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Sunday, 13 September 2009

Skin Types and Care

This post is for everyone who writes to me about their skin. Unfortunately, I cannot respond on an individual basis as much as I would really like to, so take what you need from this post and I hope it helps you!

Here comes the science part...

Skin Types:
Your skin type is determined by how much oil is secreted by your glands.

If it is overactive then your skin is OILY, conversely if it is underactive then your skin is termed DRY.

Well that wasn't too scientific was it?

I don't know anyone with "Normal" skin and it is very rare as the environment, stress levels, diet and hormones all affect our skin in one way or another.

So how do you know which you have and what should you do to get the best out of it? If you read on I'll outline the key characteristics and causes of the three main skin types as well as some tips on caring for it. There are then three more skin conditions which are common and should be considered in your skin care regime. For example my skin is Combination and Sensitive.

Dry Skin:
Key Characterisitics:
  1. Matte Appearance
  2. Dry Flaky Patches
  3. Small Minimised Pores
  4. Feels tight after washing/cleansing
  1. Climate - oil secretion decreases as the temperature does
  2. Ageing - oil secretion decreases with age
  3. Some Medications (check with your doctor/pharmacist)
  4. Diet lacking in fats/oil
Moisturisers help protect and rebuild, nourish and soften the skin. Using a richer cream over night helps to repair the skin as well. Products containing rose, almond and evening primrose are considered to be rich and nourishing.

Oily Skin
Key Characteristics:
  1. Shiny Appearance
  2. Enlarged Pores
  3. Blocked Pores and Blackheads
  4. Blemishes/Spots
  1. Hormones (Teenage, Pregnancy and Periods)
  2. Climate - heat
  3. Hereditary
  4. Irregular Cleansing
  5. Foods rich in sugar and fat

  1. Opt for cleanse/tone/moisturising products that rebalance oil production. You can use cleansing oils as these don't penetrate the skin. Cleansing oils also don't strip the skin of all oils which leads to an increase in oil production - the vicious cycle we can often get trapped in. I use Dermalogica Precleanse oil.
  2. Try a Deep Cleansing Mask perhaps once or twice a week to clear out pores and prevent blackheads
  3. Use products which soften and calm the skin such as aloe vera and rosewater.
Combination Skin:
Key Characteristics:
  1. Oily Skin on the T-Zone (forehead, nose and chin)
  2. Dry Skin on the rest of the face
  1. The T Zone has a greater number of oil producing glands than the rest of the skin and they tend to be more active
  2. Inadequate Cleansing routine or strong cosmetics products (like heavy foundations or overly strong cleansers)
  1. Cleanse properly around the T-Zone
  2. Rebalance, moisturise and protect the skin using products which neither strip the skin of oil drying it out or over moisturise the skin clogging pores.
Ok, once you've decided which of those three you have for most of you will say combination, we now have to consider Skin Conditions:

Sensitive Skin
Key Characteristics:
  1. Redness
  2. Itchiness, slight swelling in reaction to cosmetics
  3. Dry skin will get drier
  4. Oily skin will get oilier
  1. Excessive exposure to sun, wind, cold and pollution
  2. Stress and Fatigue
  3. Illness and Medication
  4. Diet
  5. Repeated use of unsuitable cosmetics - this is why it's important to get your skin care just right, that way you can also find your perfect make up formulations.

The way to desensitise your skin is to use very gentle and soothing products. From personal experience I have found aloe vera gel very useful. It is a trial and error to find out which products won't flare you up, but persevere and you will find a brand or formula which will not flare you up. We also need to reinforce our skin's natural defences, so I use a sunblock which provides comfort, protection and moisture for my skin when I am out and about.

Dehydrated Skin
Key Characteristics:
  1. Fine horizonal Lines
  2. Dull appearance (lack of radiance)
  1. Climate (central heating & air conditioning both sap the skin of moisture)
  2. Not drinking enough water
  3. Alcohol
  4. Illness and Medication
  5. Caffeine (energy drinks/coffee/tea)
  6. Smoking
  7. Use of strong cosmetics products (ones unsuitable for your base skin type)
Drink more water, cut down alcohol and smoking - consider your skin type when choosing cleansing/tone/moisturising products. Maintain the skin's moisture with a good moisturiser.

Ageing Skin
Key Characteristics:
  1. Deeper Lines and Wrinkles
  2. Loss of Firmness, slackening and loss of features (e.g jaw line)
  3. Lines around the eyes and lips
  1. Pollution and Sun Exposure
  2. Lifestyle (smoking, stress, alcohol)
  3. Nature - it's a natural process!
To use products which help counteract pollution and sun exposure (products with sun protection factors built in) and to consider your lifestyle (smoking, alcohol, stress) it's easier said than done I know.

Let me know if this was useful for you!


  1. really useful! and i've noticed that my skin type has changed over the years...used to have dry skin as a teenager and now it's the other extreme!! :o)

  2. What a great post, I hate my skin, it's dry & acne prone and just sweats a lot so seem oily lol.

  3. Thank you! This was most helpful. :)

  4. Great post and good tips too! Thanks!

  5. Thanks so much for this post!! Very helpful and thanks for the recommendations, I will definitely be trying out some aloe vera gel!

  6. I have a really dry t zone but my pores are large. Any tips for that dilemma? =D

    Also, I wanted to try the Burt's Bee's glycerin and rosewater toner, but I notice there are quit a few ingredients including alcohol, am I looking at the correct toner?

  7. I recently visit your blog and reading your post this is very helpful to people thanks a lot for sharing very useful and informative tips.

  8. very helpful! I have a combination type of skin, and you are right the T zone tends to be oily.
    So, I'll just be applying less moisturizer on th e T zone and more on the other areas which tends to be dry.. That was a pretty good advise. makes sense,.

  9. Hi Jasmine,

    This was undoubtedly very helpful.

    I have a combination skin. Though I do not get acnes that often but around the T zone (chin area mainly) I get painful boils (1 or 2) every other month. They sit for a long time and finally leave ugly scars on my face (no, I do not pop them!). Can you advise any fix?

    I would try to use the aloe vera gel? Please let me know which brand do you use on your gorgeous flawless skin? :)


  10. Further to my message above, I also wanted to ask you if its OK for me to use Dermalogica Overnight clearing gel for the boil. A couple of days back I had been to a Spa for a facial, this was the product the aesthetician had recommended to me for my boil. But I want you to endorse that! :))

    Would appreciate an early response.

    Thanks again!

  11. @water, I think you should see a doctor about the boils as you could have an underlying and easily treatable infection. It's ok to pop whiteheads as long as you clear them completely but gently (never use nails) and use a gel. I have never used the gel you mentioned so I cannot endorse it :)

  12. Thanks a bunch for your prompt response.

    I have consulted docs / dermatologists earlier regarding my boil and they have mentioned these are "hormonal", so may be I gotta live with these till my hormones decide to treat me nicely! :(

    Can you please also name the aloe vera gel that you use.

    Love your perfect n pretty face! :)

    Thanks again!

  13. Jasmine, have you been?

    I am awaiting your response to the above question (Can you please also name the aloe vera gel that you use) since the month of May. Can you recommend a brand / type of the gel, please. Does it have to be 100% aloe vera?

    Would appreciate a response.


  14. hi, i need ure advice on Loreal whitening essence daycream. i think i have a combination skin and im 20. i do breakout no matter what i do. and is it okay to use different brands for day cream and moisturiser?

  15. Hi Pavita, I am unable to give any advice on this product as I don't use L'Oreal or whitening products. I do use various products depending on how my skin is feeling (oils when dry, and oil free when spotty). Avoid loading up your skin too much though as this can block pores. Buy the best you can afford also.


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