There are billions of people on Earth. Billions of unique people with different lives, needs, and histories. So why is it that there are only five skin types: combination, oily, sensitive, dry, and normal? Supposedly, this should make it easy to identify your skin type and shop accordingly; but Gabi Bouvier discusses how this myth could be a barrier to actually cultivating a routine that works for you.
What type of skin do you have? Combination? Oily? Sensitive? Dry? What is your skincare routine? Should you use toner? How about facial oils? How many bottles do you have lining your vanity trying to keep your skin in tip-top shape?
Hundreds of companies would like you to think they have the answer to most of those questions, so that its their many bottles that end up on your shelf. Whole skincare lines are developed for combination, oily, sensitive, dry, or normal skin. It should be easy: identify your skin type, and follow the steps. If you have oily skin, use mattifying cream. If you have really dry skin, facial oils might be best for you. Maybe take a test to identify your skincare needs, and voila! you have a ‘customized’ routine created by people who have never met you, nor lived with your skin their entire lives.
Truthfully, this myth of five skin types is a way for the skincare industry to create more products for consumers to buy, under the guise of providing products for everyone. It is ridiculous to think that every person falls into one of these types, and that everyone within a category can be treated the same. That is not to say you should disregard what is on offer, just don’t fall into the trap of thinking anyone knows your skin better than you do. Experiment around with different products and different routines to find what is best for you.
I have been experimenting with my skincare routine for over two years now, and every time I think I have it down, I find something else that works better for me. If I had to label my skin, I would probably go with combination; I have oily and dry patches, and am very acne-prone. For years, I tried to follow one brand or anothers directions, but I was never really satisfied. So finally, I started to try things that made sense to me, rather than what companies seemed to think I should be doing. I found that despite the fact that face oils are not generally recommended for combination skin, it was the only thing that worked. I found that using only a toner, and no moisturizer, in the evening, kept me from breaking out. I customized my skincare routine because I am the only expert I need.