Have you ever hit the shops in a frenzy because you are out of the all-important day moisturiser only to be stopped dead in your tracks when the lady behind the counter asks ‘what skin type was the moisturiser for?’.
Take this checklist to see where you’re at. Remember that your skin responds differently to the weather and may be normal for several months and turn drier for the next few months. Time also affects the skin so it is more common, for example, for a younger person to have normal skin than older people. Other factors affecting the condition of your skin include hormonal changes, stress and anxiety, medication, exposure to temperature and humidity.
Normal Skin has little or no blemishes, with very small pores and no sensitivity to skin products. It looks healthy, with even skin tone and complexion, and has a good balance of water (moisture) and elasticity.
Sounds like heaven doesn’t it? That’s because it is. If you have normal skin, all you need to do is to maintain a daily cleanse, tone and moisturise routine to protect your skin. Throw in a scrub once a week and you’re ready to roll.
Dry Skin is thinner and easily irritated and may feel ‘tight’ with some red patched on the skin. There are visibly dry or rough patches of skin in the drier areas and can be flaky, peel, crack or feel scaly. This will look and feel worse in winter. Fine lines develop and are more visible earlier than in other skin types.
You will need a gentle cream cleanser and a rich moisturiser for your daily facial cleansing and an exfoliation once a week.
Oily Skin is easy to spot. It is shiny and often accompanied with blackheads, blemishes and pimples. The medium to larger pores on the skin are susceptible to clogging, hence the blackheads and breakouts. On the plus side, the skin is thicker and less sensitive to chemicals, detergents or perfumes.
To manage oily skin, wash your face twice a day with a mild cleanser and exfoliate every third day. Use an astringent mask once a week and avoid heavy creams. Instead, use oil-free lotions and make the toner your best friend. Avoid over-stimulating the skin.
Problem Skin is usually brought on by an excessively oily skin condition. The pores are very large and when squeezed, they produce a sebaceous discharge. It is prone to acne and frequent breakouts and blemishes.
Do not pop pimples and acne as this may result in scarring. Wash your face twice daily with a mild cleanser or try a gel cleanser. Consult a dermatologist to get a skin management programme going. Avoid aggravating the skin (and acne) with hats or clothing which may chafe or trap moisture in the area. Use sunscreens and avoid tanning booths and the sun or go for spray tanning instead.
Combination Skin is dry or normal in some areas but oily in others, commonly in the T-zone i.e. forehead above the eyebrows, down the nose and sides of the nose, to the chin. The skin is shiny in the T-zone with some blackheads and blemishes.
Different cleansers for the oily and dry areas of the skin may be required with exfoliation once or twice a week, depending on which condition the skin leans towards. As with the cleansers, different types of masks may be required to for the dry and oily parts of the skin.
Sensitive Skin reacts to stimulants which could include the sun, wind, temperature changes, creams, fragrances, soaps, deodorants and the list goes on. The skin becomes dry or red when coming in contact with the allergen, turning itchy, stinging or blotchy later on.
Visit a dermatologist to find out what your skin is sensitive to and avoid them. This may include shower soaps/gels, moisturisers and beauty products.
Skin types should not be mistaken with skin conditions and skin diseases which may require medical intervention. Rosacea is one such common skin condition with symptoms including flushing, pimples and broken blood vessels. Treatment includes the use of anti-inflammatories and/or photo rejuvenation sessions. Contact dermatitis and eczema on the other hand can be caused by allergens and irritants, which when identified can be treated accordingly.