You’re a limited edition OG, Baby! And you can bet that your skin is as unique as you are! So, it’s no wonder that learning how to best give it love and nourishment can take patience and maybe some trial and error. But before you waste tons of time and cash procuring fancy flights of new products and sectioning out your face for at-home clinical comparisons, let’s take a beat. Better understanding your distinctive skin type and/or condition can help shed some light on exactly what your complexion needs to thrive. So, stick around as we discuss the difference between skin types and skin conditions and explore with us the enormous impact these have on your skin, how it behaves, and what it craves!
IN A NUTSHELL
Main Takeaways: Though they may feel similar, there is a difference between the terms skin type and skin condition, each offering their own set of implications for what it means to truly care for your skin.
Good to Know: When faced with a given skin condition, you could potentially benefit from more than the season’s most sought-after cream. Never discount the value of looping a professional clinician into your skincare schtick.
What Is the Difference?
Despite what you may think, there is in fact a difference between these two terms which, at a glance, admittedly feel pretty similar to one another. Their most fundamental distinction probably lies in the fact that while not everyone has a skin condition, everyone has a skin type, which is largely determined by genetics. Consequently, one’s skin type is often considered somewhat permanent, or at least semi-permanent, with a propensity to stick with you for extended periods of time (i.e., years to decades). And while things like seasonal or environmental changes may influence your skin’s behavior from time to time, those temporary nuances technically have little to no bearing on what is formally considered your skin type, which is again built into your genetic code. That in mind, you can never really force a change in your skin type, though you can tailor your skincare routine to address any associated challenges.
In stark contrast, the term skin condition refers to a specific skin problem, which may or may not be temporary. Skin conditions can be caused by a variety of different factors, including but not limited to hormonal changes, increased stress levels, frequency of sun exposure, diet, and lifestyle. And though some can be minor and easily treated, proper attendance to skin conditions often requires the guidance and assistance of a professional clinician.
Learning more about the different skin types and various skin conditions can help you learn more about your own skin and how to care for it. Let’s dive in!
Most individuals will belong to one of 5 basic skin types:
Normal skin is most easily understood as naturally balanced and healthy, and is neither too oily nor too dry. It is well adjusted, tending not to be temperamental or sensitive when it comes to the introduction of new products or environments. Normal skin has a smooth texture, an even tone, and is strong with an ability to easily tolerate routine exfoliation and powerful skincare ingredients. That being said, it doesn’t need special care or even much more than your average daily moisturizer and SPF to stay healthy.
Oily skin is caused by overactive sebaceous glands that produce excess oils deep within the skin. These oils then travel up the pore shaft to the skin’s surface often leaving behind a shiny appearance and greasy feel. Those who belong to this category tend to have enlarged pores and are prone to blackheads. Accordingly, maintaining immaculate pores is the goal for those with oily skin, as this will help prevent them from harboring the kind of dirt and bacteria that can bring about pesky blemishes. Start with the twice-daily use of a gentle cleanser and apply a detoxifying mask 1-3 times per week to draw out impurities. Finally, incorporate blotting paper and a midday toner to keep oils at bay in between cleanses. We love Fleur & Bee’s Rose and Shine, which wicks away excess oils while minimizing the appearance of large pores. Whatever you choose to use, be sure that it is as mild as it is effective; harsh products may seem like a good idea, but they can strip the skin and actually make matters worse.
Dry skin faces the opposite challenge: an underproduction of sebum. This can leave the skin feeling tight, itchy, dull, and may even cause cracking in the surface. To best care for dry skin, apply a rich and nutritive moisturizer that will both draw moisture to the skin and keep it there by reinforcing the skin’s barrier with mildly occlusive ingredients. Our Crème de la Cream will not only provide unmatched, nutrient-packed hydration, but it also brightens for a plant powered glow-up!
Sensitive skin is prone to redness and various forms of irritation, which can be static or recurrent. When irritation occurs, it can be triggered by any number of things, like a new skincare product or change in environment. As such, sensitive skin must be treated delicately. Harsh products are a definite no-no, and natural formulas are a wise choice.
Those with combination skin simply experience a combination of various skin types. For example, they may have dryness in their cheeks with excess oil in their t-zone or chin area. But caring for combination skin doesn’t need to involve a menagerie of products and a lengthy routine. Keep it simple by seeking out skincare ingredients that work to balance moisture in the skin – things like rose flower oil and safflower seed oil.
The range of clinically known skin conditions is lengthy and varied. And while a number of them occur frequently and can be easily managed, it is not advisable to attempt to do so without the assistance of a professional or trusted dermatologist.
Some of the most common skin conditions include:
Acne is not just reserved for those in their teen years. It is a super common skin condition affecting an estimated 9.4% of individuals globally; and despite popular belief, it fails to discriminate based on age range or skin type. It occurs when pores become impacted with sebum and dead skin cells, plugging the pores, and causing clusters of pimples known as breakouts.
Contrary to popular belief, dehydrated skin is not just a fancy term for dry skin. It can affect people of any skin type and is due to lack of water in the skin. And though it may sound simple, dehydrated skin can be serious and lead to other undesirable skin conditions if left unaddressed.
Rosacea can masquerade as a number of other things including acne and sensitive skin, but it is its own distinctive skin condition characterized by sustained inflammation, redness, and flushing. The cause is unknown but if left unattended, it can worsen over time.
Decoding the enigma that is our skin isn’t always a walk in the park. But don’t find yourself in the weeds! Identifying your skin type and any potential skin conditions can get you back on the path to the healthy glowing skin you deserve!