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The skin type test to know your skin
Identifying your correct skin type could be harder than you think. We all want to look the best we can, especially considering the time and money we invest in our skin care, so choosing the right products to match our needs is an important issue.
Skin type is one of the most important factors influencing our decisions when it comes to choosing skin care routines and specific products. So we need to be careful when categorising our skin, as some products we think might help can actually make conditions worse.
What influences skin type?
With so many factors affecting our skin on a daily basis, it can be quite tricky to identify an exact skin type. External factors such as humidity, cold winds and the sun effect our skin, as well as internal factors including hormones, health problems, medication and diet.
Emma Hobson, Education Manager (Asia, Australia & New Zealand) of The International Dermal Institute explains, “A common mistake people make is not understanding what skin type they have and what condition it is currently in. A skin type is determined genetically (predominantly by our parents) and can be directly measured by the amount of oil in the skin. Overactive sebaceous activity will produce an oily skin, and underactive sebaceous glands will produce a dry skin.”
Hobson says there is very little that can be done to influence or change this, and our skin type only changes very slowly with time (unless influenced by medication).
The older we get, the less oil our skin produces. There are some people whose skin is very oily when young, hence they still have an active oil flow in their 50s and sometimes even in their 60s. Though for women going through menopause, skin may change quite dramatically.
“What people tend to notice and experience with the changes to their skin is the condition, such as increased dehydration, increased sensitivity, congestion and breakouts, hyper-pigmentation and premature ageing,” Hobson advises. “These conditions can certainly be changed with effective treatment.”
Other factors that influence the skin condition include stress, surgery and illness. These conditions affect all skin types and will regularly change, possibly from day-to-day.
Identifying your skin type
Most cosmetic companies put skin types into five categories. Now that we understand our skin can have different needs at different times, these skin types will give you a general overview of what to look for.
This skin type has a balanced oil and water content. It is smooth and even with tiny pores. Normal skin very rarely gets blemishes or feels oily or dry.
This type of skin has overactive sebaceous (oil-producing) glands, which makes the face shiny, especially down the central panel of your nose, forehead and chin. Pores are usually enlarged, making it prone to blackheads and pimples.
This type of skin lacks both sebum and moisture. It looks fine-textured, transparent, patchy and fragile. This type of skin flakes and chaps easily compared to other skin types. Pores are barely visible. Tiny expression lines may be obvious.
This skin type is generally oily down the central panel and dry on the cheeks. The forehead, nose and chin need extra attention, as they may be prone to clusters of blackheads and enlarged pores.
This type of skin reacts externally and internally to changes in life. It can be both oily and dry and may be easily disturbed by skincare and cosmetics. It tends to be blotchy and have broken capillaries. Sensitive skin may also have a flushed or reddened look and feel tight or itchy. It may require a consultation with a dermatologist in serious cases.
Apart from these major skin types, there may be other exaggerated versions, like dehydrated skin, acne-blemished skin and visibly ageing skin.
Choosing the right skin care
To successfully address your different skin conditions, Hobson has some very helpful recommendations. “When choosing a cleanser and moisturiser, your first focus is to choose one that matches your skin type (based on the oil flow of the skin), with added benefits for various skin conditions. For instance, an oil-free moisturiser for oily skin with salicylic acid for congestion.”
Appearance: Flaky, tight on surface, very fine lines, blackheads can be present
Cause: Lack of moisture, incorrect product use, diet, environment, medications
Prematurely ageing skin
Appearance: Wrinkles, pigmentation, poor circulation, dry
Cause: Genetics, sun, stress, free radicals, smoking
Products for ageing skin:
Congested and oily skin
Appearance: Open pores, congestion below the surface, possible inflammation, pustular breakouts and papules (raised red spots)
Cause: Hormonal imbalance, comedogenic ingredients, smoking, pollution, friction
Products for congestion:
Clarigel Exfoliating Cleanser
Products for inflammation and pustular breakouts:
- Claudia DeBono
What skin type do you have? What are your go-to skin care products?
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