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What is my skin type?

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Posted: 07/15/2014 Skin Care Routines in Skin Type with 

What's my skin type?

Oily, dry, combination, sensitive – do you know your skin type? Knowing what kind of skin you have can mean the difference between having a perfect complexion or problematic skin. Using products meant for a skin type other than yours can lead to anything from dryness to breakouts, and sometimes both at the same time – exactly what your skin care should be fighting to prevent! Here’s your no-fail guide to knowing your skin type, and which skin care products you should be using, so you can get your best skin yet.

What does “skin type” mean, anyway?

“Skin type” primarily refers how much oil your skin produces, and is determined by multiple factors. Genetics play a huge role – if your mom has large pores and acne, it could explain why you do too. Other factors that influence the skin type you have, and how it changes, are hormones and lifestyle choices – like smoking or tanning. Taking hormonal medication and tanning can increase your oil production, while natural hormonal processes that occur as you age lead to drier skin. Here are some key characteristic to pay attention to when determining your skin type, and the products specifically formulated to target its needs.

Oily skin type

The Oily skin type

One telltale sign of skin type is pore size – an oily skin type will often have larger pores to accommodate more oil production. Do you see visible or large pores on your t-zone and cheeks? Are you prone clogged pores and breakouts? Does your skin get shiny after only a few hours of cleansing? If you answered “yes” to all of these, you have an oily skin type. Using oily skin care products will help keep your shine under control. Here’s your Oily skin agenda:

Step 1: Start with a lathering gel cleanser to give your pores a deep clean and remove dirt, impurities, and excess oil.

Step 2: Restore your skin’s pH balance and better prepare it for the products that follow with a hydrating toner.

Step 3: Moisturize. A common mistake those with oily skin make is skipping on the moisturizer because they think additional moisture is the last thing their skin needs. Wrong! Depriving your skin of the final moisturizing step in your skin care routine will only cause it to produce more oil, making your excess shine problem worse.Reach for a gel moisturizer to keep your skin comfortable and shine under control.

Step 4: Avoid breakouts by using a gentle facial scrub up to 3 times a week to ensure pores stay clear of dirt and dead skin cells.

Oily skin pro tip: Clogged pores don’t always mean acne! If you’re experiencing a breakout, think twice before you completely switch to a skin care routine for acne skin. Instead, spot treat blemishes with a benzoyl peroxide lotion that dries and clears pimples, and prevents new blemishes from forming.

combination skin type

The Combination skin type

Do you experience excess shine in your t-zone, yet your skin sometimes feels dehydrated? You have a combination skin type. While you might experience some clogged pores and the occasional breakout, your skin can become parched during cold or dry months. Combination skin products are formulated to keep the balance – here’s your daily skin agenda:

Step 1: Begin with a foaming cleanser that will gently exfoliate as it cleanses so skin stays smooth and pores remain clear.

Step 2: Follow with a hydrating toner to balance skin, prepping it for the next step: moisturizer.

Step 3: Look for a lightweight moisturizer that will balance combination skin so it stays comfortable without runaway oil production.

Combinationskin pro tip: Remember – you don’t have to apply your skin care products everywhere. If you notice you’re developing excess shine through the center of your face, apply Oil Control Mattifier to just your t-zone so breakthrough shine is absorbed and oil production is balanced where you need it most.

dry skin type

The Dry skin type

Unlike a skin that’s Oily, a Dry skin type will see few or no pores on the nose and might experience skin that feels “tight”. But don’t confuse Dry skin with dehydrated skin! Dry skin is due to a lack of lipids, or oil, which results in moisture loss and can lead to a skin that’s thinner in texture and prone to fine lines and wrinkles. Dehydrated skin is caused by a lack of water – often caused by harsh products that strip the skin of moisture. Even Oily skin can be dehydrated! Products for dry skin can keep the balance your skin needs – here’s a daily agenda to help Dry skin stay stable:

Step 1: Begin with a rich cream cleanser that washes away impurities, and leaves skin feeling hydrated – not stripped.

Step 2: Follow with a hydrating toner. There’s a common misconception that toners are made exclusively for Oily and Combination skin to remove excess oil, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth! Bioelements toners are alcohol-free and restore the skin to a natural pH level so it will more readily absorb moisturizer. Dry skin types will want to pick a peptide-rich toner to boost moisture and add radiance.

Step 3: After toning, replenish lipids with a supercharged moisture-sealing serum to restore your skin’s moisture barrier.

Step 4: Complete your daily routine with a rich creme moisturizer.

Dry skin pro tip: When your skin needs some extra TLC, reach for a creme facial mask that will give skin a swift surge of moisture in just 10 minutes.

sensitive skin type

The Sensitive skin type

If ordinary skin care products cause stinging, itching, or burning, you flush easily, and you experience uneven red blotches on your face or neck, you have Sensitive skin. Here’s a test: use a q-tip to make an “X” on your neck. If it leaves a red mark, you’re sensitive! You need sensitive skin care formulated to be soothing, but effective. Here’s your daily skin agenda:

Step 1: Use a gentle sensitive skin cleanser to melt away makeup and irritants while keeping your skin calm and protected against visible irritation. Think Sensitive skin types can’t exfoliate? Think again! Alternate using a facial brush up to 3 times a week to cleanse for a gentle exfoliation that doesn’t promp irritation.

Step 2: Restore the balance with a soothing toner that will reduce redness and prevent further moisture loss.

Step 3: Safeguard against visible irritation with a moisturizer that soothes and relieves redness as it hydrates.

Sensitive skin pro tip: Add another layer of protection against irritation with a soothing serum that combats skin stress by boosting its resistance against environmental aggressors. Apply between steps 2 and 3 for skin soothed and smoothed for makeup application!

Acne skin type

The Acne skin type

Skin that’s prone to regular, widespread breakouts of both blackheads and whiteheads, and has visible inflammation and redness has acne prone skin. Care for your skin effectively with products for acne that contain ingredients known to target the P. Acnes bacteria, like salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and sulfur. Bioelements Acne Clearing System contains maximum strength formulas that are dermatologist and clinically tested to be non-irritating. Here’s your skin agenda:

Step 1: Cleanse with a 2% salicylic acne cleanser that removes acne-causing bacteria.

Step 2: Reach for an alcohol-free acne toner that balances as it removes excess oil without stripping skin. Although it might seem counterintuitive, completely removing all oil from acne-prone skin can force it into oil production overdrive, leading to more breakouts.

Step 3: For especially stubborn breakouts, reach for an acne mask with 5% sulfur to target and eliminate acne pimples while allowing the skin to heal. Apply all over, or just on the affected area, for 15 minutes twice a week.

Acne skin pro tip: For acne breakouts that pop up unexpectedly, carry Breakout Control to-go! The 5% benzoyl peroxide spot treatment dries clear,so it’s perfect for use in your daily skin care routine, or over makeup, to treat sudden breakouts and “undergrounders” – the pimple you can feel coming before you see it!

Still wondering, “what is my skin type?” Feel free to ask me questions about your skin’s needs and the products you should be using in the comments below or book an appointment with a skin care professional for a SkinReading at a Bioelements spa near you!


Teresa Stenzel

Bioelements Director of Education Teresa Stenzel has been a member of the Bioelements esthetics team since 1993. With a key role in the company’s integration of new professional products, she helps develop new facial and body treatment techniques, as well as new curriculum for Bioelements, ensuring skin care professionals receive the education they need to deliver the best skin care recommendations and professional treatments from coast to coast.

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Comments (4)

blissfullyme70@yahoo.com'
Rae says:
Jul 24, 2014

I have oily skin, large pores and heavy breakouts with lots of black and white heads. I use your acne wash daily, and I ton with oxygen botanical toner and I use oxygen botanical exfoliation as well. I also use acne spot stuff as well by bio elements
I am also a cosmetologist and I know I am not the only persona out here with this issue. I am 44 btw.

Thank you. RAE.

Teresa Stenzel says:
Jul 24, 2014

Hi Rae,
I see that you are already using our Spotless Cleanser and Breakout Control (I think, based on your description). You are using s toner from a different line? What are you moisturizing with? Do you have any oil control products?
I suggest you try the following to increase your results:
Cleanse morning and night with Spotless Cleanser.
After rinsing, try our Acne Toner instead of the toner you are using. Our products are designed to work together for best results.
Continue spot treating with Breakout Control. This can be reapplied to affected areas throughout the day.
Apply Oil Control Mattifier to your oily areas every morning. This can also be dabbed on oily areas later on during the day if needed.
Moisturize with a gel moisturizer for oily skin to keep your skin hydrated. For you, I’d recommend our Beyond Hydration.
And, if you are interested in a facial designed for acne skin, check out our spa locator to see if there is a spa near you that can help speed up your results with professional treatment and the care of an esthetician that can see and touch your skin on a regular basis.

donalddnnyd@aol.com'
Ellen says:
Jul 30, 2014

Hi! My 15 year old daughter has acne but also seems to be very sensitive. All products we have tried has left her skin red, tight, dry & she always says they burn! How would we treat the acne with the sensitivity?

Teresa Stenzel says:
Jul 31, 2014

HI Ellen,
When treating someone that has acne and is also sensitive, we have to be careful to use acne products that are gentle, and also ensure that your daughter is following the directions and using the products properly. Not sure what she is using or has used in the past. Can you email me so we can chat about this further and see what we can do to help her? Thanks. Teresa@bioelements.com.

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