“Normal skin is constantly clear, even, balanced, and flawless” — does that sound right?
If you’re someone with supposedly “normal” skin (find out how to determine your skin type here if you’re not 100% sure), you’d know just how temperamental your skin can be.
It isn’t perfect. You still struggle with the occasional blemish and dry or oily patch.
So, one can’t help but wonder … what is the definition of “normal” skin? Also, a question likely closer to your heart: how can you put together an effective skincare routine that’ll leave you with a fresh-off-vacay glow daily? Find answers below.
What is “normal” skin?
Notice the quotation marks? Well, can we be honest?
We (i.e., all of us at Terrakai Skin — hello!) don’t like the term “normal” because it implies that any other skin type is "abnormal” when that couldn't be further from the truth.
For example, research suggests that anywhere between 60% to 70% of women worldwide have sensitive skin (1).
But what’s a suitable alternative for “normal”?
Answer: well-balanced. In the strictest sense, what people think of as “normal” skin is in balance in terms of oil and water, which means it is neither too dry nor oily as a result. It’s also typically described as “low-maintenance”.
That said, it’s important to note the distinction between a skin type (primarily determined by genetics) and a skin condition (occurs in response to external and internal factors). While your skin is more tolerant toward hormonal fluctuations and environmental factors, it isn’t invulnerable. Breakouts, peeling skin, and oily patches can still crop up.
Meaning? You shouldn't neglect to care for your skin! But more on that in a bit.
What causes “normal” skin?
Your skin (i.e., well-balanced skin) produces the ideal amount of sebum necessary to help lock in moisture, combat blemish-causing bacteria, and transport fat-soluble antioxidants (e.g., Vitamin E) to the skin's surface without veering into the oily side of things (2, 3, 4, 5).
And you can thank your parents for that. Like your height and eye color, your pores are determined by genetics in terms of size and density (6).
How to care for “normal” skin
When it comes to caring for well-balanced skin, your goal is to protect and preserve the balance. Here are a few lifestyle and skincare tips that’ll help guide you in the right direction.
- Wash your face with a gentle cleanser: Using too harsh a cleanser for “normal” skin (think: anything that contains surfactants) can disrupt its natural barrier — hurting its ability to keep out what it’s supposed to (e.g., damaging free radicals) and lock in all the good stuff, including essential oils and moisture (7). A suitable cleanser for “normal” skin will be one that gently removes dirt, makeup, oil, and grime without leaving you with a tight and dry feeling, or signs of sensitivity, like reddish, dry patches. Find out more about picking the right cleanser for your skin here.
- Take your time when applying skincare products: Always rushing through your skincare routine? You might want to slow down. In the worst-case scenario, layering products immediately, one after the other, could result in nasty chemical reactions that may harm your skin. You should give each product time to fully "settle" into the skin before continuing with the next in your lineup for maximum safety and efficacy. Take it as a form of self-care, a chance to reconnect with yourself (and your inner thoughts).
- Eat a healthy, nutritious diet: One thing crucial for your skin barrier function is the lipid matrix in the outermost layer of the skin (i.e., the stratum corneum). As it’s made up of fatty acids, loading up on foods rich in healthy fats — including fatty fish, nuts, and avocados — will be an instant “boost” to your skin barrier, increasing its ability to fend off everything bad (e.g., free radicals and bacteria), while keeping all things good safely locked in (e.g., essential oils and hydration) (8, 9). Beyond healthy fats, you should also focus on consuming minimally processed foods for the antioxidants you need for a dewier, brighter, and healthier complexion (10).
- Wear sunscreen rain or shine: Or, for that matter, indoors or out. Regardless of the type you use — mineral or chemical — sunscreens help protect your skin from harmful UV rays, the number one culprit causing premature skin aging signs (e.g., fine lines, wrinkles, and age hyperpigmentation) (11).
Suitable skincare ingredients
- Vitamin C: As mentioned earlier, well-balanced skin isn’t “perfect”. Oxidative stress (thanks, free radicals!), particularly, could damage your skin’s natural barrier, cause unwanted hyperpigmentation, and compromise collagen synthesis. The result? Dehydrated, saggy, and dull-looking skin. Enter, Vitamin C. In addition to neutralizing free radicals, it promotes collagen production and lightens dark spots — brightening, smoothing, and plumping the skin in one fell swoop (12). Better still, its anti-inflammatory properties also help fend off the occasional blemishes (13).
- Ferulic Acid: As impressive as Vitamin C’s list of skincare benefits is, there’s no denying the antioxidant’s instability. That’s where Ferulic Acid — an antioxidant found naturally in the walls of plant cells — comes in. Think of Ferulic Acid as a helping hand to Vitamin C; research highlights its ability to stabilize the latter, so it can last longer without losing potency (14). In other words: that’s great news for your skin!
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10): Like Vitamin C and Ferulic Acid, CoQ10 is an antioxidant. That means it could help protect the skin from free radicals, lighten unwanted hyperpigmentation, and stimulate collagen synthesis (15). But that's not all CoQ10 does. Because CoQ10 is a naturally produced bodily enzyme that plays a vital role in energy production in every cell of the human body, incorporating it into your skincare regimen could “energize” your skin cells — allowing them to get rid of harmful toxins and better utilize nutrients (e.g., amino acids and oxygen) for a healthier complexion overall.
- Omega fatty acids: Think fatty acids benefit your skin only when consumed? Think again. The topical application of fatty acids — specifically, omega-3 and omega-6 — has also been shown to help improve barrier function, preserving your skin’s natural balance (16).
- Hyaluronic Acid: Well-balanced skin needs moisture, too, and Hyaluronic Acid is one of the best skincare actives fit for the job. This hydrating superstar draws moisture from the air to keep your skin moist (just one gram of Hyaluronic Acid can bind up to six liters of water!) (17). This, in turn, reduces the appearance of any fine lines or wrinkles.
Skincare ingredients to avoid
Still, getting to know your ingredient label isn’t all about selecting beneficial actives — it’s also about avoiding those that aren’t doing your skin, health, or the planet any favors.
Those looking for a comprehensive list of the skincare ingredients to avoid can check out our “No-No Ingredient List”, but, in the meantime, you’d do best by steering clear of the usual handful known to irritate the skin, including Parabens, Sulfates, Triclosan, and Artificial Fragrance.
Oh, and a heads-up: “parfum” or “fragrance” is an umbrella term for hundreds of chemicals that brands aren’t required to disclose.
Now, think about it: why are they so mysterious with their labeling if they have nothing to hide? In other words: avoid at all means.
A skincare routine built for well-balanced skin
Let’s be honest. Putting together a skincare routine from scratch (screening through every product’s ingredient label, then repeating across product types — from cleanser to toner to night cream) is frustrating and time-consuming work.
What if we told you there was a done-for-you regimen built with well-balanced skin in mind? One designed to protect and preserve your skin’s balance? If you’re jumping for joy at the thought, check out Terrakai Skin’s Well-Balanced Skin Range.
Hydrate while revealing a bright, even glow. Australian Kangaroo Paw Flower — crammed with nourishing omega fatty acids and potent antioxidants, Vitamin C and Ferulic Acid — protect from free radicals, impurities, and daily pollutants to reveal a smooth and radiant complexion. The addition of CoQ10 energizes your skin, while a splash of Hyaluronic Acid locks in moisture for plump, bouncy, and healthy skin. Ready, set, balance.