Last week I wrote all about moisturizers – purpose, types, and ingredients. I briefly touched upon which moisturizer can be used with certain skin types but I wanted to explore this more in depth. To review, there are 6 skin types: normal, oily, dry, combination, acneic and sensitive (I stole these definitions straight from my previous post – “What I’ve learned in Esthetician School“)
Normal: even amount of sebum and moisture, small-medium sized pores, and occasional breakouts
Oily: excess sebum, large pores, shiny appearance, and frequent breakouts
Dry: lack of sebum, small pores, tight feeling skin
Acneic: small-large pores, presences of papules, pustules, cysts, nodules, hereditary and/or hormonal acne (googling all of these forms is a great way to freak people out in a coffee shop)
Combination: oily T-zone (the center of your forehead down towards your nose and under your eyes) with larger pores, dry skin on cheeks with small pores
Sensitive: irritated, redness, and flushed appearance
Normal + Anything: Those with normal skin are lucky enough to have the freedom of using pretty much any moisturizer. In order to keep the skin balanced, using a lotion (o/w emulsion) in the spring & summer time and a heavier cream (w/o emulsion) in the fall & winter time is a good guideline to follow.
Oily + Lotions (o/w emulsions): typically those with oily skin also suffer from breakouts and acne so using a lightweight moisturizer with minimal oil formulated in it will be best. Using moisturizer is a bit of a controversy for those with oily skin as many people believe that the oil present on the skin is enough. This oil present is sebum, which is composed of lipids, fatty acids, squalene, waxes, esters, etc. While some of these components, like squalene, fatty acids and waxes can provide hydration to the skin, using additional hydrating ingredients like humectants are more effective.
Oily + Gel: gel moisturizer is another great option for those with oily skin as it provides a great dose of hydration with an extra lightweight and spreadable texture.
Dry + Cream (w/o emulsion): more review time! Dry skin is different than dehydrated skin. Dry skin is lacking lipids (oils) and dehydrated skin is lacking water. Dry skin should use heavier moisturizers that has a good combination of occlusives, humectants, and emollients. Creams with squalane will be great for dry skin as squalane is extremely similar to the natural oil squalene found in our skin’s sebum.
Dehydrated + Humectant-Based Lotion/Mask: as I mentioned above, dehydrated skin is lacking water so using humectant ingredients will draw water into the skin and trap it there. Using a humectant mask is a great way to add hydration to your skin throughout the week.
Acneic + Lotion (o/w emulsion): similar to the recommendations for oily skin above, using a lightweight or oil-free lotion is ideal for acneic skin. Moisturizer is not when acne fighting ingredients should be included, it needs to be hydrating enough to keep the skin balanced since most acne fighting ingredients (like salicylic acid & retinol) can be very drying.
Combination + Gel: combination skin is pretty tricky to work with, it can either be normal & oily or dry & oily. Using a gel moisturizer is a great option for combination skin. The water-based moisturizer should have occlusives, humectants, and emollients so that water can be drawn into the skin and trap it in. A cream is also a great option for combination skin at night so it can deeply hydrate the skin.
Sensitive + Almost-Anything: sensitive skin can also be oily, dry, acneic, etc. so be conscious about how your skin is when choosing a moisturizer (based on my prescriptions above). The most important thing for sensitive skin is to avoid moisturizers with fragrance or extracts. Fragrance and extracts can be very reactive with skin, especially sensitive skin.