What's your skin type?
Have you ever struggled with identifying your skin type and finding the right products to use? You are definitely not alone! Your skin might feel dry but have impurities at the same time, or part of your skin is oily and other parts flaky dry. Skin type also changes over time - as your skin ages the type can change with it.
Your skin is the largest organ of the human body. While your skin looks relatively simple to the naked eye, it is much more complicated than what you see. Your skin has different layers with the three main ones being the epidermis, the dermis and the subcutaneous.
As your skin is such a complex entity, it might feel hard to figure out the right type and right products to use. Sometimes using wrong products might even cause more problems - yet you've tried to solve one. For example, it's quite common to start treating impurities with choosing intense foaming cleansing gels and exfoliates. Those might imbalance the pH of the skin and create dry skin with more impurities. This means that even though your skin type would be normal when treated correctly, after using wrong products skin might appear dry.
What determines your skin type?
The condition of your skin is essential to your overall health. When your body's skin is healthy, it works extremely hard to protect your body. The condition of your skin reflects in its smoothness, hydration, and even its colour. There are several different internal and external factors that affect the skin's health, thus influencing how it appears and feels. Some of these factors are out of our control, but there are some choices we can make to keep our skins healthy.
Naturally, your skin is mildly acidic. It has a pH level of 5. Aggressive cleansers and beauty products with an alkaline pH push the skin's natural neutralising capabilities too hard resulting in damaged skin cells and dry skin, which will also make you more prone to skin infections and diseases like dermatitis. Even washing with too hot water can potentially cause the skin to lose its natural moisturising properties and also its surface lipids (fats).
We all know that too much sun is harmful to our skin. Both UV-light and smoking generate free radicals that cause cell damage and makes your skin more prone to skin damage. Also, exposure to everyday chemicals such as solvents, lacquers, and detergents might make your skin more sensitive over time.
Stress can have many negative health effects on our bodies, but when stress is more severe and uncontrolled, you will most likely see its impact on your skin. It can make your skin even more sensitive, and as a result, you could suffer from typical problems that a person with a sensitive skin type suffers from, acne and psoriasis.
We don't call sleep the beauty trick number one for nothing. When you get enough sleep (between 7-8 hours each night), you are giving your skin sufficient time to regenerate itself. If you add a well-balanced diet with the right minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants, to the mix, you will help keep your skin healthy and in good condition, fighting impurities and dryness.
We know, it's hard to control everything in your life, but even the smallest changes can have a positive impact on your skin and overall health. But basically, if you eat well, sleep well, avoid smoking and excessive sunbathing and use the right products, the condition of your skin should improve.
How to identify your skin type?
Skin is rarely just one type. It's usually a combination of two or more. It also changes over time as the skin naturally dries due to ageing. We've listed below some skin types and their properties to help you to identify your skin type.
Normal skin is smooth in its texture, and its surface is clear with fine pores. The skin's moisture content and sebum production are in balance, resulting in healthy-looking skin without any skin blemishes, flaky areas or greasy patches.
A lack of moisture in the skin's outermost layer is one of the main characteristics of dry skin. This results in the tightening and flaking of the skin, and it looks dull. Dry skin can also cause premature wrinkles and fine lines on the forehead and around the eyes and mouth. If your skin is really dry, it is quite common for them to experience itchy or a burning sensation of the skin. Sometimes genetics determine dry skin; however, it is more commonly triggered by external factors such as extreme climates, medications, and cosmetics. Dry skin is also the result of the natural ageing process due to the slowing down of the skin's sebum production.
When the skin's surface has an increased number of lipids (fats), oily skin occurs. Overactive sebaceous glands cause the overproduction of lipids. Its appearance is commonly shinier and thicker, and often it has enlarged pores. With oily skin type, you might be more prone to getting acne breakouts, blackheads and other skin blemishes.
There are arguments amongst researchers that 'sensitive skin' is not actually a skin type, but caused by external factors. If you often experience redness, dryness, itching or burning sensations when applying products onto your skin, you might have sensitive skin. Sensitive skin can be a result of an undetected skin condition or disorder or a skin allergy. It is also triggered when the skin comes into contact with certain irritants in products.
As you age, the production of skin's sebum slows down, which can often lead to increased dryness of the skin and more fine lines, wrinkles, and flakiness. When a woman hits menopause, her skin changes and becomes thinner due to hormone changes. When the skin thins out, it becomes more sensitive to extreme weather conditions and sun damage. Another problem that is common with a mature skin type is hyperpigmentation, which is usually caused by excessive sun exposure.
Combination skin, as the name suggests, is a combination of skin types. It is possible to have localised areas of dry parts of the skin on the body, and the same goes for the localisation of oily patches.
Has your skin changed over time and have you been able to identify your skin type?