The one thing you think you know, but probably really don’t, is your skin type. Your skin type is what you are BORN WITH, it will never, ever change, and it can be oily, normal, dry, sensitive, or combination of any of the above. A professional skin therapist (or esthetician) can tell you what your skin type is based on the size of your pores. That is the ONLY way to know.
I know what you’re thinking, because I’ve heard it before: “I’m so oily all of the time! I know I’m an oily skin type. Plus, I break out all of the time!” You couldn’t be more mistaken. Of course, there are people who actually are oily STs, but a majority of people who have oiliness are not an oily skin type, but are experiencing specific skin conditions (which can change) based on what they are doing to their skin. All estheticians have clients who started using things like Proactiv waaaay back in high school because they were having “acne” and decided to try it out. It made the “acne” go away and they have used it ever since! The problem here is that most people using Proactiv (active ingredient benzoyl peroxide) don’t NEED to be using such harsh chemicals. In my opinion, the only people who should use benzoyl peroxide are the few people with stage IV cystic acne or used as a spot treatment for hormonal cystic zits most women experience on their chins. Most papules and pustules can be treated with salicylic acid. So what happens when you are really a dry skin type and you use harsh chemicals on your face? You produce more oil. Essentially, your oil glands freak out that you’ve just taken away all the precious oil they’ve just created, and they make more in excess. Or you’ll dry out completely like a dried up sponge.
The point is, find out your skin type! Then you can use products actually made for your skin and specific skin conditions. I would suggest seeing an esthetician to get a good regimen going, but find someone you trust. If you really don’t believe what they tell you your skin type is, get a second opinion, or a third! If you’re nervous about getting facial treatments, I suggest getting skin typed by an esthetician at Ulta, because they will do it for you for free and can help you choose products based on your skin care goals. They also have reasonably priced facials there, and use dermalogica, which are products I really like.
If you have any questions, don’t be scared to ask in the comments section.
© Carli Garrison and cllgarrison, 2014.