It is essential to take good care of your skin. But to do that, first you need to know what type of skin you have so you can choose the right products for your needs.
Skin types are categorized according to how much moisture and lipids (fats that are essential to healthy skin) the skin contains. Moisture content has an impact on skin elasticity and comfort. Lipids have an impact on its suppleness.
There are four main skin types:
- Normal: skin with an equal balance of moisture and lipids
- Oily: skin that produces too much lipids (sebum)
- Dry: skin that doesn’t produce enough lipids (sebum)
- Combination: skin that has normal, oily, and/or dry zones
How to tell your skin type
Since normal skin is neither dry nor oily, it is soft and smooth to the touch. It has fine pores and no blemishes.
Oily skin produces too much sebum, a type of lipid that is essential for healthy skin. Excess sebum tends to give skin a glossy shine. Pores are enlarged and clearly visible. Oily skin is more prone to acne.
Dry skin lacks the lipids required to retain moisture and create an effective protective barrier. It tends to be rough to the touch, fragile, and sensitive. Depending on the degree of dryness, dry skin can also develop scaling or flakiness, redness, irritation, itchiness, and even cracks.
With aging, all types of skin tend to become dry.
Most people have combination skin, meaning skin is not uniform across every part of the body. Some zones are dry, e.g., hands, elbows, and feet; others can be oily, like the forehead and nose, for example, while the rest may be normal.
A situation that evolves over time
Skin changes continuously over the course of your life, as it reacts to various factors:
- Hormonal changes or imbalances (during puberty or menopause)
- Ambient temperature and humidity
- Exposure to various irritating substances
- Certain medications
It is therefore important to periodically reassess the condition of your skin, to ensure your cleansing and moisturizing products are appropriate for your needs.
If you are taking medication, remember to check with your pharmacist whether it could have an impact on your skin.