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Understanding Your Skin Type: Tailoring your skincare routine to you

Your skin is unique to you, so why isn’t your skincare routine? Achieving healthy and radiant skin is a common goal, but there is no one size fits all approach to looking after and maintaining your skin. Each skin type requires a slightly different approach to get the best out of your skincare routine. Understanding your skin type is the perfect foundation for tailoring your skincare routine to you. In this blog, I’d like us to look at each unique skin type, and what practical steps you can take towards happy healthy skin. 

What’s your skin type?

Oily Skin

We all have oil underneath our skin. Underneath our pores, we have a sebaceous gland that produces a natural oil called sebum, keeping your skin hydrated and healthy. This gland can become overactive which can lead to oily skin. Oily skin can  be caused by a number of factors. The first of these factors is genetics. Those whose parents and relatives suffer from oily skin are genetically predisposed to have oily skin themselves. 

Where you live and the time of year can also play a role in oily skin. People who live in hot and humid climates are more likely to experience oily skin. The secretion of oil from your sebaceous gland has also been shown to decrease as you age. Meaning you are more likely to experience oily skin at a younger age, that may decrease as you get older.Oily skin has been attributed as a factor causing common skin complaints such as enlarged pores and acne. 

What can you do about Oily skin?

Preventing oily skin is not possible. If you are born with oily skin, although you may experience some relief as you get older, it is something you’re stuck with. However you can take some practical steps to reduce oil and oil build up in your pores. Firstly there is no need to cut out any products with oil that you use as part of your skincare routine. Although adding oil to already oily skin may seem counterproductive, by removing any products with oil your skin can begin to dry out prompting your body’s oil production system into overdrive. Oil-based products like hyaluronic acid oily skin serum can actually give your skin a break from its own overtaxed oil production processes. 

Hormone can also play a role in causing oily skin. These hormone changes may be caused by natural factors such as the menstrual cycle, contraception, puberty, pregnancy or the menopause; or may be caused by outside factors. Studies have shown a link between those with high stress levels and enhanced sebum levels in those who have acne prone skin. So sometimes some simply lifestyle changes that lead to reduced stress can also have a big impact on your skin.

Dry Skin

Dry skin is caused by a lack of moisture in the skin, that can lead to flakiness, irritation and a tight feeling on the skin. Dry skin is a more common condition for those who live in colder climates. And just as oily skin decreases as you age, studies show that you are more likely to experience dry skin past the age of 65. Dry skin can lead to areas of increased irritation that over time can form unpleasant dry patches that are vulnerable to rashes. 

What to do with dry skin?

Dry skin is one of the easier skin complaints to address. Moisturiser, applied to the area of dryness, can rehydrate the skin and alleviate the symptoms of dry skin. That being said, it’s important to pick the right kind of moisturiser for your skin. To treat dry skin, find a moisturiser that isn’t fragranced and avoid moisturisers with ingredients that lead to skin dehydration like isopropyl alcohol, benzyl alcohol or sulphates. Look for moisturisers that contain ingredients that will lock moisture into your skin such as petroleum jelly, hyaluronic acid, lanolin or mineral oils (emollients).

The way we wash can also have an effect on the moisture level of our skin. A shower or a bath can feel great on our skin. But the drop in humidity when you finish washing can result in drying your skin further. Using a moisturiser immediately after washing can help lock in moisture to your skin and prevent it drying over the course of your day. 

Combination Skin

Sometimes your skin type is not as clean cut as just being oily or dry. Combination skin is when you experience localised areas of oily and dry skin at the same time. Your T zone (your forehead, nose and chin) is more likely to suffer from oily skin whereas your cheeks and other parts of the body may still experience dry skin. It is perfectly normal for someone to experience a combination of skin types, and you may find your skin type fluctuates during seasonal changes and other factors that may cause changes in your hormone and sebum levels. 

How To Treat Combination Skin

The secret to good skincare when you have a combination of skin types is finding a balance between treating oily areas and dry areas. People who suffer with combination skin can often be afraid to use moisturiser or sunscreen as they are viewed to increase oiliness on the skin. This however is not necessarily true, and finding the right products can actually help control the oil levels of your skin. 

Using different products for different areas of your skin is key to treating combination skin. Using gentle products will ensure you do not flood your face with excess oil or remove too much moisture from your face. A good cleanser can help to remove excess oil and prevent pores from becoming clogged. Finding a water based, oil free moisturiser will restore moisture removed when cleansing. Finally, use a gentle exfoliator or exfoliation pad to remove excess oil or flakey skin, leaving your face free from dead skin.

Conclusion

Our skin is the biggest organ in our body, so it’s important to understand your skin and the changes it goes through. By identifying your skin type, you are in a better position to tailor your skincare routine to you. Find non abrasive products that work well for your skin type, and get into a regular routine of using them. Don’t be afraid to change this routine alongside changes that may occur in your skin. So get to know your skin type, and show it the love it deserves.

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