Skin Basics 101*

It always surprised me when people didn’t know what their skin type was when I asked in retail.  I mean, it’s your face.  Don’t you know what’s happening on your face?  There are really only four different skin types:  oily, dry, combination, and normal.  And normal skin types are typically mild combination skin.

Here are the descriptions of different skin types:

Oily Skin:

Oily skin happens because the sebaceous glands are overproducing sebum, or oil.  Scientists believe that sebum serves no purpose right now, although earlier in human history it may have helped waterproof skin and hair.

Overactive oil production can happen for a lot of reasons, like stress or hormone changes, bad diets, hot humid weather, or greasy cosmetics.  If you ever get a sheen across your face, or if your makeup has ever “melted” during the day, you probably have oil skin.  Some of the symptoms of oily skin are oversized pores and proneness to breakouts.

Dry Skin:

Sorry, I couldn’t find any “dry skin pics” on Google that weren’t young models photoshopped to make their skin look like a desert.  Dry skin, obviously, has the opposite problem of oily skin – the sebaceous glands are underproducing sebum, which keeps the skin supple.  Dry skin is very often a symptom of aging, and people with rosacea usually have dry skin.  Dry skin is thinner, more prone to wrinkles, and in extreme cases creates flaky skin patches, sensitivity, and/or redness.  You can tell your skin is prone to dryness if you have any of those symptoms or it feels tight after you wash it.

Combination (and Normal) Skin:

Like I said, normal skin is often very mild combination skin.  I have combo skin – my cheeks are normal/dry, and my forehead, nose, chin, and cheekbones (that’s the “T” zone: down and across the face) are oily.  People have different combinations for combination skin.  My eyelids get oily.  Some people’s eyelids are dry.  You have to figure it out for yourself.

*I am totally NOT a dermatologist or an aesthetician.  These are just the basics.  Don’t sue me, I’m not liable if you stick benzoyl peroxide in your eyes or something.

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