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Does 'Normal Skin' Even Exist?

Does 'Normal Skin' Even Exist?

In the search to keep you skin looking and feeling healthy we are often choosing between products labeled for skin types like oily, dry, sensitive or normal. And as we know from our previous article, Is your skin trying to tell you something?, your skin’s needs can change seasonally and with other intrinsic and extrinsic factors. So with all the variability, what is normal skin?

In an article by Amanda Montell, she writes that some experts say that it is not only rare, but “normal” skin doesn’t exist at all, simply because “normal” isn’t a medical term, but instead a label invented by skincare brands. Board-certified dermatologist, Loretta Ciraldo, explains, "In my dermatology practice, I don't tell anyone they have 'normal skin,' since this is not a clinical term, but instead it's used as a guideline in the description of skincare products.” So, what is the accepted industry description of “normal” skin?

In our skin care regimens, we usually seek to create a balance of moisture and hydration, an even skin tone, and small pores, no matter what skin type we have. But those with “normal” skin, the industry considers to already have that balance naturally, and have no other apparent skin concerns or problematic skin type to address. Most people don’t have normal skin, and as esthetician, Lauri Shea, agrees in her blog, “Since getting the oil-to-water ratio balanced is the ultimate goal of all skin types, if you fall in this category where your skin naturally produces the ideal amount of oil, you simply hit the genetic jackpot.”  Since “normal skin” is not a clinical guideline, and doesn’t serve as a pragmatic way to help figure out what your skin’s needs actually are, is there a better way to figure out your skin's needs and what habits are best for your skin health?

Yes, there is. Dr. Leslie Baumann developed the Baumann Skin Typing System, which is a series of questions to determine one's skin type out 16 different options. Amanda Montell breaks it down in her article, that “The categories in this system include oily versus dry, sensitive versus resistant, pigmented versus non-pigmented, and wrinkled versus tight. Because this diagnostic is more specific, it's also more accurate, rendering a label as vague as ‘normal’ nonexistent.” Having a more detailed understanding for your skin type will help you better support your skin health and to better make adjustments when your skin’s needs change.

Related article: What's Right For Your Skin Type?