RECOGNIZE YOUR SKIN TYPE

Normal Skin Type

Normal oil and sweat production, a balanced moisture content of skin and a normal cell cycle with proper cell shedding together form normal skin.

You may not have flaky skin and your skin may not seem like an oil factory, but that does not mean you do not have to take care of it. You need as much skincare as not a person with oily or dry skin.

How does one identify it?

  • Normal skin is neither too dry nor too oily.
  • The pores are barely visible.
  • The skin is free of blemishes.
  • The skin is smooth and radiant.
  • There are hardly any imperfections.
  • The skin does not react adversely to any product.

Causes

  • Your genes!

How does one take care of it?

  • Use a cleanser, moisture and sunscreen in the morning.
  • Use a cleanser, an anti-ageing serum and a moisture at night.

Dry skin type

Skin that produces less sebum than normal skin is termed as dry skin. Normally, lipids, such as ceramids, cholesterol and fatty acids, present in the stratum corneum retain moisture and build a protective barrier against external agents. NMFs such as lactic acid, amino acid and urea help to bind in water. Dry skin lacks adequate lipids and NMFs, resulting in an impaired barrier function. This makes the skin more susceptible to allergies and dullness.

Skin loses water constantly, either by perspiration or through trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL). TEWL is the natural mechanism of passive water loss from the skin by diffusion from the deeper layers of the skin. Excessive perspiration or TEWL also increases dryness.

How does one identify it?

  • The skin feels dry and rough to touch.
  • There are no visible pores.
  • The skin is less elastic.
  • The skin appears lustreless and blotchy.
  • The skin may be flaky and when you run your nails over it, it runs white.
  • Fine lines may be visible.
  • The skin may feel itchy.
  • After washing your face, the skin feels stretched and tight.
  • Extremely dry skin can result in calluses and cracks.

Causes

  • Dry skin may be a result of your genetic composition. A result of which is that you have inherently less lipids in your skin and therefore yours skin produces less oil.
  • The oestrogen hormone can increase hyaluronic acid in the skin, to maintain fluid balance and structural integrity. During menopause, oestrogen is reduced, resulting in dryer skin.
  • In people who suffer from hypothyroidism, the thyroid stimulating hormone (THS) level is high. This can lead to dryness.
  • Diabetes can also result in insulin alterations and dry skin.
  • Just as the body goes through changes while ageing, so too does the skin. Chronological ageing occurs as a natural process. The skin’s ability to produce more collagen or hyaluronic acid or to retain lipids reduces due to cellular DNA damage. Hence, skin becomes drier and thinner. Extrinsic ageging is a result of external wear and tear and sun damage. Interestingly, this results in dry skin too. Water is lost from the keratinocytes in dry weather and during low temperatures, as in cold climates, leating to dry skin.

How does one take care of it?

Slather your skin with a rich moisturizer while it is slightly damp in order to trap the moisture. Look for ingrdients such as shea butter, cocoa butter, vitamin E, squalene, coconut oil and geranium oil in your moisturizer. Use the moisturizer at least twice a day.

Most of the time, moisturizing adequately will solve the problem and reduce itchiness, flakiness, dull skin and fine lines.

Keep your baths short and do not bathe more than once a day. Being in the water for hours causes the skin to dry as the skin cells are depleted of water in the bargain.

Bathe in cold or lukewarm water. Hot water evaporates easily from the skin and tkes away the moisture, leading to dryness.

Use mild cleansing lotions or shower gels. Avoid soap bars. Soap alters the pH of the skin, changing it from acidic to alkaline. This, again, results in dryness.

Do not use scrubs and loofahs. scrubbing can damage the lipid barrier layer of the skin amd result in dryness.

Do not remain in an air-conditioned environment for long hours at a stretch. This dehydrates the skin. More so if ou are sitting in front of the blower. Try to keep the temperature at 24-25°C if you are working in a centrally air conditioned office. Take a ten-minute break and leave the air-conditioned room. Moisturize your skin at least thrice a day, once before leaving for work, once at bedtime and once during your lunch break at work.

Use a humidifer at home if you use room heaters in winter. Indoors heaters are as bad as air conditioners. They zap the moisture from the skin.

Wear gloves when working with detergents and solvents. Detergents and solvents damage the lipid layer of the skin.

Do not use alchohol-based toners and make-up removers. Alchol strips moisture off the skin and increases dryness. Use oil-based make-up removers, balms, micellar water or rose water instead.

Do not use fruit or vegetable juices and packs on the skin. Remember, most fruit and vegetable juices are acidic. Acids can cause irritation and dryness of skin.

If you are undergoing treatments foe acne or pigmentation, you may be given medicines and creams, both of which cause dryness. Isotretinoin, retinoic acid, glycolic acid, salicylic acid, adapalene and benozoyl peroxide will cause dryness. Chemical peels and some laser treatments may also do the same. Do not forget to balance the dryness with the help of moisturizers.

Anti-ageing creams with retinaldehyde or retinoic acid can also cause dryness. Use them thrice a week, alternating with a good hydrating cream containing hyaluronic acid. Make sure you use a sunscreen during the day.

Oily skin type

When sebaceous glands in our skin are hyperactive and produce excessive sebum, the skin is oily. The face and scalp are usually oilier than the rest of the body due to the concentration of sebaceous glands in these areas of the body. Shoulders, chest and back can get oily too.

How does one identify it?

  • The skin feels greasy all the time.
  • There is oil on the face within an hour of washing. There are large pores on the surface of the skin.
  • The skin is more prone to developing blackheads, whiteheads and large pimples.
  • The skin looks shiny all the time.

Causes

  • You may have inherited your parents’ genes and so you have ,ore oil glands in your skin, especially your face and scalp. So your skin produces more oil, typically on the face and scalp.
  • Polycystic ovaries in females and increased dihydrotestoesterone hormone in males can result in oily skin. Hormonal changes in the form of raised androgens during puberty will also result in oily skin.
  • Stress can increase cortisol hormones leading to increased oil production in the skin.
  • Certain medicines, such as steroids, can increase the oiliness of the skin.

How does one take care of it?

  • Wash your face at least twice a day.
  • Use a cleanser containing salicyclic or glycolic acid at least once a day to unclog the pores and cleanse the skin.
  • Use gel or matte sunscreens.
  • Use water-based moisturizer.
  • Do not use oil- or cream-based products on the skin. Look for products which say ‘ non-comedogenic’ ⚊this means they won’t clog the pores.
  • Avoid using milk, cream or high-fat yogurt on the skin.
  • Strictly avoid popping your zits.
  • Avoid scrubbing your often. By doing so, you will strip the skin of its natural oils and damage the lipid layer proctecting your skin. Also, the oil glands will produce more oil as a defence mechanism.
  • Avoid massaging the skin. The oil glands will secret more oil when you do so.

Combination skin type

Combination skin type Combination skin comprises of an oily T-zone while the rest of the skin is either normal or dry. The oily T-zone is caused by an over-secretion of oil sebum. Lack of sebum or oil, and a corresponding lipid deficiency in the cheeks and chin cause dryness in the remaining parts. If the skin is normal in the cheeks and chin, it only means that there is adequate oil secretion in these areas.

How does one identify it?

  • The skin feels normal.or dry on the cheeks but is oily in the T-zone.
  • Acne or blackheads occur on the forehead, nose and chin.
  • Large pores are visible on the nose.
  • T-zone is shiny.

Causes

  • You have more oil glands on your T-zone. The rest of your fave has an optimum number of oil glands.

How does one take care of it?

  • You will have to use a cleanser which is neither drying nor hydrating. A neutral soap-free cleanser works best. Avoid alcohol-based cleansers and toners.
  • You could even use separate products for the oily and dry areas of the face.

Sensitive skin type

Sensitive skin is easily irritated by different factors, such as climate, skincare products and cosmetics, that are generally tolerated by normal skin.

The lipids in the upper stratum corneum of the skin are like the mortar’ to the skin cells, which are the bricks’. Lipids provide permeability and stability and regulate fluids in the skin.

The effectiveness of skin lipids is dependent on enzyme activity, which is often weaker in sensitive skin. Thus, the protective function of the barrier is compromised in sensitive skin. This leads to excessive TEWL and allows irritants and toxins to penetrate the skin. The protection from chemicals, UV rays and pollutants is also compromised.

How does one identify it?

  • The skin may turn red at the drop of a hat.
  • There may be swelling, scaling, flaking, roughness or rashes.
  • There may be itching, burning or a pricking sensation.
  • One may develop a rash if there is a change in climate or environment.
  • One may get eczemas too often.
  • Most skincare products and cosmetics rarely suit people with sensitive skin.

Causes

  • If one has genes where the lipids are deficient or defective from birth, one develops sensitive skin.
  • In the case of females, hormone fluctuations due to the menstrual cycle, pregnancy and menopause can all affect the skin’s resistance to irritants.
  • Inadequate sleep and stress are both known triggers for sensitive skin.
  • Low humidity, prevalent in centrally air-conditioned offices and in aeroplanes and central heating, dehydrates the skin and increases its sensitivity.
  • Heat increases sweating and evaporation of moisture from skin. Cold climates dry the skin. Both can result in sensitive skin.
  • UV radiation and environmental pollutants increase free radicals in the skin, weakening the natural defence mechanisms of the skin and making it sensitive.
  • Creams, oils, lotions and cosmetics containing harsh chemicals, alcohol and preservatives can make the skin more sensitive by damaging the protective barrier layer of the skin.
  • Fragrance is known to cause allergies in sensitive skin.
  • Some surfactants that remove dirt can also remove skin lipids and harm the skin.
  • Medicinal creams, especially steroids, damage the lipids, NMFS and keratin in skin and make it extremely sensitive.

How does one take care of it?

  • Have a diet rich in antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E and omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Make sure to use sunscreen throughout the day.
  • Avoid perfumes, deodorants and any other fragrance- based products.
  • Do not forget to moisturize your skin at least twice a day.
  • Avoid products with heavy synthetic dyes and harsh chemicals.
  • Avoid products with alcohol and parabens.
  • Stick to basic ingredients like aloe vera, coconut oil, glycerine, pantothenol, vitamin B5 and ceramides.
  • Avoid wearing synthetic clothes.

Take a skin test?

Step 1: Wash your face in the morning with a gentle cleanser.

Step 2: Pat it dry with a soft napkin and leave your skin bare.

Step 3: Do not apply anything on your skin for an hour.

Step 4: After an hour, take a tissue and spread it over your face evenly. Dab your skin.

Step 5: Look at the tissue and feel your skin as well.

Tissue paper test
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