Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tipping Thursday: Skincare Part IV-Determining Your Skin type

This week's Tipping Thursday is all about figuring out what your skin wants and needs by determining your skin type.  Knowing your skin type is key to picking the right cleanser, moisturizer, and even make up.  And knowledge is power, people!    

There are several basic skins types. They include:

Normal: For the most part, your skin behaves.  It's not too oily, it's not too dry and it doesn't break out frequently or excessively.  It's not sensitive to fragrances or dyes or things like that.

Dry: Your skin is sometimes ashy-looking or flaky in areas.  It lacks enough natural moisture and can get irritated easily because of this, causing flakes or red patches.  It can feel tight and uncomfortable.

Oily: Your skin goes a little overboard with the natural oil production and needs a little help to tone it down.  Your skin feels slightly sticky to the touch, even after washing and is super shiny.

Combination: You have both dry and oily skin.  Generally combination skin has an oily T-zone, which is your forehead, nose and chin and normal cheeks or dry cheeks.  Or you could have a combination of normal and dry skin.

Acne-prone: You get break outs, you get them often and they're pretty intense.  Most of the time, acne-prone skin types have excessively oily skin, which is what leads to the breakouts.  But there are other factors behind acne-it could be stress or genetics.  Knowing what's causing your breakouts is the key to treating them.  If you have acne-prone skin, I would strongly suggest seeing a dermatologist to figure out what's causing your acne.

Sensitive: Your skin is extremely picky about what you can use on it and it punishes you when you try something it doesn't like.  Usually dyes or fragrances or other synthetic materials found in facial products irritate your skin on contact, causing a number of unpleasant side effects, such as breakouts, red bumps, flakiness and itchiness.

Which skin type are you?

Once you've figured that out, here are some suggestions on what to look for in the products that you use based on your skin type:

For normal skin: Lucky you, you can use just about whatever you want.  It's pretty much just trial and error until you find what you like and what works best for you.

For dry skin: Look for cream cleansers or moisturizing cleansers that aren't too heavy.  With dry skin, heavy moisture just sits on top of the skin and doesn't get absorbed, so you want a lightweight formula that is fast-absorbing so that if you need to do a few thin layers, you can without gunking up your skin.  Also, products designed for sensitive skin are great because they are really gentle and won't irritate your skin, which is often a big problem for people with dry skin.

For oily skin: You want a cleanser that is especially designed to break up oil without being harsh and over-drying, which will actually make your skin more oily that it was before.  Stay away from synthetic oils-products that are "Oil-Free" are your best friend.  Lightweight moisturizers that are fast-absorbing are great for you as well because you'll only need one thin layer and your skin sucks it up and puts it to work where it needs it before the moisturizer has time to sit on top of your skin and draw out the oiliness.  Toners with alcohol are your friend-they will help clear up excess oil without over-drying, leaving your skin ready for the rest of your routine.

For combination skin: Depending on what your combinations are, look for something targets your specific areas of concern and follow the suggestions in the other categories.

For acne-prone skin: Again, I suggest you go to your dermatologist to first determine what the cause of your acne is and then go from there.  Your doctor might suggest a stronger type of skin care, such as Proactiv or a prescription or a simpler solution.  If you don't know what's causing your acne, you wouldn't be able to clear it up.  

For sensitive skin: I suggest you go all-natural.  There are so many options nowadays in this area.  Look for products with all-natural ingredients, as these tend to be much more gentle on the face or ones that have soothing ingredients, such as oatmeal.  Aveeno makes a great line for sensitive skin.  If it's perfumes or fragrances that irritate your skin, look for fragrance-free options.  Many products come in a "for sensitive skin" option.

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