Skin: it’s our largest, toughest organ, but also often our most finicky. Too much moisture? Break out. Not enough? Turn red and flaky, and then break out. Striking that delicate balance to keep it happy can be tough, but it usually boils down to one thing: what sort of skin type do we have?
First, we need to talk about the different skin types out there that people of all backgrounds have. After all, knowing the skin type may be pointless if we don’t understand what it all means. But first things first – let’s talk about the many different types of skin someone could have. People usually have one of the following skin conditions or types: oily, dry, blemished, combination, sensitive, or mature skin.
That may seem a bit overwhelming to someone who is just trying to take care of their face (we know! Six potential categories!), but they are pretty straight forward. Plus, a lot of information can be guessed from their names alone. Dry? Oily? Blemished? These might seem pretty self-explanatory. However, once someone knows what they are dealing with, only then can they really start to treat their skin the way it deserves to be treated.
To put it simply, skin can become oily when the sebaceous glands in the skin make too much sebum. Some who have oily skin may notice a waxy film over their skin. Now, having some oil is normal and healthy. Signs of oily skin might be that skin has extra shine, overly large pores, or recurring acne. Similarly, makeup may slide right off of oily skin. Unfortunately, oily skin could be due to an individual’s genetic makeup, changing hormones, or even elevated stress levels.
Then there is dry skin. Often, dry skin issues can be traced back to bathing too often, using soap that is too tough on skin, aging, underlying medical issues, or even from the cold itself. Some signs of dry skin could be redness, the skin feeling tight after showering, flaky patches, and recurring itchiness. It’s also an unfortunate reality that everyone may suffer from a form of dry skin, at some point in their lives.
When one has blemished skin, one is often acutely aware. These blemishes can come in many forms, from acne to papules (something like skin lesions) to nodules (think skin tags or moles). Unfortunately, while some blemishes are caused by viruses and infections, others could be due to genetic makeup, because of diet, or even because pores are clogged. These blemishes are visible, and could come in small amounts or, like cystic acne, be more widespread.
Wouldn’t it be nice if skin could pick one type, and stick with it? Unfortunately, sometimes people have combination skin, and yes, it’s a combination of different types of skin all together. Indeed, a good way to tell if there is combination skin is to wash the face, wait a few minutes, and then see if there is more shine on some parts of the skin than others. Otherwise, use a little lotion, and see if some areas are extra oily while some feel just right.
Feel itchy often? Break out into hives at the slightest little thing? Have red, irritated skin? If so, chances are this is sensitive skin. Like blemishes, the things that can cause sensitive skin are vast. It could be an irritant in laundry detergent, dry skin that has become aggravated, eczema, or even allergies! And just like with blemishes, seeing a doctor may be the best way to treat the sensitivity. After all, sensitive skin can leave even a soft wool sweater feeling painful.
While everyone ages at a different rate, sometimes the process starts when we are as young as 25! To understand mature skin, look for signs of dryness, less elasticity, or even age spots appearing, usually on parts of the body most often exposed to the sun. Usually, these changes could be because of a loss of collagen and a slowing in the production of sebum. The most important thing to remember is that this is a normal process that every person will eventually go through!