Here comes the science part...
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.
- Matte Appearance
- Dry Flaky Patches
- Small Minimised Pores
- Feels tight after washing/cleansing
- Climate - oil secretion decreases as the temperature does
- Ageing - oil secretion decreases with age
- Some Medications (check with your doctor/pharmacist)
- 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.
- Shiny Appearance
- Enlarged Pores
- Blocked Pores and Blackheads
- Hormones (Teenage, Pregnancy and Periods)
- Climate - heat
- Irregular Cleansing
- Foods rich in sugar and fat
- 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.
- Try a Deep Cleansing Mask perhaps once or twice a week to clear out pores and prevent blackheads
- Use products which soften and calm the skin such as aloe vera and rosewater.
- Oily Skin on the T-Zone (forehead, nose and chin)
- Dry Skin on the rest of the face
- The T Zone has a greater number of oil producing glands than the rest of the skin and they tend to be more active
- Inadequate Cleansing routine or strong cosmetics products (like heavy foundations or overly strong cleansers)
- Cleanse properly around the T-Zone
- 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:
- Itchiness, slight swelling in reaction to cosmetics
- Dry skin will get drier
- Oily skin will get oilier
- Excessive exposure to sun, wind, cold and pollution
- Stress and Fatigue
- Illness and Medication
- 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.
- Fine horizonal Lines
- Dull appearance (lack of radiance)
- Climate (central heating & air conditioning both sap the skin of moisture)
- Not drinking enough water
- Illness and Medication
- Caffeine (energy drinks/coffee/tea)
- 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.
- Deeper Lines and Wrinkles
- Loss of Firmness, slackening and loss of features (e.g jaw line)
- Lines around the eyes and lips
- Pollution and Sun Exposure
- Lifestyle (smoking, stress, alcohol)
- 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!