Skin Types

Everyone's skin is different. A person's skin type depends on three factors:

Water Content - determines skin's elasticity
Lipid Content - reflects the health and softness of skin
Sensitivity- skin's level of resilience

Normal Skin

Normal skin is generally thought of as not too oily and not too dry. Perfectly normal skin is a very rare occurrence- most people have some issue with their skin whether it be a dry part or a bout of acne, for example. Basic skin care for normal skin is very easy.

Wash with warm water and a cleanser twice daily. Make sure you use soap-free products. Read labels to make sure that your cleanser is free of alcohol, soaps, or harsh detergents. If you feel the need to moisturize, apply an oil-free or a low-oil moisturizer to moist skin. Weigh the pros and cons of moisturizing before using any product. For example, some people with normal skin moisturize to help prevent future dry skin. Apply sunscreen whenever you expect to be exposed to the sun. If you so desire, you can do a moisturizing or exfoliating mask treatment once a week.

Oily Skin

Oily skin is the result of excessive amounts of sebum production. Two good things about oily skin: 1. there is a chance of fewer wrinkles later in life and 2. The skin is usually well-moisturized due to its own protective oil. Of course the negative side is that oily skin tends to look shiny or dirty and is prone to blackheads and acne. There are some simple procedures recommended for those with oily skin.

Use a cleanser which contains salicylic acid specially designed for the reduction of sebum production. Wash with this twice daily. If your skin is very oily, you can follow up your cleansing routine with a toner that contains both alcohol and salicylic acid. This should only be used for extreme cases- as mentioned before; toners containing alcohol have been known to dry out skin. If you have oily skin, you will probably have no need to moisturize. If you feel the need to moisturize, choose an oil-free moisturizer. The last thing you want to do is add even more oil to your pores. On the other hand, you will still want to protect yourself from the sun's harmful rays and should apply a sunscreen before being exposed to the sun. Those with oily skin should choose an oil-free sunscreen. Exfoliating and using a clay or mud mask once a week can also help an oily complexion. For extremely oily skin there are some advanced treatments available- such as vitamin A treatments. To discover which advance treatments might be right for you, it's best to visit your dermatologist.

Combination Skin

Skin care for combination skin can get a bit tricky. Often you'll need to battle oily skin and dry skin at the same time. It's not uncommon for people with combination skin to have oily skin at the forehead and nose areas (called a "T-zone"). Before you embark on a skin care regime for your combination skin, you need exactly which areas are oily, which are dry and which are normal. Once you determine these factors, you can treat your combination skin fairly easily.

Wash with warm water and a cleanser twice daily. Make sure you use soap-free products. Read labels to make sure that your cleanser is free of alcohol, soaps, or harsh detergents. For the oily parts, use a cleanser which contains salicylic acid specially designed for the reduction of sebum production. If you choose to use toners or astringents as part of your combination skin care routine, make sure whatever you use is alcohol-free; if it isn't, it will make your dry patches even worse. Apply a small amount of the liquid to your face, ideally in only the oily areas. After washing or toning, apply an oil-free moisturizer to the dry (and, if you want,) normal parts of your skin. There is no need to moisturize the oily parts of your skin. Before going out into the sun, make sure to apply an oil-free sunscreen. As for weekly treatments, those with combination skin may wish to apply two masks weekly- a clay mask for the oily areas and a moisturizing mask for the dry areas.

Dry Skin

Unlike oily skin, dry skin is often caused by LOW sebum levels and often feels rough to the touch. Dry skin can be caused by a number of factors such as dry climate, menopausal decrease in estrogen levels, or acne treatments which contain benzyl peroxide to name just three. Most dry skin can be cured, just by following a few simple steps.

Wash with warm water and a cleanser once or twice daily. Make sure you use soap-free products. Read labels to make sure that your cleanser is free of alcohol, soaps, or harsh detergents. Many experts suggest using natural soaps as they tend to contain vegetable oils that are full of vitamins and contain glycerin- a humectant that draws moisture to the skin. Rather than long, hot baths which can dry out your skin, opt for short lukewarm baths or showers. When you finish bathing, pat your skin gently with a towel and then apply moisturizer to your still-damp skin. Moisturize, moisturize and then moisturize! It's probably a best-practice to use non-greasy moisturizers, but with dry skin (depending on how dry it is), you may want to use some emulsion-based or occlusive-based moisturizers. For severely dry skin, consider long lasting moisturizers. Of course, if dry skin persists, be sure to see your dermatologist. Those with dry skin may consider a moisturizing mask once or twice a week. Stay away from harsh laundry and dishwashing detergents- in fact just changing your detergent may be the factor that helps you rid yourself of dry skin. Finally, experts recommend hydrating yourself from the inside by drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day.

Sensitive Skin

Folks with sensitive can attest to how unpleasant it can be-all the rashes, breakouts, drying and cracking and itching and burning! For most people sensitive skin is a reaction to irritants, such as harsh detergents, alcohol, acidic skin care products, makeup removers, perfumes and other chemicals. Often times finding the source of the reaction and removing it is enough to nip sensitive skin in the bud. What follows are some other steps that can help.

Wash twice a day with alcohol-free, soap-free, moisturizing cleanser that contains no preservatives or fragrances or colors or unnecessary ingredients. If you can find no such product, try to get one with as few of those ingredients as possible. Look for the label "hypoallergenic" when choosing skin care products. Since toners are generally loaded with alcohol or other irritants, avoid them! Avoid makeup and makeup removers. If you must use make up, like cleansers, look for hypoallergenic versions. Rather than using makeup removers when you want to remove the makeup, try using a very small amount of olive oil or mineral oil to help get it off. If you wish to moisturize, use a hypoallergenic moisturizer. If you will be exposed to the sun, make sure your sunscreen is hypoallergenic.

How much care you give your skin depends largely on the type you have. However, going into specific recommendations based on the type of skin you have, there are basic care activities that you should consider regardless of skin type.
As we age, our skin care needs indeed change. In our young years, we have got to fight terrible acne. After that, in our 20s it seems like smooth sailing until the 30s appear and we start to lose are ability to retain moisture and discover our first lines.
The skin covering most of our body is durable, tough and resilient. The skin also has varying characteristics depending on where it is found on the body. For example, the skin on our palms and heels is thick and the skin on our heads has the addition of hair follicles.