HOW TO GET YOUR SKINCARE PRODUCTS TO DO MORE BY KNOWING YOUR SKIN TYPE & CONDITION!
Have you ever wondered why your cleanser was not performing the way you expected it to? Or perhaps your friend recommended their favourite moisturiser for you to try, but it didn’t give you the same results as it did your friend. Cleansers are overlooked by most people; however, I have seen a lot of women investing and paying more attention to their cleansing routine recently (which makes me so happy to see as a passionate beauty therapist)!
It is super important that we find out what our skin type is first and what its condition is looking like in order to determine what cleanser we should be using, rather than going off what’s ‘on trend’ or copying your favourite social media influencer/YouTube person. Not only will it help you find your cleanser, but you will then be able to find the right skincare products that suit your skin type. Now I’m not saying that watching other people’s skincare routines is a bad thing, we just need to remember everyone’s skin is different (and can react differently) and we should just take it with a pinch of salt!
So how do we find out what our skin type and condition are? Let’s first find out what the difference is between the two. Yourskin type is the skin that you’re born with, and by that, I mean it’s in your genes. Askin condition is something that is either a temporary skin issue or something more long-term. Skin conditions are caused by lifestyle factors, inherited skin diseases, illness, and environmental aggressors (i.e., the weather and environmental pollution).
There are four skin types: dry, oily, combination, and combination.
Dry skin types lack the production of sebum (an oily substance that helps keep our skin waterproof) and natural moisturising factors (NMF) such as hyaluronic acid and squalane. Dry skin can appear dull and sometimes flaky. This skin type can feel tight and uncomfortable.
Oily skin types are the opposite of dry skin types. This skin type has an overproduction of sebum and can make the skin appear shiny, pores and blackheads are more visible. In some cases, the skin can also appear a little more thickened than other skin types.
Combination skin is usually a mixture of dry and oily skin types. The skin can appear oily/shiny in the T-Zone (the area across the forehead, brows, and down the nose) and dehydrated or dry elsewhere (cheeks).
Normal skin types have a good balance of both moisturising factors and sebum production. So, the skin is not too oily or too dry/dehydrated. The texture and tone of this skin type are relatively good and even.
When it comes to skin conditions,there are a few and, in some cases, it is quite possible to have a combination of these.
Acne is one of the most common, especially in adolescent years, and there a few types to note. Starting from the mildest form of acne are blackheads (clogged pores that appear black due to oxidisation of sebum and dead skin cells) andwhiteheads (small pustules that are filled with pus-like fluid and can appear red around the ‘whitehead’).
Papules and pustulesare similar but there is a difference.Papulesare raised reddish bumps on the skin andpustulesare raised reddish bumps that have a white center, filled with pus-like fluid.
Cystic acneis more on the severe scale of acne types. These bumps appear very red, large (like cysts), are deep under the surface of the skin, can be very painful and in some cases can present large bumps with whiteheads. If you have cystic acne it is important to seek professional help like aboard-certified dermatologist to get it treated asap. Left untreated and this can lead to damaging outcomes, both mentally and physically.
Fine lines and wrinkles come naturally through the process of aging. Fine lines are usually a sign of dehydration (TEWL aka Trans-Epidermal Water Loss) which can be treated with hydrating/plumping ingredients like hyaluronic acid and vitamin b3. Wrinkles are a break down of elastin and collagen (two proteins that keep our skin looking plump and gives the skin its elasticity) which are found in the dermis layer of the skin. This can be prevented by using ingredients like vitamin A (retinol) and daily use of sunscreen (I cannot stress enough, the importance of sunscreen!).
Dehydration is another common skin condition. The skin can appear dull, taught, and feel tight. This is a sign that the skin is lacking moisture, in other words, a sign of TEWL (Trans-Epidermal Water Loss). TEWL can be prevented and treated with a combination of skincare ingredients like ceramides, hyaluronic acid, fatty acids, vitamin b3, and lactic acid. It's best to treat this skin condition with concentrated serums (remember serums absorb deeper than moisturisers) then apply your moisturiser on top to seal all the moisture in. Your moisturiser provides your skin with a protective barrier, to help your skin perform at its optimal level.
Pigmentation occurs through sun exposure, acne, the natural process of aging, hormonal changes, and physical damage/trauma to the skin (like popping pimples-which can lead to Post-Inflammatory Hyperpigmentation). Melasma is also under the pigmentation umbrella and is caused by hormonal changes. This is usually linked to things like pregnancy, medication (like the contraceptive pill), and perimenopausal women. To help prevent pigmentation from appearing darker, you will need to apply sunscreen daily and use targeted serums to treat pigmentation (like vitamin C and retinol concentrated serums).
Eczema is usually linked to genetics and can occur from birth. The skin appears red (inflamed), flaky/dry, itchy, swollen, and sometimes sore to the touch. Atopic dermatitis is also a form of eczema and is usually caused by hay fever, asthma, and certain food allergies like dairy. Depending on how severe your eczema is, it's best to seek professional advice from your GP or a dermatologist who will prescribe you medicated topical creams and or ointments. With this skin condition, it's best to avoid soap, heavily fragranced products, and heat (like hot showers). Keep the skin well hydrated and moisturised with non-fragranced thick/heavy moisturisers.
Keratosis Pilaris appears like ‘chicken skin’. It presents as little tiny bumps (like goosebumps) on the skin, commonly found on the arms and the thighs. This skin condition is caused by an overproduction of keratin that accumulates in the hair follicles. To help reduce the appearance of keratosis pilaris, you can use a dry body brush (dry body exfoliating) daily then apply moisturiser, apply exfoliating acids to the skin (there are dedicated body products for this-see your skin specialist/professional) and follow through with moisturiser daily.
Rosacea is an auto-inflammatory skin condition that is becoming quite common in Australia, due to the depleted ozone layer (Australians are more at risk being exposed to stronger UV rays compared to other countries around the world). Rosacea has many types of symptoms and different levels of diagnosis and treatment. The symptoms vary from mild flushing to intense swelling and stinging of the skin. Close up, the skin can present dark, reddish ‘spidery’ like lines. Rosacea can be triggered by a few things like the consumption of alcohol, spicy foods, environmental aggressors like extreme weather/heat, and exercise. Depending on the severity of your rosacea, there are a few ways to prevent and treat this condition (if you’re ever unsure, it’s always advisable to seek professional advice). It is crucial to apply sunscreen daily to prevent your rosacea from getting worse.
Psoriasis is an autoimmune inflammatory skin disease that appears dry/flaky, red, inflamed, scaly patches of skin, and can be very itchy. Psoriasis is commonly found on the scalp, elbows, back of the hands and knees. Treating this condition requires time, patience, and the help of medicated topical treatments (prescribed by your medical professional). It is also best to avoid highly fragranced and soap-based products to prevent the skin from being further aggravated.
So, there you have it! You now have a better understanding of the different types of skin types and conditions. Shopping and researching for skincare products should be a little easier and clearer for you now. It’s important to not only read the front of the product properly (most of the marketing is on the front of the packaging, which is designed to grab the consumers attention-therefore persuading consumers to purchase over others) but to read the back of the product, where the ingredients list is! The first five to six ingredients on any skincare ingredients list are of a higher percentage and concentrate. Anything after that is of a low percentage and concentrates.
Legally, brands can still print these highly valued ingredients on their packaging. For example, hyaluronic acid, even if the percentage is exceedingly small (these are found lower on the ingredients list). This is a marketing tactic to get consumers to buy their products over their competitors. For example, you may read things like “organic or natural moisturiser or vitamin C concentrated serum” when only 0.01 % of the ingredient is organic!
Therefore, it is important to educate yourself on common skincare ingredients and to always read the back of the product! If the ingredients list appears to have words that are super hard to read or pronounce, it usually means it is full of cheap, underperforming ingredients and fillers (some brands try to hide/mask these ingredients by using their technical name/term instead). If you’re ever unsure what something is, like a certain ingredient, its best to look it up online to be sure. The last thing you want is to invest your hard-earned money into products that don’t even work!