People come in all different shapes, sizes and colours and we all have different skin. This often differs throughout our life and perhaps through various times in the year. I predominantly have dry skin which is often at it’s worse during the winter when the heating is on. During Summer and if I am outdoors more, my skin feels better. I can only presume that this is down to a) more Vitamin D and b) less sitting next to a radiator and basking in a humid environment.
Alas, with winter fast approaching and an inevitable change to my skin care regime, I have put together some information to give you an idea of where your skin might fit. Now I by no means pretend to be a skincare expert but hopefully you will find this useful when pampering, choosing a skin care regime or thinking about the products you are actually buying.
Our skin is covered in a thin layer of natural lipids (fatty substance) that keep in moisture. There are lots of external and internal issues that may damage or strip this layer and cause dryness:
- Winter/cold air can play a part in this. As mentioned above, my skin often feels worse throughout Winter when I am sat next to radiators daily and the central heating is on, as well as the harsh cold air which draws moisture out of the skin.
- Misuse of products – soap or moisturisers may be causing dryness, especially if these are alcohol based or perfumed.
- Hot Showers/Baths and humid air. We have natural oils which help our skin and hair. So think about this if your shower routine consists of 3 hours in the bathroom twice a day scrubbing away at your skin. These long hot showers/baths can wash away some of these oils leaving skin feeling tight and dry. Limit showers to minutes rather than hours. Try Showers rather than baths, and whilst washing/shaving try and move away from the shower head to minimise the time spent submerged under water. Also try and go for warm water rather than steaming which is good for both your body and your water bill!
- Clothing – sometimes we can be sensitive to certain products. It may be you have changed your washing powder, or your skin just isn’t getting on with a certain material.
- Medical issues – Although dry skin is fairly common, you should always ensure that you have no underlying dermatological conditions that could be causing this if it’s becoming a major problem. This could include Eczema, Psoriasis or Dermatitis. Your local pharmacy, drop in clinic or GP can help if you have concerns. It is also worth noting, that some medications can cause dry skin as part of side effects so you should always read the patient information leaflet.
The appearance of dry skin is often dull and may have dry patches/red areas, sometimes feeling itchy and sensitive. You should drink lots of water throughout the day which is naturally good for your skin and keeping you hydrated, and I would suggest trying to avoid products that are perfumed or at least testing them out first as this can dry the skin out further. A creamier, milder cleanser and toner for the face may be better suited as well as moisturising regularly.
Some people think that eating greasy foods will cause oily skin. I wasn’t able to find any evidence to suggest this, however some people may have allergies or sensitivity to some foods. Oil is produced naturally by hormones in the body. Androgens are usually responsible for this. Most oily skin is found to be hereditary, so regardless of a change in diet, the chances are you are stuck with this. As I have said previously though, your skin may change as you get older.
Naturally, oily skin can be increased at certain times of the month and during puberty due to this hormone, and changes within he body.
There are also some medications that could increase this such as the oral contraceptive and steroids which may cause acne and oily skin.
Skin usually has a greasy texture and appears shiny. There may be a proneness for acne and larger pores. Often the use of face masks can help with this, as well as choosing products for oilier skin. Choosing the right product works wonders and it may be that your skin becomes oilier at certain periods of the month or during a hormone change so you may want to develop a different skin routine to help during this time. As well as choosing the right moisturisers that are maybe lighter and less greasy/thick, you may want to think about choosing powder based foundations rather than liquid ones.
People with normal, dry or oily skin can also have sensitive skin. The reasons for this could be one of many.
Some people may have allergies or a tendency for skin reactions, or it could be damaged due to very dry skin or cold/sun damage. Some people who believe they have sensitive skin may report stinging, tightness, or redness/rashes to certain products.
Dermatologists can be consulted to look into this further if you believe there is a significant problem, you should think about products that you use on your skin to avoid reactions. Although I would advocate this is the case with any skin type, milder products should be used avoiding harsh chemicals, alcohol, artificial ingredients and strong fragrances.
If you are sensitive to products, look for those with minimal ingredients and perform a skin test. Apply a small amount behind the ear overnight for approximately a week, if there has been no irritation then apply this to a small area on the face. If there is no reaction, then this should be OK for you to use but obviously you need a little common sense, if it begins to irritate during use, discontinue.
Other things you can do to help sensitive skin, is protecting yourself in the sun, wearing sun screen and covering up. Yes I know that some people like to have a tan, but personally I much prefer the factor 50 goth look which seems to compliment my red hair! As above, avoid steaming prolonged showers and baths and be considerate when you turn the heating up!!
Well, good for you if you fall into this category! You probably have moist, balanced skin that works well with most products. Do not be fooled though, you should still be incorporating a good cleansing and moisturising routine despite your perfect production of oil and moisture!!
Find a good day and night cream that works well and ensure you moisturise the rest of your skin after showering. Obviously the advice about showering, sun and radiators still applies!
This typically covers two different types of skin such as dry skin with an oily T-Zone (forehead, nose and chin) You should read above as to some of the causes and the why’s of various skin types, but when selecting products, you may find those specifically designed for combination skins work well. Cleansing and moisturising should help overall. It may be that your skin changes frequently due to this, so sometimes you may need dry skin products and others you may need oily skin products. It is important to assess this and change when it’s appropriate depending on what you feel suits you best.
As with anything, if you are in doubt you should always ask advise from professionals. Read labels of products and test a small amount before applying anything liberally to avoid reactions. Some places, for example The Body Shop, will often allow you to take a tester of a product to try out before buying this outright.
Well it’s nearly that time of year – unpredictable weather, cold, wet, miserable, dark and shorter days. I’m not much of a fan of this time of year and neither is my skin and hair.
You have the people that will shower more to stay warm, those that will shower less to avoid the cold when getting out and those it won’t affect at all. As a general rule, I wouldn’t really have a full on shower any more than three times a week, unless I am at a festival – in which case this is a daily event. This isn’t because I am dirty, or have a phobia about keeping clean, the simple fact of the matter is that my skin really doesn’t tolerate steamy hot showers on a daily basis well. My main priority at any time of the year is moisturising. I can’t get enough of it! Day and Night, before work and near bed time comes my vigorous cream regime!
Alas, I hope this slightly condensed guide to skin types has given you some insight into choosing your next products!
p.s – coming soon – my skincare regime blog …
Hellbent for moisturiser