UNDERSTANDING YOUR SKIN TYPE
Skin types can change with lifestyle, seasons, age, health and your personal environment; your skin can change daily weekly and monthly it’s helpful to know your current skin type and conditions so you can determine the most suitable skin care products and lifestyle changes to support your skin's individual needs. The key to having healthy vibrant skin is correctly assessing your skin. Using the wrong products can have your skin confused and struggling.
THE HOLISTIC APPROACH TO YOUR SKIN TYPE
Understand that your body, emotions and environment are interconnected; these lifestyle triggers have a big influence on the health of your skin. When assessing your skin it’s important to look at the whole picture, including your diet, emotional wellbeing, the climate and weather, your age, hormones, digestion, gut health and more.
This holistic method is not a quick fix, as many of today's beauty concepts rely on, surgery, fillers, Botox and the latest "miracle in a jar". How you look and feel about yourself runs deeper than the skins surface, it's finding your confidence, it's living well and feeling good inside, thus radiating beauty from within.
THE STEPS TO FIND YOUR INDIVIDUAL SKIN TYPE
I have outlined below an explanation of skin types and skin conditions with the lifestyle triggers that can cause skin problems,
Including a client example to help you assess your own skin. This introduction is just a starting point for your journey, To find your way through your personalised skin type maze, you will need to gather information and clues. Your individual skin type is not a one size fits all approach. Ask yourself questions, take a look at your lifestyle triggers and start putting the puzzle together.
BECOME YOUR OWN SKINS EXPERT
Throughout the year I will be posting monthly in-depth articles in the Miskin Wellness blog on many different topics to help you on your skin care journey:
• Learn about beauty as self-wellness.
• Arm yourself with knowledge.
• Become your own skins expert.
• Learn the steps you can take to achieve your best skin naturally.
• Learn the why and how to tackle your skin condition
• Achieve your skin care goals
"Miskin" means taking charge of your skin's health and making a positive change.
My skin, My choice, My health
START BE EVALUATING SKIN TYPE AND SKIN CONDITIONS
The first step; identify your genetic skin type. Your genetic skin type revolves around the amount of sebum and lipids found between the cells of the skin; you could be oily, dry, combination or balanced. Assess your skin first thing in the morning before washing or moisturising. Touch your skin feel and note the texture and colour. Take a look at the different skin types and skin conditions below.
Your skin is influenced by both intrinsic (genetic) as well as extrinsic (external) factors. SKIN TYPE is determined genetically and is one of the many aspects of your overall appearance, which also includes color of eyes, skin and hair, etc. The dryness or oiliness levels indicates your intrinsic or genetic skin type Different Skin Types: DRY, OILY, COMBINATION, BALANCED.
Oily/Lipidic skin; Make-up seems to slide off after a few hours, heat and humidity tend to increase sebum, cooler temperatures work better for this skin type.
- Overactive sebaceous glands gives skin a shiny appearance even within an hour of cleansing the skin
- Oily skin tends to have medium to large pores in T-zone and outer cheeks
- Maybe prone to acne but usually has clogged pores
- In cold and dry weather skin dehydration may occur (combination skin)
- Skin is thick and coarse
- Maybe sallow ( cause, excess sebum, dead trapped skin cells, sluggish blood and lymph circulation
GOAL: Deep cleansing, remove build up of dead skin cells hydration & sebum regulation. Build and strengthen skin barrier
Oily and dry areas of the face. This skin type can shift towards being balanced during summer and dry during winter time. Balanced to oily has a wider T-zone and more areas of oily than dry. Balanced to dry has a narrow T-zone and has more dry areas.
- Usually oily on the T-zone,
- The T-zone can have enlarged pores, cheeks medium to small and be prone to blackheads and breakouts
- Dehydrated/Dry Flaky areas on cheeks, neck and around eye area
- Tightens in cheek area
- oily areas skin thick, thinner in other areas
- Sallow in oily areas, sensitive and red in dry areas
GOAL: Balance. Build and strengthen skin barrier
Balanced skin is the desired result of all other skin types and is very rare. Maintenance and preventative care are the goals for this skin type.
- Balance of dry and oily skin,
- Maintained skin barrier,
- Maybe free from blemishes but may form blackheads,
- Pores are normal in size,
- Can become more like combination skin with changing weather conditions
GOAL: To maintain balanced skin. Protect and maintain skin barrier
Skin lacks natural oil/ lipids (Alipidic) content and the ability to hold moisture to the skin which means it can develop fine lines and wrinkles more than other skin types. This skin type usually has small pores sebum is minimal. Dry skin loves humidity; winter air can rob the skin's moisture.
- Dry, flaky
- Tight skin feel
- Rough textured
- Feels taught immediately after cleansing
- Poor elasticity lacks tone and suppleness
- Increasing the tendency to wrinkle and create fine lines
- Doesn't absorb products easily
GOAL: To keep moisture in the skin. Build and strengthen skin barrier
SKIN CONDITIONS are generally treatable imbalances of the skin that are often related to extrinsic factors such as diet and environment, but can be linked to a genetic component. A skin type can be prone to certain skin conditions.( eg oily skin prone to acne and blemishes) Skin Condition: DEHYDRATED, BLEMISH PRONE, REDNESS, PIGMENTATION, SENSITIVE /SENSITIZED, PHOTO AGING / PREMATURE AGING.
SENSITIVE AND SENSITISED SKIN
Sensitive skin is caused by a genetic predisposition and tends to be prone to blushing, asthma, allergies and easily sunburns ,and is permanently delicate. Sensitised skin caused by prolonged exposure to pollution, stress, climate and chemicals, which can be treated and prevented. Sensitive and sensitised skin is generally characterised by an inflammatory reaction where the skins natural barrier is already damaged or delicate and unable to protect itself from the environment.
- Allergic or irritant contact dermatitis / scaling and itching
- Blushes easily (sensitive)
- Possible blemishes and inflammation
- Burning stinging
- Displays coupersose conditions (dilated or expanded capillaries)
- Thin epidermis blood vessels close to the skin surface (sensitive)
- Genetic usually with delicate fair skin tone (sensitive)
GOAL: To reduce inflammation and calm redness. Strengthen skins natural barrier.
Lacking in hydration/moisture in the skin's tissues & can affect any skin type. Skin is made up of 70% water - around 20-30% of that is in the epidermis (top layer of the skin).
- Tightness, flakiness, scaly
- If gently tugged the skin crinkles
- Lack of radiance
- Feels rough not smooth
- Loss of elasticity
- Premature aging
- Superficial lines and flaking
- Absorbs moisturisers really quickly
GOAL: Eliminate triggers. Attract & hold water to the skin
MATURE / PHOTOAGING / PREMATURE AGING SKIN
Intrinsic and extrinsic ageing.
- Loss of tone firmness, lipids with many fine lines and wrinkles,
- May have sun/age spots (hyperpigmentation) uneven skin colouration / diffused redness
- Rough texture
- Skin tends to lack vibrancy and lustre - lack of "Glow
- Dull, lifeless appearance
- Large stretched pores
- Looks less plump and smooth
GOAL: To maintain collagen, hyaluronic acid and elastin. To build and maintain moisture and hydration To improve tone and texture. Prevent accelerated ageing,
The Fitzpatrick skin type scale is another very useful tool to help you assess your individual skin type.
ACNE / BLEMISH PRONE SKIN
Sebum is a natural oil that makes the skin soft and waterproof. It reduces water loss from the skin surface and protects the skin from infection by bacteria and fungi. Sebum dead skin cells and bacteria can clog pores and create a blemished skin.
Can have any type of blemish, but generally starts off in this order:
- Open comedones [blackhead]
- Closed comedones [whitehead]
- Papule [raised bump type pimple - usually pink or flesh coloured]
- A pustule [raised bump that has pus in it from inflammation
- Nodule [raised bump type lesion that is larger than a papule and usually painful
- Cyst [deep pustular type infection - caused by intense inflammation in the pore
- Skin which naturally over produces oil
- Clogged pores
- Typically large pores on forehead, nose, chin, cheeks
GOAL: Eliminate triggers. Balance sebum, kill harmful bacteria, remove cellular build up from follicle. Calm inflammation. Prevent further breakouts
REDNESS / VASCULAR SKIN
This skin type can be associated with temporary or chronic reddening and flushing of the skin. (sub-stage to rosacea) Couperose is more common in people with thin or weak elasticity of the capillary walls of their skin.
- Broken capillaries or thread veins twisting around on the surface of the skin (visible to the naked eye)
- Tends to be easily irritated
- Skin tends to flush when exposed to irritating substances/products
- Redness can affect any skin type, but dry and thin is the most common
- Intense red flushing
- Persistent redness
- Patches of redness especially on nose and cheeks
GOAL: To eliminate triggers. Reduce redness and calm inflammation, strengthen and protect capillaries. Decreased immune response. Build skins natural barrier.
HYPERPIGMENTATION / UNEVEN SKIN TONE
Can be caused by factors such as UV-induced, hormones (Melasma), skin injured by inflammation.
- Pale patchiness of diffused discolouration
- Brown patches/sun spots
- Melasma (irregularly shaped spots) usually found on forehead cheeks and upper lip; hormone related often appears during pregnancy
- Post-Inflammatory hyper-pigmentation looks a little like a scar but is the pigment that is produced when skin is inflamed by an injury or a swollen pimple; these will eventually fade with time.
GOAL: Eliminate triggers. Fade pigmentation on the surface of the skin. Inhibit tyrosine enzyme.
YOUR SKIN IS ALIVE
Your skin is a living organ that changes continually with external and internal influences. Your genetic skin type may have a tendency towards certain skin conditions, e.g. oily skin can be prone to acne and congestion.
You are a unique individual. Just like your skin. Your skin can react to Internal and external triggers that can influence your individual skin type. There can be many layers to uncover before you find the different triggers. Here are some examples below
Weather hot cold humidity seasonal changes
Skin care products
Heating/ cooling/ humidity in home and work
Chlorine in bathing water
Allergies food and environment
Different life stages can trigger certain skin imbalances. Look at your skin type at different life stages. Think about your emotions and how you were feeling:
Moving to a different city or county
Change in your work environment
Change in your diet
60's and beyond
Jane is in her 30's. She grew up in Brisbane, which has a relatively humid summer and dry air winter. When Jane was a teenager, she experienced an oily T-zone with small to medium sized pores and minimum breakouts. Her skin reacted with her emotions when she was embarrassed, her cheeks and chest would go bright red. Her skin would act the same way with heat.
Acidic products such as AHA exfoliants would cause red patches for extended periods with stinging. Her Fitzpatrick type is 2 she has blonde her and blue eyes. Her skin has a red tone with a few freckles on her cheeks and no freckles on the rest of her body.
In her 20s Jane moved to Perth which tends to have dry air all year. She found her skin feeling dry and taut most of the time which made her skin sensitive to most products. Jane no longer had an oily T-zone. She used heavy creams, but it didn't seem to help the dryness. She worked all day in an office with air conditioning and came home to air conditioning.
In her 30s she became concerned with premature ageing. Jane noticed crepe paper like skin around her eyes mouth and forehead where a lot of fine wrinkles were appearing. Janes all over skin tone had become patchy with redness and broken capillaries. She had been concerned with her weight recently and had been on a low-fat diet; she had been feeling overwhelmed and stressed with work issues.
Her skin goals are to combat the dryness and tightness she feels in her skin; she wants her skin to look plump and dewy, to soften her wrinkles and even out her red blotchy skin tone.
LOOKING AT THE WHOLE PICTURE
Janes skin was fairly balanced in her teenage years. She is prone to sensitive skin issues, which correlates with her Fitzpatrick skin type. Her skin reacts to environmental changes in which dry air robs her skin from moisture causing dry dehydrated and premature ageing.
Also, her low-fat diet is not feeding the skin cells the beneficial oils it needs to keep her skins natural barrier intact and her skin cells plump and healthy.
Jane is in her late 30's, and her skin is now producing less sebum (oil) to protect and lubricate. The thick cream has been a protective barrier but has not sufficiently hydrated the skin, as the cream is low in skin hydrating ingredients. Janes, natural skin barrier, has become compromised its causing red patches and skin inflammation.
Janes individual skin type at this moment is Dry, Dehydrated and Sensitive, with signs of premature ageing. We can see from her teenage years that Jane is prone to sensitive skin. She needs products with ingredients that hydrate, calm redness, strengthen skin capillaries and moisturise while building and repairing the skin's natural barrier. Along with targeted antioxidant's to protect and support the skin from premature ageing.
• ph balanced, gentle cleanser.
• A 3 min hydrating calming mask that does not need washing off.
• Hydrating serum with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories
• An oil elixir to nourish and feed.
• A barrier building moisturiser with skin identical ingredients.
• Plus a zinc based sunscreen with calming and protecting properties
• Or a tinted zinc moisturiser with sunscreen properties
• Double cleanse with a ph balanced, gentle cleanser.
• A 3 min hydrating calming mask that does not need washing off.
• Hydrating serum with antioxidants and anti-inflammatories
• An oil elixir to nourish and feed.
• A barrier building moisturiser with skin-identical ingredients.
I would suggest that Jane;
• Avoid washing her face under hot water.
• Instead use a soft washcloth with tepid water.
• Hydrate and moisturise straight after cleansing without drying off.
• Avoid powdered mineral foundation as it can be drying
• Use a weekly hydrating moisture mask with layering antioxidant serums and elixirs.
• Use a weekly calming mask that needs rinsing.
• Once the barrier is strong enough use gentle weekly exfoliation with enzymes and or gentle exfoliating grains.
• Incorporate weekly Facial massage to help detox and nourish the skin.
• Try daily facial exercises to lift and smooth wrinkles.
• A hydrating facial spray to keep her skin plump and hydrated throughout the day.
One primary trigger that is causing skin dryness is a lack of moisture in the air. Jane can fix low humidity conditions at work and at home. She can use a desk humidifier at work and a bigger humidifier at home to help keep skin moist.
Dietary triggers : Jane needs to reassess her low fat- diet. Her skin cells are craving beneficial oils including olive oil, coconut oil and flaxseed oil. She needs fish oil to feed her skin cells and calm inflammation. A daily intake of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant foods would help support premature ageing. It would be beneficial for Jane to consult a Nutritionist for her skin and overall health.
I would suggest Jane use deep breathing and yoga to help her with stress; Jane should look at her work dynamics to find the cause of stress and communicate this with her Manager. Stress plays havoc within the body, and weak adrenals can cause dry skin issues and other imbalances. I would suggest she speak to a natural health professional for advice.
START YOUR INDIVIDUAL SKIN TYPE JOURNEY
Start by using the skin type and skin condition tools to help you assess your skin. Look at your Fitzpatrick type write down your findings. Look back at your life stages and write down as much information as you can. Look at your skin today, what are your concerns? Look for any lifestyle triggers that may have changed your skin.
Whatever category your skin falls, look at your skin honestly, try not to judge what you have.
What are your skin care goals? Write them down. The next part is the research. Look for potential triggers that might have affected your life stages. Delve deep. Look at the whole perspective. Take into account the factors that can influence your skin as a whole. What are your skin care goals? Write them down and see how you can make changes to achieve your goals.
SOME EXTRA TIPS
Tackle your skin concerns in ORDER of priority when implementing your skin care ritual:
1. Calm sensitivities and strengthen skin barrier.
2. Inflamed acne
Listen to your skin it has lots to tell you. It's an excellent practice to keep a diary to see what may be triggering your skin concerns. Write down your
feelings, when you might be feeling stressed or anxious, happy or sad. Look at your skin care routine and products. Could this be a trigger? Sometimes skin just wants to be left to alone, you may have many skin concerns and are tempted to try different remedies. Taking a break is something you could consider, sometimes less is more. Find what works for you.
It's all about the journey, not the destination. Be positive feel and see the changes. Be mindful of your own beauty ritual using all your senses and being in the moment. Look for your own beauty from within, let go and relax.