Monday, January 26, 2015

Skincare Rescue Plan: Cleansing and Determining your Skin type

Part three!

If I'd been writing this post for my teenage self, I think it would have mostly been filled with information on what not to do.  There are so many ways I messed up this step, and I didn't even know I was making mistakes!  Also, figuring out my skin type always seemed really complicated, for some reason.  Well here we are again to knock out some research!
First: The super simple way to determine your skin type
 (Actually, I think this is the only way, but it's still super simple.)

#1 Wash your face with a gentle cleanser.
#2 Wait an hour for your skin to return to its natural state.  Feel free to read up on skincare or join the skincare Reddit community during this hour, just don't sweat or touch your face!
#3 Dab your skin with a tissue, examine the different areas of your face and the tissue, and match your results to the skin types below.
  • Normal skin: If your tissue shows no oil and your skin feels smooth and supple, not dry or flaky, you have normal skin. 
    [Cleanser recommendations for normal skin]
  • Oily skin: If there is oil on your tissue from around your face, you have oily skin.  Oily skin is often characterized by large pores and shine. 
    [Cleanser recommendations for oily skin]
  • Dry skin: If your tissue shows no oil and you skin feels taut or show flakes of dead skin, you have dry skin.  It is often characterized with small or barely visible pores.
    [Cleanser recommendations for dry skin]
  • Combination skin: This is the most common skin type, and it exhibits two or more of the other skin types in different areas on your face.  Usually, the skin is oily in the T-zone and normal to dry elsewhere. 
    [Cleanser recommendations for combination skin]
 I use CeraVe's hydrating cleanser, which was a well priced place to start for me, but since I've started using it, I haven't looked for anything else!

 Moving forward, besides checking out the cleanser recommendations above, definitely keep reading for more tips and information.

Keep in mind that not only is cleansing important since it washes away the sweat, pollution, and dead skin from the day, but what cleanser you use is just as important.  Using a damaging cleanser may require you to spend more time and money to reverse the damage!

 If your cleanser leaves your face feeling squeaky clean, you need to change.  If your face feels very grimy or oily in the mornings, you might consider changing cleansers, too.  Unless you're sweating a lot while you sleep or you haven't changed your pillow case in a looong time, there shouldn't be lots of new grime on your face from the night.  Some actually recommend optimizing your routine so that, in the morning, you can just splash your face with water, moisturize, and add sunscreen.  (I've done this a few times myself, but I'm still locked into the idea that I have to wash my face morning and night!  Thank you, high school.)

Use lukewarm water while washing your face. Very hot and very cold water irritates and dries out the skin.  Contrary to popular belief, pore size is genetically determined.  You can't use steam or hot water to open your pores, and you can't use cold water or ice to close them.  [More information]  By the way, we're on the topic of pores, you should know that using pore strips can seriously damage your skin.  They not only remove the bad things in your pores, but they remove the good oils and a bit of your skin, as well.  Pore strips stretch your skin, can break fine capillaries, and can even permanently leave you pores larger and easier to get dirty.  If you want to get deep and degunk your pores, find an aesthetician or dermatologist who can perform extractions for you.

Keep in mind that acne "is one of those things in life that you have to kill with kindness.  Harsh scrubbing will just exacerbate your acne further."  [Source]  If you have acne prone skin, be wary of anything marketed for acne specifically.  I used Neutrogena's oil-free acne wash in college, and I remember it leaving my skin feeling so, so bare.  It stripped off all my skin's natural oils, which meant my skin was probably producing more oil in order to compensate.  If you've been having a similar problem, try looking for a gentler cleanser.  If you have oily skin, it may sound counter-intuitive, but it's much better to have something that works with your skin rather than against it.

For more legit information about what to look for in a cleanser, what to avoid in a cleanser, and troubleshooting information, please read this mega helpful article from the SkinCareAddiction Blog.


  1. This is seriously one of the most useful skincare posts I've ever read. I am definitely going to find out what type of skin I have. I use to be so acne prone until (TMI alert) I started using birth control. I still get it at that stupid time of month but I plan on switching to a different birth control method and I'm terrified how my face is going to react to it. I will definitely be saving this to resort to in the future!

    1. SOOO glad to hear this is helpful! Good luck with the new system.


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