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Know Your Skin Type

Determining your skin type and possible skin conditions is the most important part of effectively use the correct products to treat your skin. These two factors will determine what treatment series is best suited for your individual needs and what home care products you need to use based on these factors. Unfortunately, many people use the absolute wrong products for their skin type and conditions that result in more problematic conditions. If you have not had your skin analyzed by a licensed esthetician, or another skin professional, there is a way to determine your skin type. Since we are subjected to extremes of temperature, pollutants, and other harsh effects of our environment; your skin type benefits from specially formulated products, i.e., Normal, Combination, Oily, Dry.

Here are directions for determining your skin type at home.

Start by washing your face with a gentle cleanser and rest around 30 minutes until your skin is dry. Use skin blotting sheets as that will help you determine what type of skin you have. When sheets are pressed onto the skin, they absorb oil. Hold the sheets up to the light as it will help you to determine how much oil markings you may have. If there is an abundance of oil in all areas of the face you have oily skin; if they absorb little to no oil, then you probably have dry skin. If the sheets show only a small amount of oil from your T-Zone, you have combination skin. If there is minimal oil from every area of your face your skin most likely is normal.

Classification of Skin Types

Skin type is the description of how and why your skin looks, feels, and behaves as it does. It is critical to know your skin type if you want to properly care for your skin health and put your best face forward.

NORMAL

This skin type displays a smooth texture and a rosy, clear surface, with fine pores. There are no visible blemishes, greasy patches, or flaky areas. Normal skin is usually in good condition and has a sufficient supply of sebum and moisture. It benefits from maintenance treatments to keep it healthy and attractive. Normal skin is often found in young persons and does not have dry or oily patches.

OILY/ACNE

Oily Skin is characterized by an overabundance of sebum (oil) and it may or may not be blemished. It will feel thicker than dry or normal skins. It is shiny and thick, often with enlarged pores (follicles) that may be filled with dirt and grease. However, Oily skin is prone to blackheads and other blemishes. It occurs more often in men than in women, and it predominantly affects adolescents and younger persons. During adolescence there may be an imbalance of hormones or a change in hormone levels that helps to increase the production of sebum. If mild cases of blackheads, pimples and acne skin are not corrected, the condition can worsen. Treatments will help to normalize the production of sebum and clear blemishes. Acne skin has the same characteristics as oily skin and is especially common during adolescence when it affects the face, shoulders and back. The first signs of acne are usually seen during puberty, when there is an increase in hormone production, which stimulates the sebaceous glands. Acne has a demoralizing effect on a person and, if neglected, can cause scars and pits that will not be outgrown. A diet can contribute to the oily condition of the skin if it is rich in fats and oils. A hot, humid climate may also stimulate the sebaceous glands to product more sebum.

DRY/MATURE SKIN TYPE

Dry Skin is characterized by lacking in oil or moisture or both. The skin may become dry due to too much sun, wind, harsh soaps, poor diet, aging, lack of enough fluid intake, use of drying cosmetics, medication taken internally or applied externally, or factors in the environment. Dry skin results in tightness and even flaking and treatments can help to eliminate the drying conditions by stimulating the sebaceous glands to produce natural oils and retain the moisture that is needed to keep the skin lubricated. The skin appears dull, especially on the cheeks and around the eyes. It may lack elasticity, with accentuated fine lines and wrinkles. In more severe cases, itching and burning may occur. Extremely dry skin shows signs of cracking and fissuring. The mature/aging skin is usually loose, crepey, wrinkled and/or lined. As a person advances in years, the body’s processes slow down, and cells are not replaced as rapidly as they were when a person is younger. Treatments will help to slow down the aging process and help diminish surface lines.

COMBINATION (T-ZONE)

Combination skin has dry and oily areas which is characterized by the existence of two or more different conditions. This is the most common skin type. Mixed facial skin tends toward dryness on the cheeks and around the eyes while being oily in the t-zone (nose, forehead, chin). Treatments help to normalize the functioning of the sebaceous glands and improve the health and appearance of the skin.

SENSITIVE

Sensitive skin presents itself in a wide variety of ways with subjective symptoms such as stinging, itching, and burning and/or visible skin changes such as redness, dryness, scaling, peeling, bumps, hives. It is skin that is more prone to inflammation or adverse reactions. People with sensitive skin may have reactions to chemicals, dyes, and fragrances. There are 6 common symptoms of sensitive skin which are redness, your skin is dry, you develop rashes often, you are prone to breakouts, you have broken capillaries, you break out and sunburn easily and your skin is reactive. It also refers to a range of conditions such as rosacea and eczema to severe allergies.

HYPERPIGMENTATION/MELASMA

Hyperpigmentation is a broad term that refers to a skin condition in which the skin is discolored or darkened than the surrounding skin and are due to an array of factors. Darkened areas on the skin that can vary in size and color are the main symptoms of hyperpigmentation. This includes sun damage, acne scarring, and inflammation lingering from an eczema flare-up. Brown spots, or hyper-pigmentation, can affect any area of the body. The smaller ones are known commonly as freckles. The slightly larger -sized spots are often known as age spots, liver spots and sunspots. Melasma is a condition that looks more like a patch, the size of a dime or larger and often if it is present on one side of the face it will be on the other side as well. It is generally only found on the face. Melasma is a condition that is more common in women (especially those with darker skin tones) and is usually most prevalent on the face in areas like the forehead, chin, and above the lip. Melasma is sometimes referred to as “the mask of pregnancy” as it frequently appears during pregnancy due to the vast hormonal changes. Much like general hyperpigmentation on the face, melasma appears in the form of discoloration and is exacerbated by exposure to the sun as well as the hormonal changes. Heat and sun exposure will worsen melasma but are not the cause.

First, skin type is not always the same. The variations that are taking place in your skin cannot only change season to season but month to month and even weekly. Normal, oily, dry and combination are good basics to start out with, but they still do not cover every nuance. They can change and fluctuate with everything from the weather to stress levels. Because different skin types require different formulations. Even though many skin types may need the same active ingredients (such as sunscreen agents, antioxidants, cell-communicating and so on), the base and delivery agents (lotion, cream, gel, serum, or liquid) needs to correlate to your type.

What influences skin type? Almost anything and everything can influence skin type however, both external and internal elements can impact the way skin looks and feels.

Internal Influences:
  • Hormonal changes (Menopause, pregnancy and menstrual cycles can cause the skin to fluctuate from oily to breakouts, skin discoloration and dryness.)
  • Skin disorders (rosacea, dermatitis, psoriasis)
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Medications
  • Diet (Research shows a diet high in antioxidants and omega-3 can improve the appearance of skin.)
External Influences:
  • Climate/weather (cold, warm, moist, dry)
  • Skin care routine (Routines such as over-exfoliating, over-moisturizing, or using irritating/drying ingredients can create skin problems that were not there before.)
  • Sun exposure (major cause of hyperpigmentation)
  • Pollution (creates free radical activity that damages collagen)

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