Myth Busting: Why Skin Types Are Basically BS
For decades, skincare brands have been pigeon-holing people into organised skin types like normal, oily, combination, and dry. Yet it’s nothing more than a marketing tactic to help brands upsize and steer you towards skincare that you’ve been told will suit your skin best. As a board-certified dermatologist with over 20 years of experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that skin type, as the cosmetic industry defines it, doesn’t truly exist.
And there are two key reasons for that:
1. All Skins Are Fundamentally The Same
In order to achieve a healthy, ageless complexion, our skin’s needs are fundamentally the same, regardless of gender, ethnicity or what you’ve been told is your skin type. Other than some skins being a little oilier or drier, your environment is what plays the more important role in how your skin looks, feels, and performs. In winter when it’s cold with low humidity, your skin will most likely become dry and need a more concentrated moisturiser with more occlusive ingredients that will help prevent moisture loss. If you’re on holiday and it’s really humid, your skin becomes oilier and shinier so you’ll need a much lighter moisturiser.
Your skin’s needs – make that, everyone’s skin’s needs – are simple: gentle cleansing (without stripping the skin), regular exfoliation to stimulate cellular turnover, daily hydration and high SPF sun protection. It really is that simple.
2. Most Skins Have More Than One Concern
I see thousands of patients a year in my dermatology practice and most, if not all, of those patients are dealing with two to three concerns at the same time. [Those concerns are:
dehydration, acne and breakouts, pigmentation, sun damage, ageing, and sensitivity/ rosacea.] But if you invest in specific products that target just one problem, they can easily exacerbate other issues at the same time.
Take traditional acne-targeted products that dry out the skin only to increase your dehydration and sensitivity. Ironically, we know that drying out the skin does not serve acne well at all (in fact, it makes it worse) and that to effectively treat acne, your skin needs to be calm and hydrated.
Fundamentally, the best skin care is skin care that’s simple, effective and can work to address all of your key skin concerns, helping you to achieve high-functioning, healthy, glowing skin.