Understanding your skin type
The most important step in caring for your skin comes in understanding your specific skin type and how it adapts to certain circumstances or seasonality.
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 skin is healthy skin. Smooth, firm and elastic, normal skin is free from lesions, well-moisturised and balanced. Most importantly, normal skin is in optimum condition to carry out its essential functions. Combination skin is characterised by patches of oily and dry skin.
A good skincare routine and a few key ingredients can help you to maintain your normal skin type, protect your skin barrier, and treat any skincare concerns that arise, to keep your skin in tip top shape.
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.
This is one of the more difficult skin types to get under control as it often gets worse before it gets better. But a useful tip with sensitive skin is to start new products slowly and gradually build up to the recommended use.
Arguably, one of the most common skin types for us as South Africans who experience dry heat during the summer in particular, is dry skin.
Dry skin lacks moisture, leaving it dull and more prone to wrinkles, skin conditions and allergic reactions. A weakened skin barrier also interferes with the skin’s ability to keep moisture locked in.
This skin type is largely due to genetics, environmental factors such as lifestyle and diet, hormonal changes and climate. Dehydration is also a leading cause of dry skin.
The focus of a skincare routine for dry skin should be on gentle cleansing, quality hydration, and protection, to restore moisture and repair the damaged skin barrier.
Oily skin, the bane of every teenager’s life – and many adults too. It 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. Many people have oily skin during puberty, but some people’s skin is oily all their life, because of predisposing genes or hormones.
To treat oily skin, you should ensure that your diet and lifestyle are supportive of your skincare goals. Once other factors are under control, you can focus on building a good skincare routine for your oily skin.
Determine your skin type at home:
Cleanse your face thoroughly with a mild cleanser and gently pat dry. Leave skin bare. After 30 minutes, examine your cheeks, chin, nose and forehead for any shine. After another 30 minutes, evaluate whether your skin feels parched, especially if you smile or make any other facial expressions. If your skin feels tight, your skin is likely dry. Noticeable shine on your nose and forehead may indicate that your skin is mostly likely combination. Shine on your cheeks in addition to your forehead and nose indicates that you most likely have oily skin.
Blotting sheet method
Gently pat a blotting paper on the different areas of your face. Hold the sheet up to the light to determine how much oil is visible. If the sheet picked up little to no oil, you most likely have dry skin. If the blotting sheet reveals oil from the forehead and nose areas, your skin is combination. Finally, if the blotting paper is saturated with oil, it is extremely likely that you have oily skin.
Our skin’s needs can change over time, and taking steps to best identify its needs is essential for it to function and look its best. “Checking in” regularly to determine whether any adjustments to your current ritual are needed.
Disclaimer: All content on the The Local Choice Pharmacy is created and published online for informational purposes only. It does not serve as a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health advice.