How to determine your skin type

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There are five basic types of skin: combination, normal, sensitive, dry and sun-damaged with each having particular characteristics and requiring specific care and/or treatment. Your skin type is determined by how much oil your skin produces. Genes, diet, stress level, hormonal fluctuations, medication and even your skincare regimen all determine how much oil your skin produces and you may find that your skin type changes frequently going from dry to oily to normal.

To take the skin test, wash your face, pat it dry, then take a few pieces of rice paper or lens-cleaning tissue paper and press on different spots on your face. If your skin is oily, the paper will stick, pick up oily spots and become translucent. If the paper doesn’t stick or pick up any oily spot, your skin is dry. If it sticks in your t-zone (forehead, nose and chin) then you have combination or normal skin. Most women actually have combination skin. A popular Russian saying states that after the age of 30, a woman looks the way she deserves. To always look great, the first step is to determine your skin type so that you can match it with the best recommended methods to improve your look and slow the aging process.

Combination/Normal Skin

Most women (some experts say up to 70 percent, although how anyone arrived at that number is beyond me) have combination, or “normal” skin. Combination skin means you may have a slightly oily T-zone and drier cheeks with dry, patchy spots here and there. You may also have larger pores on your cheeks and possibly your forehead. This skin type has medium pores, a smooth and even texture, good circulation and a healthy colour.

To take care of your skin, you may need to treat the T-zone differently from your drier spots. If your T-zone tends to be oily, try an astringent on those areas only after you have washed your face. Make sure to exfoliate twice weekly to remove any dead skin cells and use a heavier facial moisturizer on your dry spots as need be.

Normal skin is the least problematic type. It looks clean and smooth and has a good circulation and healthy complexion. Even with minimum care, it will look good well into your advanced age.

Dry Skin

If your skin is dry, the paper will be clean, too, but your facial skin will feel flaky, dry, and tight after you have wiped it.

Dry skin can easily develop a sallow tone, wrinkles and fine pores. It is prone to aging and quite irritating. It might still look great on a young person, but to keep it healthy, you should apply thorough care and use regular skin or beauty treatment with natural masks and moisturizers. Dry skin feels tight, especially after cleansing.

This type of skin requires special care. Heavy cleansers and moisturizers should be used over lightweight products. Exfoliate weekly and even slather on primers before applying foundation just to plump the skin up as much as possible. Use Evian spray water when travelling to less humid areas. If you live in a cold environment, use a humidifier in your office and bedroom to keep the skin from drying out.

Avoid using commercial creams and lotions that contain mineral oils and other petroleum products. Products based on natural hypoallergenic ingredients are the best. Every morning, pat your entire body with virgin coconut oil, cocoa butter, or shea butter. They contain naturally occurring nourishing ingredients, such as essential oils, skin-friendly Vitamins A, C, D and E, and protein.

Oily Skin

Oily skin is shiny, especially in the T-zone (from the forehead, down the nose to the chin). You may have enlarged pores and may be prone to blackheads and breakouts due to the overproduction of the sebaceous (oil-producing) glands.

Oily skin ages better than dry skin because the oil keeps the skin plump, allowing fewer wrinkles to form. Many young women have this skin type but as they age, the skin becomes drier, especially after age 35.

To take care of your skin, wash with a cleanser formulated for oily skin before you go to bed. Exfoliate twice weekly with a gentle scrub and use oil-free moisturizers. If you suffer from breakouts, an astringent may help. When it comes to blush and bronzers, powdered blends work better than liquid ones and look for oil-free options for tinted moisturizers or foundations.

Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin tends to be thin, and delicate with fine pores. If you are easily irritated by the sun and if you are prone to redness, itchy patches or blotchy skin, you likely have sensitive skin.

Finding the right cleansers and moisturizers for your skin type can be tricky. The good news is that many companies have developed products specifically for sensitive skin. Look for mild products that contain no scents.

Aging or sun-damaged skin

This skin also feels tight with visible wrinkles, slack skin tone — especially around the cheeks and jawline — with leathery texture and broken capillaries.

To care for aging skin, you should consider using moisturizers and heavy creams to plump up your fine wrinkles. Retin-A does wonders on aging skin and has smoothed fine wrinkles. If you are really upset about your deeper lines, you can have them frozen with Botox or filled with injectables.

 

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