Everyone has a different type of skin, and each type has its own special needs. It’s important to know your skin type so that you may better cater to your skin’s specific needs.
In general, there are four types of skin : Dry, Oily, Combination of dry and oily, and Normal type skin. Your skin may fall under or in between these categories.
The following is a basic description of each skin type, as well as suggestions for how to care for each type:
Dry Skin is characterized by a lack of moisture on the skin’s surface. There is a lack of sebum production, which is the skin’s natural oil. The pores on the nose, forehead, and chin are slightly larger, and the oil is usually confined to those areas. The skin can feel tight after cleansing. It is generally thinner than normal skin and is susceptible to expanded capillaries and sensitivities, making the skin look red and blotchy. Dry skin tends to develop lines and wrinkles more easily than other skin types.
• Regular use of intensive moisturizers is vital.
• Avoid harsh chemicals that may damage or dry the skin even more.
• Some stimulation with a gentle cleansing scrub is recommended for dry skin as it can help to stimulate the skin’s secretion of oil and to get rid of dead skin cells.
Oily Skin is characterized by larger pores over a majority of the facial surface, sometimes to the extreme outer edges of the face. It is associated with over-secretion of sebum, and thus it tends to be more prone to acne and dermatitis. It is smoother in texture, thicker and more pliable than dry skin because it contains more sebum. The advantage to having oily skin is that it tends to remain youthful looking longer than dryer skin, and has more flexibility and fewer wrinkles.
• Excess washing with abrasive scrubs can result in overstimulated sebum production
• Oily skin should be cleansed two to three times a day, but overcleansing can bring more oil to the skin’s surface.
• Sun, alcohol, poor diet, stress, hormonal fluctuations, cold and damp climates can aggravate acne.
• Oily skin still requires moisture (not oil) to be properly balanced, protected, sealed and nourished.
The most common skin type, combination skin includes characteristics of both dry and oily skin. Certain areas of the face, for example the chin and forehead, can be especially dry or oily. Combination skin can occasionally be prone to pimples, blackheads, and enlarged pores.
• Different types of care is needed in relation to a particular facial area.
• Dry areas should be cared for with rich moisturizing creams.
• Oily areas will benefit from more cleansing and lighter moisturizers.
• Always use a gentle cleanser to prevent irritation and dryness. For oily and dry combination skin, a gel-based or mild foaming cleanser is ideal.
Normal skin is characterized by a small area of enlarged pores on the forehead, nose and chin areas. This skin type is generally well balanced with few eruptions. Coloration is usually even and well balanced, and normal skin typically looks fresh and moist, giving it a healthy glow. Even though this skin type appears to have no apparent problems, with neglect or mistreatment, problems can develop quickly.
• A cleansing cream for normal to dry skin can be used twice daily to help rid the skin’s surface of excess oil and impurities
• A gentle exfoliating product should be used once or twice a week, depending on whether the skin needs to shed dead skin cells and whether or not there are expanded capillaries on the face.
• A natural facial toner helps rid the skin of remaining particles, neutralizes the skin’s surface, and prepares it to receive moisture.
• Moisturizer should be used that is suited for normal skin, neither too rich nor too light.
HOW TO DETERMINE YOUR SKIN TYPE
You can use a simple Tissue Test to determine your skin type. For this, you will need to have completely washed and cleansed your face so that it is free of any traces of makeup and impurities. Gently pat your face dry with a towel and wait about 3o minutes to do the test. For the tissue, you can use any one ply paper tissue, although the commercial grade packaging tissue paper that you use for stuffing gift bags works the best.
Lightly press a separate piece of tissue onto each area of your face : chin, center of cheeks, outer cheeks, center of forehead, outer forehead and nose.
Examine each tissue and look for oily residue or flaky skin residue. The results can be interpreted by the following :
- Oil on each tissue indicates an Oily Skin type.
- Oil on some tissues (especially those from your forehead, nose, chin and center of cheeks) indicates a Combination Skin type.
- Flaky skin residue on all tissues, without oily residue, or a tight feeling in the skin indicates a Dry Skin type.
- No oil and no flaky residue on any parts of the tissue indicates a Normal Skin type.
OUR SKIN CHANGES AT DIFFERENT TIMES IN OUR LIVES
Our skin type can also change throughout our lives. For example, I remember being young and having dry skin. Which changed to combination skin during my teenage years. Then last year, my skin became oily and broke out a lot. And now I have normal skin. Gosh! It seems I’ve gone through the entire spectrum of skin types…
Several factors can affect your skin type : age, climate, hormones, medication, and even stress. So if your skin type changes, you must accommodate for the changes and adjust your skin care program accordingly.
I didn’t include a separate category for Teenage Skin, Mature Skin, and Sensitive Skin because I consider them to fall under the four skin types listed above. These skin types however, require even more specific care and attention. But I will be saving that for another time. Follow along with me as I will continuously revisit this topic on skin type and examine each one in greater depth.
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