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Y’all lost your privileges. Sit down and shut up, we’re talking about skincare today.
What is skin?
Skin is the outer tissue that covers our bodies. Its purpose? To guard us against pathogens, regulate our internal temperature, and allow us to interact with our environment safely through our sense of touch. It doesn’t matter how different a person’s skin looks, it still serves the same purpose.
That being said, you should want to care for something so important, right?
Types of Skin
This type of skin usually experiences a visible or sensory reaction to skin products that contain synthetic ingredients, like parabens and sulfates. Sensitive skin types also can’t use salicylic or lactic acid, and this is something they’ve dealt with since they were young.
You might have sensitive skin if:
- your skin is susceptible to redness or rash
- your skin is easily irritated by mainstream products
- your skin is prone to itching, stinging, or burning sensation
All of the above apply to you and you’re still not convinced? Take a break from exfoliating–both physically and chemically–for a couple of weeks and see if your skin improves. If not, you have sensitive skin… But, if it does repair itself, then you may have another skin type and simply over-exfoliated.
If you discover that you do have sensitive skin, make sure to cleanse and rinse with cool water–not cold, and definitely not hot. Consider using a jade roller to calm your skin and pat on the products you use to penetrate your skin more effectively; rubbing products into your skin might make it oily or cause irritation. Stay away from skincare products that have sulfates, parabens, synthetic dyes, or fragrances. Also, limit your exfoliating to once a week, if even that.
Also called “normal” skin, people with this rare type don’t break out nearly as much as other types. They also don’t have to deal with normal skin problems, like large pores or oily skin. They can use whatever product they want without fear of irritation and almost never experience dryness.
In other words, they’re perfect. Hooray.
For people with dry skin, their bodies don’t produce an adequate amount of natural oil, which helps keep them moisturized. There’s a difference between actual dry skin and unintentionally drying out your skin; if your skin feels tight after cleansing, then it’s been dried out by the chemicals you’re using, and you’ll benefit from switching to a creamy alternative. Actual dry skin, on the other hand, will look and feel dry regardless of the mainstream products you use.
You might have dry skin if:
- you experience rough patches or redness
- your pores are small or “invisible”
- your skin has a dull complexion
- your skin has fine lines and wrinkles
If you discover that you do have dry skin, keep an eye out for creamy cleansers. They can help your skin retain moisture–and speaking of moisture, you’re going to want to use hyaluronic acid. You can usually find this in serum form, which stops your skin from losing water but make sure to use it before your moisturizer. Moisturizers are thicker than serums and prevent your skin from absorbing the serum correctly.
People with oily skin experience excess sebum production; they’re less likely to develop wrinkles and fine lines thanks to their naturally moisturized skin. Mind you, all that extra moisture increases their chances of acne breakouts–but that’s not to say that oily skin types shouldn’t moisturize.
Oh, and for those confused, sebum is an oily, waxy substance produced by the sebaceous glands, and it coats our skin in a protective layer of moisture. When you think of your body’s natural oils, sebum is the main ingredient.
You might have oily skin if:
- your pores are large
- you’re prone to breakouts or have prominent blackheads
- your skin looks shiny (especially toward the end of the day)
- your skin experiences worse breakouts when you use thick/heavy products
- your makeup “melts” off in a short span of time
If you have oily skin, opt for a cleanser that aids in oil absorption, like a clay cleanser. Also, you’re going to want to exfoliate chemically as opposed to physically; AHAs and BHAs help combat blemishes, so look for an exfoliant that has those. And whatever you do, do not skip moisturizing! Just choose a light, oil-free moisturizer instead, like one that’s meant to decrease sebum production.
The final and most common type of skin is combination skin. These types experience both oiliness and dryness on various parts of their face.
You might have combo skin if:
- you have a shiny/oily T-zone (across the forehead, bridge of the nose, and down the chin)
- dry/red patches around cheeks or jawline
- larger pores along T-zone but nowhere else
This skin type has the most difficulty finding a regular skin care regimen that works for them, but if you have combination skin, then the following tips should work for you. Try a gel cleanser, or one that foams up, and use a toner to help balance your ph, or your potential hydrogen, which is the acidity level of your skin. Oh, and consider using a charcoal clay mask 1-2 times a week, but only along the T-zone!
Common Skincare Myths
1) You should cleanse with hot water.
WRONG. Hot water removes your skin’s natural oils and moisturizers, leaving you feeling dry and itchy. Your face is especially sensitive to this, so just wash it with warm water.
2) You can only get skin cancer from the sun.
WRONG. Sure, the UV rays from the sun can certainly be harmful, but that’s how it is with literally any source of UV rays. Other risk factors include (but are not limited to) aging, being male, being Caucasian, smoking, and being exposed to chemicals or radiation.
3) If your skin is dark/naturally tan, you don’t need to use sunscreen.
WRONG. Just because people of color don’t get sunburns as easily as white people, that doesn’t mean that the sun and its UV rays don’t cook our skin. We’re still at risk for skin cancer, so please wear sunscreen!
4) Chlorine water can improve your acne.
WRONG. Chlorine dries out pimples, and long-term exposure can irritate your skin and cause even more breakouts.
5) Wearing makeup ruins your skin/causes acne.
WRONG. While some people (particularly those with sensitive skin) might develop a reaction to certain ingredients in makeup, you can normally avoid those less-than-favorable chemicals by shopping for natural/cruelty-free makeup. You want to know what does ruin your skin and cause acne? The improper removal and washing of makeup products.
6) Chocolate causes acne breakouts.
WRONG! THERE WILL BE NO CHOCOLATE SLANDER ON MY WATCH!
Dark chocolate is actually healthy–the darker, the better. However, what can cause breakouts is consuming too much sugar, which you’ll find in most consumable chocolates. As with everything, moderation is key.
7) Men don’t need to use body lotion.
Why? Why do you enjoy pain and suffering?
Obviously, this is WRONG. If you have a humanoid figure and skin, then you should moisturize according to your skin type. You’re not gay or metro or girly for taking care of your body. Jeez…
The bottom line?
While skincare is very important, make sure you’re implementing a skincare routine that benefits you and keeps your skin healthy. What works for others may not work for you–and be sure to research the advice people give you. There are far too many myths and incorrect home remedies out there, so make sure you stay on your toes.
Also, if you’re really that concerned about your health and the health of your skin, consider that you should stop smoking.
Stay healthy, Citizens!
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The information contained in this article is for educational, informational, and entertainment purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a healer or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.