Cosmetics aren’t just about painting your face to make it look more attractive, you know. A large proportion of your cosmetic routine should be devoted to caring for your skin; ensuring that it’s in good condition should mean that you have less work to do when it comes to applying your makeup. Take a look at our tips on caring for the most common skin types and you’ll be able to look your best at all times, regardless of what kind of skin you have.
The term ‘normal skin’ is perhaps a tad misleading, as it implies that a person has flawless skin that requires very little maintenance to keep it looking good. In reality, normal skin is a combination of the other most common skin types, so if you have normal skin you’d expect to find a little natural oil on your nose or forehead and a little dryness around your eyes, but not enough of either to cause you much of a problem. If you do have normal skin, you should find that caring for it is relatively easy, just as long as you don’t buy products formulated for those with naturally dry or oily skin. Caring for normal skin is a case of prevention; use moisturisers with SPF agents in them to help prevent your skin from getting damaged by the sun, alcohol-free toners to plump up your skin, and consider using anti-ageing products, too; even if you’re young, preventing wrinkles is something you should work on from an early age.
Dry skin is unsurprisingly a little harder to care for than ‘normal’ skin, because you have a specific problem to deal with rather than just potential ones to prevent. Dry skin is characterised by patches of roughness; these can be red and unsightly, itchy or irritating to sufferers, and are most frequently experienced in the winter months. While most people’s instincts when faced with skin problems are to wash the affected area with hot water, this could actually just exacerbate the problem of dry skin. If you have dry skin, it means that your skin’s natural oils aren’t moisturising your face effectively enough, and hot water can further break down those natural lipids and just make things worse. Wash your face less frequently, and use a gentle face-wash instead of soap or shower gel. You should always moisturise thoroughly – use a thicker emollient or oil-based moisturiser and apply it to damp rather than bone-dry skin.
While oily skin is common among teenagers, that doesn’t mean it’s the exclusive reserve of the pubescent. Anyone can suffer from naturally oily, spot-prone skin; it’s what you do about it that counts. If you have naturally oily skin, certain kinds of cosmetics can actually work to exacerbate the problem, so you have to be careful what you wear. Anything with oily or emollient ingredients – Vaseline, emollient moisturisers etc – can all have an adverse effect on oily skin, as can products that make your skin ‘tingle’, like mint or citrus-based cleansers. Using a lot of foundation to cover up blemishes on your face can make things worse, too; the product can stimulate your skin into producing more oil, resulting in more spots and imperfections. Instead, use thin, gentle, water-based cleansers and moisturisers to ensure that your skin remains oil and spot free.
Sensitive skin is perhaps the hardest of all skin types to look after, as you’ll find that you suffer from problems symptomatic of dry skin – such as flakiness, redness and irritation – as well as oily skin complaints like spots and blemishes. Not to worry though, if you do have sensitive skin you can still work to ensure that things don’t get out of hand and you remain comfortable and confident all year long. Sensitive skin can be controlled to a certain extent through diet; if you eat more fresh fruit and vegetables and drink plenty of water you could find that your skin complaints begin to be less of a problem. Of course, using the right cosmetics can only help, too. Unscented products are undoubtedly the way forwards for women with sensitive skin; anything perfumed, even slightly, runs the risk of irritating your epidermis. Always remember to test a new product on a small patch of skin before you go slathering it on, too; try somewhere like the back of your hand initially, and then a small patch of skin just below your ear to be certain. Choose products specifically formulated for sensitive skin, such as Nivea’s Pure & Natural Foundation, or Decleor’s Cleansing Water for sensitive skin.
For more tips on skincare for different skin types, take a look at our thorough guide to moisturising. You’ll thank us later!