Guide
8
MIN READ

What's My Skin Type?

“What’s my skin type?” is an outdated question. Here’s how skin can be done better, and how to find skin care products that work for your skin.

Dylan Mustapich

Esthetician at Atolla

Dylan Mustapich

Dylan Mustapich is a NYC-based lead esthetician who has been featured in New Beauty, Teen Vogue, Wired, and The Huffington Post. With a lifelong love of all things skin, he is incredibly knowledgeable about skincare ingredients, routine refinement, and personalized skincare, and follows emerging technology closely.

Summary

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“What’s my skin type?” is an outdated question. Here’s how skin can be done better, and how to find skin care products that work for your skin.

How many times have you asked yourself “what’s my skin type?” If you’re like us, as soon as you became aware of the need for skin care products, this question suddenly became incredibly important to you. 

We’ve all heard of the concept that everyone falls into one of four main skin types: the normal skin type, dry skin type, oily skin types, or combination skin type (sometimes sensitive skin or acne-prone skin appears on that list, too). 

Unfortunately, all these “four skin types” really do is make it easier for manufacturers to market and sell products as it sticks everyone in the world into neat little categories that in reality, most of us don’t really fit in. What works for everyone, actually works for no one

At Atolla, we’ve found an improved method: customizing skin care formulas for anyone’s unique skin. We don’t believe that you have to fit neatly into a category in order to achieve healthy skin. 

Here’s why we think “what’s my skin type?” is no longer a relevant question in skincare, and why everyone deserves products that work for their unique skin attributes, not their skin type.

What the Standard “Skin Type” System Leaves Out

Don’t get us wrong — some categorization is helpful, but we tend to just lump everything into categories without really thinking of whether or not these categories even really apply. 

Health, including skin health, is individual. There’s no way your skin will crave the exact same formula as your friend who spends every weekend in the sun playing beach volleyball, or as your great aunt Linda whose skin seems sensitive to every ingredient on the planet. 

The real truth is, when you ask what your skin type is, you’re falling into the trap of needing to put yourself into a category, even when you don’t really need to. 

When’s the last time that you went to the store, looking for a new skin care product, and felt overwhelmed with all the choices for anti-aging this and excess oil that because you just didn’t want to get it wrong? That confusion is part of what the standard skin typing system causes, and why we want to change it.

When you use basic skin typing, you’re told that your skin needs to fit into one of these categories:

  • Normal
  • Dry
  • Oily
  • Combination

While on the surface, that appears to leave some wiggle room with the “combination” label, it also leaves out a whole lot of the nuance that makes us, and our skin, who and what we are. 

But how can we change something that’s been the assumed standard for so long?

How Can Skin Care Be Done in a More Skin-Supportive Way?

When we designed our skin care products, we wanted to acknowledge and honor all of that nuance. Our brand was founded by people who know and love skincare, and we wanted to take that knowledge and use it to help everyone feel as confident in their skin as they deserve to. 

Instead of having to stand at the store and spend money on trial and error until you luck into a product that works for you, we created a skincare system that does the heavy lifting for you.

Skin Care Should Start With an Actual Assessment, Not a Guess

Why waste your time and money on a guessing game, when you can get an assessment that actually helps you find the best products to support your skin? 

Our process starts with you: an in depth online skin assessment to identify your individual needs. This is more than just having you ask yourself what your skin type is. 

We want to get an idea of not only what your skin looks like, but also:

  • What your skin concerns and goals are — are you trying to manage breakouts or nourish some dryness? 
  • Your lifestyle — what does your current environment look like? How much water do you drink? How much sleep do you get? Does stress impact your skin?
  • Your skin’s history — is there some sun damage or a damaged skin barrier that needs some TLC?
  • Any allergies or medications you may be using — formulas will be built to support your existing routine
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding – certain ingredients should not be included

All of this together helps us to form a more complete picture of your skin and what your specific needs may be. We also want to know how you feel about your skin, because that’s just as important. 

Instead of just four skin types, there are likely more than a million different skin attributes out there from an oily T-zone to fine lines on the forehead to a constant feeling of tightness to just plain irritation everywhere all the time. 

There’s so much more than just having some oily areas and some dry areas, or just having dehydrated skin, and the skin assessment helps us to really narrow down where your unique skin falls.

You Should Have A Choice

Just how everyone’s skin is different, everyone’s goals and needs are, too. 

If you’re new to skin care, you may not want to start with a routine that has more steps than you’re ready for — a gentle cleanser and serum may be one product more than what you’re already used to. 

Others may want to jump right in and are happy to spend time every evening using multiple products from makeup removers to gel to eye cream. 

There’s no right or wrong answer here, which is why we have multiple plans to fit anyone’s lifestyle. 

Let’s first look at The Ritual.

The Ritual is skincare, simplified. It includes a custom cleanser, serum, and moisturizer, all  custom created for your specific needs. The ingredients will vary depending on your skin assessment and goals, and include dermatologist curated ingredient options like salicylic acid, niacinamide, and retinol, among many others. 

Each ingredient is vegan, cruelty-free, with no added fragrances to be as allergy friendly as possible. You’ll use those products twice daily, and can include any other products you want after consulting with your skincare manager or one of our in-house estheticians so you have all the tools you need to get personalized results and support. 

As your skin progresses, you can change your formula and choose from other plans that fit your needs and goals, or stick with what you know is working as it adapts. But how can we know that? We have a plan for that, too.

Your Progress Is Just as Important as Your Goals

If you’re buying your own skin care products, you know it’s often a guessing game on what — if any — results you will get. This can lead to a lot of wasted money or, even worse, continuing to use a face wash or night cream that isn’t working for you just because you already spent the money on it. 

We wanted to make sure that you continue to feel supported throughout your entire skin care journey, not just after you’ve bought the products. It’s one of our most important goals. That’s why, before it’s time to order again, you’ll be able to perform an at-home skin test to reassess how you feel about your skin’s progress. 

Your skin test comes with your products, and you’ll use it first thing in the morning, before starting your daily skin care routine. It includes three different evaluations: an oil test, a moisture test, and a pH test. Each is done with the included strip set, which is pressed to your skin. Don’t worry, we’re included instructions, and there are videos too in case you’re a visual learner. You’ll log the results and we’ll also check to see if you’ve had any lifestyle updates. 

With all of this info and if it’s warranted, you’ll be given a new, adapted formula to help you continue to reach your goals. 

The Atolla Feedback Loop

If you weren’t already aware, our skin cells turn over roughly every 28-40 days, depending on age. That’s a chance to create new, healthy skin that you feel confident in. That also means that your skin can be impacted differently in the summer than it is in the winter, spring, or fall. Hormones and other lifestyle elements will also affect this. It’s nearly impossible for anyone who is not a trained professional to know exactly what your skin needs every time things change. 

But who wants to keep buying different products every time their skin changes, starting that whole guessing game and trial and error all over again? 

That’s part of why we designed our products the way we did. For one, it’s far better to get the amount of product that you need, when you need it – you are more likely to finish the full bottle. It’s good for your skin and good for the planet, and combats all of that trial and error waste that occurs from the traditional skincare carousel. 

Each month you will retake the initial assessment, but also measure your skin with our at home Skin Test. Through this, we will be able to evaluate if your current formulas are still the right ones, or if we should adjust to changing needs to support your overall skin health. Our feedback loop also guarantees that you’re getting real time support for your skin in the ways that you need it, and it’s not just a one-size-fits-all option that really might only work for a handful of people. 

Our focus is on creating healthy skin that you can feel confident in, no matter what changes are happening. Adapting your formulas according to your needs and the way your skin is responding to your environment is key.

To Wrap Up

It’s time to move on from simply asking about your skin type and step forward into a better, more customized way of approaching your skin health. After all, what “works for everyone” usually doesn’t really “work” for anyone at the end of the day. 

You deserve skin care products meant specifically for you and your unique skin needs and goals instead of having to go through trial and error to find the right products.

Atolla is here for you, every step of the way, so that you can live your best skin without having to figure it all out yourself. 

Ready to get started? Take Atolla’s custom skin quiz here. 


Sources:

Studies on the effect of salicylic acid on normal skin | British Journal of Dermatology

Niacinamide: A B vitamin that improves aging facial skin appearance | PubMed

Improvement of naturally aged skin with vitamin A (retinol) | PubMed

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