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Types of Skin - Dry, Oily and Sensitive

There are many unique characteristics differentiating one person from the next. People like to say that is what makes life interesting. But no matter how many facets of ourselves are unique, there are always going to be some in which we share a commonality with a percentage of the population. Skin types are one of those common factors. There are really three basic skin types; dry, oily, sensitive. An argument could be made that combination skin is a fourth. Since combination skin is just a mixture of the main types, it could even just be considered a subset.

Each skin type presents specific problems and benefits. Knowing how to care for the type of skin can mean the difference between a glowing natural complexion and a mask of cosmetics. You cannot achieve anything in life without some effort spent towards attaining what you want. In a way, you earn the skin you end up with in your older years. How you care for your skin will determine whether your skin is a source of pride or shame as you age.

Each skin type is affected by the environment and climate in which the person lives. As the organ with the most exposure to weather and climate conditions, these factors can dictate the needs of your skin and any special care and consideration which may be necessary. External environmental factors can really wreak havoc on your skin. Because of the role the environment can play in skin health, creating a skin care routine without taking this facet into consideration could be counterproductive.

Dry skin

Dry skin doesn’t necessarily affect every inch of your body, but skin can become dry just about anywhere and everywhere on your body. It can affect large areas or only occur as patches on various parts of the body. Certain parts of the body are more prone to becoming dry than others. Elbows, knees, hands and feet are probably the most common areas. More sensitive skin like your lips and face are common though too. And as some of you are probably very familiar, your scalp can also suffer from dry skin.

Dry skin can be prone to any number of skin conditions and even skin diseases. Parched skin can become red, inflamed, swollen, irritated, and itchy. These symptoms of dry skin are what lead to the more serious skin issues. Scratching itchy skin will cause further irritation. It can result in abrasions which make the skin vulnerable to infection. Additionally, chronic scratching of itchy scan can lead to scarring and thickening of the skin; even discoloration.

Besides the physical issues caused by it, scratching can also be off putting socially. Most people do not take kindly to a person scratching their head or body in public. The reasons for scratching which come to mind when you see someone doing so in public are generally not pleasant. The automatic assumptions are bugs, disease, and even poor hygiene. And the reaction is to steer clear which will do nothing to help your social life. Scratching in public is definitely taboo, but sometimes a taboo which is unavoidably ignored when the need to satisfy overwhelms social niceties. So it would seem dry skin can affect your public persona as well as your health.

Probably the most significantly negative aspect for a person who suffers with dry skin is the wrinkles. People who suffer with dry skin are more likely to see wrinkles at an earlier age and more of them than other skin types. A lack of moisture causes the wrinkles to appear more pronounced than they would seem on other skin types. Dry skin affects the efficiency of the skin renewal process. Usually the exfoliation process is not as efficient, leaving the skin to appear dull. Moisturized skin usually has a healthy glow minimizing the appearance of any lines or wrinkles.

Colder climates or weather causes dry skin and worsens an existing dry skin condition. The cold seasons are much less humid than warmer seasons. The lack of moisture in the air pulls the moisture from your skin. The skin becomes dry and flakey. Your skin becomes parched and needs to have the moisture replenished. Even indoors during the cold season, the air is much drier. Humidifiers can be used to add moisture back into the air; preventing your skin from losing moisture both indoors and outdoors. Rich creamy moisturizers are a second line of defense. They lock the moisture in your body and prevent the escape into the air.

Oily Skin

Oily skin is usually a result of an overabundance of oil glands in the skin. The glands produce an excess of oil which causes the skin to appear shiny and even greasy. The pores of a person with oily skin are usually enlarged. The oil will clog the pores in the skin and cause an eruption of acne. Oily skin is very acne prone. Acne can become severe and cover large areas of the skin. The various types of blemishes associated with acne can become infected and even inflamed.

Without proper care and precaution, the acne can cause permanent scarring of the skin. Other conditions can result from acne prone skin. Though the cause of some skin conditions hasn’t been definitively determined, the association with oily skin is clear. Eventually, acne can result in deep pockmarks giving the skin a dimply or even burned appearance. Acne can leave permanent discolorations and spots on the skin also. Severe acne should be treated by a dermatologist to avoid this type of permanent disfiguration.

Believe it or not, there is actually a benefit of having oily skin. People who suffer with oily skin do not wrinkle as early or as noticeably as other skin types. In fact, wrinkles are generally formed much later in years compared to other types of skin. With proper skin care to avoid scarring and pockmarks, a person with oily skin can maintain much younger looking skin long into the later years of life. The skin usually sustains a youthful glow and has a more efficient skin renewal cycle. These factors preserve the youthful appearance of skin.

Not surprisingly, oily skin doesn’t do well in humid conditions or climates. Humidity will wreak havoc on oily skin. This skin type already produces an abundance of oil and doesn’t need the excess moisture in the air to increase the production. Sweat adds to the oil already clogging the pores which exacerbates an acne condition and increases the risk of infection. Skin already battling acne blemishes can easily become infected. An infection can quickly become serious enough to require medical attention.

Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is easily affected by anything and everything. Skin products, chemicals in the air, even food can cause a reaction in sensitive skin. Physical reactions on sensitive skin can mimic some of the symptoms of dry and oily skin. Rashes, inflammation, even blemishes can appear as a result of physical contact or exposure to something in close proximity. Even ingesting a food or substance with an ingredient the body has a sensitivity to can produce a physical reaction in sensitive skin.

A person with sensitive skin has to be careful to avoid any type of irritant or allergen. Skin products, cosmetics, even household cleaners must be chosen with careful consideration. Preventive measures must always be taken just in case. Sensitive skin can have a reaction without any discernable cause. Rashes or redness can cover large areas. Rosacea and brown spots are common in people with sensitive skin. Both can cause permanent changes to the skin without proper treatment. People with sensitive skin always have to be on the alert and ready to treat a reaction.

Almost any climate will affect sensitive skin. Sensitive skin can be vulnerable to just about anything, even just changes themselves. Extremes are rough on this type of skin. Extreme heat, cold, humidity, or dryness will cause sensitive skin to react. Trying to modify the environment as much as possible is helpful. A humidifier, central air, or even a dehumidifier could mean the difference between an even complexion and red splotches all over. When you cannot control your environment, proper clothing can minimize the reaction. Cover up when necessary and choose fabrics carefully.

Featured in Health