What Is your skin type?


Simply put, skin type is the description and interpretation of how and why your skin looks feels, and behaves as it does.

The four most common and relatively helpful skin-type categories.

Skin-type categories

skin type
skin type

Normal =(no apparent signs of oily or dry areas)

Oily =(shine appears all over the skin, no dry areas at all)

Dry =(flaking can appear, no oily areas at all, skin feels tight and may look dull)

Combination =(oily, typically in the central part of the face, and dry or normal areas elsewhere)

Often blemish-prone skin is included under the oily or combination skin types, though it is sometimes listed as a skin type all by itself.

Occasionally, sensitive skin may be listed as an individual skin type. However, I feel strongly that all skin types should be considered sensitive, and I’ll explain why in just a moment.

As nice and neat as those four (or six) categories may be, and they are an excellent starting point, the truth is that understanding your skin type is more often than not far more complicated, which is why lots of women find identifying the skin type and elusive, changing puzzle that never settles down in one specific direction.

Yet understanding your skin type is incredibly important, and just not in the way the cosmetics industry approaches it or the way we’ve been indoctrinated to think about it.

First, skin type is never static.

The variations of what is taking place on your skin can not only change season to season but month to month and even week to week.

Adding to the complexity is the strong possibility of skin disorders such as rosacea (which affects more than 40% of the Caucasian population), eczema, skin discolorations, precancerous conditions, blackheads, sun damage, and whiteheads.

Four or six categories of skin type just can’t cover it.

When it comes to determining your skin type you need to forget what you’ve been taught by cosmetics salespeople, aestheticians, fashion magazines, and even some dermatologists.

The typical categories of normal, oily, dry, and combination are good basics, but they don’t address every nuance, and they can change and fluctuate with everything from the weather to your stress levels.

What Influences Skin Type?

Almost everything can influence skin type, which is why it can be so tricky to attribute a single skin type to what you see on your face.

Both external and internal elements can and do impact the way your skin looks and feels.

To effectively evaluate your skin and determine the correct skin-care routine, here are some of the factors that need to be considered:

Internal Influences:

Hormonal changes (pregnancy, menopause, menstrual cycle, and more all-cause skin conditions to fluctuate from oily to breakouts, skin discolorations, and dryness)

Skin disorders (rosacea, psoriasis, dermatitis, with each one posing its specific concerns)

Genetic predisposition of skin type (oily versus dry, prone to breakouts, sensitive skin)

Smoking (cause of necrotic skin that cannot be corrected by skin-care products)

Medications you may be taking (some birth-control pills can increase oily skin and breakouts while other types can actually improve the appearance of acne)

• Diet (there is research showing a diet high in antioxidants and omega-3 and omega-6fatty acids can improve the appearance of skin)

External Influences:

Climate/weather (cold, warm, moist, dry)

Your skin-care routine (over-moisturizing or over-exfoliating, using irritating or drying products, using the wrong products for your skin type can create skin problems that weren’t there before)

Unprotected or prolonged sun exposure (the major cause of wrinkles and skin
discolorations)

Secondhand smoke (see above)

Pollution (creates additional free-radical activity that damages collagen and the skin’s genetic stability)

These complex and often overlapping circumstances all contribute to what takes place on and in your skin, which in turn determines your skin type.

Will Your Skin Type Change?


Absolutely! Another problem with skin typing is the assumption that your skin (and skin type) will be the same forever, or at least until you age.

That, too, is rarely the case.

If your skin-care routine focuses on skin type alone, it can become obsolete the moment the season changes, your work life becomes stressful, or your body experiences hormonal or diet fluctuations or other physical changes, and whatever else life may bring.

To complicate things even more, in any given period you may have multiple skin types!

It is not unusual for women to have a little bit of each skin type simultaneously or at different times of the month or week.

An overview of how your skin behaves and changes is necessary to assess what your skin needs so you can then respond by applying the appropriate
products to those problem areas.

Will I Ever Have “Normal” Skin?


It depends on how you define normal.

As far as the cosmetics industry is concerned, every woman can and should have normal skin.

Yet acquiring normal skin is like trying to scale a peak with a slippery, precarious slope.

At some point, you are going to take a wrong step.

And if you have normal skin, at some point it isn’t going to be normal anymore. Like the rest of our bodies, the skin is in a constant state of change.

Even women with seemingly perfect complexions go through phases of having oily, dry, or blemish-prone skin—and then there are all the issues related to sun damage or merely growing older.

In reality, no one is likely to have normal skin for very long, no matter what she does.

Chasing after normal skin can set you on an endless skin-care buying spree, running around in circles trying everything and finding nothing that works for very long or that makes matters worse.

In any case, identifying skin type is highly subjective.

Many women have really wonderful skin but refuse to accept it. The smallest blemish or wrinkle or the slightest amount of dry skin distresses them.

Or some women see a line or two around their eyes and immediately buy the most expensive anti-wrinkle creams they can find in the hope of warding off their worst imagined nightmare.

This is one of those times where being realistic is the most important part of your skin-care routine.

Combination Skin Is the Most Confusing Skin Type


Identifying your skin type is made a lot more difficult by the all-encompassing combination skin type.

Almost everyone at some time or another, if not all the time, has combination skin.

Physiologically, the nose, chin, center of the forehead, and the center of the cheek all have more oil glands than other parts of the face.

It is not surprising that those areas tend to be oilier and break out more frequently than other areas.

Problems occur when you buy extra products for combination skin because many ingredients that are appropriate for the T-zone (the area along the center of the forehead and down the nose where most of the oil glands on the face are located) won’t help the cheek, eye, or jaw areas.

You may need separate products to deal with the different skin types on your face because you should treat
different skin types, even on the same face, differently

Unseen Skin Types Below the Surface


Another limitation of skin type is that it cannot address skin-care needs that may not be apparent on the skin’s surface.

For example, sun damage is not evident when you are younger, but sun protection is imperative for all skin types.

Oily and dry skin present at the same time, along with some redness, maybe an early sign of rosacea, not just a sign of combination skin, and rosacea is a condition that cannot be treated with cosmetics and is not easily diagnosed.

What you see on the surface of the skin does not always indicate the type of skin-care products you should buy

Skin-Care Products Can Influence Skin Type and Not
in a Good Way!


One other important point:

The skin-care products you use can influence your skin type.

Judging skin type simply by looking at your face and feeling your skin won’t necessarily identify the underlying situation.

For example, if you use an emollient cleanser and follow it with a drying, alcohol-laden toner, and then an emollient moisturizer with a serum underneath, that could very well be causing you to have noticeably combination skin.

Using a moisturizer that is too emollient for your skin could be causing breakouts.

Using skin-care products that contain irritating ingredients could cause dryness, irritation, and redness.

You may think you have a particular skin type, but you may be looking at your skin’s reaction to the products, you are using.

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