Knowing your skin type can help you choose better skincare options.
People with normal skin do not experience excessive dryness, oiliness or skin sensitivity and do not often experience the problems associated with other skin types. Normal skin is less sensitive to skincare products, exfoliation etc.
Dry environments such as low humidity (i.e. winter, or prolonged exposure to air conditioning) can cause normal skin types to change to a dry skin type and become itchy (so-called "winter itch").
Oily skin is a common complaint, especially for adolescents.
Many people with moderate to severe oily skin often complain of needing to wash their faces several times a day but their skin can still look shiny a few hours after washing. Makeup and foundation can be difficult to apply to oily skin and may cause streaking. People with oily skin often find skincare products make the oiliness of their skin worse.
Oily skin conditions can range from a mild oiliness which is cosmetic burden to a true skin disease manifesting as acne.
Dry skin has a lower than normal water content in the topmost layer of the skin. When skin becomes too dry, the outer skin layers stiffen and may develop cracks. The cracks can become deeper, irritated, inflamed and itchy.
Frequent bathing and showering using hot water, foaming cleansers, fragranced bubble baths, and bath salts can wash off the healthy and normal barrier of the skin by stripping away important oils, causing dryness.
Most people who complain of having dry skin find it difficult to cope with environmental elements that adversely affect the water-retaining properties of the skin.
Environmental Agents That Can Lead to dry Skin
- Hot water
- Air conditioning
- Friction from clothing
- Other chemicals
Dry skin occurs more during the autumn and winter months because of low humidity and excessive bathing in hot water. Dry skin occurring especially at this time of year is called "winter itch" because it is usually at its worst during that season.
Dry Skin may develop into eczema or contact dermatitis if it is often stressed or irritated.
Many people describe themselves as having either dry or oily skin. In reality, however, it is possible to have dry skin on parts of the face and oily skin in the T-zone area (forehead, nose and chin). This is commonly called combination skin. People can also have oily skin on their face and dry skin on the body because arms and legs generally have fewer oil glands.
Sensitive skin is a condition where the skin over-reacts to environmental factors. People who experience sensitive skin often report that they react strongly to topical personal care products. This reaction can vary from itchiness or stinging without visible marks or a rash.
Up to half of the population describe themselves as having sensitive skin. Skin sensitivity can have a number of triggers:
- Mechanical irritation-this can be caused by shaving, friction with rough textured clothing or latex gloves
- Intolerance to products applied to the skin, soaps and detergents, surfactants, alcohol, fragrances.
- Sensitivity to the environment such as heat, rapid changes in temperature, wind or dry air, spicy food.
People with sensitive skin can be classed as having either:
- Burning and Stinging
- Contact dermatitis, eczema and psoriasis