Understanding Your Skin
You may not be able to change skin types, but through good skincare, you can improve the condition of your skin. To go one step farther, proper skincare can help you realize the potential of your natural beauty. You can clear up blackheads and pimples. You can prevent your complexion from breaking out. You can replenish your skin with moisturizers and lubri cants to avoid dryness and forestall the appearance of prema ture wrinkles and lines.
For your skin analysis you will need a magnifying mirror. We’re going to begin to learn your skin type. We will concentrate first on analyzing its oily characteristics—if any—and then its dry characteristics.
Your skin type is determined by the number and activity of the oil glands hidden in the second layer of your skin. These naturally lubricate and soften your complexion. Ideally, they should supply just the right amount of oils and distribute them evenly to keep your face soft and moist. Nature rarely, if ever, strikes the perfect balance.
Most of us usually have skin that is either too dry or too oily or, in the majority of cases, a combination of both. Certain areas, like the forehead, nose, and chin, are oily. Other areas, like the neck, eyes, and cheeks, are drier and develop lines and wrinkles first. This is the general tendency of a combination skin type, but it can be just the reverse, depending on the individual. You can’t change the number of glands you have or control their activity. But you can learn to recognize your kind of skin—whether it produces too much or too little or just enough oil—and treat it properly. What we want to achieve together is this recognition.
The Oily Skin Type
Using the magnifying mirror, we will analyze area by area. First, cleanse your skin as usual, and wait ten minutes. Wash your fingertips thoroughly. If you have an oily complexion, your skin will look and feel greasy from too much oil on its surface. Concentrate first on looking for excess oils on the surface of your skin.
Is your forehead oily?
Raise the index and third fingertips of one hand to your forehead. Press them gently against your temple. Now slide these two fingers up and down across your forehead to the other side. Reverse the movement. Repeat it several times. Now look at your fingers. Are they shiny or flaky? Do they feel greasy when rubbed together? If you are not sure, roll a clear drinking glass across your forehead. If it comes away with a cloudy film, it indicates an oily skin.
Is your nose oily?
Wash your fingertips again. Starting at the bridge of your nose, feel up and down your nose from the bridge to your nostrils. Press your fingertips gently against the nostrils, and move across the width of your nose. Repeat several times. Look at your fingers, and rub them together. Are they shiny and greasy? If so, this is an oily area.
Is your chin oily?
Wash your hand off again, and bring both fingertips down to your chin. Move them back and forth. Repeat several times. Check again for a film of oiliness.
Is your hairline oily?
With your thumb pressed against your temple, let your index and third fingertips explore your hairline to the back of your neck, and check again for a film of oil. Generally, the oiliest areas of the face are the forehead, nose, chin, and hairline. Repeat the analysis for oils over your cheeks, around your, ears, your eyes, your neck. Look at your fingers to see if the skin left a film of oil on them.
OILY SKIN CHARACTERISTICS
* Extra shine. Overproduction of oil will create a shiny look—one of the primary characteristics of an oily skin type. Oily skin feels greasy to the touch.
* A generally youthful appearance, i.e., a soft skin and no premature wrinkles.
* A tendency to break out. If you have ever had an acne condition or a rash of pimples, then you have experienced the problems of an oily skin type. Excess oil, which exacerbates these problems, can be controlled by regular cleansing and by your recognizing the effects of drastic or gradual changes. Your oily skin reacts to seasons and climates, for example, by producing more oil in hot climates than in cold. Diet also affects the skin, despite what people might think today
Pimples—reddish blemishes sore to the touch.
Blackheads—gray or black spots at pore openings.
Whiteheads—small white, inactive bumps the size of a pinhead with no visible pore opening. They enlarge very slowly over a long period of time and never disappear on their own. Professionals remove them by very carefully lifting off the top layer of skin that covers them.
Enlarged pores. Flat, stretched pore openings, the result of excess oils.
The Dry Skin Type
It is important to analyze it for dry skin characteristics. Close your eyes, and with your fingertips slowly touch your face all around. How does it compare? Stop when you feel an area which is anything but smooth and soft. Concentrate on what you feel. Dryness is usually rough.
Look at your fingertips under a strong light. Do you see any flakiness? Small, powdery white flakes of skin? If you do, it could be a result of the natural sloughing off of dead skin cells, but chances are, if the flakes are easily visible on the tips of your fingers, they indicate an extremely dry skin.
Do you see wrinkles around your eyes?
Concentrate first on the area around your eyes and on your upper lip. Whether your skin is dry or oily, the fine-textured areas around your eyes are the places which will usually show the first signs of wrinkles. Another area to watch carefully for wrinkles is around the upper lip. Wrinkles can form here just as easily as around the eyes, owing to the hundreds and hundreds of movements made with the mouth every day.
Are your forehead or cheeks dry?
concentrate on your forehead and cheeks. The skin in these two areas is the most protected from the sagging effects of age because of the support it gets from your bone structure. If you see wrinkles, they may well be the result of facial expressions. Even if you do not see any wrinkles, you should still explore the areas for dry skin. But remember that if when you looked for signs of oily skin, you found blackheads or a greasy film, then the area you are touching now is undoubtedly not dry as a type but oily.
The general rule is that if you have blackheads, you can be sure you have an oily skin.
DRY SKIN CHARACTERISTICS
A matte finish, before and after washing.
A tendency to be oversensitive to cold weather. This can certainly occur in both the oily and the dry skin types, but dry skin seems more susceptible to the condition.
A minimal amount of perspiration. Many dry skins barely perspire at all, no matter what the temperature.
Rough, flaky areas.
A tight, pulling sensation longer than ten minutes after washing.
- A prominent webbing of wrinkles and lines on the surface of the skin.
The Combination Skin Type
In analyzing your skin for dry and oily characteristics, you may have found that your face does not fall neatly into a single category. Certain areas appear dry; others, oily. Further, you may have turned up elements that are contrary to the clear-cut dry or oily type.
Without your knowing it, this quick assessment may have led you into the wrong treatment for your skin, especially if you missed the fact that it is really a combination of the two types. If you treat your whole skin as oily, you can create many problems in the dry area. The products that are geared to help control oily skin usually are extra-harsh on dry skin, increasing the process of dehydration. The reverse holds true if you treat an oily skin as if it were dry—if you don’t remove the dirt and oil accumulation which will clog pores and enlarge them.
If you are like the majority of people who have a combination skin, you found that the area around your forehead, hairline, chin, and nose tended to be oily, and the eyes, upper lip area, and sides of your cheeks were dry. This is usually the case, but of course, you may have found that you are one of the exceptions.