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What’s your skin type?

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Oily skin type

Oily skin is more common in youth. It occurs when glands in the skin secrete too much oil (lipids). Oily skin can produce:

  • Enlarged pores
  • Dull or shiny, thick complexion
  • Blackheads, spots or other blemishes

Oiliness can change, depending upon the time of year or the weather. Oily skin can be caused or worsened by:

  • Puberty or other hormonal imbalances
  • Stress
  • Antibiotics
  • Exposure to heat or too much humidity

Here are some tips for taking better care of oily skin:

  • Wash your skin no more than twice a day, and after you perspire heavily.
  • Use a gentle cleanser and don't scrub.
  • Don't pick, pop or squeeze spots. This prolongs healing time.
  • Use products labelled as 'noncomedogenic'. They don't tend to clog pores.

Sensitive skin type

If your skin is sensitive, it's helpful to find out why so you can stay away from things that make it react. You may have sensitive skin for a variety of reasons, but often in response to particular skin care products.

Sensitive skin can show up as:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Dryness

These are a few of the most common reasons for sensitive skin:

Acne is from oil in the skin that clogs pores and allows for the overgrowth of skin bacteria. Treatment may include:

  • Tea tree oil
  • Antibiotics
  • Benzoyl peroxide
  • Salicylic acid
  • Retinoids

Rosacea is a common skin condition with symptoms including flushing, pimples, and broken blood vessels. Treatment includes the use of antibiotic gels.

Contact dermatitis can be caused by allergens or irritants. If you're allergic, your immune system makes antibodies against certain substances, causing a reaction. A dermatologist can perform patch testing to see if you are allergic to a substance such as a fragrance or preservative. You can also be sensitive to irritants. It's important to realise that even natural or organic ingredients, such as essential oils and fragrance, can cause reactions in sensitive skin.

Common skin irritants include:

  • Bath soaps
  • Detergents
  • Eye cosmetics
  • Moisturisers

The basics of skin care

These tips will help your skin stay healthier, no matter its type.

  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Avoid direct sunlight and wear a hat and sunglasses.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Wash your skin thoroughly every day and never wear makeup to bed.
  • Moisturise your skin.
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WebMD Medical Reference

Medically Reviewed by Dr Rob Hicks on June 28, 2017

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