skin type ingredientsSource: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images

If there’s one thing you NEED to know and more importantly understand, it’s your skin type – it’s the building block to healthy skin. Once you get to know your skin type, you can start treating it with formulas and ingredients that complement your skin, rather than aggravate it. Be warned, what will work skincare miracles for dry skin could trigger an angry breakout for others.

To help you guys take your regime from zero to hero, we’ve outlined the multiple different skin types together with the deets on the key ingredients that will work best for you. Find a way to work these ingredients into your daily regime and your skin will thank you.

Understanding Your Skin Type

Knowing your skin type can make a big difference to your routine, but it’s also helpful to be aware that there are many variables that can impact your skin type and that it’s unlikely to remain the same throughout your life. It’s also important to note that you might have slightly different skin issues on certain areas of your face, for example, you might have an oily T-zone and dry cheeks. In which case, when applying targeted serums for oily skin, you can focus these on the T-zone, but you can still apply your hydrating moisturizer all over.

Your skin type may also change throughout the year; most typically it’ll be drier in winter due to the cooler temperatures and lack of moisture in the air. Hormonal fluctuations can also significantly impact your skin (find out why here), both within your monthly cycle and throughout various points of your life (puberty, adulthood, pregnancy). Therefore, use this guide as a rough outline and refer back to it when you notice a change of pattern. There are also many ingredients mentioned that will work for multiple skin types, so keep that in mind.

Dry Skin 

Dry skin is caused by a lack of moisture in the corneous layer, which causes your skin to lose its natural elasticity. This can make it feel rough or tight and look dull, especially around the eye area. However, due to the lack of sebum, your pores are less visible (YAY). To counteract the lack of moisture, you need to amp up the hydration and provide plenty of rich, nourishing ingredients. Here are three of our faves:

Hyaluronic Acid: This intensely moisturizing molecule smooths, plumps, and hydrates skin in seconds. It can hold 1000 times its weight in water!

Peptides: Peptides have tons of skin-enhancing benefits, from smoothing wrinkles, boosting hydration, strengthening the skin barrier function and increasing firmness.

Glycerin: Glycerin draws moisture to the upper layers of skin, preventing dryness and maintaining the skin’s protective barrier.

For more helpful tips and key ingredients, read our derm-approved routine for dry skin. 

Oily skin

Oily Skin 

Oily skin is caused by an overproduction of sebum; a natural oil our body produces to maintain soft and supple skin. As a result, your skin can look greasy (especially around midday) and your pores will appear larger as it causes the hair follicle to expand.

Zinc: Zinc is an amazing natural mineral that not only protects your skin from UV rays but also calms acne-prone skin and controls oil production.

Jojoba: This hydrating and rejuvenating oil fights eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, acne and a whole host of other skin concerns. The wax-like oil mimics your skin’s sebum and tricks your skin into thinking it has produced enough oil.

Niacinamide: A water-soluble version of vitamin B3, Niacinamide is rich in antioxidants and is amazing for oily and acne-prone skin and helps minimize wrinkles, and protects and brightens the skin.

For more deets on how to treat oily skin, check out our oily skin guide.

Normal Skin

Mature skin

If you have normal skin, it means you’re pretty much free from blemishes, flaky areas or dry skin – lucky you! Your skin will be smooth and is more likely to look radiant due to the well-balanced levels of sebum, moisture, and keratin. Here are some great ingredients to try:

Retinol: Not only does retinol boost collagen production, but it’s also one of the most effective ways of getting rid of hyperpigmentation, dark spots, and acne scars. Retinol is a key anti-aging ingredient and it can also help to tighten your pores.

AHAs: AHAs gently exfoliate the skin, dissolving the top layer of dead cells to reveal a smoother surface underneath.

Polyglutamic Acid: This amino acid polymer is four times more moisturizing than hyaluronic acid and is a great serum to add to your routine.

Acne-Prone Skin 

If you have acne, your skin is likely oily with blackheads and whiteheads as well as pustules, pimples, and papules in concentrated patches. These are caused by the blockage of hair follicles due to the overproduction of sebum and dead skin cells. For our full breakdown on how to calm and soothe acne, read this. Some ingredients we love

Salicylic acid: A blemish-busting, spot-stifling superstar ingredient, this powerful BHA is scientifically proven to prevent and treat acne.

Kaolin: A natural clay that combats oiliness, battles breakouts and cleanses pores, kaolin boats purifying and gentle exfoliating properties to detox pores and reduce inflammation. We recommend using a kaolin clay mask once a week to detox the skin.

Turmeric: An anti-inflammatory powerhouse and natural brightener, this natural ingredient is great for dark circles, acne, and more.

Sensitive Skin

sensitive skin

If you have sensitive skin, it can flare-up at any time due to a whole variety of changes, like hormones, a new product or even external factors like pollution or sun damage. The nerve endings are so sensitive because your skin’s natural barrier is weak, which makes it easily affected by external factors. This is why you need to be extremely careful, so make sure you read our dos and don’ts for sensitive skin and include these gentle ingredients:

CBD: CBD has both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties that will naturally aid in reducing the appearance of fine lines and help improve irritating skin conditions including acne, rosacea, eczema, and psoriasis.

Yeast: Yeast is a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from environmental aggressors while simultaneously soothing the skin.

Oats: Oats are particularly beneficial for those with dry, sensitive and irritated skin as they help to neutralize the pH of your skin for a soothing effect. You can find oats incorporated in serums or you can make a DIY oatmeal mask.

Mature Skin 

Aging skin will often be dry and look translucent due to a thinning epidermis (the outer layer of the skin). The skin also has a tendency to sag, especially around the eyes and neck due to a loss of elasticity and moisture, and a decline of collagen. Here are some key ingredients to work into your daily routine.

Q10: A super-smart, vitamin-like enzyme (naturally occurring in your body) that energizes cell activity and has ahhhmazing anti-aging effects.

Retinol: Most derms consider it anti-aging magic thanks to its ability to reduce and even reverse fine lines and wrinkles. A derivative of vitamin A, it boosts cell turnover and is known to minimize pores, even out skin tone and reduce hyperpigmentation, dark spots and acne scars.

Ferulic Acid: A natural antioxidant, ferulic acid packs a powerful punch to reduce the aging effects of damaging free radicals.

For more skincare tips, check out five skincare tips everyone should know.