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A GUIDE TO SKIN CARE
What are the different types (textures) of skin?
Skin can be classified into various basic types depending on how the skin normally looks and behaves. We tend to have a basic type which becomes drier as we age. Our skin type is affected by internal factors such as genes and hormones, and external factors such as our lifestyle and the environment. The common types include:
How can I find out my skin type?
You can visit your Dermatologist (Skin Doctor) or Aesthetician who may use information you have provided, skin examination, and a special ultraviolet light source to help you determine your skin type. At home, you can also examine your skin in natural light after cleaning the face thoroughly, and use the information below as a basic guide.
- Common in children, uncommon in adults
- Smooth, even texture, no shine
- No or minimal lines
- Even complexion, no blemishes
Dry skin lacks moisture in the outer layers of the skin. It is usually due to defect in skin barrier in the outer skin causing excessive water loss. This defect may be caused by the genes we inherit or by harsh soaps and detergents, hot water, air conditioning, friction from clothing, frequent air travel, pollutants and other chemicals. Dehydration can also worsen the appearance of dry skin. Dry skin should be moisturized as often as possible. The features of dry skin may include:
- Dull, rough appearance
- Fine lines
- Stiffness, flaking, cracking
- May get irritated, inflamed, itchy
- Usually worse on arms and legs
Oil is produced by the sebaceous gland in the skin and secreted to the skin’s surface through the hair pore. These glands are most numerous on the face, chest, back and upper arms. The oil secretion is controlled by androgen hormones (not our diet) and thus is greater during puberty, pregnancy and premenstrually. Individuals with oily skin have a greater chance of getting acne. Comedogenic products can block the hair pore, leading to acne, and so should be avoided. Various products and procedures can minimize the appearance of oily skin. Retinoids (medications derived from Vitamin A) have been shown to reduce the secretion of oils from the sebaceous gland.
The features of oily skin include:
- Coarse texture
- Excess shine, enlarged pores
- Blackheads, whiteheads possible
Sensitive skin is a widely used term which has not been clearly defined. It usually refers to a tendancy to develop irritation which may occur after using certain skin care products, harsh soaps or detergents, extreme climates or air conditioning. In some cases there is no known exposure triggering sensitive skin. Sensitive skin may also be caused by some skin diseases such as seborrhoeic dermatitis, atopic eczema, rosacea, contact dermatitis or urticaria. The skin around the eyes and sides of the nose tend to be the most sensitive areas of the face. Individuals with sensitive skin should eliminate any likely causes of their symptoms. They can start by eliminating all skin products that they are currently using and gradually reintroduce gentle products. A special skin test may be needed to exclude an allergy to a product. The features of sensitive skin may include:
- Fine texture
- Redness, flaking,
- Skin swelling
- Fine lines
This is a very common skin type. It is usually a mixture of normal or dry cheeks with an oily T zone (forehead, nose and chin).
General Skin Care:
A healthy skin care routine at home is important. Individuals should routinely use a pH balanced cleanser (or cleanser then toner) morning and night, a moisturizer with sunscreen (at least SPF 15) in the morning, and a moisturizing cream at night. The sunscreen should be reapplied after water exposure or sweating during the day.
Skin care companies often use the skin categories mentioned above to help us identify the products most suitable for our basic skin type. The most effective skin care products are able to penetrate the outer layer of skin to act on the inner living layers.
Other measures we can do to take care of the skin from inside and out include:
- Healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables, with adequate water intake
- Avoid smoking, excess alcohol
- Reduce stress
- Avoid extreme climates if possible
- Avoid pollutants, harsh chemicals
In addition, your Dermatologist may recommend or prescribe various topical products or oral medications to address any skin conditions that concern you e.g. acne, pigmentation, aging, eczema.
For those concerned with their appearance, there are many cosmetic procedures available today, and this field is rapidly expanding. Your Dermatologist can help you decide which treatments are right for you.
- Chemical peeling
- Injectible fillers/Soft tissue augmentation
- Laser skin resurfacing, hair removal, vein treatment
- Electrosurgical skin resurfacing
- Liposuction, liposculpting
- Skin surgery