Skin (all you need to know about your skin)
Did you know that the skin is the largest organ in a human body and it excretes waste products through sweat?
The skin has three layers which are:
- Epidermis the outermost layer of the skin which provides a waterproof barrier and creates our skin tone.
- Dermis beneath the epidermis contains tough connective tissue, hair follicles and sweat glands.
- Hypodermis the deeper subcutaneous tissue made of fat and connective tissue.
It is a very important aspect to human beings and should be treated as such. It is directly affected by the types of food we eat, the amount of water we take (yes, grab your bottle of water), exercises, fruits and vegetables.
There are some quick at home methods to help you identify your skin type.
The blotting sheet method.
This method is much faster and is often an excellent differentiator between oily and dry skin types if done properly. Gently pat a blotting sheet on the different areas of your face. Hold the sheet up to the light to determine how much oil is visible. If the sheet picked up little to no oil, you most likely have dry skin. If the blotting sheet reveals oil from T-zone area, your skin is normal to combination and if the blotting paper is saturated with oil, it is highly likely that you have oily skin.
Bare face method.
Cleanse your face thoroughly with warm water and gently pat dry. Leave skin bare without applying anything. After 30 minutes, examine your cheeks, chin, nose and forehead for any shine. After another 30 minutes, evaluate whether your skin feels parched, especially if you smile or make any other facial expressions. If your skin feels tight, your skin is likely dry. If there is noticeable shine on your nose and forehead, your skin is mostly likely normal to combination and if there is shine on your cheeks in addition to your forehead and nose, you most likely have oily skin.
Identifying your skin type is important as it helps guide you when choosing the best products to use on the skin. They should be natural to reduce the extent to which we modify and manipulate what goes into our system through the skin.
When choosing the right oils for your skin there are some factors that you should put into consideration:
This is the ability of a product to clog pores. It ranges from 0 which is non comedogenic and 5 which is highly comedogenic.
Fatty acid composition.
This relates to the Oleic and Linoleic fatty acid composition of the skin.
We have different types of skin which are classified according to their characteristics which include:
- Extreme dryness and cracking.
- Burning sensation.
- Certain foods like proteins when they are in excess.
- Some cosmetic ingredients.
- Reaction to some medications.
Dry skin (Xerosis)
- Less sebum.
- High in Linoleic fatty acids.
- Lack of lipids that it needs to retain the much needed moisture.
- Lack of a protective shield against external influences.
- Feeling tight and rough.
- Looking dull.
- Premature wrinkles.
- Regular irritation.
Skin moisture directly depends on the water intake in the deeper skin layers and on perspiration.
Skin constantly looses water via:
- Perspiration: active water loss from the glands caused by heat, stress and physical activities.
- Trans-epidermal water loss: the natural, passive way in which the skin diffuses about half a litre of water a day from the deep skin layers.
Dry skin is caused by the lack of:
- Natural moisturizing factors especially urea, amino acids and lactic acid that help to bind water.
- Epidermal lipids such as ceramides, fatty acids and cholesterol which are needed for a healthy skin barrier function.
As a result the skin barrier function can be compromised and that is why elderly women with dry skin have more pronounced wrinkles and lines.
- Hormonal changes.
- Weather extremities.
- Indoor heating.
- UV radiation.
- Long hot baths and showers.
- Ingredients in cosmetic products which can be dangerous to the overall health such as parabens, sulphates and petroleum.
Skin dryness exists in varying degrees of severity and in different forms that are not always clearly distinguishable but can be classified as follows:
Degrees of dry skin.
- Dry skin.
- Feels tight, brittle and rough.
- Looks dull.
- Skin elasticity is low.
- Very dry skin.
- Mild scaling or flakiness in patches.
- A rough and blotchy appearance (sometimes it appears to be prematurely aged).
- A feeling of tightness.
- Possible itchiness.
- More sensitive to irritation, redness and the risk of infection.
- Extremely dry skin.
Certain areas of the body particularly hands, feet, elbows and knees are prone to:
- Chapping with a tendency to form cracks.
- Frequent itchiness.
- Severely dehydrated.
Normal skin (eudermic)
It is well balanced skin.
- Fine pores.
- Good blood circulation.
- A velvety, soft and smooth texture.
- Fresh, rosy color uniform transparency.
- No blemishes.
- Not prone to sensitivity.
- Radiant complexion.
- Combination skin.
It is a mix of both the dry and oily skin types.
Skin type varies between the T-zone and the cheeks.
- Oily T-zone (forehead, chin and nose).
- Enlarged pores in this area perhaps with some impurities.
- Normal to dry cheeks.
The oilier parts are caused by an overproduction of sebum while the drier parts are caused by the lack of sebum and a corresponding lipid deficiency.
- Heightened sebum production known as seborrhea.
- High in Oleic fatty acids.
- Acne prone.
- Glossy shine.
- Enlarged, clearly visible pores.
- Thicker pale skin.
- Blood vessels not visible.
- Prone to comedones (white and black heads).
- Tends to have blemishes.
- Hormonal changes and imbalances.
- Heat or too much humidity.
- Comedogenic cosmetics which clog pores.
Mature aging skin.
- Uneven skin tone.
- Age spots.
- Visible wrinkles.
- Lacks tone and firmness.
- Looks dull.
- Open pores.
- Lacks moisture.
- Environmental extremities.
- Hormonal imbalances and therapies in women.
Skin condition can vary greatly during the course of your life. The many internal and external factors that determine its condition include: climate and pollution, medication, stress, hereditary factors that influence the levels of sebum, sweat and natural moisturizing factors that your skin produces as well as the products that you use and the skincare choices that you make. Skincare products should be selected to match skin type and address specific skin condition.
Skin Care Basics.
I possibly can not emphasize on how important this is for the skin. Routinely water intake can actually have a whole positive impact in your life besides cleansing hydrating and clarifying the skin. It also helps in regulating hormones for the women, helps to loose and actually manage weight all at the comfort of your home, water also cleanses the system from the inside, it helps manage health conditions like high blood pressure, and the list goes on and on, topic for another day.Moisturize.
Using the right moisturizer for your skin is a sure bet of skin success? Yes! Oily skin requires moisturizing oils that are easily absorbed into the skin without clogging the pores such as Jojoba and Grape seed oils which are high in linoleic fatty acids and a comedogenic rating of between 0-2. Dry skin on the other hand requires heavier butters like Cocoa and Shea butters with a higher comedogenic rating of 4 and high in oleic acids.
You know what they say ‘hydrate, moisturize, and repeat, yes! That is what we all should aspire to
Not more than thrice per week to get rid of the dead skin and reveal the natural glow of the skin.
They have less manipulation therefore the skin reaps more benefits as compared to chemically processed products.
- Avoid the extreme weather conditions like direct sunlight, extreme cold and windy conditions because the rip the skin of the much needed moisture.
- Wash skin gently but thoroughly twice a day with the right temperature of water.
- Clean bed sheets and pillow cases. Satin for the win because not only does it maintain moisture on your skin, it also maintains moisture on your hair helping it retain length and grow stronger.
- I know this sounds cliché but yes, avoid alcohol and cigarettes because they have toxic substances that are not good for the functionality of the body as a whole.
By Ajwang’ Ogutu