The Difference Between a Skin Type & a Skin Condition

Understanding your skin is the vital first step to treating it correctly

You know what’s the best thing about having your own, personal esthetician? They know your skin. They look at your skin, they analyze it & make a point of understanding it before performing any treatments or recommending any product. They have studied &  have passed exams to prove that they can see & feel the difference between a dry & an oily skin, & even recognize a skin that is dry, but used to be oily. They can recognize & assess evidence of the many & varied skin conditions that can & may be present in or on your skin. The best part of all ~ they know how to assist you in treating those conditions & they LOVE doing it.

I hear myself saying a lot to my clients, “You have to choose products that are suited to you skin type.” When I say this I am referring to their basic products that will maintain the general health of their skin {Cleanser, toner, masks, moisturizer}. By ‘Skin Type’, I am referring to the nature of their skin, dependent on their natural oil flow. Skin Type is predisposed by your genes. You cannot change the nature of your skin type, only work on balancing it. Skin Types are categorized as: Dry Skin, Oily Skin, Combination Skin & Normal Skin.

Dry Skin is Oil dry. It lacks oil & as a result will exhibit an inability to retain hydration {moisture/ water}. Dry Skins often feel tight, a little rough, may have some flaking & irritation or inflammation. The lack of oil can, & often does, lead to a breakdown in the Acid Mantle {the protective function of the skin}, which then leads to their skin feeling sensitized. Their pores are generally small &, overall, their skin has a fine, delicate look to it. These skins require products that will boost their oil. Creamy or oil based cleansers, hydrating, soothing toners & rich, nourishing moisturizers. Appropriate exfoliation is also important.

Oily Skin is overabundant with oil. Oily skins generally retain moisture more efficiently, but depending on how they a treated, can become dehydrated, too. Oily skins age more slowly, because of their ability to hold in moisture, so it important to maintain a healthy amount of oil.  All too often, clients with oily skins feel that the oil is what causes breakouts, & while oil being trapped in the pore is a cause for concern, removing all the oil is not the answer. Removing all oil can lead to dehydration & more oil being produced which is then is more easily trapped. Oily skins know how valuable their oil is & if you take it all away, it’ll just make even more to compensate. Stripping the oil also leads to dehydration, then breakdowns in the Acid Mantle & again, becoming sensitized & possibly experiencing more breakouts! Oily skins have larger pores, are generally thicker & more robust in texture.Oily skins need products that will balance their oil flow without excessively stripping the skin of oil. Gel Cleansers, balancing/ purifying toners and light, possibly oil free, moisturizers to maintain hydration.

Combination skins generally have an oily T zone { an Uppercase T ~ forehead, nose & chin}, with the characteristics of an oily skin in that area. The rest of the face can be normal or even dry.

Normal skins have an even, balanced oil flow all over, with even pore size and texture.

Many assess sensitive skin as a skin type. At this point, we need to understand the difference between sensitive {or what I refer to as Reactive} & sensitized skin. We touched on this briefly in a previous blog post. Sensitized skins have broken down Acid Mantles and will experience burning, itching, redness, inflammation because active ingredients are able to penetrate the skin too deeply. Reactive skins may react by flushing when touched or when using more active products. They may react with Hives or allergic reactions easily. I consider this to be a condition, with the treatment merely being consideration & omission of those things that cause the reaction. I consider skin type to be determined by oil flow. Oily, Combination, Normal & Dry skins all have the possibility of being sensitive.

Ok. So what is a skin condition? A skin condition is a problem or issue associated with the normal function of the skin. They occur in ranges of severity, with different levels of treatment and curability. There are innumerable skin conditions.  They can be chronic or mild, they can be curable or incurable, they can be benign or malignant, they can be treated easily & successfully or they can require intensive treatment programs over long periods of time.

Examples of skin conditions include: dehydration, reactive skin, rosacea, eczema, psoriasis, acne, congestion, milla, blackheads, sebaceous filament, couperose, pigmentation, sebaceous hyperplasia, loss of elasticity, wrinkles, fine lines, inflammation, puffiness, carcinoma, melanoma, boils, cystic acne, adult acne, solar keratosis, dermatitis, sensitized skin {compromised Acid Mantle}, telangcitases. The list goes on.

Skin conditions are treated more specifically with targeted treatment products, in-spa treatments, with a dermatologist or plastic surgeon, or with medications. The type of exfoliation you incorporate into your routine may also be determined by a skin condition. The treatment course is determined by the actual condition. Some conditions merely require changes in your daily skincare routine in order to be resolved. Some require careful consideration, medical diagnosis & possibly biopsies or surgery.

If you notice something questionable or suspicious ~ if a mark or area of your skin changes if any way {shape, color, depth, texture, sensation} consult your dermatologist immediately. If your esthetician observes something they feel requires more specialized or medical attention they will advise you to consult your dermatologist. Please heed their advice. It is certainly better to be safe, than sorry.


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