Know Your Skin Type and How to Care For It

Know Your Skin Type and How to Care For It

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Who doesn’t love a smooth, blemish-free, glowing skin? But more often than not in our desire to get the perfect skin we use products which may not at all suit our skin. Skin is the largest organ in human body and everyone has a particular skin type. Knowing your skin type can give you a clear idea of what is best suited to your skin. In this post I will discuss about different skin types and how to care for it

If you know your skin type you will understand your skin better. You can develop your own skin care routine, use products which are good for your skin. You can even work on your diet and get knowledge on food items that are beneficial for your skin type.

Disclaimer: Also do note this blogpost is for only information purposes. To determine your skin type or curing any skin-related issue visit a dermatologist or skincare expert.

Different Skin Types and how to care for it

There are primarily four skin types but some skincare experts and dermatologists classify the skin into five types – Oily, Dry, Combination, Normal and Sensitive.

Oily Skin

Oily Skin. Img: Shutterstock
Oily Skin. Img: Shutterstock

Some say that oily skin is the worst. Individuals with oily skin have frequent acne breakouts, blackheads and whiteheads. Their skin looks greasy, especially forehead, chin and nose area. Skin pores in oily skin are quite visible. Tropical humid climate is usually worst for those with oily skin.

But what causes this oiliness? Our skin contains sebaceous glands which secrete sebum, an oil like substance which guards the skin against bacteria and fungus. Sebum also maintains suppleness as well as hydration of our skin. Over-production of sebum causes oily skin.

Oily skin, however, is less prone to wrinkles and fine-lines since the sebum keeps skin moisture intact making it difficult for age lines to form.

Oily Skin is Determined by a couple of factors

  • Genetics
  • Humid weather conditions
  • Hormonal imbalance due to puberty or stress
  • Certain cosmetic products
  • Medications
  • Over consumption of excessive oily, spicy or food items containing trans-fat

How to care for Oily Skin?

Those with oily skin should use cosmetic products containing salicylic acid which will not irritate the skin. Organic products based on neem oil or tree tea oil is also good for oily skin. To keep skin pores unclogged and prevent acne-outbreaks buy non-comedogenic cosmetic products.

If you have oily skin exfoliation and toning are must for you as these keep pores clean by washing away dirt and excessive oil. Scrub and tone your skin gently to avoid stripping the skin moisture.

Among the DIY home facials, ripe papaya extract is very good in controlling excessive oils. Apply some papaya pulp or 1-2 papaya slice on your skin and keep it for around 15 minutes. After washing you will notice that your skin looks clear and less greasy.

Dry Skin

Dry Skin. Img: Shutterstock
Dry Skin. Img: Shutterstock

Dry skin is totally opposite of oily skin. Production of sebum is limited in dry skin as a result the skin feels stretched. This lack of natural moisture gives the skin a dried and dull look. The skin also lacks suppleness or elasticity. However, dry skin has no visible pores.

It has been seen that as one ages the skin becomes drier leading to formation of wrinkles. People with very dry skin experience tightening of skin during cold weather. They also have flaky and scaly skin in their heels, knees, elbows, eyebrows and forehead. Itchiness is a common condition in dry skin; it may also lead to redness and rashes.

Factors Determining Dry Skin

  • Genetics
  • Dry weather conditions
  • Hormonal Imbalance
  • Ageing
  • Hot showers
  • Air-conditioners
  • Medication
  • Using cosmetics containing benzoyl peroxide

How to care for Dry Skin?

Applying moisturiser everyday is a must for people with dry skin. The best time to apply moisturiser is right after a shower as this helps to lock-in the skin moisture. Limit your shower time to 5-7 minutes and use warm or lukewarm water instead of hot water because it will rob your skin of all essential oils making drier than usual. 

Dry skin is also more prone to sun sensitivity, so during daytime apply sunscreen. Use natural mild cosmetic products, preferably unscented. Look for ingredients like glycerin, mineral oil, lactic acid, dimithecone, petroleum, hyaluronic acid that are good for dry skin.

Drink plenty of water. Include dairy products like milk, cheese as well as nuts and fish. You can also consume food items containing Omega 3 as it helps to build up skin’s natural oils. Olive and jajoba oil are also beneficial for dry skin.

Use a humidifier to lock in indoor moisture during winter months. Cold weather can be harsh on dry skin; moisture your lips, knees, elbows, heels which are more prone to getting chapped or cracked.

Combination Skin

Combination Skin. Img: Shutterstock
Combination Skin. Img: Shutterstock

It is difficult to identify combination skin. Certain areas of the skin may be oilier than others while some areas tend to be drier. This is also the most common skin type and I have combination skin too. 

Typically in combination skin, the T-zone comprising forehead, nose and chin are oily since there is an overproduction of sebum in those areas. Also just like in dry skin, people with combination skin may have chapped lips, dry palms, elbows and heels. Again there are some areas in combination skin which feel absolutely normal.

Combination Skin Factors: 

There are primarily two factors that determine combination skin – Genetics and environment.

Genetics: Your genes play a big role in determining your skin type. So combination skin is no different. You are born with it.

Environment: Weather can influence our skin condition. Suppose a person is born with oily skin in a tropical area but moves to a place with colder climate eventually. Her/his inborn skin which is oily will remain but since colder places have less humidity the skin will be less oily than before while some areas of the skin may even feel dry. Thus, the oily skin converts into combination skin.

Other factors determining combination are stress or prolonged use of certain medicines.

How to care for combination skin?

Combination skin can be tricky to manage. When using skin care products use mild gel-based cleansers that retain skin moisture but don’t clog skin pores. Look for products having alpha and beta hydroxy acid and retinol.

Among natural facials, you may rub strawberry slices on your skin for 5 to 10 minutes to counter the oiliness. When the skin feels dry apply banana mash with honey and keep it for 15 minutes to provide natural moisture.

Normal Skin

Normal Skin. Img: Shutterstock
Normal Skin. Img: Shutterstock

Like combination skin normal skin may be difficult to identify. It is also rare to find normal skin among adults. Normal skin is actually a well-balanced skin having the right amount of sebum production. Therefore, it is not dry or oily. It feels soft to touch. It may also be sensitivity-proof meaning the skin is not prone to rashes, acne or itchiness or affected by sun sensitivity; although this very rare.

The pores of a normal skin are tight which gives the skin a healthy, glowing look as well as a smooth and uniform texture. Most children have normal skin before hitting puberty.

Factors Determining Normal Skin:

Just like other skin types normal skin is determined by our genes and environment we are in.

How to care for normal skin?

Normal skin care routine is not different from other skin types. Those with normal skin should exfoliate once a week and use mild skin care products. Go for organic brands that have natural ingredients. It is important to maintain balance in the skin so avoid sleeping with your make-up on. Among natural ingredients Aloe Vera is a wonderful ingredient for normal skin as it helps in maintaining the balance between oil and dryness.

Sensitive Skin

Sensitive Skin. Img: Shutterstock
Sensitive Skin. Img: Shutterstock

Many skin specialists don’t classify sensitive skin into a different category since all skin types are sensitive to a certain degree. But there are some individuals whose skin sensitivity actually defines their skin type which means their skin is very sensitive or more sensitive as compared to other skin types.

Most sensitive skin experience rashes, redness and itchiness as a reaction to the thing they are sensitive to. These things could be anything like a particular food item or cosmetic products or sun, or any other item that is serious enough to trigger a reaction in the skin.

Sensitive skin is most common in Caucasians and Asians, who have porcelain skin.

Factors determining sensitive skin

As I mentioned earlier almost all skin types are sensitive to a certain degree. But some individual have skin that is more sensitive than others. But sensitive skin is primarily defined by the genetics.

How to care for sensitive skin?

Since sensitive skin is so easily prone to reactions, those with sensitive skin should be very careful with the skin products they choose. Avoid using chemical-based skin care products instead search for organic products containing natural ingredients. Your dermatologist can also recommend you products that are suited to your skin type.

Can your skin type change?

Yes it is possible that your skin may change with time. A number of external factors also affect our skin type. It has been seen that during childhood or infancy the skin remains pretty normal while during teenage years and adulthood it fluctuates between oily, combination and dry. But as we age our skin tends to be drier as the wrinkles start to form in.

I do hope you found this post informative. I tried to write it as simply and as jargon-free as possible. I would love to know your thoughts. Do show some love in the comment section!

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