YOUR best skin will be is as unique as you are and revolves around all those characteristics that make your skin yours. Once you understand your individual skin type, you will know how it will respond to the environment, products, procedures, and how it will age over time. Then, your skin type can guide your skin care, and you’ll be on your way to your best skin!
Dr. Steele Johnson, a board certified dermatologist, and her team help patients identify their skin types and their skin care goals so she can create a personalized skincare routine that will be optimized for you to by working with your skin type, and not against it.
In this article, we will go through a few very basic skin types. Most likely, your skin won’t fall into just one category. It may be oily and redness/rosacea-prone. It may be acne-prone and also, dry. Then the pigmentation of your skin adds another layer of complexity. It is important to understand all the aspects of your skin type to formulate the best skincare regimen. So, let’s get started:
What does oily skin look/act like:
- Skin that becomes shiny and oily at some point during the day; often requiring blotting papers
- Skin that is not easily irritated by products or procedures
What oily skin does daily and over time:
- People with oily skin tend to do better with certain signs of aging-fewer fine lines and wrinkles over time
- Oily skin also tends to be thicker and therefore, not as sensitive. People with oily skin can tolerate more aggressive treatments and products for the skin
- Oily skin tends to be associated with larger pore size and be prone to acne breakouts
Perfect Products for oily skin:
- Cleansers with glycolic acid and salicylic acid will help reduce oil production, acne, and reduce the appearance of pores
- Retinoids and retinols will be well tolerated and help with oil production, maintaining an even tone and texture over time
- Antioxidant serums (like Steele Dermatology Vita CE) will be helpful for maintaining overall skin health and pre-venting signs of aging
- Light hydrating products like serums with hyaluronic acid (like Steele Dermatology’s HA Peptide Serum) will be perfect for adding hydration without feeling oily or greasy
★ Note: a well balanced regimen should be formulated in order to prevent oily skin from drying out or causing a rebound of oil production.
Perfect Procedures for oily skin:
- Laser Procedures like Laser Genesis Skin Tightening and Toning for Pores and smoothing out skin
- Chemical Peels for discoloration and acne breakouts
- Dysport or Botox for deep creases between the brows and elsewhere. This can help address a “heavy” looking brow or an “angry” look
- Fillers like Restylane or Juvederm for heavy folds (like smile lines around the nose and darkness/hollowness under the eyes). Deep folds and a tired or drooping/falling appearance tends to be more common in this skin type over time
What does dry skin look/act like:
- Skin that can never be hydrated enough-patients tend to require a lot of moisturizers
- Dry skin may be more sensitive and more easily irritated by environmental factors like cold weather, wind and sun, and by aggressive skin care products or procedures
What dry skin does daily and over time:
- People tend to show more signs of aging because skin is drier and more reactive to the environment, i.e. lines and wrinkles
- Acne breakouts are less common in dry skin types, but possible. Acne Rosacea may be more common in drier skin.
- People with dry skin tend to have eczema breakouts more commonly, even as adults
Perfect Products for dry skin:
- Gentle cleansers that moisturize as they cleanse, like Steele Dermatology Gentle Cleaner – these may be thicker, creamier formulations or light foaming products
- Heavier moisturizers, esp. with ceramides which help repair and nourish the skin, like Steele Dermatology Ultra Riche Moisturizer
- Non-retinoid skin rejuvenating products, like growth factors or peptides, like Steele Dermatology Needle Free Serum that can also be helpful for anti-aging
Perfect Procedures for dry skin:
- Microneedling can stimulate collagen production to smooth and tighten the skin without being drying or irritating. It will really make the skin texture overall more even and help make the skin healthier
- Facials, including hydrafacials and masks can rejuvenate the skin while hydrating it
- Dysport and Botox can help with fine lines and wrinkles. Those with dry skin may even start with these treatments a little earlier in life than others, knowing that they are prone to a more prominently displayed wrinkles
- Fillers like Restylane, Juvederm and Sculptra can help with volume loss and folds and creases one starts to see with age. Again, this may be even more important in this skin type to start earlier than later in modest amounts
(Combination of oily, dry, and normal skin in different areas)
What does combination skin look/act like:
- Skin that is a combination of oily, dry and normal, sometimes with “problem areas”
- Oil production in the “T-zone”, which is the area of the nose, forehead and chin area
What combination skin does over time:
- There is really no “typical” behavior for this skin type, it may be dry or oily in certain areas or at certain times
- Your skin may fluctuate with changes in season, hormonal changes, stress, etc.
- With combination skin, you may need a more moisturizing cleanser in the winter (follow a more dry-skin type regimen) and something that’s more aggressive in the summer (follow a more oily-skin type regimen)
- Your moisturizer will also vary with various seasons and stages in life. Again, you will follow a more oily-skin regimen in the summer and a more dry-skin regimen in the winter
- You will likely do well with retinoids and retinols at lower strengths, find growth factors and peptides helpful, as well as anti-oxidants
- You may be a good candidate for almost any and everything depending on your specific concerns
- Procedures like microneedling, chemical peels, hydrafacials, and lasers are all fair game
- Dysport and Botox for wrinkles and Fillers like Restylane and Juvederm are also great options for aging skin
Redness and Rosacea Prone Skin
What does rosacea and redness prone skin look/act like:
- Skin that frequently looks red or flushed, esp. on the cheeks, nose and chin
- Sensitive to weather extremes–feeling burning or discomfort with sun or cold/wind. Often with tiny broken blood vessels on the face and chest
What redness/rosacea prone skin does daily and over time:
- Tends not to tolerate aggressive skin care products, and require anti-inflammatory products instead. Tends to be more sensitive
- Shows signs of aging easily, with wrinkles and sun freckles
- Shows broken blood vessels and overall redness over time
- Lasers targeting blood vessels and redness permanently reduce redness, like Excel V. May also be done on the face and chest. Laser treatment is more effective and longer lasting than any other redness treatment
- Gentle and calming chemical peels. Even is this sensitive skin type chemical peels have an important role and may be combined with laser treatments, like Laser Genesis Skin Tightening and Toning
- Injectables like Dysport and Botox for lines and wrinkles and fillers like Restylane and Juvederm aren’t off limits to those with redness/rosacea-prone skin! These treatments are perfectly safe in this skin type and can really provide impressive improvement
- Need rejuvenating products to prevent and reverse signs of aging – avoid retinoids, as they’re often too irritating; prefer peptide and growth factor based formulations to slow the aging process
- Need anti-inflammatory products prescription products often, may be used once or twice daily in combination with skincare
- Anti-inflammatory cosmeceuticals with botanicals can be used daily
- Green-tinted products that help camouflage redness
- Sunscreen! A medical grade sunscreen is really best since redness and rosacea prone skin can really be reactive to sunlight
What does brown skin look/act like:
- “Brown skin” is obviously on a spectrum but we are generally referring to those of African, South American, South Asian, East Asian, Central American, Caribbean, etc. descent
- Tends to not burn as easily in the sun and tends to create pigment easily, i.e. brown spots, discoloration or blemishes after an acne bump, bruise, etc.
What brown skin does daily and over time:
- Melanin provides natural protection from UV radiation, so darker skin is less likely to burn from sun exposure. Tendency to burn isn’t directly linked to one’s skin color though, so be careful.
- Skin of color is a big category, including people with an infinite number of shades and tones. The more melanin, the more protection, but even those with the darkest skin colors can burn and experience sun damage with enough sun.
- Melanin protects from the UV damage that may cause fine lines and wrinkles, so darker skinned individuals tend to experience fine lines and wrinkles a little later in life (anywhere from 40’s to older)
- People with darker skin types tend to have more pigment issues – dark spots from acne, scars, scrapes, you name it
- Tends to have more dark patches and areas over time
- Tends to have dark circles and volume loss over time with heavy folds and com-plain of looking “tired” with age more than anything else
- Face-specific products for cleanser, moisturizer, etc.
- Anti-oxidants are important as daily products to prevent UV damage and environmental damage to the skin, which can lead to discoloration and signs of aging
- A daily sunscreen is necessary to keep skin tone even and skin healthy and protected
- Darker skin types can also be oily, sensitive, dry, or even rosacea-prone, so follow other guidelines listed above
- Chemical Peels for discoloration (chemical peels come in a variety of strengths and formulations), but are go-to procedures for evening out skin tone
- Dysport or Botox for tired appearance and heavy folds, “tired” appearance and Fillers like Restylane or Juvederm for lines and folds. These “injectables” are a staple in most skin care treatments plans over time. Where and how they are used is different for each person, but they are as important in skin of color as in any other skin type
- Microneedling to improve all things with pores, texture, rough or pebbly skin texture
★ NOTE: Certain procedures are not as safe in darker skin types because of the risk of hyper-pigmentation (skin darkening after injury)–nonetheless, some chemical peels and lasers are ok for brown skin, but you must make sure that your provider is a board certified dermatologist and knowledgeable about using the correct products and correct settings – i.e. laser hair removal is a great procedure for those with darker skin types, especially in order to treat hair growth, hair bumps and discoloration from hair growth, but one must have the correct laser and use the correct settings that are safe, but also give you a good result.
What does fair/pale skin look/act like:
- This one is pretty self explanatory, but people with the least amount of pigment tend to get easily sunburned and have to worry about surveillance for skin cancer.
What fair/pale prone skin does daily and over time:
- Since melanin tends to be protective against sun damage, the palest skin types can really burn easily and over time, show premature signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles
- UV radiation from the sun is one of the biggest causes of aging, so skin thinning, freckling and wrinkling can happen very easily in this group. Wrinkles and sun spots may seem to pop up all at once, but really they slowly accumulate over time but are far more obvious when they are numerous
- Also, fair/pale skin tends to get pre-cancerous and cancerous lesions more often, so at least yearly skin checks are encouraged
- Sunscreen – medical grade sunscreen is best because of the risk of skin cancer and tendency to have sun freckling and age spots–every single day. Now there are lotions with sunscreen for the body and great formulations for the face that are lightweight and/or tinted for a more elegant cosmetic application. SPF 30 or above
- Retinoids. They are tried a true anti-aging creams in skincare. They also help with increasing cell turnover to promote healthier skin. Retinols are the over-the-counter strength, but retinoids are prescription strength and preferable
- Anti-oxidants not only help cosmetically, but also help defend the skin against oxidative damage from the sun and environment. Vitamin C blends are the most common, and Dr. Steele Johnson loves Steele Dermatology VitaCE Serum daily.
- Lasers. Pale skin is the perfect skin type for laser treatments! From laser hair removal to skin tightening to IPL/photofacials, pale skin will respond beautifully. We can very safely and effectively treat a variety of conditions with lasers in paler skin types
- Microneedling is always a great choice for anyone who wants to improve skin texture in any way
- Chemical Peels are a great alternative to lasers for clearing up sun spots, treating melasma or helping to clear up acne. Big mega peels can be done for dramatic results, or a series of milder peels for maintenance
- Dysport/Botox and Fillers like Restylane and Juvederm for fine lines, wrinkles, sagging skin or other signs of aging. Injectables can do a lot to give one a more youthful and refreshed appearance. It’s ok to start early if you start to see signs of aging early. You may come in as soon as you start to see age-related shifts in your face to prevent them from becoming more severe
Finding the Best Products and Procedures for your Skin Type
There is no one size fits all approach to skincare. What is good for one person’s skin can exacerbate issues with someone else’s skin. That is why understanding your specific skin type as well as how your lifestyle choices affect your skin is important to maintaining healthy, youthful skin.
Contact Steele Dermatology today to find out what your skin type is and what the best approach would be to meet your skincare goals.