Human skin is the largest organ in the body and is highly intelligent. Everyone is born with a specific skin composition, but did you know your skin type is also influenced by both internal and external factors? Around 10% of your skin’s performance and condition is due to your DNA, but 90% is due to external factors such as the environment, your lifestyle and the products that are used on your skin. There are four ‘traditional’ skin types which include normal, oily, dry and combination. Although these by no means cover all bases, they’re a good starting point when we’re looking at our skin’s condition and attempting to understand it. So what is your skin type telling you and what can you do to help it?
The characteristics of a ‘normal’ skin type include well balanced oil secretion, invisible pores, no dry patches and zero congestion present. If you’re lucky enough to have this skin type then congratulations, you are the envy of most women! Hormone levels will be balanced, which means sebaceous glands will be secreting an even amount of oils and the moisture level of your skin will be high. Keep up the good work – make sure you regularly cleanse, exfoliate and moisturise the skin to keep it looking flawless and nourished.
Excess oils are triggered by the sebaceous glands being over active; this results in blocked pores, congestion and discolouration of the skin. There can be many reasons why sebaceous glands over produce oils – including being triggered by stress, puberty, contraception or an increased secretion of other hormones that are part of the Endocrine system. Excessive oil production can also be stimulated by the products we use on our skin; if a product is too harsh it can strip the skin of hydration, which could result in an over stimulation of oil production to compensate. Try to avoid using chemically based products or anything containing alcohol – these ingredients will dry the skin and upset the pH balance of the skin’s natural protective barrier. Try to avoid over exfoliating the skin too; if you’re constantly stripping the skin of its natural goodness it will over produce oil and worsen the condition further.
Dry patches of skin are never fun. The basic science behind dryness is that the sebaceous glands aren’t producing enough natural oils to lubricate the skin, so your complexion becomes dry, flaky and blemished. One of the significant causes of dry skin is the lack of hormones; during the menopause estrogen depletes, which has an adverse affect on the skin by causing both dryness and visible ageing. Dry skin can also be caused by too much exposure to the sun, smoking, drinking alcohol and medication – all of these factors can mess with your skin’s natural function and starve it of nutrients. A dry complexion is lacking in oil (not water,) so remember to regularly use face oils to ensure you’re replensishing the lost moisture: rose hip is a great face oil to encourage cell renewal and prevent the signs of ageing.
This skin type is a combination of the above and is the most common, seen mostly within the 13-30 year old age bracket. Depending what combination of symptoms you have, your skin will be telling you different things. The main thing to remember is to treat all skin ailments; don’t miss out symptoms or warning signs because they have different characteristics… It’s important to listen to your body. Do you have a healthy balanced diet? Have you changed your skin care products? Are you using the correct products to suit your skin type? Skin care experts have now said a whopping nine out of ten skin conditions are caused by mistreating the skin, so make sure you’re looking after it to the best of your ablity.
If you have noticed a skin condition develop or worsen, this could very well be your skin telling you something. Listen to it and seek advice from a skincare specialist if you’re unsure of how to treat it. Remember, you skin is an organ and is just as important as your heart, lungs and liver.
Written by Amy Bambrick