What good skin DOESN'T feel like
In my eight years of writing about beauty, I've had truly horrible skin and unbelievably good skin in turns. I have the privilege of trying out so many skincare products and treatments that I've learned how to detect if something is working for me or not. I've also learned how to tell if it's just stress, a new environment, or hormones that are making my skin suffer. In other words, I am uncommonly attuned to my face because of the nature of my job.
Frankly, I always cringe whenever people tell me that they don't use sunscreen or moisturizer, or only use body soap to wash their face. But I can't blame them - their skin looks okay, why bother doing anything more? They don't have pimples, blemishes, redness, or many deep lines one would associate with bad skin. When I look closer though I see a few signs that their skin could be healthier and nicer, for longer! Never mind being vain. They are simply not aware that their skin, while having a normal appearance, isn't exactly in its best shape.
Now I'm not a dermatologist and different people obviously have different skin conditions. Take this list with a grain of salt, as with anything you read on the Internet! If you're curious about how your skin should and shouldn't feel like though, in general, this may prove helpful. Let's begin!
#1. It shouldn't feel papery on the tips of your fingers. If your skin has a dull look to it and feels like you're touching paper (never mind if it's expensive, smooth card stock), it's probably way too dry. Your skin should feel bouncy when you pat on it and should have a slight wet feel to it even if you're not oily or sweaty at the moment.
Solution: Moisturize twice a day, or use a heavier texture in the evening (like a facial oil) if your current moisturizer is not enough
#2. It shouldn't feel tight. Those who are not so aware actually like the tight feeling after washing, thinking their facial wash or soap is doing a thorough job of cleansing. Some even think their pores are "shrinking". I can tell you now it's impossible to shrink your pores (outside of laser), and if your face feels tight, you're probably using an extra harsh cleanser that scrapes the surface of your skin unnecessarily.
Solution: Use a gentle, non-foaming cleanser for sensitive skin or use a creamy, moisturizing cleanser
#3. It shouldn't feel like someone brushed oil onto it an hour or two after cleansing. This might be normal if you have especially oily skin since the beginning. However, if you've always had dry to combination skin and it suddenly became overly oily, that may not be normal anymore! If your sebum production has gone into overdrive and seems to be just sitting on your face - as in you could FEEL a whole layer just covering everything - that is not quite right.
Solution: You would need to see a derma to pinpoint the cause of the oiliness. One possible cause is that your moisturizer is too heavy - choose a lighter, gel-based one. Another is that your pores are clogged by product - use a good mud mask every other day until it clears. Another possible reason is that the dead skin cells on your skin are not being removed properly, in which case you should use a gentle gommage or AHA exfoliator.
#4. It shouldn't feel like it has small bumps underneath or above it. This is the most insidious and annoying in the list! You don't have pimples, but there are things lurking under the surface of your skin. They're not quite blackheads but there are flesh-toned bumps on your chin and eye area. What are these? They could be oil and dead skin trapped in your pores, or in other words, milia. They can also be warts or worse!
Solution: If you're suspicious that it can something else other than milia, you must come see a dermatologist for a check up. If it's likely milia, you'll need to switch your moisturizer to a lighter one (gel), exfoliate, and use mud masks regularly.
#5. It shouldn't feel lined, at your age. Aging is a beautiful process we all go through. But if you're only in your 20s and you're developing premature lines around your eyes and mouth, that's not normal. It means your skin is degrading faster than usual! You may even notice some spots or freckles you didn't use to have.
Solution: Use sunscreen. So simple, but so effective. Sunscreen is the #1 anti-aging product! Use at least SPF30 everyday, and retouch with powders with SPF during the day. Moisturize twice a day as well, and use a good serum if budget allows.
I hope this helps! Share this story to someone you know who doesn't pay much attention to their skin. Hopefully it convinces them to change their ways, before it's too late and the damage is irreversible.