Picky Guide: Ingredients For Your Skin Type

What is my skin type?

Just like you, a lot of people are confused about how to determine their skin type. Am I oily or dry? Does it mean that I have sensitive skin if I break out easily?

If you’re having difficulty trying to analyze your skin type, download the Picky app and try our Skin Type Analyzer quiz! The quiz accurately breaks down your symptoms to decide on your skin type through a series of questions. 

Your skin type is scientifically decided based on several factors. These include factors such as the amount of sebum your skin produces, and how reactive your skin is.

How do I determine my skin type?

  • Amount of sebum your skin produces: Dry vs Oily

There is a genetic component that determines the amount of sebum your skin naturally produces. Some people have skin that are on the oilier spectrum. Others have skin that produce less oil, making their skin more prone to dryness.

  • How reactive your skin is: Sensitive vs Resilient

Some people are born with reactive skin. This means that their skin is sensitive, and reacts to almost any element that has a potential of irritation. If you have had eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis since a very young age, your skin is most likely to belong to the sensitive category.

Conversely, people with less reactive skin are said to have resilient skin. These people may not react negatively to elements that may irritate sensitive skin types. 

Sensitive skin are therefore characterized by an impaired skin barrier function, making them more prone to irritation. To put it simply, the skin barrier is the outermost layer of the your skin. It functions to protect your skin from irritating, harsh external elements. At the same time, it also holds in moisture, preventing your skin from drying out.

What skincare ingredients should I avoid or look out for?

We’ll start with some basic skincare ingredient recommendations, based on how reactive your skin is. 

Resilient skin

If you have resilient skin, good news! You probably have a pretty strong skin barrier, which means that you can be more adventurous with your skincare routine and ingredients.

Sensitive skin

Sensitive skin types, however, may have to pay special attention to the products they use. If you have sensitive skin, there are several ingredients that you should try to avoid. Common ingredients to avoid for sensitive skin include:

  • Fragrances 
  • Essential oils 
  • Drying Alcohols

These ingredients are known to cause irritation and elicit negative skin reaction for people with impaired skin barriers.

Here’s where it starts to get exciting: there are so many ingredients that target dry and oily skin, we can’t even keep count! Here are some of our personal favorites:

Dry skin

  • Ceramide 

Did you know that ceramide is one of the major components of our skin barrier? People with dry skin usually have skin that is lacking in the natural production of ceramide!

Therefore, skincare infused with ceramides can fill gaps in the porous skin barrier and to better retain moisture. Ceramides can be used efficiently on both sensitive and resilient skin types.

If you have Dry/Sensitive skin, look out for the following ingredients:

  • Hyaluronic acid 

This ingredient has an amazing ability to retain moisture to keep your skin hydrated. Like we’ve explained above, dry skin does not produce enough sebum. Under these conditions, your skin will be more prone to dehydration if you fail to moisturize your skin properly!

This is exactly why you would want to incorporate hyaluronic acid into your routine. Hyaluronic acid is one of the most powerful moisturizing ingredients in skincare — it can retain water up to a hundred times of its own weight! Incredibly gentle even on sensitive skin.

  • Niacinamide 

We’re not one to exaggerate, but there seems to be really nothing that niacinamide can’t do. If you have sensitive skin, niacinamide can help to soothe your skin thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. On top of that, it can also help to strengthen your skin barrier to better retain moisture! A real keeper. 

If you have Dry/Resilient skin, look out for the following ingredients:

  • Vitamin C 

If you have dry skin, chances are that you’re also prone to dull and lackluster skin. When your skin lacks moisture, it loses its natural ability to remove dead skin cells. This causes your skin to lose its natural luminosity! Vitamin C can help to restore your skin cell turnover rate and bring back that glow that your skin is missing. 

  • AHAs (alpha hydroxy acids)

Similarly, AHA works as an exfoliator to remove dead skin cells. This will keep dull and flakey skin at bay. Use AHAs in the morning to start on a fresh (skin) canvas and to avoid makeup caking due to dry skin in the middle of the day.

Oily skin

  • Salicylic acid 

Where do we start? Salicylic acid is a dream come true for oily skin types. Not only does it remove dead skin cells, it also has antibacterial properties and controls sebum production. This is important, because oily skin is more prone to acne formation! Stay acne-free and matte-tastic with this hero ingredient. Also check out our salicylic acid product recommendations here.

  • Niacinamide 

Here we go again. Niacinimade’s anti-inflammatory properties soothes live acne on pimple-prone oily skin types, and also prevents and fades hyperpigmentation. Over time, it can also control sebum production. Try it — you’ll find that your skin starts to produce less oil than it used to!

If you have Oily/Sensitive skin, look out for the following ingredients:

  • Panthenol

Honestly, who doesn’t love panthenol? In the world of hydrating and soothing ingredients, panthenol, also called vitamin B5, is definitely on the top of the list. They are great humectants that also has a soothing effect on angry, irritated skin.

If you have Oily/Resilient skin, look out for the following ingredients:

  • AHA (Alpha Hydroxy Acids)

Lactic acid, glycolic acid, and mandelic acid are part of the AHA group that helps to remove the dead skin cells. This will help to prevent the formation of comedones, or clogged pores, on your skin. Comedone formation is common in oily skin types where there tends to be overproduction of sebum. Regular use of AHA products will prevent pores from clogging, keeping your skin clean and clear!

  • Retinoids

Have acne-prone and oily skin? Check out skincare products containing retinoids. Some favorite ingredients belonging to the retinoid group are retinol and retinaldehyde. Retinoids can help regulate skin cell turnover rate, control sebum production and treat acne. Read our retinoids guide for more information!

Takeaway:

We’ve included these ingredient recommendations in your Picky app’s Skin Type Analyzer results, but these are not the only ingredients compatible with your skin type. There is so much more that we can explore in the world of skincare!

Try exploring with the combination of the ingredients mentioned above, and have fun experimenting with different ingredient concentrations and formulation. Don’t ever feel pressured to stick to this guide, because you make your own rules for your skin!

Log into Picky now to get started. Don’t forget to share with your friends what your skin type and favorite ingredient are! Click here to go back to the Picky blog, and follow us on Instagram for more skincare science content.

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