Tuesday, January 8th, 2008

Determine Your Skin Type
Before you can possibly find the right skin regimen for you, it is imperative you understand the type of skin you have so you can avoid certain products and embrace others.

Dry skin is characterized by flakiness, cracks, or rough texture.  Sometimes the skin will feel tight, or the dryness may be caused by outside elements, such as wind or lack of water consumption.  Those with dry skin will often need to stay away from (or at least be wary of) products that are more extreme in their ingredients.  Toners may be unnecessary for dry skin, because toners help to regulate and reduce oil production, and dry skinned users do not suffer from an excess of oil, making this product potentially superfluous.  Many acne treatments contain ingredients that are drying, so it is important to make note of your skin’s reaction and whether it dries out, so that you can moisturize more thoroughly during certain treatments.

Normal skin is skin that does not feel greasy, but it doesn’t feel dry either.  These are lucky patrons, as they have soft skin that looks naturally lovely with no need to control oil production or increase skin moisture.  Even those with normal skin will periodically find that their skin will change through the year or even over time; normal skin may be found throughout the year until the harsh winter abounds.  Middle-of-the-road products work well for normal skin, and with today’s range in skincare, it is much easier to find products targeted to specific skin type.

Oily skin may feel greasy (or look it for some) and may also have increased pore size.  Sometimes those with oilier skin may be more acne-prone than others, especially past adolescence.  Unlike dry skinned users, oilier skin requires less moisturization, but it doesn’t mean you should skip it altogether.  It is important to find a moisturizer that is suitable for oily skin, so it doesn’t complicate or add to the problem, but it still gives your skin the proper moisture level it needs.  Toners are great for oil reduction/control, and it may be a product to be added to your skincare regimen.  Ultra-thick, luxe creams are generally not needed by those with oily skin, because they are much too intense.

Combination skin is often when you have an oilier T-zone (forehead, nose, chin), but the rest of your face is either normal or on the drier side.  Sometimes the reverse occurs, and sometimes only the cheeks are dry.  Your forehead might be oil-slicked while your cheeks are parched, which means you will most likely need products that are either targeted for combination skin or have a few to use and choose from.  For example, using an all-over facial moisturizer meant for oily skin, but then applying more generously over dry patches (OR getting a thicker, richer cream for those areas altogether).

Sensitive skin is an additional component to dry, oily, or combination skin that is essential to know.  Sensitive skin is marked by reacting more often than the normal person to certain products, ingredients, weather, or other environmental factors.  Someone with sensitive skin may experience a rapid change in skin appearance simply with using a new cleanser.  If you have sensitive skin, it is important to be wary whenever trying new skin products, and spot testing may be advisable.  Stronger products, like expensive anti-aging creams and treatments, may be too strong for sensitive skin to handle.  Those with the most sensitive may even find that natural, organic, or home-made beauty products are the only ones they can use without fear.

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