Normal Skin and How to Care For It


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Women often ask us how they can tell if they have normal skin because they are confused as to what having normal skin means. It's easy to understand their confusion because normal skin as it is often defined doesn't really exist.

Many people, when they hear "normal" skin type, envision someone with flawless, perfect skin. From that perspective, it would mean your skin is neither too oily nor too dry and is naturally moisturized with minimal to no signs of dryness, has a smooth surface and no blemishes, blackheads, or visible pores, and has an even skin tone with no wrinkles or visible sun damage.

The problem with this description of normal skin is that it just doesn't exist in the real world. It is the rare adult who can claim to have that kind of skin. To accurately identify normal skin you need to understand what truly normal skin is. Once you understand what normal means, The Paula's Choice Research Team can help you find the best products possible to take care of your specific skin-care needs.
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Understanding Normal Skin

Normal skin ends up being a matter of degree and expectations. For example, just because you see some shine on your nose doesn't mean you have oily skin, and a little dry skin around your eyes doesn't mean you have dry skin, especially if you have normal skin on the rest of your face. Here are some ways to determine if you have normal skin:

  • You wouldn't describe your skin as being oily or dry; it just looks and feels equal (normal) in all areas.
  • The little bit of oiliness or dryness you do experience is rare and easily resolved.
  • Products designed for oily skin are too drying for you, but products designed for dry skin are too rich or greasy.
  • Your pores are not invisible, but they're not enlarged or obvious, either.
  • You rarely or never feel you need to blot your skin to absorb oil or touch up your powder during the day.
  • Your skin doesn't feel tight or dry at the end of the day, nor is it obviously shiny.
  • You have minimal to no lines or wrinkles.
  • Your skin tone is fairly even, with no brown or red spots.
  • Many people tell you they wish they had skin like yours!

If you can identify with most of the statements above regarding your skin, chances are good that you're dealing with normal skin. However, even if you can relate to all of those points, you still have skin-care needs because as time goes on everyone accumulates sun damage and wrinkles, has occasional breakouts, develops brown spots, sees some dryness (especially around the eyes), and so on.

What's Normal for Normal Skin?

Because truly normal skin (meaning perfect skin) is the exception rather than the rule, what most women are really dealing with is "normal skin plus"; that is, normal skin mixed with other issues that are unrelated to skin type, such as wrinkles, sun damage, and brown spots. Essentially, your skin may feel normal, but it isn't perfect, and over time it is changing. These distinctions are why so many women are confused about their skin type.

So, while normal skin is not perfect, it also isn't oily or dry or blemish prone, although it can be from time to time. It is also why you often see us refer to skin as being normal to oily, normal to combination, normal to dry, or normal with sun damage or wrinkles. In truth, many of us have what is considered a "normal plus" skin type; from a simplistic perspective, our skin is normal, but has ongoing or occasional issues that keep it from being "perfectly normal."

Another factor you must consider when thinking about skin type is how the skin-care products you use can negatively affect or even create your skin type, causing problems you otherwise would not have. Click here for more information. Once you know that your skin type isn't being caused by using the wrong products, the next step is to understand the difference between skin type and skin concern.

Don't Confuse Skin Type with Skin Concern

Normal skin, in essence, is all about the problems you don't see on your face, so if you don't see any problems you probably do have normal skin. But even if you have normal skin that doesn't mean you don't (or won't) have skin-care concerns that you need to address with a great daily skin-care routine.

Even those with flawless skin must pay attention to preventing the problems that could occur if they aren't diligent. If you use the wrong skin-care products or if your hormone levels change, you can start having oily, combination, or dry skin and even breakouts or blackheads. Sun damage also is an ongoing issue, from the day we are born and our skin first sees daylight, so it is critical to be concerned about that for the long-term health and youthfulness of our skin.

The best approach is to treat your normal skin type with products that don't cause dryness or make skin feel greasy, don't damage collagen, and don't harm the skin's protective outer layers. Most important, you must give your skin the vital, healthy ingredients it needs to stay young, remain smooth and even, and prevent clogged pores. Think about it like your diet: Even if you have a normal weight for your height, you still need to eat a nutritious and balanced diet to keep your body young and healthy.

Now, knowing what "normal" means, you can customize your skin-care routine to address your normal skin type and your skin-care concerns by selecting appropriate products with the textures that work best for you.

Caring for Normal Skin

If you have truly normal skin, you don't need to do as much to maintain it as those who have other skin types. After all, those with dry and oily skin are looking for products to make their skin look and act more normal—and here you are already blessed with such skin! But, don't take that to mean you can skip key steps or expect that your skin will always remain normal. Skin type does not remain static; it will change based on several factors, including age, climate, hormonal shifts, stress, and, most significantly, how much sun damage you accumulate over the years.

The best possible way to care for normal skin is to make sure you're using gentle, effective products whose textures work with your skin type and preferences—and whose formulas are designed to keep your skin acting normally while defending against irritation and factors that lead to signs of aging. Below are some common scenarios for those with normal skin, along with some products that work to address normal skin type plus common skin concerns.

Now that you have a good idea of what normal skin really is, how to identify it, and—most important—how to care for it, you'll be able to make the best decisions about which products to buy to keep your skin in top shape. With the products recommended above or those recommended on Beautypedia and, you'll be giving your skin what it needs to look and act younger, whether it's normal or not.

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and helping you solve your skincare frustrations with research-supported expert advice—so you'll have the facts you need to take the best possible care of your skin.

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