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Understanding Skin Types

The Basics: Skin Types

More often than not, majority of people simply do not know or understand what their skin type is.

When shopping for products for the face and body, majority individuals choose products based on what their skin type is.   If you have never been to a professional licensed aesthetician or Dermatologist to have a complete and thorough skin analysis,  it is most likely that one would try to guess what skin type they have.

The idea of classifying skin into "skin types" was developed so that consumers, companies and professionals could have a common terminology and difference when categorizing the skin.     The skin types that most people are familiar with are dry, oily and normal.   Over the last 5-10 years, people have included sensitive and dehydrated skin as skin types.  

Classifying skin into a particular skin type is based on the amount of oil secretions that are visible and present on that skin.    Many individuals confuse skin types with skin conditions.  For example, one could have a dry skin type, with sun spots, diffused redness, and wrinkles.  The sun spots, diffused redness, and wrinkles would be classified as the skin conditions present in that dry skin type.  Another example, an oily skin type can experience sensitivity, dehydration and wrinkles, which are the skin conditions. Skin type categories, such as dry, oily, or normal do not tell us about all  the "skin conditions" that are present in that skin type.  Skin type categories are the starting point, however, it is the "skin conditions" that people are wanting to improve, normalize, or correct. Sensitivity can occur with any skin type as well as dehydration and blemishes.

Aesthetic professionals, that are highly skilled and expertly trained, will not only determine the basic skin type, but will also identify the various skin conditions that are present in that particular skin.    It is absolutely essential to know your skin type and skin conditions because it helps one know how to care for the skin properly and what products, treatments/procedures should be avoided and what are most effective for that skin type.   Knowing your skin type and the skin conditions that are present in the skin, one can achieve beautiful, healthy skin.


Step One: Determine Skin Type

Determining the skin type starts by looking at sebaceous activity( the amount of oil/sebum) on the skin. One needs to look at the over-all majority of the skin, rather than focusing on one area of the face.     Lack of oil on the entire face, referred to as underactive skin, is dry skin type.  Oil all over the face, referred to as overactive skin, is oily skin type.   When the face has areas that are oily and areas that are dry, this is referred to as combination skin type. A skin that has oily areas with some dry areas, this is referred to as combination-oily skin type. While a skin that has more dry areas with few oily areas, is referred to as combination-dry skin type. Cleansers, toners, astringents and moisturizers are chosen based on the needs of that particular skin type.  Weather, seasons, and lifestyle concerns can change how a particular skin type behaves, therefore the cleansers, toners, astringents, and moisturizers should be adjusted through out the year.

The Basic Skin Type Categories:

  • Dry Skin Type
  • Oily Skin Type
  • Combination-Dry Skin Type
  • Combination-Oily Skin Type

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