You’re probably reading this article because deep down you’ve always known there was something fishy about the BILLION-dollar monster we call the skincare industry. With new companies, products and trends coming out daily how do we know what to really buy. Some make these “one size fits all” products and others try and put you in a specific “type”, it’s all BULLS**T. I mean, how could a 50-year-old man that lives in the desert and 28-year-old woman that lives in rainy Seattle use the same products because they’re both the same “type”.
To get the skinny on skin types and what attributes our products should be made to I interviewed a global dermatologist to get a professional’s feedback on the matter. She said “We are all unique and have skin with different needs, dermatological studies and current advances have made it very clear that not only is it important to focus on the type of skin (oily, dry, normal, combination), but several other factors as well. However, the “personalized” product route has always been a challenge to the industry because of the cost and manufacturing challenges around it.” Let’s discuss the additional attributes and why they are such an important factor in the caring of your skin.
Age is an extremely important variable when buying, indicating or recommending a product. The care of skin should begin early on, it’s not uncommon for a teenager to hit puberty and experience acne and oily skin.
As we hit our 20s/30s we start losing the natural moisture of the skin due to the decrease in collagen and elastin, fundamental proteins to keep the skin firm, flexible and hydrated the natural way. Important allies and most recommended by specialists are antioxidants, polyphenols, and hyaluronic acid.
As we approach our 40s/50s the epidermis (superficial layer of the skin) loses its moisturizing properties, cell turnover is not as effective therefore the regeneration of the skin is much later than at early ages of life. The skin loses flexibility, becomes opaque, decreases facial volume and density and hyperpigmentation zones appear due to age spots or photo-aging.
In the dermis (deep layer of the skin) the connective tissues lose their fibrous structure and their capacity to fix water, and the elastic fibers degenerate, resulting in a loss of resistance and elasticity, and the appearance of expression lines and Wrinkles that, as the skin matures, become more emphasized. This age requires the formulas to be more nutritious, retinoids, polyphenols, and hyaluronic acid are suggested,
During the 60s and 70s Accentuated and notorious changes are evidenced in our skin. There are signs of dryness, dehydration and deep wrinkles due to diminution of the natural ability of the skin to produce lipids that help to maintain the skin in a state of proportion and natural facial filling and also significantly decreases the production of Hyaluronic Acid. It produces the loss of facial volume and elasticity of the skin by decreasing regeneration of the skin is slower. It increases the sensitivity to UV rays and the skin is prone to hyperpigmentation (for example, spots caused by age).
When choosing the ideal product, these should be emollients with a high content of oils such as emu oil, it is important to keep it hydrated and apply nutrients that provide moisture and elasticity, to prevent aging from accelerating even more. It is also recommended that they have a high concentration of hyaluronic acid, as well as retinol. Due to the increased skin fragility, advancing age interests moisturize and maintain the density of the skin.
Sex plays a very important role in skincare. Men and woman both have very unique and different skin. For instance, the hormone that dominates the masculine organism is testosterone, due to this the structure and thickness of men’s skin is 20% thicker than the skin of the feminine sex. In addition, it contains more collagen fibers, is a protein synthesized by the body in a natural way that is responsible for retaining the water of the protective barrier, keeping the skin moisturized.
Once human hit puberty sweat secretions increase. Males, who develop facial hair have more Lactic Acid in their sweat, which creates a lower pH than female sweat. The male gender also has increased production of sweat vs their famine counter partner. This increased sweating and Lactic Acid (a natural skin humectant) is responsible for higher hydration levels in male skin. So heavy moisturizers are not needed at an early age
- Skin color
In this segment, we will highlight the characteristics of dark skin, since most people think that because of its robust color the care is minimal and, on the contrary, the predisposition to suffer from different skin diseases in this phenotype is also high.
Although all the skins have the same composition, the dark ones are much more compact and are more prone to a series of affections. The dark skins are more sensitive than is believed, that is why it is essential to carry out a series of care to have perfect skin and free of diseases.
Dark skin is classified with phenotypes V and VI, according to the dermatological scale of Fitzpatrick. This scale determines the type of skin according to hair color, eye color, complexion, tolerance to sunlight and genetic inheritance.
According to this classification, people with phenotype V have freckles and hardly burn when exposed to the sun. While those with the VI phenotype never burn, they do not have freckles on their bodies and do not have problems tanning. This information is valuable to get the most out of cosmetic products, since knowing your skin type you can buy the items that best suit your body.
Phenotypes V and VI are usually present in people of the Middle East, Latin and of African and African American origin. Both represent the largest group in the world, despite this dark and black skins have been forgotten by cosmetics since it has focused mostly on light skins.
Frequent pathologies in people with dark or black skin
- Dehydration: By containing a greater number of sweat glands tend to lose more transepidermal water, which translates into a greater risk of dehydration and therefore can trigger a peeling that causes a whitish color to the skin and turn off its shine. It is worth noting that black skin is 2.5 times more prone to peeling.
- Melanoma: Although it is rare that skin cancer occurs in people with dark or black skin when it appears it is more aggressive since the tumors show up later and show up in other areas of the body that are usually not exposed to the sun.
- Difficulty to heal: In phenotypes V and VI, it is more common to suffer keloid-type scarring problems, formed by the abnormal growth of scar tissue.
- Pigmentation problems: It is usual for people with dark skin to have hyperpigmentation or hypopigmentation in the body and face, this is due to the high concentration of melanin in the skin, causing the skin to darken or lighten more than it should.
- Greater risk of acne: With a high number of sebaceous glands, people with dark complexions are more sensitive to fatty products, this causes them to be more prone to acne.
- Sensitive skin
In general, sensitive skins are confused with atopic skins (allergy) the difference is imminent and you must resort to a dermatologist to discern what causes you the symptoms and what dermatological and facial cosmetic products you should use to avoid this condition.
There are a number of guidelines that this blog will give you so that the reader can understand the main differences between allergic and sensitive skin with the help of experts in the dermatology area. Two categories are established:
- Sensitive or intolerant skin. It is a complex phenomenon, sometimes quite difficult to diagnose. It is defined as those skins that present an exacerbated response to certain external agents, products or situations that in a general measure are well tolerated by normal skins. The threshold of sensitivity in these skins is diminished, the nerve endings at the level of the skin are more sensitive and all this leads to their having manifestations of different types, many of them subjective (itching, stinging, tightness, heat, burning, lack of comfort). They can also have some palpable manifestations (redness, peeling).
There are many factors that can cause its appearance or its aggravation. They can be external, such as weather, solar radiation, pollution, inadequate skin care products, makeup, taking certain medications and aesthetic treatments. Internal factors are also involved, such as fatigue, stress, unbalanced diet, and certain skin pathologies.
- Allergic skins. In the allergic skins, the immune system is involved. In this case, it is what we call a “delayed hypersensitivity“, that is, the skin or organism has come into contact with a foreign substance and the body recognizes it as an antigen. To counteract its action, our defense system manufactures “antibodies” against this substance. Producing an allergic reaction, of an inflammatory type.
And is that allergy is an individual reaction of our immune system, against substances normally well tolerated by most. This means that any substance is likely to cause an allergic reaction
Allergic skins should have a very controlled cleaning routine, try not to experiment with new products routinely and get used to always read the ingredient labeling (INCI) of all cleaning and skin care products that are going to be applied. This type of skins are usually very reactive to any new product or to any change in your routine of care, no matter that the products are organic, certified brands or with natural and novel ingredients, these skins will react equally badly to any cream or cleaner no matter how natural it is, if it contains any ingredient that causes allergy or intolerance.
After writing this, I reached out to Bellus skincare, a NJ based company who has become very popular for their ability to personalize skincare products. They’ve developed a “clean skincare generator” that uses a patent pending algorithm to create custom skincare formulas to your extract attributes. A client starts off by taking a short quiz that asks for their age, sex, skin type, tone, concerns and preferences. It then correlates that info to a database of ingredients and knowledge created by aromatherapists, chemists, dermatologists, and estheticians. Bellus was nice enough to connect me with a few people that had recently tried their personalized skincare products. The group ranged from ages 21 to 62, my goal was to get a good perspective on the effectiveness and over all skincare experience. Ariella, a 24 year old woman said it best “nothings truly effective until its personalized” Danielle a 39 year new mom said “I’ve tried many other products and I’ve never once experience results like I’ve had from personalized skincare”
So, after digging deep into the data, what do you think? Are skin types BULLS**T? or are they just a small piece of a skincare puzzle? You decide!!