Filtered Skin, IRL

Constantly at war with your skin? We have some intel that may give you the winning edge. Introducing the new skin types.

Portrait of Tammy Strobel

Constantly at war with your skin? We have some intel that may give you the winning edge. Introducing the new skin types.

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When it comes to skin types, we all know the drill; you’re either dry, oily or a combination of the two. But lately, there seems to be so much more to it (looking at you, random scaly patch). So, how to figure out this brand-new skin-scape?

DIY Diagnosis

You’re sensitised if… you’re prone to red blotches, inflammation and the itches/ ouches. The culprit? “Overexfoliating with acids and abrasive pads and overusing potent products,” explains Sarah and Christine, the K-Beauty experts behind Glow Recipe. Over time, this can compromise the skin’s barrier and leave it unable to protect and repair itself. Taking a break from harsh treatments will give the cells a chance to heal.

You’re dull if… you’ve lost that dewy, radiant sheen. This can usually be explained by dead skin build-up, poor circulation or anything that deprives your skin of muchneeded nutrients such as an unhealthy diet. “Stress and lack of sleep is also a common concern,” they say.

You’re dehydrated if… your face feels tight or has flaky patches but still looks a tad greasy. While dry skin is caused by a lack of natural oils, dehydration is due to moisture loss (aka not drinking enough water). It can also be affected by environmental factors like air conditioning and alcohol-based products, which are very drying.

You’re acne-prone if… you get blackheads and whiteheads regularly, have large open pores and tend to break out easily. Whether it’s bacterial, hereditary or hormonal, Sarah and Christine say that when tackling spots, a consistent and effective cleansing and exfoliation routine to remove the build-up of old cells is key.

You’re sun damaged if… your skin appears uneven in both tone and texture. Think: fine lines, roughness and pigmentation. Too much time outdoors (and not enough sunscreen) causes UV damage which, in turn, speeds up the ageing process. The fix? “Antioxidants are essential as they help to neutralise free radical activity and enable the skin to restore itself naturally.”

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Rookie error

(that we’re definitely guilty of)

“Many people make a guess based purely on the ‘feeling’ of their skin,” says Mei Hui, Managing Director of The Skin Pharmacy. “But if we don’t get the skin type right, we might select the wrong product.” This can result in a flare-up of symptoms and a lifetime battling the same pesky problems. The best rescue tactic? Selected beauticians now offer computerised skin analyses to definitively measure the levels of oil and moisture in your skin.

Mei Hui, Managing Director
of The Skin Pharmacy
Mei Hui, Managing Director of The Skin Pharmacy

Expert Opinion

You’re not necessarily stuck with your skin type.

While your skin situation is mostly determined by things you can’t control (thanks, genetics!), you can still transform it by staying on top of what it needs (such as moisture and more TLC). Plus, “when we age, our hormones change,” says Mei Hui. So what worked for you in the past may not be right for you now.

Your face and body skin types can be different from each other.

Dry pins got you feeling more snake than human? Don’t worry, your face won’t necessarily follow suit. “You can experience one condition on your legs and have a different condition up top,” says Mei Hui. The skin on our faces also tends to be way more delicate and prone to irritation, which is why we need multiple products to treat each part.

“Normal” skin isn’t that normal.

A flawless, dewy face is the holy grail of the beauty world. But while this is sometimes considered the “normal skin type”, it’s actually anything but. “Normal skin is often defined as having no problems, imperfections or visible pores,” says Mei Hui. “This is very hard to achieve once we hit puberty, and really only exists in children and babies.” Instead, the goal should be healthy skin with a balanced oil-towater ratio. For the record, we say normal skin may still have issues, but the overall condition isn’t immediately recognisable by the other usual names like “oily” or “dry”.