Skin Types 101 - or - More About Skin

Posted by Mindy Conner on 2/20/2018
Most people when asked about it, would say that their skin type is Normal, or combination, yet the vast majority probably aren’t quite sure what normal (skin) or combination actually means or how to tell. What’s more, they might also be wondering, why knowing about their skin type really matters in the first place? 

I mean, isn’t everyone’s skin a combination of types anyway? 
Why does it matter?

Should I care?
The simple answer is yes, you should. 


Because while we tend to spend the most time and money
on the small “patch of it” on our faces, there's a lot more to it, and of it than that. It’s a vital organ. In fact, it’s the largest organ of the body, without which we would die. And, when properly cared for, it requires little of us and gives much in return. In addition to housing all of our bones, organs and body systems, protecting us from the elements, and pathogens, it’s also a secondary organ of elimination and assists in eliminating toxins. No worries, we're not going to get into all of that today, just some basics, to get you up to speed so that you can actually make informed choices when it comes to understanding and caring for your skin.

What is skin type? Quite simply, it’s a way of measuring the following factors occurring or produced inside your body, on the “flip-side” of your skin, yet, ultimately affecting it on its surface.
The amount of oil (sebum).
The amount of moisture (sweat).
The amount of melanin (the cells that make our skin color and allows the skin to burn or tan)
The level of sensitivity, which affects your skin’s tolerance to certain substances.
There are also internal factors that influence this as well, such as nerve endings and capillaries.

Skin Types

Whether a skin is “normal” dry, oily or a combination of those is dependent on the amount of oil and moisture being produced.

Normal skin is one that has a healthy or balanced amount of water and lipids, with very few visible follicles or imperfections and never becomes too shiny, dry or irritated.

Dry skin also has no visible follicles, feels tight and with less oil being produced than is necessary to protect the skin from dryness, it can be flaky, scaly, rough and at times sensitive, often becoming worse with age.

Oily skin produces too much oil which creates unwanted shininess and can become sticky, and clogged creating enlarged follicles. It can become problematic and worsen by stress, weather, medications and hormonal changes such as puberty, menopause, and pregnancy.

Combination skin types are those that are normal in some areas and dry, oily or sensitive in others.

Norm/Oily skin is balanced overall, with areas of oiliness and shine. It can be prone to breakouts and blackheads if not cleansed and cared for properly. There tend to be more oil glands along the nose, chin and between the eyebrows, and across the forehead, creating an oily “T-zone area” for those with normal to oily skin.  

Norm/Dry is best characterized as a basic normal skin with areas or patches of dryness which occur under certain conditions or weather changes. Skin will tend to become most dry or rough on the outer areas as there are fewer oil glands present.

Age and hormones will affect skin type and change its needs. The amount of oil produced begins to increase at puberty, peaking in early adulthood, and diminishing with age. There are other factors, such as stress, hygiene, environment, and weather. For example, if you live in a very humid area, you may feel very moist and require one type of cleansing routine, if you then change environments and move to the desert or a high altitude where it is very dry, you could experience an extreme change in skin type overnight. The same is true with the change of seasons in extreme temperature fluctuations or drastic changes. For this reason, it’s important to take these things into consideration and change your skin care regimen to address the changing environment and the needs of your skin.

By understanding your own unique skin type, you’ll be better equipped to care for your skin and make the informed choices necessary to save you time and money while improving your choices and outcomes.

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