Oftentimes when we’re shopping for skincare products, we take our skin type into account. Most of us think we fall into one of two categories: oily or dry. But there’s a little more to it than just these two parameters. If you follow the blog, you’ve probably seen me mention Skin Type Solutions, or STS. STS is a skin type classification system that places clients into 1 of 16 skin types based on their answers to an in-depth skin questionnaire. The system then assigns a regimen based on skin type. In order to determine your skin type, STS uses four dominant factors: oily vs. dry, sensitive vs. resistant, pigmented vs. non-pigmented, and wrinkled vs. tight. So I’m going to give you some basic knowledge about each one.
Oily vs. Dry: Skin dryness and oiliness depend primarily on the condition of the lipid barrier, the outer layer of skin that helps retain moisture, and oil production itself. Our skin’s barrier is like a brick wall, and each brick, or cell, is held in place by fats called lipids. Harmful ingredients and cold and dry weather can wear down these lipids. Lipids have to be present in the right proportion to keep the skin watertight. An impaired barrier will lean towards dryness, which occurs when the skin’s moisture evaporates. The skin’s sebaceous glands secrete oil that contains lipids, which as we now know, form a film that locks moisture into the skin. Over-productive sebaceous glands result in oily skin, and this can be caused by diet, stress, hormones, or genetics. Getting the skin’s lipid barrier under control with the right products will help treat both of these skin conditions.
Sensitive vs. Resistant: Resistant skin has a solid barrier that shields the skin cells, keeping allergens and irritating substances from the deeper skin layers. The only downside to having resistant skin is that many products may not be potent enough to penetrate the barrier and deliver results. Sensitive skin has a weaker barrier, which makes it vulnerable to reactions. There are four different subtypes of sensitive skin: acne, rosacea, stinging, and allergic. The subtypes all have one thing in common: inflammation. Products for sensitive skin types should be geared to treat inflammation first.
Pigmented vs. Non-pigmented: This factor is used to determine unwanted pigmentation. This can be in the form of dark spots like melasma, solar lentigos, or freckles that some want to lighten. People with these kinds of dark spots would fall into the pigmented skin type, while those with even skin tones and no spots would be classified as non-pigmented. Those with freckles that like them and want to keep them would also be considered non-pigmented. The STS questionnaire places an emphasis on this factor as twenty-one percent of visits to the dermatologist are for the treatment of dark spots. Dark spots are definitely preventable and treatable with the use of the right products.
Wrinkled vs. Tight: The two main processes of skin aging are intrinsic and extrinsic. We have no control over our genetic programming which unfolds over time- it’s inevitable and out of our control. We do, however, have control over extrinsic factors that can speed up the aging process such as smoking, pollution, poor nutrition, and sun exposure. The most universally experienced extrinsic factor in aging is sun exposure, which is why a huge emphasis is placed on adequate sun protection. The epidermis, or the outermost layer of skin, makes us look radiant and smooth. Wrinkles are caused by changes in the lower layer of skin, the dermis. Products that stimulate the skin to make its own collagen, elastin, and hyaluronic acid can be very effective in wrinkle treatment. Retinols are also highly recommended to prevent wrinkles from forming by providing rapid cell turnover.
Curious as to where you fall in the skin type range? Take the questionnaire at skintypesolutions.com by using our physician code ASH155 and receive 20% off and free shipping for your first order!