4 Factors that Establish Our Skin Type and Condition

Contrary to popular belief, skin conditions may not be hereditary. In fact, there are a number of biological and environmental reasons why our skin is the way it is. Here are the top factors that determine our skin health and skin type we are blessed with:

The Effects of Time and the Sun

As we grow older, our skin type evolves as well. It gains and loses elasticity, density and volume. If your skin is oily during your teenage years, chances are it will start getting drier once you exit puberty. In fact, your skin may start to get drier later in life even if you have normal skin.

When this happens, our dermis loses its shape, which can lead to the development of fine lines and wrinkles with time. Dry skin can shrivel healthy cells, which can make those ageing signs appear sooner rather than later.

In contrast, people who have oily skin have younger-looking dermis because they have an in-built moisturiser. Dehydrated skin can exaggerate the smallest of lines and make you look older than you really are. A moisturiser will make those lines less apparent but if you are out in the sun for hours, you need a product that can moisturise your skin from the inside out.

However, dry skin does not cause wrinkles – it only gives off the appearance of more wrinkles compared to oily skin. If you have the latter, your skin looks plump and moist because it is always moisturised. If you have dry skin and expose it to the sun regularly, it can age prematurely as collagen and elastin fibers break down at a faster rate.

Sweat and Sebum Production

Sweat production is our body’s natural way of cooling down our core temperature and prevent dehydration. When we get hot, our sweat glands remove water that contains dissolved salts (such as lactic acid, urea and sodium chloride) from our bloodstream. The sweat drips out from ducts on the surface of our skin.

At the same time, our sebaceous glands excrete a waxy substance called sebum. This contains wax, fatty acids, sterols and hydrocarbons, which are meant to provide lubrication and protect our skin from moisture loss.

The sebaceous glands are attached to hair follicles and produce sebum via a process called holocrine secretion. If sebum accumulates around the follicles, it can block them, which can lead to acne. If the skin is not cleared of that blockage, bacteria can aggravate the breakout triggering inflammation and infections. This can happen if you have enlarged pores and an oily T-zone.

Skin Colour

According to the Fitzpatrick classification of skin, the color of our dermis determines how it reacts to extrinsic factors, such as inflammation, sunlight and irritation. The system was established in 1975 to categorize skin according to the amount of pigmentation it has and how it reacts to sunlight.

The Fitzpatrick scale details six types of skin and colors, with respect to sun toleration:

Fitzpatrick Skin type

Features

Sun reaction

I

Pale white skin  | blond or red hair | freckles | blue eyes

Doesn’t tan and always burns under the sun.

II

Fair or white skin | Blond or red hair | green, hazel or blue eyes

Tans easily but can also burn easily.

III

Fair or cream white skin | any hair or eye color

Tans slowly and mild burns are common.

IV

Light brown or olive skin

Tans easily and burns rarely.

V

Dark brown skin

Tans very easily and burns extremely rarely.

VI

Highly pigmented dark brown skin

Tans easily and doesn’t burn at all.

 

In other words, our basic skin colour is determined by how dense our epidermis is as well as melanin distribution, as per the Fitzpatrick scale. This is why some people can get sun-burnt or get a tan easily while others do not. People who have Skin Type III and on wards for example, have skin that develop dark spots easily if it is exposed to the skin for too long.

Skin Sensitivity and Natural Moisturising Factors

If you have sensitive skin, that means it is prone to inflammation and other adverse skin reactions. It also means that your dermis reacts strongly to dyes, fragrances and chemical ingredients in certain products. This can happen when the natural barrier around the skin is compromised, causing water loss and allowing irritants access.

The severity of your skin sensitivity determines symptoms. People who have mildly sensitive skin can experience itching, a tingling sensation and burning when it is exposed to certain internal and external stimuli. Highly sensitive skin can lead to breakouts and can even crack and peel. The symptoms can worsen if the skin is exposed to the sun or cosmetics and skin products that contain ingredients they are sensitive to.

This won’t happen if the Natural Moisturising Factors (NMFs) are maintained. These are basically amino acids that our skin produces and that bind to water to maintain its suppleness and elasticity. In other words, NMFs can prevent your skin from getting dry and sensitive. However, if the protective barrier around the skin is damaged, you can lose those, which can deplete moisture from the skin and make it highly sensitive.

If you have sensitive skin, make sure you address the skin issues before you picking a product. Always do a patch test first to see how your skin reacts to the ingredients. If it breaks out in acne or gets red, search for products that contain anti inflammatory or other ingredients that will be gentle on the skin.

Needless to say, skin health solutions that are backed by science can ensure it remains healthy without suffering from side effects. At Efani Co., years of research and an understanding of skin biology have allowed us to produce skincare products that deliver real and healthy results.

We take pride in providing a transparent skin therapy experience that our clients really appreciate. Our Healthy Glow Face range, for instance, can give you the natural glow you are looking for and maintain skin health at the same time.

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