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First steps to achieving your ideal skin

Skincare basics for different skin types.
Knowing your skin type is the first step to taking care of your skin.

Yumi Narasaki

Renowned Beauty Writer

Moisturization is the foundation to an effective basic skincare regime, regardless of your skin type. As we look into the varying needs of the different skin types, it is essential that you know and understand your own skin condition. This will help you apply the most appropriate skin care method for your skin to achieve naturally beautiful and clear skin.

  • My skin tends to feel dry and flaky and is prone to dryness

  • My makeup does not set well on my skin and often appears cakey

  • I am concerned about fine wrinkles

  • I am concerned about stickiness and greasiness on my skin

  • My makeup smears easily and does not stay on well

  • I am bothered by visible pores and blackheads

  • I have an oily T-zone but my cheek areas are dry

  • I am concerned about dry and rough skin

  • I am concerned about visible open pores

Lower amounts of sebum and a lack of moisture cause skin to become dry. Essentially, the reduction of intercellular lipids like sebum and ceramide that control barrier function and the skin’s Natural Moisturizing Factor (NMF), means that dry skin will become drier when in dry environmental conditions. With the deterioration in the skin’s barrier function, the skin’s protective mechanism is not as effective in preventing external pollutants and ultraviolet (UV) rays from penetrating deep into the skin layers to cause rough skin and other related skin problems. Those with dry skin are also more susceptible to seasonal stress, or sensitivities experienced during the chasing of seasons.

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Oily skin is characterized by excessive sebum secretion, causing the skin to be sticky or greasy. Individuals with this skin type can attribute it to genetic influence, but it is also a common occurrence among those undergoing puberty, in their adolescence and early adulthood. Another cause of oily skin is the oxidation of the excessive sebum secretion by UV rays. This thickens the stratum corneum (or skin’s outermost layer) and leads to visible pores, blackheads, dull skin, dark spots, and other skin issues.

As the skin type suggests, the condition is mixed since the T-zone area is oily and sticky while the cheek areas are dry and flaky. The main characteristic of combination skin is an excessive amount of sebum but insufficient moisture content. One possible explanation for how this skin type came about is that the skin could have originally been dry or oily, but became a combination type with age.

Moisturize liberally and gently to recharge skin.

Dry skin requires lots of moisture – but not all at once! We recommend that you apply an appropriate amount of a milky lotion or cream each time, but spread across a few applications, as needed. The moisturization helps to prevent dryness and retains the skin’s moisture to protect your skin. However, should your skin still feel dry, use a richer cream for more effective moisturization.

Applying a milky lotion priming base will help your makeup set nicely without looking cakey. It will also improve the texture of your skin such that pores are minimized and your skin looks smoother.

Since dry skin tends to be more sensitive to the physical touch, be mindful to use a gentler pressure during your skincare routine to protect the skin.

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Moisturize minimally but consistently with oil-based products.



During cleansing, use an adequate amount of cleansing cream so that you can remove facial grime with gentle washing and not have to rub excessively. After washing, remember to moisturize with milk lotion– its oil content will help to retain the moisture in your skin, keeping it fresh. Choose a lighter, more refreshing lotion if you do not like the stickiness that a heavy cream sometimes causes. For areas that are more prone to oiliness, reduce the amount of lotion applied onto those areas during your morning skincare routine. Remember that it is essential to moisturize in small amounts, every morning and nightly.



Those with oily skin will experience excessive sebum production, which causes dull skin and fine wrinkles. To remove stickiness and/or shine, use a cleansing or wiping lotion before you proceed to moisturization care.

Adapting the skincare method to address your skin type!



It is important to recognize that the amount of moisturization from lotions versus creams differ and its effectiveness is dependent on the skin condition. The other critical point is that you shouldn’t avoid moisturizing just because you dislike the oily or sticky feeling after applying lotion as this avoidance will create a gap between the needs of the drier and oilier parts of your skin. Areas of the face that tends to feel dry include the eye area, cheeks, and facial lines and contours. Applying moisture care will help maintain oil balance and overall hydration.

When washing your face, use a cleansing foam and start from the oilier T-zone area before proceeding to the other areas. By using this washing method, the cleansing foam will be in contact with the drier areas for a shorter time period.



In the day, use tissue to gently blot the shiny areas of your skin. Follow with a mist lotion to boost moisturization before you re-touch your makeup. These easy steps not only cleanses and refreshes the skin, but also maintains its clarity since oxidized sebum is known to cause skin dullness.



A word of advice

Those with oily or combination skin types may be hesitant to use moisturizing lotions or oils since stickiness is already an issue. That said, it becomes a vicious cycle if you avoid moisturizing because the body will produce more sebum as a protective mechanism to replenish the moisture that is lost, as part of a shield effect for the skin. Hence, after using a toner or skin lotion, apply a small amount of a light textured moisturizing lotion or cream to shield your skin.

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Naomi Watanabe

“I believe my skin type is dry, therefore I place special emphasis on moisturization care. My makeup tends to smudge easily whenever I perspire so I apply lighter skincare in the mornings. My favorite is a two-step approach: first, apply skin lotion, followed by a small amount of serum-type lotion. I also make it a point to apply moisturizing skincare immediately whenever I feel any dryness instead of leaving it till later, hence my moisturizing routine is light and frequent.”
“If I feel that my skin condition is not at its best, or it’s starting to feel rough, I will apply more skin lotion. This method also helps in hiding blemishes that makeup does not cover adequately.”

Kasumi Arimura

“I have combination skin and that’s why I apply skin lotion a few times, in a hand pressing motion. After applying the skin lotion, I use the same pressing method to gently apply serum and/or milk lotion. This is my daily skincare routine. I appreciate the light texture of the serum lotion and like how it keeps my skin feeling smooth and well-moisturized.”
“I perspire easily during summer so sebum secretion increases. In order to minimize the amount of sebum, I adopt proper nutritional and dieting habits to ensure a balanced diet. In the drier winter season, I drink lots of water and apply serum oil as an additional step in my nightly skincare routine. Furthermore, I always carry skin lotion with me so that I can moisturize whenever my skin feels dry or dehydrated.”



To have clear and beautiful-looking skin, it’s important to first find out your skin type, and the appropriate skincare you’ll need. Just like our three SK-II ambassadors who adapt their daily skincare routines to their skin conditions and changes in the environment, you too can care for your skin by adjusting your moisturization care to suit your skin’s needs. Good moisturization is the key to achieving your skin’s best condition, naturally!

Follow this regimen for Crystal Clear Skin.

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Yumi Narasaki

Renowned Beauty Writer

As a beauty and cosmetics writer, Ms. Narasaki is actively involved in research in this field, with a special interest in how cutting-edge technology and new trends shape this industry. Ms. Narasaki is part of the editorial team for top Japanese publication, VOCE, and is a prolific online contributor to beauty-centric websites. She has also authored several publications in the field of beauty. In her spare time, Ms. Narasaki enjoys spending time outdoors and in particular, camping.