What's your skin type? Skin structure basics and care needed.
When I was growing up, I never knew what type of skin I had and never really gave it too much thought as I was too busy being a teenager. Freckled and easy to burn in the sun, my skin was neither too dry or too oily but could be quite sensitive. Do you know what skin type you have and are you using the right products and care for it?
Firstly. the skin normally reveals on the outside what's happening on the inside of your body. When we haven't had enough water to drink, haven't had enough sleep or proper nutrition, or not sweating out toxins and impurities, it of course starts to show in the form of dryness, sores, dark circles, breakouts, pimples, oil, roughness or several other reactions to our inside health.
I know on days where I have perhaps not taken care of myself in the best way possible, it reflects that in my skin right away.
If you understand your skin type, you can then be best equipped to deal with its problems and care needed.
So let's take a look at the 3 different layers of skin:
- Epidermis - This is the top layer and consists of 5 distinct layers and where skin cells are produced. The process of mitosis takes around 28 days to produce new skin cells. So if you have a wound, bruise, sore, cut etc, it could take up to 28 days to fully heal (depending on the severity)
- As new cells grow and form, the new cells underneath will move up and push on the surface cells that become tightly packed.
- When this process happens, cells start to die due to the pressure and lack of moisture sorely needed. That's why using a scrub, mask or good cleanser to remove dead skin cells but also provide moisture is vitally important.
- The 5 layers are called the base layer, prickly, granular, clear and horny.
- Dermis - this is the next layer down underneath the epidermis
- This layer is made up of blood and lymph vessels, sweat and oil glands, hair follicles, muscle and nerve fibers, melanin pigment, elastin fibers and collagen fibers. A very important layer for elasticity, sweating, blood flow and overall vitality.
- Hypodermis - This is the 3rd layer down consisting of a layer of subcutaneous tissue containing fatty deposits offering the skin protection, insulation, energy and contour. This layer attaches to the bones and muscles and regulates body temperature.
Functions of the skin and why it's important to keep it healthy:
- Temperature regulation - our skin acts as a thermostat for hot and cold. It acts as a barrier for heat exhaustion and hypothermia. Protecting our skin against these elements is vital. Water, cooling mists, a cold cloth, a hat...whatever is needed to not get hot or burnt and protecting your skin against freezing temperatures too is very important to avoid damage.
- Protection - Skin is the largest organ of our body and protects our bodies from loss of essential body fluids and defends against bacteria, fungi, viruses, ultra violet rays and other microbes and elements.
- Sensation - touch, pressure, pain, heat and cold are felt through the nerve receptors in the skin.
- Secretion and Excretion - Foreign matter can enter our body and skin acts as an additional barrier to discharge substances from the cells and glands through sweat to aid in eliminating waste, toxins and chemicals from our body.
- Absorption - nutrients and essentials like vitamin D can be absorbed through the skin.
- Attraction - healthy glowing skin is attractive and pleasing and enhances how we feel about ourselves too.
So how do we know what type of skin we have and how do we care for it?
- Oily skin - if you have a constant shine or oily feel to your skin, larger pores, fewer lines and more breakouts. Foaming cleaners or gel cleansers are best for this type of skin. Use oil free products, an exfoliating scrub and a more acidic cleaning mask weekly to draw out excess oil build up and impurities that cause breakouts. Lighter lotions are best.
- Dry skin - if your skin is flakey, tight, has more lines, broken capillaries, white heads and dry or irritable patches. Use alcohol free products, cleansing milks, moisturizing and oily products, creamy cleansers and heavier creams and lotions particularly at night. Find a moisture rich hydrating mask for a boost of vitamin E and antioxidants. Glycerin soaps contain extra moisture in them too through natural plant oils.
- Combination skin - if your skin has clogged pores on the nose or chin and oily T-zone and dry patches sometimes, you might have a combination of oily and dry skin. Vitamin C serum can be good for this type of skin as is a gel cleanser like aloe vera, gentle yet effective. Again you don't want to use anything that has alcohol or too much oil in it. It's about finding balance in moisturizer that is not too heavy. A nourishing mineral rich mask can help with dry and oily areas.
- Sensitive skin - if your skin burns easily with certain products avoid anything with alcohol in it, soaps, exfoliating scrubs or drying out masks. Use a cream or gel cleanser and a lighter moisturizer. Be sure that all products are natural and containing soothing and cooling ingredients like oatmeal, chamomile and aloe vera in them.
- Mature skin - as skin starts to age, more lines around eyes, mouth and neck start to develop, age spots can occur (more so if there is years of sun damage) and a loss of elasticity happens as we lose collagen (which is the main protein found in the skin and other connective tissues). Collagen rich foods and/or supplements, good water intake to help plump the skin and of course good healthy food definitely helps the skin repair, hastens healthy cell production and elastin, glow and maintain more of its youthful appearance. Facial exercises are also a great way to get tighter skin as is plenty of rest and sleep. Serums with concentrated ingredients and a heavy night cream can help nourish, firm and protect aging skin.
I hope you've enjoyed this post and have a better understanding of skin, your skin type and what kind of specific care is needed. I always try to remember that whatever I consume or how I treat myself will show up in my face. Rest, sleep, water, exercise and good food for mind, body and soul.
Here's to happy, healthy, nourished skin!