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How to Determine Your Skin Type


Maintaining your skin would be much easier if you knew your skin type, right?

Of course!

I am going to give you details on the first step of a professional skin analysis. When a skin care professional is about to perform a facial the first step is performing a proper skin analysis to decide on what treatments and what products would best benefit the client.

The skin type will be determined as well as any skin concerns that need to be addressed in order of importance.

The skin type would be classified as one of the following: oily, dry, combination, or very rarely, normal. Determining the skin type includes observing the size and location of the pores on the face.

Skin with large visible pores all across the skin, including near the ears, is oily skin. Pores are enlarged with this skin type because of the amount of sebum being naturally produced and flowed out of the follicle. Oily skin types will wake up oily or feel oily by morning. Typically, oily skin types have thicker skin and is known to have "orange peel texture". It is often shiny, has a waxy feel, and experiences clogged pores. They are prone to blackheads and may have open or closed comedones.

If the pores are hard to see, even with a magnifying lamp, the skin type is most likely dry or alipidic (lacks oil). Since there is not much sebum flowing through the hair follicle the pores do not dilate as much. Dry skin feels rough to touch, has fine lines, may have small wrinkles and can be flaky. Dry skin is often dehydrated due to the lack of protection the skin struggles to maintain moisture. It is important to remember dry skin lacks oil and dehydrated skin lacks water.

Combination skin is a mix of dry and oily. The characteristics of this skin type is larger pores through the T-zone which shrink in size as it follows the perimeter of the face. Combination skin experiences oiliness within the center of the face and dryness in the areas with less visible pores. This skin type will have similar characteristics to both oily and dry skin. Since many people have combination skin, skin care companies brand their products for this skin type as "normal". If you have combination skin you should purchase products based on your predominant skin type. You might be mostly oily or mostly dry but if you feel like you are evenly both then lean more towards marketed normal or combination products.

Normal skin is the unicorn of skin types; very rare and almost mythical. As a skin care professional I have yet to encounter "normal" skin. People who have normal skin produce a perfectly even amount of water and oil. They are not likely to have reactive, sensitive or allergy-prone skin.

Keep in mind, Dehydration and sensitive skin are not skin types; these are skin conditions that can be repaired. All skin types can experience dehydration and sensitivity!

Learning about your skin can get overwhelming at times because skin characteristics can be based on skin type, conditions, environmental factors, age and your physical and internal health. It is recommended to book facials every 4-6 weeks due to the skin turnover rate. However, that may not always be ideal financially. If you have to budget your facials to maintain the health of your skin it is best to visit a professional 4 times a year, 1 visit per season to prepare yourself and your skin for the season changes.

Taking care of your skin does not have to be a guessing game if you have access to the right resources and a trusted skin care professional. When in doubt consult with a skin therapist!

Source: The Skin Care Answer Book by Mark Lees

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