What is my skin type? Making the right choices about your skin care starts with knowing your skin type. Different skin types are genetically determined but choosing the best skin care for your face and body is essential to care for your skin’s health, slow the ageing process and look after yourself. It helps to know your skin type to help with a skincare regime and selecting the most appropriate products. Skin types include:
Some people also have a combination of skin types in different areas of their skin. Your skin type can change over time.
Skin types vary depending upon a combination of factors. They include your skin’s:
• Water content, which affects your skin’s comfort and elasticity.
• Lipid (oil) content, which affects your skin’s softness and nutrition.
• Level of sensitivity, which affects your skin’s tolerance to certain substances.
Here’s what you need to know about what skin type you have and how to take better care of your skin.
Normal skin type
If you have a normal skin type, you’re lucky to have skin that has a good balance and the right amounts of water and lipids. Normal skin has:
• No or few imperfections
• No severe sensitivity
• Barely visible pores
• A radiant complexión
A normal skin type has good circulation and there will not be any trace of sebum (or oil) on the tissue. Normal skin is soft, with a smooth, even skin tone.
Most people have normal skin, but to maintain its good condition, it’s important to minimize its exposure to the sun. A facial sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 is ideal for preventing wrinkles and other sun damage.
Dry skin type
Dry skin can produce:
• Almost invisible pores
• Dull, rough complexion
• Red patches
• Less elasticity
• More visible lines
When exposed to drying factors, skin can flake, crack, peel or become itchy, irritated or inflamed. If your skin is very dry, it can become rough and scaly, especially on the backs of your hands, arms, and legs.
Dry skin may be caused or worsened by:
• Ageing or changes in hormones
• Weather such as wind, sun, or cold or ultraviolet (UV) radiation
• Indoor heating
• Long hot baths and showers
• Ingredients in soaps, cosmetics or cleaning agents
Sometimes, severely dry skin can become itchy and painful, leading to a condition called eczema.
Treatment of certain medical conditions can sometimes lead to dry skin. For example, breast cancer treatment may stop hormone production which could in turn affect the quality of your skin.
Naturally-occurring menopause can have the same effect; most women begin to experience drier skin as they hit their late forties.
Dry skin can be flaky and easily irritated. It’s more sensitive.
The extreme version of dry skin is sensitive skin.
Sensitive skin type
If your skin is sensitive, it’s helpful to find out why so you can stay away from things that make it react. You may have sensitive skin for a variety of reasons, but often in response to particular skin care products.
Sensitive skin can show up as:
Having a sensitive skin type can mean different things to different people. It can be caused by skin conditions such as rosacea, eczema or allergies. Sensitive skin can become inflamed and irritated easily. It is important to choose the right skin care for sensitive skin because many cleansers and moisturisers contain ingredients that can cause an adverse reaction.
It’s important to realise that even natural or organic ingredients, such as essential oils and fragrance, can cause reactions in sensitive skin.
Common skin irritants include:
• Bath soaps
• Eye cosmetics
Combination skin type
A combination skin type can be dry or normal in some areas, and oily in others, such as the T-zone. The T-zone is the nose, forehead, and chin area. A common skin type, combination skin may benefit from slightly different types of skin care in different areas.
Combination skin can produce:
• Overly dilated pores
• Shiny skin
This type of skin results from genetic or hormonal factors that cause an imbalance in how much and where lipids are produced. It can also vary, depending on the weather.
Sometimes a variety of products are needed to treat combination skin. You may have to treat different parts of the face slightly differently.
Oily skin type
This identified by an excess of oil (the technical term is sebum) on the face.
Oily skin is more common in youth. It occurs when glands in the skin secrete too much oil (lipids). Oily skin can produce:
• Enlarged pores
• Dull or shiny, thick complexion
• Blackheads, spots or other blemishes
Oiliness can change, depending upon the time of year or the weather. Oily skin can be caused or worsened by:
• Puberty or other hormonal imbalances
• Exposure to heat or too much humidity
The primary test for determining if you have oily skin is when you start to feel some oil on your face. Most people can feel a little oil by late afternoon, but if you feel oil around midday, you have oily skin. Oily skin rarely reacts negatively to skin products like dry, sensitive skin types do. It has slightly better natural sun protection, but is also prone to acne.