What Kind of Skin Do You Have?

It’s important to know what kind of skin you have – oily, dry, combination, sensitive – so you can select the best products and skin care regimen for maximum skin health. The goal in treating acne (or any skin condition) is to try and stabilize, protect and repair the barrier function provided by the epidermis. Assaulting this top layer increases susceptibility to infection and environmental irritants and can result in a wide range of skin conditions (most worse than acne!), including impetigo, herpes eczema and contact allergic dermatitis.
The texture, pore size and oiliness/dryness of your skin is largely determined by genes, and regulated by hormones. There’s nothing you can do about your body’s natural inclination to be oily or dry; all you can do is recognize the skin type you possess and do whatever is necessary to regulate nature.
Your skin also changes as you age. While you might have oily skin as a teenager, you may have dry skin as an adult. As these changes take place, you need to recognize them and alter your skin care regimen accordingly. The routine that serves well during teen years may actually be damaging in someone past their 30s.
What if my skin is mostly dry?
You can still have dry skin, even if it’s covered with acne. It’s a common notion that the best form of treatment is to strip all oil from the skin, or that acne is caused by an excess of oil. That is not the case, however. Acne has its causes in several factors and stripping the skin of what is perceived as excessive oil causing acne can produce nothing more than skin that is parched, irritated and more susceptible to infection. Don’t indiscriminately strip your skin of excess oil until you understand the types of acne, which type you are and what treatment plan is best.
If your skin is mostly dry, humectant agents, or moisturizers, can help relieve dryness. A humidifier in the bedroom at night can also help, especially if you live where the weather is very dry, or you have an air conditioning or forced air heating system that zaps the moisture out of your skin. Some medications also dry out the skin; if you just started taking a new medication and notice a change in your skin, ask the prescribing physician if the medication is known to have dry skin as a side effect.
What if my skin is mostly oily?
Most of us have probably experienced those teenager years when we were quite certain we could’ve provided all the oil necessary for the french fryer at the local hangout. Women are especially susceptible, due the skin’s sensitivity to changes in hormones. Oil production constantly changes; again, it isn’t the root cause of acne. You can have oily skin and terrible acne, or oily skin and acne.
Living in a hot, humid climate will stimulate oil gland production, Exercise, stress and hormones such as testosterone and DHEA-S will also increase oil flow. Loose,k oil-free powders and medicated clay-based masks will help. Remember that excessive stripping of lubrication may actually increase production of oil, as your glands respond to perceived dryness.
Combination Skin and the T Zone
In reality, almost everyone has combination skin. The greatest density of oil glands is in what is known as the “T zone,” so called because it comprises a “T” shape of the forehead, down the nose, and ending at the chin. Even if you have oily skin in the T zone, you are likely to have dry skin elsewhere.
Once you’ve made yourself aware of the different types of skin, it makes it easier to work out a plan to get rid of your acne.

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