Spending hundreds of dollars on trendy products and still not getting the results from your skin care regimen is exhausting and frustrating. No matter how many serums and creams you douse yourself in, there are still breakouts, there’s texture, and no glow; we’ve all been there.
The answer to this is quite simple and easy to determine. In order to create a skin regimen that works for you, it’s important to understand your skin type.
The four skin types are determined largely by your genetic skin features but it’s important to note that the condition of the skin can vary depending on any number of internal and external factors, but that’s for another day. Characteristics of your skin type are based on how much oil is produced in the follicles from the sebaceous (oil) glands, follicle (pore) size and water content.
Determine Your Skin Type
Start by cleansing the skin with a gentle cleanser for at least one minute; pat your skin dry with a clean towel and do not apply any other products to the skin. Allow for one hour to pass and really pay attention to how your skin naturally looks and feels. Touching your skin with clean hands is encouraged, this will give an idea of texture and oiliness.
Here how to interpret your results:
- Oily: Shiny appearance and feels greasy
- Dry: Dull and lackluster in appearance, feels tight and rough.
- Combination Skin: Oily in the t-zone, dry or normal on the sides of the face or vice versa.
- Normal Skin: soft and hydrated, no oiliness or dryness.
Four Skin Types
Normal is considered to be well balanced, meaning sebum (oil) production and hydration (water) levels are within a normal range and skin metabolism is functioning in a healthy manner. The skin’s follicle size is small, the texture is smooth, supple, and the complexion is bright and clear. Normal skin may not be susceptible to the same conditions other skin types experience, although normal skin has the potential to be drier, as skin metabolism slows down with age.
The goal in treating normal skin types is to maintain the integrity of the skin and focus on preventative treatments.
Oily skin is caused by overactive sebaceous (oil) glands; the skin can feel thicker in texture and firm. The skin’s follicles are visible and enlarged in size similar to that of an orange peel. Due to the overproduction of oil, follicles can become clogged causing blemishes. Over exfoliation and excessive drying of the skin can lead to increased oil production.
The goal in treating oily skin is to reduce the overactivity of the oil glands, keep pores unclogged and promote healthy oil-water balance.
Dry skin is the result of an underactive sebaceous gland. The skin’s follicle size is fine and non visible; looks flat similar to a wall and appears tight, dull and lackluster in appearance. Since there is a lack of oil and lipid production in the skin, there is no lubricant to keep the moisture locked in the skin resulting in transepidermal water loss. With water content lacking in the skin, fine lines and wrinkles become more visible.
The goal in treating dry skin is to nourish and hydrate the skin, preventing transepidermal water loss (TEWL) as well as exfoliate dry skin cells that have accumulated due to inability to properly shed.
Combination skin is the blend of both an oily and dry skin type. The follicle size tends to be larger in the t-zone; there is increased oil production and there may be a buildup of dead skin cells and clogged pores in the center of the face. Sides of the face may be dry or flaky and follicle size is finer.
The goal in treating combination skin is to regulate the overproduction of oil in the t-zone and keep pores clear, preventing acne. While simultaneously keeping dry areas moisturized and increasing hydration levels.
Skin’s Barrier Function & Skin
Skin type plays a role in how well your natural skin barrier is functioning.
When skin is functioning optimally, we have what’s called an acid mantle that serves as a barrier layer of protection to keep the skin from drying out or allowing external factors that can damage it in; it consists of sebum, lipids, water and sweat. Oil-water levels are balanced and the skin maintains a pH of 4.5-5.5. For some (normal skin types) this occurs naturally, while for others (oily, dry, combination) it does not.
When the natural barrier is not functioning properly, your skin may not be producing enough lipids/oils and not retaining water in the skin which causes the dry skin type. Alternatively, producing too many lipids and oil causes the oily skin type. In order to pinpoint what the skin needs, you have to understand what it already does and plug in what’s missing in your skin puzzle. The goal is to achieve oil-water balance and support the natural barrier function of the skin.
Now that you have an idea of what skin types are, stay tuned for when we discuss the conditions that often accompany these skin types and which ingredients and professional treatments work best!
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