After 21 years in the industry, I am still amazed how little some people understand about their own skin, how it behaves and what skin type they have. It is my experience that people who have a strong understanding about what their skin does and when and react to this knowledge, are the ones who have the beautiful, healthy skin. I often get asked what the secret to beautiful skin is, well I think it is simple “know it and respond to its needs.”
There are three (and only three) skin types and it is directly related to the oil content in your skin. We have either Dry, Normal or Oily skin . Dehydration, sensitivity, acne, lines and wrinkles etc are all skin conditions not skin types. Skin Conditions are mainly treated with serums/boosters, masks and moisturisers. Oily, Normal and Dry skins must look for moisturisers that treat their skin type and current skin condition . The topic of Skin conditions is massive which I will address in future posts.
The rarest skin type is Dry Skin. Dry Skin is defined by its low oil content, it is important to note the determining skin type needs to be done on skin not affected by outside elements like skincare or diet etc. For example if your skin is dry, only after you cleanse, then it may be your cleanser that is the problem. Dry skin people tend to be ethnically from further away from the equator even if they do not live there now. A common misconception is to think that your skin is dry when it is actually dehydrated. Dehydration is a skin condition, not a skin type, caused by a lack of water not oil. It is possible to be dry or oily and dehydrated at the same time. To treat Dry skin it is important to create a perfect balance of lipid and nutrients in the skin. In the past, dry skin products where thick and heavy, modern technology has greatly improved this. Dry skins need to be careful how regularly they exfoliate; doing it too often can exacerbate dryness. When you over exfoliate a dry skin the limited natural lipids (oil) are removed and do not have to assist the skin to replenish itself. Without natural lipids on the skin, it can look dull and greyish and the skin can become fragile and possibly even become sensitive. A lot of dry skins do make the error of exfoliating to remove the flaky dead cells where lipids and nutrients would get a better result. In the salon I rarely exfoliate a dry skin unless it has been a while since my client has done it themselves. So how often should a dry skin exfoliate? It depends on how dry the skin is, I would suggest never more than once a week and more likely every ten to fourteen days.
The most common skin type and I mean almost everyone, has normal skin. A normal skin has oil content present on the infamous T-zone and not really anywhere else. The oil may only become noticeable by mid afternoon unless over stimulated by heat or food earlier. Too many normal skins think they are oily due to a misconception that normal skin has no oil. Some oil present on the skin is actually ideal. The skins oil creates a natural lubrication to keep the skin soft and supple and it also provides great protection from bacteria and other microscopic invaders. A normal skin type does not need to have oil added or matified to be rebalanced and therefore the focus should be of your beauty regime can then be on treating the skin condition. Beauty treatments that protect and focus on skin conditions and your own concerns are the ones to seek out. Normal skins can become dry by over exfoliating or using to harsh a cleanser that over strips the oil from the skin. Normal skins can become oily (even though rare) by using too lipid rich skincare trying to eliminate dehydration. Products with a high oil content are not going to give more water for the hydration that you need . This situation is a prime opportunity to combine a serum/booster that adds more water to the skin rather than going with a heavier moisturiser. Normal skin exfoliating regime should be dictated by the skins texture and or other conditions, for this professional advice is recommended.
Oily Skin is a skin that contains too much oil. Oily skins can produce oil after cleansing anytime from immediately to in a few hours. One of the quickest test I give people to see if they are oily is to ask “rate your oiliness from 1 to 10, (ten being the highest) Oily skin will answer from 8 and above normal skins 4 to 7 and under 4 is dry. There is research coming out that oily skins are diet related and if diet had been ideal the condition would not exist. I personally believe this to be true in only a very few cases. Oily skin does not always have acne or pimples; however they can be most prone. Unfortunately acne and pimples are not exclusive to any skin type , anyone can have them. Oily skins need to search for matifying products that control oil production and that do not stop oil. If you stop oil production you will create a dry skin which is not desired, the desired optimal skin type is normal. Oily skins suffer the paradox of oil protecting their skins and therefore keeping them more youthful looking and yet the oil when trapped in the pores is a haven for breading bacteria that causes pimples. A common error I come across is people with open pores assuming that they have oily skins, open pores are more commonly found in oily skins however not always. Oil in the skin can clog pores especially if the oil has been stimulated with hormones like androgen. If androgen is over stimulated it can produce more oil and thicken the oil in the skin. Androgen can be over stimulated with medications, stress and over exercise. When oil mixes with dead cells in the pores it can cause congestion or pimples. Skins with excess oil should and can exfoliate more regularly up 2 sometimes even 3 times a week. A warning for oily skins to not over cleanse or exfoliate and still add water to your skin with either masks or serums/boosters. Oily skin is often dehydrated, as some matifying products do not contain enough hydrating qualities in the one formulation.
You may have noticed I have not mentioned “combination skin”. A combination skin is often misdiagnosed as oily on the T-zone and dry on the cheeks, in my experience I have never seen this combination. Products created for combination skin are really targeting a normal skin with dehydration. Dry skin is a lack of oil and even though oil is more detectable on the T-zone it is rare to find it absent on the cheeks. In the world according to Anna we all have combinations skins as we seek to treat the combination of skin type and skin conditions.