Skin Types

Thursday, October 28, 2010 Posted by Matt

Do you know your skin type, and more importantly do you know your skin type from your skin condition?

There are three main skin types and a fourth which includes at least two of them combined together:

                • Oily Skin
                • Dry (allipoid) Skin
                • Normal Skin
                • Combination Skin

    Oily skin: This skin type is characterised primarily by a high shine on the skin's surface. It is also characterised by: blackheads (comedones), open pores and blemishes/spots (papules & pustules). The skin may look yellow or sallow due to the colour of the oil reflecting in the light.

    A person with an oily skin type has over-active sebaceous glands. These glands secrete an oily matter (sebum) into our skin which keeps our skin and hair waterproof and lubricated.
    In a person with oily skin, these glands secrete an excess of oil that builds up on the skin's surface and in the hair follicles. When the oil accumulates in the hair follicle it mixes with dead skin cells and becomes compacted, it then oxidizes at the surface and becomes a black colour (blackhead).

    When the hair follicles get built up with even more sebum it mixes with bacteria and dead skin cells and can cause the skin to inflame and swell. The mixture in the follicle then mixes up together and turns to a pus consistency which pushes up to the surface and causes a blemish or spot (pustule).
    In a person with highly over active sebaceous glands, these pustules appear frequently which is known as a condition called Acne Vulgaris.

    The reason that sebaceous glands become over-active is due to hormone levels in the body. In the teenage years of your life the male hormone Testosterone is released into your body which causes the glands to over-work which is typically the time when people get blackheads and blemishes or spots.
    Hormone levels change all the time throughout our lives and stress has a major impact on this. There is an ever-increasing number of adults suffering with very oily skin and an adult form of acne.
    Oily skin can also be caused by diet changes, medication, the birth control pill and incorrect use of skin care products.

    Dry (allipoid) Skin: This skin type is characterised by dull, rough skin that often flakes away, the pores will be un-noticable. The skin will have a tight feel, especially after cleansing or washing. It will be prone to red patches and often broken capillaries will be noticeable. The skin will most likely become dehydrated too.

    This skin type is the complete opposite of oily skin. The sebaceous glands in this skin are under-active and produce little oil to lubricate the skin and hair. Any oil that is produced will be washed away with cleansing even if only water is used.

    All skin types become genetically drier as we get older as the sebaceous glands slow down, so a person with an oily skin type in their teenage years may well become a person with a dry skin in later life.
    A person with a dry skin condition when they are young will be likely to develop chronically dry skin when they get older.

    With the skin cells not being lubricated by the needed oil (sebum) they start to shrivel up and detach from each other, this causes a flaking look on the skin. This also causes tiny cracks on the skin and water content evaporates from the skin, this is known as dehydration.
    Skin cells can tend to clump together with its flaking action and sit upon the skins surface. Exfoliation is extremely important with this skin type.

    A diet with no fat content can be a big cause of dry skin, this type of diet deprives the skin of Essential Fatty Acids (EFA's). These fatty acids aid our body to circulate oxygen through the bloodstream to our skin and keep it healthy.

    Winter weather has a very drying effect on our skin and winter wind especially dries it out. We tend to use central heating and heaters in the winter months and this artificial heat absorbs moisture from our skin like a sponge. Even people with oily skin types notice their skin tends to dry slightly in the winter months.

    Normal Skin: This skin type is one that not too many people experience. It is well-balanced with oil production being at a level where the skin neither oily nor dry.
    It has an even texture and skin tone and pores are sometimes visible when looked at up close but are not impacted with blackheads.
    Normal skin is very low maintenance and stays in an optimum condition very easily.

    Combination Skin: This generally refers to 'Classic combination skin' - people with an oily forehead and nose, and either normal or dry cheeks.
    However, most people have some sort of a combination in their skin type, and it can combine any of the types above; they may have extreme dryness on part of their skin but the rest is normal or may be very oily but have a patch of dryness somewhere on them.

    Its important to find a good balance of products with this skin type as you don't want to over-dry the skin with product for the oily parts, nor do you want to encourage oil production with products that are too emollient.

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