Woman using iPad by timothy muzat Unsplash

So we’ve been talking about how to choose the right skincare for your skin type and particular issues. As straightforward as that may be, sometimes it helps to have a real life example. Or four. Here ya go…

Example #1: Here is what my skin care profile looks like…

Skin type: I have dry skin that can be sensitive
Issues: I am allergic to aloe vera
Likes, Dislikes & Ideals: I don’t like products that have a strong scent or are too “earthy”, they must be high performance, and preferably cruelty-free.

While I sometimes purchase ingredients for sensitive skin, I am first on the lookout for products that are suited to dry skin. Keeping my skin hydrated usually keeps redness and irritation at bay. While many chemical skin care ingredients irritate my skin, there are some natural ones that do too. These are the more heavily scented ingredients, like tea tree or mint. I read my labels and skip anything heavy on aloe. If I end up with a product that is too strongly scented or looks like putty-colored pudding I will send it back.

Example #2: This is from one of my readers…

Skin type: “super-sensitive and acne-prone without being particularly oily or dry”
Issues: Drugstore brand products for sensitive skin cause breakouts, those for acne cause dryness
Likes, Dislikes & Ideals: Looking to switch from conventional products to nontoxic. Btw, she mentioned she is active and a healthy eater, so the culprit has to be the skin care.

This woman most likely has Normal skin type that is sensitive to synthetics. These harsh ingredients imbalance the skin, which causes irritation, and natural oil production ramps up causing breakouts. Using too many different products at once can also throw skin into imbalance.

Solution: Use nontoxic products formulated for Normal skin type. If these products still cause skin to become irritated, see if there is a similar ingredient(s) in the product compared to that of the drugstore brands she’s been using. If she still has issues with acne after switching to nontoxic products (give it a week or so) try natural acne treatments designed to be gentle and non-drying. My guess is that simply switching to toxin-free skin care will balance her skin and bring back a clear, healthy complexion.

Example #3: Also from a reader…

Skin type: Sensitive
Issues: Dry, flaky skin in the winter and fairly sensitive to soaps, foaming agents, and fragrance ingredients.
Likes, Dislikes & Ideals: Would like some anti-aging benefits (lightening of spots and softening/preventing wrinkles)

Solution: Most sensitive skin types do well with a milk or cream cleanser, versus a foaming cleanser which can be too drying. If you need a foamy cleanser, say after workouts, use it only when necessary and opt for a cream cleanser (or just warm water) the rest of the time. Dry, irritated skin is a common symptom of over cleansing.

Safe nontoxic skin care brands use natural fragrance ingredients, but even these can irritate sensitive skin. She should opt for fragrance-free moisturizers or those made specifically for sensitive skin. A rich cream moisturizer, or even a balm, will help to relieve excessive dryness in winter. As for the anti-aging and spots: rosehip oil is gentle, softens lines, and helps to reduce the appearance of spots and scars. This oil can be used on its own, and is used in many products for sensitive skin. Love it!

Example #4: Also from a reader…

Skin type: Oily
Issues: Acne, flakiness, clogged pores, but no allergies
Likes, Dislikes & Ideals: Interested in DIY skin care

Solution: Oily skin and acne go hand in hand. But flakiness? Doesn’t that sound more like a dry skin problem? Nope. Many people with oily skin, who are prone to acne, end up with flakiness. This is due to the products and measures they use to get rid of the acne. Even oily skin types benefit from moisturizer and most often people in this skin type will skip this important step.

“My skin is already oily, why would I apply moisturizer to it?”

Guess what happens if you don’t. Skin becomes dry due to lack of moisture, cleansing and over-zealous scrubbing and treating. This causes flakiness. The skin then attempts to self-remedy the situation by producing more oil, which gets trapped under the layer of dry skin, and *voila* you have zits.

This woman should purchase nontoxic skincare designed for Oily skin. Including a light, balancing moisturizer. Those made for oily/acne skin types use lighter emollient ingredients that will balance oil production and keep pores clear. A great place to start with DIY skincare is exfoliation. All skin types benefit from this step, and it should be done regularly. A mixture of organic sugar, organic milk and a dab of honey is my absolute favorite scrub for the whole body, including face. Always massage gently when exfoliating.

*Image by Timothy Muza at Unsplash.com

Liz Thompson