Getting to Know the Basics

When it comes to treating our bodies, the solutions we find are often unique to each individual person. Meaning, what works for your friend may not work for you and vise versa. A big part of what makes skincare routines so unique to the individual are the variations in skin textures. Skin textures can be narrowed down to five types:

  • Normal
  • Sensitive
  • Dry
  • Oily
  • Combination

Normal is neither oily nor dry. This skin has a regular texture than doesn’t need a lot of attention. It’s still important to keep up a good skincare routine, but there’s nothing special that needs to be treated.

Also known as irritated skin, sensitive skin is exactly how it sounds. It is more prone to stimuli and can feel tight, itchy, appear red, or overall just be uncomfortable. The sensitive nature of the skin comes from having less of a protective barrier than it should. This makes it a little more difficult to find products that work for your skin. That being said, it’s not impossible to find products that work. Continue to read to find out about some gentle products that have been shown to react well with sensitive skin.

A dry skin texture can occur due to weather, low humidity, or from warm water. However, you only have dry texture if the symptoms appear even outside of these circumstances. Typically the skin will feel tight and rough. On some occasions it will look flaky as well. The skin cracks thus leaving it more vulnerable to infection.

Oily skin appears porous, humid, and bright. Excessive fat production by sebaceous glands are usually at the cause. Having a more oily texture can be determined by genetic and/or hormonal cause as well. This type of skin can see a lot of acne.

Combination skin is both oily and dry. The area that tends to be oily is the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) while the cheek tends to be normal or dry.

Just like how the acne face map showed us where to begin with what may be causing our breakouts, knowing what kind of skin we have will tell us where we can start with treating it topically. It may not give you perfect, clear skin but it will give you a step in the process of gaining something close to that. Again, sometimes the blemishes we see aren’t coming from the outside. But that is the part we can control the easiest.

There is a ton of information out there about skincare routines. Not every one looks the same either. It’s good to learn from what we see, but also good to know that there is a lot of trial and error in finding a routine that works. For that sake, I’ll share the basics and a little insight on what I have found has worked for me.

I consider my skin to be on the combination to sensitive side. While my forehead, around my nose, and above my lip tend to be oily, I would still get dry patches of skin that even moisturizer couldn’t attack completely. I also had a hard time with some products that would leave my skin irritated. I’ve found that the products I use need to be as straight forward as possible with what ingredients they use. This led me to realize a universal skincare tip that I would push on any kind of skin type:

Keep it as basic as possible!

There is no need for a ten-step skincare routine. Dare I say at most, maybe a three step? Depending on what you believe are your trouble spots, there’s really nothing else needed beyond a cleanse and moisturizer. Clean your face, keep it hydrated. Just like taking a shower. When we get into more complicated issues like acne, dark circles, age spots, wrinkles, etc., that’s when we can start adding in more steps. Still, keeping it basic is important. You don’t need multiple creams. Eventually there’s so many layers that they just top reaching your skin.

So let’s create the most basic skincare routine there is:

Step 1: Cleanse

Step 2: Moisturize

Step 3: Protect (always apply sunscreen – more on what to look for in a sunscreen in another blog)

Now stick to these three steps as you find products that work for you. It’s important to give your skin time to adjust as there is something called a “purging” period. In this period of time you are likely to have a notable breakout. After this stage is how we tell if the products are working or not. This involves trial and error, but once you find something that you like and your skin likes, then stick with it. Your skin is not something you need to shock so that you don’t end up relying on a product. You want to keep it as predictable as possible. Look for any changes in your skin good or bad. If it appears to be red or tight, this may be a sign of irritation. Remember to moisturize, though, as when we wash our face and add water to our skin, we actually tend to dry it out quicker that way.

For some ideas on what kinds of cleansers to look for, here are some suggestions based off of the different skin types (drugstore options):

Cleansers for sensitive skin

  • CeraVe Hydrating Cleanser (my personal favorite)
  • Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

Cleansers for dry skin

  • CeraVe Facial Foaming Cleanser
  • Tatcha The Rice Wash (not drugstore, but comes with high ratings and clean ingredients)

Cleansers for oily skin

  • La Roche-Posay Toleriane Purifying Foaming Cleanser
  • CeraVe Facial Foaming Cleanser (didn’t we already see this? That’s right! This cleanser is known to be very gentle and basic so it works for virtually any skin type)

Cleansers for combination skin

  • Combination skin can be treated with any of the above cleansers. Due to the nature of combination skin and how it the degree of the combination can differ, it’s more unique to the person than it is straight forward. CeraVe cleansers are great for combination skin as they are kept basic with all of the good ingredients.

When it comes to looking at moisturizers, there’s a plethora of products to use. For this reason I’ll make a suggestion on what to look for and what not to look for. DON’T use things with “fragrance” in it. When looking at the ingredient list this is usually one of the last ingredients. DO use a moisturizer with SPF in it. Why not kill two birds with one stone, right? I use CeraVe AM and PM moisturizers. The AM moisturizer has SPF in it but since I don’t really need that at night, I switch over to the PM version. It’s simple, affordable, and easy to understand. It works with all skin types just as their cleansers do so it’s a safe option.

Once you got the basics covered then we can go into addressing certain problems/upping your skincare game. For now, though, it’s important to cleanse, moisturize, and protect. If you’re not already doing that/have no interest in a skincare routine, then this is all I will push on you. Skincare doesn’t have to be elaborate so if it’s intimidating it’s more than alright to start off/keep it basic. However, if you’re interested in learning more about your skin and how to treat it further, then look out for other blogs providing more products that will help address specific problems and prevent others.


  • Melina Weil

    Going into the basics of skin care is so beneficial to talk about. I personally have a simple skin care routine because my skin is so dry! I liked your tips for cleansers and the different types of skin that anyone could have. I like how you ended your blog ended with a call to action to have people start a skin care routine to protect their skin. I have been loving your blog! Good job!

  • Xiola Schneiderman

    I really appreciate that you take the time to talk about each skin type in your blog post. I have worked in the cosmetics and beauty industry for several years for various skincare companies, so I help people create their perfect routine multiple times a day at work. The amount of people that don’t know their skin type can be alarming since just knowing this piece of information could lessen a skin concern. By understanding your skin type you can choose appropriate products to help treat the issue. I think the knowledge put into this post is great for people that may be lost with their skin concerns and skin type.

  • Jenna Weinfurt

    I really liked this post because it provided a good foundation and explanation for those who dont know much about skin care. I liked how you prvided information on each different types of skin because i wasnt quite sure what mine was and i have always had troubles finding the right skin care routine so i really appreciaed all the great tips!

  • Kaitlyn Walle

    I really liked this blog! I struggle with not only finding a skincare routine but also the occasional blemish and combination skin. I thought this post was really informative and provided a lot of information for every single skin type. I think you gave a lot of good suggestions and a lot of the products were things that I have heard recommended to me or other people before so I can tell you worked hard on researching the information you featured in this post. Good job, and I look forward to reading more!

  • Kaycee Diel

    I really enjoyed reading this post! I used to struggle with being able to tell what type of skin i had, but since learning, finding a skin care routine has been a LOT eaiser for me, reading this gave me even more insight and information that i didn’t know that can help me be more knowledgeable about my skin as well. I also loved your reccommendations as well (I’m a huge fan of CeraVe). Nice post! 🙂

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