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Is My Skin Healthy?

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Not all skin types are created equal. Some require intensive skin care; others get by with a routine cleanse. But you should not judge a book by its cover.

For example, common sense dictates that breakouts, believed to be a telltale sign of oily skin, would need only an additional primer and astringent. But sometimes, breakouts mean that personalized products are actually necessary, such as a specially formulated makeup for acne-prone skin.

In assessing your skin health, here’s exactly where to look:

Know Your Skin Type

There are five skin types: normal, sensitive, oily, dry, and a combination of oily and dry. Having an oily T-zone in the afternoon doesn’t mean that your skin is unhealthy. It may just mean that your skin is an oily type, which has visible pores that produce lots of sebum. On the opposite end, dry skin produces less sebum, leading to a lack of lipids that are needed to retain moisture.

If one part of your face feels tight and dry while another looks glossy, you may have a combination skin type. If your face is usually red and irritated, you may have sensitive skin. Sensitive skin is prone to inflammation, from pimples to itchy rashes. While oily skin can also frequently have acne due to fat production, sensitive skin has more instances, often accompanied by other skin irritation.

Oily, dry, combination, and sensitive skin types each need their own maintenance products and custom makeup to reduce unwarranted features. Normal skin, which is well-balanced in lipids, doesn’t need as much. It may look a bit oily in particular areas, such as the nose, but overall, it never looks too glossy or flaky.

When You Need Custom Products

Knowing your skin type determines which products you can use.

Oily skin needs hydrating serums, contrary to popular belief. This skincare myth may be due to people mistaking oil production for excess hydration. But oil production and hydration are two different things when it comes to skin care.

Oil production refers to the release of sebum, while skin hydration refers to the absorption of water into the skin. Just because your skin has a lot of oil doesn’t mean that it has a lot of water. If you have oily skin with acne, watch out for general anti-acne products. Many of them do not consider hydration in particular, so they can leave your face feeling dehydrated, in addition to being oily.

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Dry skin may be due to genetics, but your soap and cleansing product may also play a part. Avoid harsh foams and gels. If these do not do the trick, use moisturizers containing glycerin, derived from vegetable oils and animal fat. In 2016, a study found glycerin the most effective humectant, or a type of substance that keeps things moist by forming hydrogen bonds with water molecules.

Since glycerin is a non-greasy moisturizer, it can also be used for the combination skin type, which has both oily and dry areas. Just make sure not to use too much of it, especially when humidity is low.

If you’re concerned that you may have sensitive skin, consult a dermatologist. Untreated skin irritations can lead to a more permanent condition over time. Also, irritated skin can be a symptom of a more serious skin disease, which commercial skin care alone wouldn’t be able to solve.

When You Don’t Need Much

A common skincare mistake is going product crazy, especially if you have normal skin, which has a broad spectrum of products from which you can choose. To care for normal skin, you need only the basics of skin care. These include sunscreen protection, hydration during winter, makeup removal before bedtime, and healthy eating.

Cosmetic brands come out with new products before you can even finish a bottle. Engaging marketing and celebrity endorsers convince you to buy products that sound trendy, even though you have no idea what they can actually do for your skin. For example, the glass skin trend had ladies buying various BB cream products from every Korean brand out there. But most BB cream prototypes are made for Korean skin only.

Americans have been enticed by BB creams for their all-purpose features. But these can leave their skin looking dull. The dewy finish of the Korean BB cream works very well with Koreans’ porcelain complexion. On an American complexion, with more freckles and visible textures, it can look creased and oily.

Staying Informed

Guidelines are only for general application. When shopping for skincare products and makeup, always take note of the ingredients and do a bit of research online. Be sensitive. Watch out for skin changes when you apply a new product, even if the label promises to be suitable to your skin type.

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