Clearly, not all skin is created equal. But besides ethnicity and age, our skin is characterized by its skin type. Your skin type is determined by several factors, including genetics, age, and environment. Your skin type influences things such as water retention, sebum production, sensitivity, and your propensity towards certain skin conditions, such as acne.
Skin is often classified into 4 main types:
- Normal Skin
- Dry Skin
- Oily Skin
- Combination skin
Knowing your skin type is important for choosing the best skin care treatments and products, and customizing your personal skin care routine to promote optimal skin health, delay the signs of aging, and emphasize your best features and natural beauty.
Normal Skin Types
Normal skin, or eudermic skin, is well-balanced skin. Moisture content, sebum production, and other factors that affect the health of your skin are all within normal ranges.
Normal skin is less likely to suffer from skin conditions and appears clear, radiant, and healthy. Normal skin is more likely to occur in younger people.
Characteristics of Normal Skin Types
- Free from skin blemishes
- Pores are fine, hardly visible
- Skin tone is even, clear, and smooth
- Radiant complexion
- Skin is neither too oily or too dry
- Good blood circulation
- Hardy against the elements and irritants
Although free of common skin conditions, individuals with normal skin should still maintain a skin care regime that includes moisturizing, regular cleansing, and preventative skin care treatments.
Dry Skin Types
Dry skin, or Xerosis, is a common complaint that accounts for nearly half of all dermatologist visits. Dry skin can be a result of genetics or environmental factors. People with a dry skin may lack some of the natural moisturizing factors that help the skin retain water and may produces less sebum than other skin types. Sebum is the oil that builds a skin barrier that shields against environmental factors, such as temperature, dirt, and humidity.
Women are more prone to dry skin than men, and all skin, regardless of type or ethnicity, gets dryer as it ages. Certain areas of the body are more prone to dry skin including the hands, arms, legs, palms, and soles of the feet.
Characteristics of Dry Skin Type:
- Skin feels tight and brittle, lacks elasticity
- Skin texture feels rough
- Complexion looks dull and blotchy
- Scaling, flaking, and itchiness may occur
- Prone to redness, irritation and infection
- Barely visible pores
- Chapping and prone to cracking
- Enhances fine lines and wrinkles
Individuals with a dry skin type should avoid skin care products that have drying ingredients, or strip the skin of sebum. Avoid things that can exacerbate dry skin, such as long, hot showers, central heating, certain medications and UV exposure.
Moisturizers that are specially formulated for dry skin is essential, and skin care routines should be adjusted to seasonal changes in the environment.
Oily Skin Types
Oily skin type is caused by overactive sebaceous glands, producing too much sebum. This condition is also known as seborrhea. Individuals with an oily skin type are more prone to certain skin blemishes and skin issues, especially acne.
Like most skin types, oily skin is heavily influenced by genetics. However other factors such as hormonal changes (such as pregnancy or puberty,) stress, certain medications, diet, and choice of skincare products can contribute to oily skin. This skin type is more common in men than women and is more frequent during adolescence and young adulthood.
Characteristics of Oily Skin
- Pores seem enlarged and are visible
- Skin looks thicker and paler
- Prone to various forms of acne, especially in the T- Zone (forehead, nose and chin)
- Skin appears shiny or greasy
- Oily skin looks more plump and less aged
Individuals with oily skin types should wash their face with a gentle cleanser and use skin care products that are noncomedogenic that won’t clog the pores. Excess sebum production can also be treated with certain acne medications.
Combination Skin Types
Combination skin is the most common skin type and is characterized by a mix of oily skin and dry skin in different areas of the face.
Usually, people with combination skin types will have oily skin in their T Zone. This means they have an over production of sebum around the forehead, nose, and chin. Dry skin typically affects the cheeks, mouth, and eyes due to a lack of sebum production in these regions.
Characteristics of Combination Skin Types:
- Oily skin centered around the chin, nose, and forehead
- Especially prone to acne on the chin, nose, and forehead
- Mouth, eyes, and cheeks may have dry or normal skin
- Enlarged pores around chin, nose and forehead
Individuals with combination skin types require different skin care regimes that treat their different skin regions and their specific conditions.