Just like each individual is unique, so is their skin. Many factors affect it. The first and foremost is our genetic makeup. Everyone is blessed with a unique genetic code that determines phenotypic features like the colour of our skin, eyes, shape of our eyes.
Similarly, there are many characteristics of our skin that differ from person to person. They may also vary based on sex, age etc.
The main features that determine skin quality are texture, hydration, elasticity, colour, thickness, character (oily, dry etc.) It is essential to know the type of skin as skincare differs for each skin type.
The significant determinants for skin are the oil and water content. In the 2nd layer of skin, known as the Dermis, there are oil glands known as sebaceous glands. They secrete oil through various pores in the skin. They have many functions. They keep the skin soft by providing lubrication. Also, it forms a waterproof layer on top of the skin and prevents water from being lost to the environment. Water constitutes 70% of our skin. In the absence of sufficient oil formation, the water tends to evaporate, leaving the skin dry and lustreless. Thirdly sebaceous glands are rich in stem cells and keep the skin rejuvenated for long. These glands start producing more oil at puberty under the influence of hormones – testosterone in males and estrogen/progesterone in women. Their effect gradually wains off in the mid-20s.
You can easily find out your skin type with reasonable accuracy. Wash your face with a non-foaming cleanser and then wait for 30 minutes without applying anything else to the face. If your face feels stretchy, then you likely have dry skin. If your skin becomes red, then it is likely sensitive skin. If the nose and the forehead become oily and the rest of the skin remains normal to dry, it is combination skin.
- Normal skin – This is the perfect skin. It is neither too oily nor too dry. You can use most products safely on this type of skin.
- Dry skin – This type of skin is delicate. It may be dry either due to lower oil production from the sebaceous glands or due to a reduced amount of hyaluronic acid in the dermis.
- Oily skin – this type of skin appears to be smooth and shiny. At a young age, it is prone to pimples. However, in old age, this type of skin fares better than others. Foaming face washes or cleansers which have a drying effect are well suited. Sunscreens should be gel-based so that they don’t increase the oil content further. This type of skin is very resilient to most procedures.
- Combination skin – This type of skin remains oily in the T-zone. The T-zone constitutes forehead and nose.
- Sensitive skin– this type of skin can get irritated quickly. Most chemicals cause redness or irritation over the face. Skin products should be chosen very carefully for this type of skin.
- Pigmented skin – many people tend to leave pigmentary blotches. It may happen after intense sun exposure or after getting a procedure done. The cause of this phenomena is unknown. It may be genetic. In this type of skin, sunscreens are essential.