Skin typically falls into one of three different types. Read and review the following categories to best determine the skin you are in and the skin care tips to follow.
TYPE 1: Sensitive, Fragile or Dry. Your skin may fit into this category because of light coloring with little natural sun protection. It also may have skin sensitivies or allergies. Certain medications can push you into this category also. Gentle products, no harsh acids or alcohol and added moisture are needed.
TYPE 2: Balanced Not too oily, not to dry and no extreme challenges. Primary goal is to keep healthy condition and promote protection and preventative lifestyle.
TYPE 3: Oily or Acne Prone. Usually thicker skin with less wrinkling. Excess oil may need control. Acne lesions may need treatment.
The basic steps of skin care are: Cleanse, Exfoliate, Protect. The key here is to find the product type that works best for your skin type. Choosing the wrong products can be worse than doing nothing at all, and with the myriad of choices on the market, confusion can reign. Here are a few tips for your skin type:
Generally does best with non-soap cleanser, which may be in a bar or creamy form. Gentle is the key, so look for non-abrasive textures. New ways to cleanse include fruit sugars (beta fructans)and hydrating ingredients. Aloe, cucumber and hyaluronates are in the “safe bets” category.
Mild exfoliation will remove dead skin cells without irritation and allow moisture and special care products to work more efficiently. Exfoliation can be achieved manually, by simply using a wash cloth. Make a compress with cloth soaked in warm water and place on skin for a few minutes. Then use cloth in gentle, circular motion across skin. Enzymes also work well. Choose a gentle enzyme mask meant for sensitive skin. The enzyme acts as a “proteolytic” to ingest dead cells. Gently remove the sticky residue with warm water and a wash cloth. Exfoliate the skin twice weekly for best results. Stay away from strong acids (glycolic, salicylic) typically used in skin care, buffing granules and clay type masks.
The goal is to create an environmental barrier while adding some protective moisture and strengthening the somewhat weak lipid (oil)barrier of the skin. Choose products that have chemical free sunscreen protection and moisture enhancing ingredients. Sensitive skins usually do best with fewer additives, although some calming essential oils and botanicals may help. Calendula, lavender and vitamin E are favorite additives.
Your skin type has more flexibility in choices. Cleansing bars, gel or creamy cleansers may all work for you. Mild alphahydroxy acids formulated into the cleanser can make a nice addition for smoother, fresher skin (look for lactic, glycolic and fruit acid complexes). Allow cleanser to remain on skin for one to two minutes to loosen debris before rinsing. Stay away from traditional soap bars, which may leave a film (like soap scum) or act harshly and overdry normal skins.
As we age, our skin metabolism slows, causing the shedding function to be less efficient. By removing surface layers, we stimulate new cell growth to help maintain a healthy, viable dermis (the functioning layer). This will discourage lines and loss of elasticity, while keeping skin looking smooth. Light strengths of alphahydroxy acids in a gel base or an astringent form work well. Look for strengths not greater than 10% combined for your routine maintenance. Layer on after cleansing or at night.
Light moisture is best for daytime or under sunscreen/makeup. Use a multi- functional product that has sunscreen as well. Tinted moisture products are an excellent choice for this category for both male and female. They give barrier protection against elements while having “barely there” color to make skin look healthy. Use daily and choose a night time moisture product as needed and according to seasonal climate conditions.
Your skin type is generally strong and may produce excess oil. Natural cellular exfoliation in follicle walls may be impeded. A stronger cleanser can be tolerated. Gel based cleansers are effective for oily skins. Added salicylic acid ( a beta hydroxy acid) helps reduce oil and blemishes. Tea tree oil can act as an antimicrobial against acne.
Cleansing bars may have added ingredients to help heal and reduce oil (sulfur, hemlock or pine oil). Cleanse once to remove makeup, then lather a second time for cutting oil.
This is a must do step for oily skins, but extra care must be taken with active pustules and lesions. Scrubbing grains can further irritate inflamed skin. Alcohol will dry oil but may cause a backlash of oil production later. A two step approach is sometimes helpful-try daily treatment of a form of topical vitamin A (in prescription or non prescription forms) plus glycolic. These two ingredients work synergistically for a greater effect, and will both exfoliate follicle walls and calm oil secretions. A clay-type mask with added sulfur or benzoyl peroxide twice weekly can lift surface oils and debris while minimizing blemishes.
Sun and environmental protection is the primary need for this skin type which secretes enough oil to hold in natural moisture. Look for silicone based systems in an oil-free “moisturizer” or barrier lotion. This should be a chemical free sunscreen as well, because the chemical versions of sunscreens may further irritate acne prone skin. Micronized titanium dioxide is a best bet for blending into oil free sun screen products. If salicylic acid is added, it will help absorb oil and keep makeup from sliding during the day. Night time moisture is not usually necessary, but special treatments for problem areas may be indicated.