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Understanding your skin – Skin types and conditions

What is normal skin?

‘Normal’ is a term widely used to refer to well-balanced skin. The scientific term for well-balanced skin is eudermic. The T-zone (forehead, chin and nose) may be a bit oily, but overall sebum and moisture is balanced and the skin is neither too oily nor too dry.

How to identify normal skin

A velvety, soft and smooth texture is a sign for a healthy and radiant skin.

Normal skin has:

  • fine pores

  • good blood circulation

  • a velvety, soft and smooth texture

  • a fresh, rosy colour uniform transparency

  • no blemishes

What is dry skin?

‘Dry’ is used to describe a skin type that produces less sebum than normal skin. As a result of the lack of sebum, dry skin lacks the lipids that it needs to retain moisture and build a protective shield against external influences. This leads to an impaired barrier function. Dry skin (Xerosis) exists in varying degrees of severity and in different forms that are not always clearly distinguishable. Significantly more women suffer from dry skin than men and all skin gets dryer as it ages. Problems related to dry skin are a common complaint and account for 40% of visits to dermatologists.

The causes of dry skin

Skin moisture depends on supply of water in the deeper skin layers and on perspiration. Skin is constantly loosing water via:

  • Perspiration: active water loss from the glands caused by heat, stress and activity.

  • Trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL): the natural, passive way in which skin diffuses about half a litre of water a day from the deeper skin layers.

What is oily skin?

‘Oily’ is used to describe a skin type with heightened sebum production. An over production is known as seborrhea.

The causes of oily skin

Oily skin tends to have blemishes.

A number of issues trigger the over production of sebum:

  • genetics

  • hormonal changes and imbalances

  • medication

  • stress

  • comedogenic cosmetics (make-up products that cause irritation)

What is combination skin?

combination skin the skin types vary in the T-zone and the cheeks. The so-called T-zone can differ substantially – from a very slim zone to an extended area.

Combination skin is characterised by:

  • an oily T-zone (forehead, chin and nose)

  • enlarged pores in this area perhaps with some impurities

  • normal to dry cheeks

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