Does Your Skin Type Change Over Time?

Learning how to take care of your skin can be a time-consuming process. It can take years of trial and error in which you have to learn why you can’t just borrow someone else’s face wash and expect the same results. At first, you assume it’s user error on your part or that you just have bad skin. Then, you educate yourself on different skin types, discovering that what you were putting on your face was designed for an entirely different kind of face. The American Academy of Dermatology breaks down skin types into five basic categories: sensitive skin, normal skin, dry skin, oily skin and combination skin. Your older brother and your roommate both have dry skin. Your skin is oily. Problem solved!

Except, suddenly, just as you settle into a routine that works, it feels like you are back at square one. Your skin always had the shine that portrays oiliness. Now, it has the dull tightness that is a dead giveaway for dryness. You just figured out your skin type, but now it’s changing?

Don’t panic. Just because your skin is riding the overreaction train, it doesn’t mean that you need to climb aboard as well. Stress can actually ramp up oil production and cause additional breakouts, which makes it even harder to figure out what is really going on. Don’t do anything rash like sweep everything from your bathroom counter into the trash. Hold on to that gel moisturizer for oily skin and take a gander at some tips on adjusting to the changing tides of skin care.

Does Your Skin Type Change Over Time?

Why It Might Temporarily Change

Is this seeming change in your skin type a temporary phase or a permanent switch? It’s possible that what you are noticing is the result of a temporary change in your environment, or an atypical fluctuation in your body itself. Sweating through a stretch of humid weather might have thrown off the natural balance of your skin. A new medication, a sudden burst of hormones or an alteration to your diet might be responsible. As hard as it might be to believe, you might return to your regular self in the next season. It’s even possible that you might be leaning into your skin care routine too hard and causing an imbalance that way. Make sure that you are following the instructions on the product you are using. A charcoal face mask offers a great solution to blackheads, for example, but you want to limit it to weekly use. You might need to do a bit of detective work and monitor any suspicious activity.

What to Do If It Is Temporary

People with combination skin are accustomed to a divide and conquer approach since their face might be split up into both dry and oily zones. So as you investigate what is going on, you might need to bring along an oil-free moisturizer for dry skin in addition to your usual oil-centric arsenal. For those slicker areas, try a gel moisturizer for oily skin.Cover all your bases because nothing throws your skin into a tailspin like dehydration.

If you work both ends of the oil/dryness spectrum with specialized tools, it makes it easier to avoid overcorrection, which means that it is easier to restore your skin to its natural balance. Don’t assume that because things settle down that your job is done. Get used to regular assessment. Continue to check in with your skin throughout the changing seasons.

Does Your Skin Type Change Over Time?

Why It Might Be a Permanent Shift

Restoring the skin’s natural balance might not be the same thing as returning your skin to the way it was before. There might be a new normal. That’s because our skin type can undergo a permanent shift as pH levels in the skin tend to increase over time. What’s more, even though some of the factors that affect skin (like medication and diet) might be external, they can become perpetual fixtures in your life. If you have changed your diet because you were diagnosed with a chronic condition, that’s a life adjustment you might have made for the long haul. And holding onto your outdated skin care routine is like keeping your radio presets and remaining on your old brunch spot’s mailing list when you move across the country. At a certain point, it’s time to update and unsubscribe.

What to Do If It Is Permanent

If, after monitoring the situation through environmental and seasonal changes, you conclude that the shift is indeed permanent, you’ve got some changes to make. The same basic structure of your old routine probably applies, but you might have to adjust your specific game plan and shift the products designed for your new skin type into a featured role instead of a complementary one. You might have to cautiously experiment with some new products, too, especially if your skin has become more sensitive than it was before. Pay closer attention to the excessive dryness of indoor heating or the kind of sunscreen you are using. If you are having a hard time listening to what your skin is saying, check in with your dermatologist since they are trained to receive the signal coming through the static of skin irritation.

It’s a bit like pickup basketball (your team is skins, naturally). You’ve got to be the crafty veteran who adjusts his strategy to account for the occasional off day or a slightly less fluid game. You’ve got to fine tune your approach to work with what you’ve got. Your body might be tinkering with the “oily” and “dry” dial settings more than usual, but it’s still your job to make sure that the final reading is “clean” and “hydrated.” 

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