional skin analysis, creating a bespoke prescription of products and tailored advice for each of the zones identified. This free and easy to use tool can be completed any time and gives instant results. This is especially useful as we know our skin can change, depending on external factors and so you may want to revisit your answers in the future to ensure you are still using the right products for your skin’s current needs.