Can We Stop Saying 'Skin Type'? Here's Why 'Skin Behavior' is Better

Can We Stop Saying 'Skin Type'? Here's Why 'Skin Behavior' is Better

Author: AJ Addae Date:

Say Goodbye to Traditional Skin Typing and Hello To Skin Behaviors

Trick question: What’s your skin type - are you dry, oily, combination, or acne-prone? 

If you’re finding it hard to answer this question, or if you’ve found yourself answering this question differently from time to time, there’s a reason why. Traditional skin typing, i.e. labeling your skin as either dry, oily, or combination, is actually only a way to capture a small chunk of the full story. Allow us to break it down further.

As you may know, the skin is the largest organ of the body. And if there’s anything we generally know about organs, especially those that are representative of immune function, they tend to adapt based on their external conditions. For example, while you can be born with naturally curly hair, excessive heat treatment can alter your curl pattern overtime. Additionally, repeated hair removal in a certain area tends to alter the subsequent hair growth’s density and even its volume. According to a vast range of clinical research, your skin - an organ that experiences lots of friction, seasonal, and sensorial changes - behaves in a similar manner. To illustrate this, consider the following common occurrence: when your skin goes through a lot of stress and change, it tends to become acne prone in response to its conditions. The Journal of Skin Research & Technology paints a similar picture in which a study was conducted to measure the sebum levels of study participants as seasons changed throughout a full year in efforts to define the “combination” skin type. The conclusions of this study showed that regional and seasonal variations posed fluctuations in sebum secretion for every study participant, which demonstrates a response to environmental change. 

Because of this emphasis on external conditions, the Baumann Skin Type (BST) system was born in the last two decades from the lack of fluidity that traditional skin typing tends to possess. The ethos of the BST shapes how we view skin typing here at MULTI - as behaviors and spectrums, rather than static types. What we also love about the BST is that it’s updated and informed by collective data, because it’s ever changing, just like your skin. Below is the BST, which classifies skin behaviors based on four main parameters:

1. Oily versus dry

2. Sensitive versus resistant

3. Pigmented versus non-pigmented

4. Wrinkled versus tight (un-wrinkled)

To put it to the test, consider the following example: an oily, resistant, pigmented, wrinkled skin behavior would require a different regimen than an oily, sensitive, pigmented, wrinkled skin behavior. By employing a spectrum of robust parameters, you’re able to further get to the bottom of your skin’s general behavior.

So, what’s your BST, and how does it inform your skin’s general behavior? Furthermore, how has your BST changed over the past 5-10 years? We would love to hear it all. Check out our Multidex for more information on chronic skin conditions, skin typing, and other research-backed skin topics.