What’s your skin type?
Dry, oily, sensitive, normal. Everyone’s skin is different, but these are the most common types. Each has its own, unique characteristics and needs its own special kind of care.
Normal skin is healthy skin. Smooth, firm and elastic, normal skin is free from lesions and disease, well-moisturised and balanced. Most importantly, normal skin is in optimum condition to carry out its essential functions.
Sensitive skin reacts strongly to external factors and allergens. This is because the outer layer – the stratum corneum – tends to have a weakened barrier function, so it can be damaged more easily.
Not all sensitive skin is alike, however, and different people are affected by different things. Some people’s skin may be sensitive to contact with certain products, causing rashes or eczema. Others are affected by weather, diet, pollution, cosmetics or even stress.
Dry skin lacks moisture, leaving it dull and more prone to wrinkles, skin conditions and allergic reactions. The surface of your skin holds around a fifth of your body’s water. Skin components including lipids and proteins form a special ‘bricks and mortar’ structure to retain water. If they are damaged, your skin becomes dehydrated.
A weakened skin barrier interferes with the skin’s ability to keep moisture locked in. So dry skin lets moisture evaporate, leaving it even drier and more in need of extra care.
Oily skin occurs when the sebaceous glands produce too much sebum, or oil, which can make it look shiny or greasy. Excess sebum can also block pores and lead to pimples. Areas most affected are the face, neck, chest and back.
Many people have oily skin during puberty, but some people’s skin is oily all their life, because of predisposing genes or hormones. If your parents had oily skin, you may have it, too. And any hormonal changes – due to menstruation, pregnancy, emotional situations, the transition into menopause – can also cause skin to become oily.
Atopic prone skin
Atopic prone skin is not a skin type, but rather a skin condition. However, it deserves a special mention as many people who have it might not even be aware of it. If your skin is red and itchy, it may be telling you it is atopic prone.
Atopic prone skin is a genetic condition of skin barrier breakdown that increases water loss and skin’s permeability to allergens. As a result, skin becomes dry, reactive and uncomfortable.