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Dear Derm: What's My True Skin Type?

Normal, dry, oily, sensitive or combination: categorising skin into types has long been the norm. But, have you been citing the right one all this time?

What's your type?

When scouring the beauty aisles for skincare, we’re all pretty clued up on what we’re looking for; perhaps you consider your skin to be dry and dehydrated, sensitive or oily and acneic.

Chances are you’ve been shopping for that type since your first ever face cream, and say it with as much confidence as you would your star sign or height. But what if you’ve got it wrong?

Irish Tatler asked Dublin-based skincare expert Ciara Darcy about how to decipher the seemingly simple yet tricky rhetoric.

"Our genes determine our skin type – dry, oily, normal and combination," she says.

"The majority of people have a combination skin type eg: oily forehead, nose, chin and dry everywhere else. Lifestyle factors such as stress levels, diet and environment will also affect your skin but they won't change your skin type.

"To work out your skin type, look out for the following characteristics:- 

  • Dry Skin: Tiny pores, a dull tone, can feel tight/flaky/rough
  • Oily Skin: Visible pores, shiny, prone to blackheads & spots
  • Normal: Small pores, soft/smooth texture, an even tone
  • Combination: a mixture of two or more of the above - the majority of people!

Looking after your skin type:

Dry Skin

- Choose balm/oil-based cleansers

- Hydrating serums rich in hyaluronic acid and Vitamin E, SPF

- Sun protection all day every day

- Weekly exfoliation is paramount

- Ideally aim to drink two litres of water a day and eat nuts, oily fish and avocados / Good fats and high water intake will lock in moisture & keep your skin healthy

Oily Skin

- Avoid oil-based products instead reach for face washes with salicylic acid (loves oil clears out pores and blackheads)

- Oil-free SPF

- Over stripping your skin with harsh products (eg micellar waters) will lead to breakouts, sensitivity and redness

- If open pores are something you want to target, then think about micro-needling. There are no products that will make open pores less visible. Microneedling is my favourite treatment to stimulate collagen & elastin production, reduce acne scarring, improve texture & tone.

Trending today: Dear Derm: Micro-Needling And Chemical Peels, Are They For Me?

Normal Skin

- Choose gentle products to cleanse, vitamin C serum to fight free radicals and SPF, even if you live in a cave.

-Regular exfoliation twice a week.

- Regular facial treatments - every 6 weeks ideally.

Combination Skin

Hormonal breakouts? Skin glowing one day and then rubbish the next? Affected a lot by lack of sleep and drinking alcohol?

I hear you! This is most of us. The bad news is that more than likely, you'll need to have a few more products on your shelf than your dry or oily skinned friend.

- Use salicylic acid (avoid completely if you are allergic to aspirin) face wash to keep breakouts at bay

- Cleanse with a hydrating cream cleanser; a hero ingredient for me in is Hinokitiol. Hinokitiol is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-melanogenic.

- Daily use of L-Ascorbic acid; the only bioavailable form of Vitamin C and a chemical-free, physical SPF.

From the age of 25 we lose 1-2% of collagen & elastin a year. Products and treatments are so advanced now that we have a lot of control over our skin health. To book a skin consultation with me please email [email protected]."

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