Difference between skin types and skin conditions
They say the best accessory you will ever own is your skin, so it's important to create a lifestyle and skin regimen that's designed to give your skin the best chance to look its best. But in order to do that you first have to understand the difference between your skin type and skin condition.
If you want to build a loving, caring relationship with your skin then you need to realise that you are in this together! It's important that you don't hate your skin for behaving in a way that’s preventing it from looking young, flawless and perfect.
Instead, let's try to get to the bottom of YOUR individual skin needs by looking at skin types vs skin conditions, because in my opinion, if we use this as our first building block we are laying the essential foundations for that ‘happily ever after’ with your skin.
Your skin condition is the way your skin is behaving right now. It can be something that is changing constantly, particularly if you are a woman. With the correct diet, lifestyle and skincare regime you can change your skin condition and make it as healthy as possible, leaving your skin thanking you by looking and feeling as glowing as it possibly can.
Off the top of my head, the most common behaviours that fit into your skin condition category are:
- Prematurely ageing
You can be anything from one to all of these conditions mixed together really.
Your skin type is the way your skin genetically behaves. I suppose the best way to explain it is to say your skin type is the skin you are born with. It will tend to stay the same (not necessarily forever).
Unlike every part of our body which changes through different stages of our lives, generally speaking, your skin type fits into one category for large periods of our lives. But the beauty of this is your skin type can be managed and greatly improved once you have got know your own skin fully.
Ok… so here’s your skin type options:
Again, you can be more than one skin type mixed together - for instance, you can be dry and ageing or any other of the combinations whether it is two, three or 4 of them all together!
Every single one of the above skin types and skin conditions really does need their own chapter to fully explain the signs, triggers and solutions. For now, though, this particular post is for you to hopefully understand your own skin a bit better, to understand what you can change compared to what you need to try to work in synergy with, therefore treating it with as much love as it deserves.
What is my skin type and condition?
So, how can you determine what skin type and skin condition you have? Well, simply pay attention to your skin.
Your skin is trying to talk to you by the way it behaves, so try and understand what it’s saying. If something is reoccurring, take a step back for a second, ask yourself…
- Does this particular issue happen after I have eaten something or used a certain product on my skin?
- Has this occurred at the same time of the month as last time or after I have had a late night or a busy time at work?
Once you start asking yourself questions and creating a background to the way your skin is reacting, you can start to build upon the foundations of getting to know your own skin.
I'm probably best using my skin as an example to hopefully help you to get to know yours; so my skin feels tight after cleansing, no matter how gentle the cleanser is that I use - it always feels ‘thirsty’ (a word I like to use to describe the feeling of needing to moisturise it straight after cleansing.)
In my opinion, my skin type is dry and my skin condition can very easily be dehydrated. I can tell this by the very surface of my skin looking thin, and if I pinch it together slightly it creates lots of tiny little lines.
I am lucky to have worked out the right recipe of products to prevent my skin from being dehydrated the majority of the time. I suffer from very open pores, which to me, falls under the prematurely ageing category. And while some advanced skin treatments can help minimise this, only an invasive laser treatment with significant downtime will make a dramatic difference.
Then to top it off, I think I am quite sensitised at the moment because I feel I have over-processed my skin by the number of treatments I’ve been having. I can tell this by my cheeks being red and there being very tiny little thread veins visible when I look at it closely.
You really want to avoid over-processing your skin through home care and treatments because it can take around 6 weeks for it to repair. (It's something I will concentrate on further for you in the future, but it is certainly something I shouldn’t have done to myself because I really do know better!)
The best way to avoid causing this is to make sure you are not over-exfoliating. You may be surprised how many of your products are actually exfoliating your skin, it is often not just your exfoliator.
Make sure to fully read the description of what each of your products is dong for you, then if you are going for a skin treatment, perhaps avoid exfoliating at home for one or two days before.
I appreciate you will probably feel unsure about how to give yourself a skin type label confidently, so after reading this chapter pop over to my skin guide on The Little Beauty Company clinic website. Here you can answer some questions which will result in giving you a general idea of what your skin type is.
If you would like a free, more personal consultation then please get in touch. I am more than happy to give you one via email, FaceTime or Zoom.
If you feel like you need some face to face advice from a skincare professional, even if it's just to find out how your skin is behaving, then go for it! Have a look for reputable Skin Clinics, Medispas and Aesthetics Practitioners in your area.
In my opinion, these are the people and places that you will receive the most valid advice. Aesthetic Practitioners have a vast amount of training under their belt and skin clinics and medispas are more likely to house therapists at skin expert level.
I would be wary of going to department stores and asking particular skincare brand staff for advice as they are very often trained in their brand products and that only. They are very often not actually trained in skin.
How often should I get skin treatments?
Whilst I’m on the subject of skin professionals and treatments, I am very often asked by clients how often they should get a skin treatment. The best answer is as often as your time and finances will allow you to spare.
If you want to see some very drastic changes in your skin, certain invasive treatments or peels are best carried out as a course, but they will all be agreed by consultation with yourself and your therapist.
As a general rule of thumb, if you have a good homecare routine daily, then having a really good skin treatment once a month is going to give your skin a lovely boost.
When we are young, our skins full cell renewal cycle is around 28 days, and as we age that full renewal process takes longer and longer. Monthly treatments to encourage out the skin to renew at our younger 28-day cycle is really is going to do wonders for your skin!
In time I will go through as many skin treatment options as I can for you, explaining each treatment process, the benefits, average costs in your area, who’s skin they are best suited to and the kind of results you should expect. But in my opinion, we’ve got some groundwork to put in place before fully divulging into your treatment options!
Have the confidence to know your own likes and dislikes with regards to products and make sure you have the chance to feel them on your skin before investing money in the product.
Either book in for a facial that uses the products you are interested in or find a skin clinic that has the products available as testers for you to try or samples for you to take home.
Regardless of what is recommended to you, what is more important above anything else is that the products result in your skin looking and feeling how YOU want it to look.
I strongly recommend that you choose to start investing in your skin and treating it as a priority, regardless of your age. If you are young - this is the best time to start!! If you are middle-aged and start now, it can mean the difference between you looking 50 when you are really 60. If you are older than middle-aged it still isn’t too late!
I promise that every little bit of care towards your skin will help it look and feel better, and let's face it, regardless of how old you are when someone compliments you on your skin, it is never going to do anything other than make you feel a little bit better.
My dad said to me recently, ‘by the time you are 40 you have the skin that you deserve’ which I thought was interesting coming from him considering I don’t think a single product has ever touched his face, but I think from his perspective he was more referring to diet and lifestyle.
Back in the olden days (or actually ‘not so long ago’ days), my dad’s statement was probably a lot more true. But now, treatments and home care products are so advanced that you really can turn back time (to a certain extent).
When considering how carelessly we may have treated our skin when we were younger, you haven't ever left it too late to make improvements.
Hopefully what I am helping you to understand is no matter what we have done in the past, and how wonderfully we have lived our lives that may have consequently led us to neglect our skin, we CAN make improvements. And in a lot of peoples cases, those improvements can be huge as long as you get to know your skin fully, and allow me to educate you on how to create a loving relationship with it!
Remember one of my favourite sayings - be your own kind of beautiful.
Your skin is as individual as you are. Appreciate your skin for trying its best, because it really is trying its best, and let's give it all the help we can :)
Love from Lois xxx