24th August 2010

Do You Know Your Skin Type?

How the skin looks and behaves is dependant on a combination of factors. Everyone’s skin is different, and everyone’s skin will appear and behave differently at different times and under different circumstances. Most skin care ranges are divided into just four main skin types: dry, normal, oily and sensitive, although it is worth remembering that the broad definition of each is open to interpretation. Any cosmetic skin care programme must take into account lifestyle, exposure to environmental aggressors, and individual skin types.

Read on to discover some skin type hero products..

Dry skin

Dry skin occurs when the epidermis does not contain a sufficient level of plump, moisture-rich cells called lipids. External factors affect the skin chiefly because it is permeable, so it is able to absorb moisture from the outside. However, it is permeable in both directions, so it can also lose moisture which needs to be replaced to keep skin supple, soft and comfortable. An interesting way to see if skin is dry is to view it in a magnifying mirror. If the pores are invisible, it is more likely to be dry, as the dehydrated skin has shrunk due to the lack of moisture in the dermis. Dry skin is also prone to premature aging, as depleted moisture content leads to the breakdown of collagen function, and the weakening of elastin fibres.

To combat dryness, use gentle formulations that will replenish moisture and not sap the skin of its nutrients. Cleanse with Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Shea Butter for the ultimate dry skin treat. Its gentle but effective, lightweight formula calms distressed skin and comforts it with intensely hydrating Shea. A toner is always useful for clearing away excess cleanser, although those with dry skin must choose their product carefully as some formulations can be drying. Avene Gentle Toner, with zero alcohol and added thermal spring water respects the skin’s natural PH, making it a fabulous choice for dry skinned individuals. Finally, moisturise with La Roche-Posay Nutritic Ultra Fine Emulsion, a formulation that contains Biolipids to strengthen the skin’s natural barrier and soften surface roughness.

Normal Skin

It has been argued that there is no such thing as normal skin. However, there do seem to be a lucky few who experience minimal day to day problems. Normal skin will always appear fresh and clear, from morning to night, and will need very little in the way of special care and treatments. Those with normal skin should not ignore their complexions, as skin type changes with age and the environment.

Care for your skin with soap-free Avene Gentle Gel Cleanser, as its gentle cleansing action won’t disrupt your well-maintained skin equilibrium. A gentle, alcohol-free toner such as L’Occitane Shea Butter Fresh Face Water will sweep away all leftover make-up whilst a few dabs of Givenchy Skincare Hydra Sparkling Velvet Luminescence Moisturizing Cream will brighten skin and leave it glowing.

Oily/Greasy Skin

Sebum production is a natural and essential part of skin metabolism. Acids in this oily substance contribute to the skin’s protective mantle; they lubricate the growing hair, and help keep the epidermal surface supple. To discern whether your skin is oily, it is useful to use a magnifying mirror and examine your pores, are they are likely to be open and visible. This is thought to be due to the continual secretion of sebum from the opening. While cleansing is essential for oily skin, it is still important to moisturise, as excess sebum can mask the problem of insufficient lipids at a deeper level.

Oily skin needs an extra helping hand to help it regulate its sebum production, so products such as La Roche-Posay Effaclar Astringent Lotion a cleansing lotion with micro-exfoliants to unblock and reduce pore size, and Medik8 Hydr8 Pro-Collagen Hydrator with SPF25 are an ideal starting point for maintaining skin zen. Other oily skin champions include Tisserand Organic Tea-Tree Clear Skin Anti-Blemish Stick to tackle spots, and Clarins Pore Minimizing Serum to help refine large pores and help to control excessive sebum production.

Sensitive Skin

Over 70% of women claim to have sensitive skin. True sensitive skin is usually very dry, and reacts to external disturbances by becoming red, blotchy, itchy, flaky and uncomfortable. Such irritants include plain water and abrasive clothing for example, as well as ordinary skin care products. An isolated reaction to a single facial cream does not mean that the skin is sensitive, even though such as event may sensitise the epidermis for some time afterwards. Recent research has identified stress as a major factor in the incidence of sensitive skin. In response to emotional stress and exhaustion, nerve endings in the dermal layers have been found to trigger the secretion of certain chemicals, which cause sensitive skin.

Combat this modern trend by keeping your skincare routine extremely simple and uncluttered, so that your skin is not overburdened. Use soothing formulations that have plenty of natural extracts such as soothing rose and healing lavender. Rose in particular is a great botanical remedy for redness and discomfort, so Nuxe Eau Demaquillante Micellaire aux 3 Roses Micellar Cleansing Water is a godsend for sensitive complexions. Round off your new routine with Annick Goutal Rosee Splendide Spray Toner an extremely moisturising, serum-based toning lotion and Avene Anti-Redness Rich Moisturising Cream, which has a slight green tint to tone down the redness of sensitive and irritated skin.

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