Before you even start thinking about which product is right for you, it is important that you properly determine your skin type.
We recognise four different skin types: dry, oily, normal and combination skin. Everyones skin type is generally permanent and genetically determined, but for each skin type it is necessary to take into account additional factors such as sensitivity and uniformity of tone and texture, which ultimately also affect the choice of proper skincare.
A distinction should be made between skin type and skin condition. Condition of the skin is, for example, dehydration. Both oily and dry skin types can develop the problem of superficial dryness of the skin (dehydration) due to the use of aggressive cleansers, over-cleansing, insufficient hydration etc. Dehydration can be affected by small changes in the skincare regimen. Unfortunately, we cannot affect the skin type, but we can try to keep the skin balanced and healthy, regardless of the type.
For starters, get to know the features of each skin type. It will make it easier for you to recognise your own:
DRY: Your skin is dry if it looks matte and feels tight throughout the day. Pores are almost barely visible and skin can be rough and scaly to the touch. Acne and comedones are rare. Dry skin lacks lipids and prefers rich, emollient products.
OILY: This skin type is easily recognisable by the oily glow that is present throughout the day on the entire face. To the touch, you can see oily remains on your hand. Pores are generally very visible, enlarged, and, in some cases, clogged. Oily skin is more likely to develop acne and comedones, so it’s often prone to imperfections. Lightweight, fast-absorbing watery serums and serum emulsions are the types of products that oily skin prefers. For this type, it is important to strive to balance the amount of sebum, ie to establish the flow of sebum from the follicles and to normalise the desquamation rate, so that the pores don’t become clogged - which is a precondition for the development of acne.
NORMAL: An ideal, almost endemic skin type characterised by a balanced ratio of sebum and moisture, or a healthy hydrolipidic barrier. This skin type has a healthy, luminous glow that we all desire. It doesn’t get too greasy throughout the day and there is no tight feeling. Pores are present, but not too visible. For this skin type, choose a serum emulsion or cream with a lighter texture.
COMBINATION: As its name suggests, it’s a skin type with features of both oily and dry skin. Most often, the T-zone (forehead, nose and chin) is oilier with the appearance of acne and comedones, while the cheeks are dry or normal. This skin type is best suited to a combined approach in skincare. Lighter textures on greasy parts, while on cheeks you can apply an additional emollient product.
Now that you understand your skin type, it is important to know about a few more determinants that will help you find direction your skincare needs to take.
Another important factor in determining your skincare routine is the level of skin’s natural resistance. Resistant skin is characterised by a robust surface layer that adequately protects the skin against allergens and environmental irritants. People with resistant skin very rarely have acne or inflammations or general redness (erythema). These individuals have usually a high tolerance to numerous cosmetic products in general.
As opposed to resistant skin, sensitive skin is becoming a more and more common problem. We can divide sensitive skin into four subtypes: acne-prone skin (with a tendency towards acne and comedones), skin developing rosacea (with a tendency towards redness accompanied by enlarged capillaries and papulopustular changes), skin developing reactivity (characterised by tingling sensations and temporary erythema) and skin developing allergies (characterised by pronounced erythema, itching and flaking). The one thing in common to all these subtypes is that the skin responds with inflammation and adequate treatment must be found in accordance with this response.
Skin inflammation response is a complex problem with numerous etiologies which need to be addressed in a targeted and specific way. When it comes to selecting skincare products, the problem may be addressed by avoiding irritants and incorporating soothing ingredients with amazing anti-inflammatory effects, such as aloe vera, oat extract, cucumber extract, niacinamide, salicylic acid, zinc PCA, camomile etc.
SKIN TONE EVENNESS
This factor refers to skin’s tendency towards developing marks and discolorations such as post-inflammatory pigmentation and melasma.
The term post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation is used to describe darkened, most often brown coloured spots remaining after acne and the etiology of these changes is almost identical to that of melasma. They both develop due to melanocyte activity and exposure to UV radiation. On the other hand, post-inflammatory erythema is residual redness (usually left after acne and small wounds) which signalises that the body attempted to heal some kind of inflammation.
For treating post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation and melasma the most effective ingredients are hydroquinone, vitamin C, kojic acid, niacinamide, arbutin, mulberry and liquorice extract. Apart from them, exfoliating agents, such as glycolic and salicylic acid, are good for prompting shedding of problematic keratinocytes. Avoiding UV radiation is also a must.
The best solution for post-inflammatory erythema is to avoid products that cause skin irritation. These pigmentation changes will disappear by themselves over time. How long this will take depends on how deep the initial inflammation was; it may take a mere couple of days to as long as several years. Lasers that target red pigment in the skin are one of the potential solutions for this problem, but usually multiple treatments are needed and recovery lasts several months.
Skin texture can be divided into visible pores and wrinkles. The appearance of wrinkles for the most part depends on chronological factors (natural ageing) and exposure to UV radiation. Chronological ageing is impossible to prevent or postpone, but preventive action can be taken against environmental factors.
Premature skin ageing is primarily caused by smoking and other forms of pollution, a nutrient deficient diet, excessive alcohol consumption and most of all UV radiation exposure. To a greater or lesser extent all these factors obstruct collagen synthesis and prompt an inflammatory response. Since we know that the levels of the main structural components of the skin (such as collagen, elastin and naturally present hyaluronic acid) decrease with time, preventing their substantial degradation is the key to maintain a youthful looking skin. Products that contain vitamin C, peptides and vitamin A derivatives as well as chemical peels significantly contribute to collagen synthesis.
Another textural issue of the skin are enlarged pores which give the skin a specific porous appearance. This problem occurs with very oily skin as well as with dry and mature skin, although the etiology of development of enlarged pores in these two cases is completely different. In case of oily skin, sebum production is increased, which in itself enlarges pores in order to enable the excess sebum to be discharged from the hair canal as effectively as possible. In case of dry and mature skin enlarged pores are a sign of a weakened epidermis and dermis. With degradation of collagen and elastin the surface of the skin begins to lose its plumpness and smoothness, it becomes saggy and pores become visible, or rather, they appear to be enlarged.
The solution for both visible wrinkles and pores is one and the same. In case of combination to oily skin with enlarged pores, regular use of chemical peels, especially those based on glycolic and lactic acid, is particularly important, since their continuous use significantly retextures the skin. Use of retinoids and other antioxidants already mentioned, as well as adequate SPF protection, represent long-term aid for all skin types with these problems. The appearance of skin with enlarged pores and wrinkles can be improved significantly, but at the same time it is important to have realistic expectations.
Once you understand your skin type and what specific problems your skin is dealing with, then it’s easy to identify the ways in which those problems can be addressed. To make it easier for you to choose the skincare products that will adequately cover all your skin’s specific problems, each product on Skintegra’s web shop is followed by a detailed description of the skin type the product was designed for.