UNDERSTANDING YOUR SKIN
There are four basic types of healthy skin: normal, dry, oily and combination skin. Skin type is determined by genetics. The condition of our skin can, however, vary greatly according to the various internal and external factors it is subjected to
‘Normal’ is a term widely used to refer to well-balanced skin. The scientific term for healthy skin is eudermic.
‘Dry’ is used to describe a skin type that produces less sebum than normal skin. As a result of the lack of sebum, dry skin lacks the lipids that it needs to retain moisture and build a protective shield against external influences.
‘Oily’ is used to describe a skin type with heightened sebum production. This over production is known as seborrhea.
Combination skin is, as the name suggests, skin that consists of a mix of skin types
How to Identify your skin type
Normal skin has:
- fine pores
- good blood circulation
- a velvety, soft and smooth texture
- a fresh, rosy colour uniform transparency
- no blemishes
and is not prone to sensitivity.
As a person with normal skin ages, their skin can become dryer
Mildly dry skin can feel tight, brittle and rough and look dull. Skin elasticity is also low.
Very dry skin
If the dryness is not treated, skin may develop:
- mild scaling or flakiness in patches
- a rough and blotchy appearance (sometimes it appears to be prematurely aged)
- a feeling of tightness
- possible itchiness
It is also more sensitive to irritation, redness and the risk of infection. Find out more in dry skin.
Extremely dry skin
Certain areas of the body – particularly hands, feet, elbows and knees – are prone to:
- chapping with a tendency to form rhagades (cracks)
- frequent itchiness
Extremely dry skin is most commonly found on the elderly or on severely dehydrated hands.
Oily skin is characterised by:
- enlarged, clearly visible pores
- a glossy shine
- thicker, pale skin: blood vessels may not be visible
Oily skin is prone to comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and to the varying forms of acne.
With mild acne, a significant number of comedones appear on the face and frequently on the neck, shoulders, back and chest too.
In moderate and severe cases, papules (small bumps with no visible white or black head) and pustules (medium sized bumps with a noticeable white or yellow dot at the centre) appear and the skin becomes red and inflamed.
Combination skin is characterised by:
- an oily T-zone (forehead, chin and nose)
- enlarged pores in this area perhaps with some impurities
- normal to dry cheeks