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Skin Types vs Skin Conditions

Knowing your skin type and skin conditions are so important, as they will help you to choose the right products that will give you the best results! There are 5 'classic' skin types: normal, oily, dry, sensitive and combination. These skin types are what you are born with and the natural tendency of your skin. Skin conditions such as dehydration, pigmentation/sun damage and sensitivity come from external factors like using the wrong skincare, sun exposure and medication. Your skin type is permanent, skin conditions can be temporary. For example: if you have oily skin and then use a lot of astringent products, it may become dehydrated as it has been stripped of all it’s natural oils.


So firstly I'm going to talk about sensitive skin. Sensitive skin is characterised by erythema (redness) which can be permanent or when the skin is touched. Sensitive skin can feel itchy, tight and sometimes have a burning or stinging sensation, particularly when some products are applied. Any skin type can have a reaction to an ingredient or product, but sensitive skins are more likely to react or get that burning or stinging sensation. Sensitive skin can be prone to both breakouts and dry patches and you may also find you suffer with broken capillaries (which basically appear as little red lines - often across the cheeks and nose). Regardless of any other skin concerns, you must always treat skin sensitivity first. Using strong products to treat breakouts for example, can exacerbate the problem and irritate sensitive skin more. Look out for products that include: Squalane, Shea Butter, Propolis, Hyaluronic Acid and Aloe Vera in their ingredients. The Ordinary does a fantastic Squalane Oil (£5.55 for 30ml on https://www.lookfantastic.com/the-ordinary-100-plant-derived-squalane-30ml/11416764.html)


Next up is dry skin! Dry skin tends to look a little dull, can be flaky and feel rough to touch. People with dry skin can also tend to react more easily to products, have tighter pores and doesn’t look 'plump'. A telltale sign of dry skin is the 'tight' feeling you can get which usually happens when you've just got out of the shower but if you get this feeling through the day I would recommend you start using a richer moisturiser as soon as possible! Exfoliation is key for dry skin types - the 'rough' texture comes from dead skin cells so you need to get rid of these not only to help give your skin a smoother texture, but by removing dead, inactive skin cells, the products you then put on your skin will work far more effectively. Dry skin lacks hydration and lipids (fats) so use richer products - oil or balm cleansers, rich creams and avoid anything foaming or heavy on soap as it will strip your skin. Hyaluronic Acid is your best friend - it holds up to 1000 times it's weight in water so will keep your skin super hydrated! Use a spritz or tonic as much as possible, apply after cleansing, after serum and after your moisturiser! My absolute favourite is Vitamin C Splash from Natura Bisse, it smells divine (as it's Vitamin C it smells of oranges) and you only need to spray the tiniest amount each time (£42 for 200ml https://www.lookfantastic.com/natura-bisse-c-c-vitamin-splash-200ml/11329131.html)

For hyaluronic serum, I would recommend Medik8 Hydr8 B5 (£40 for 30ml https://www.lookfantastic.com/medik8-hydr8-b5-serum-30ml/11795629.html) as it has a really high concentration of multi weight Hyaluronic Acid (different molecular weights work on different parts of the skin). Look for products containing humectants which attract water such as: glycerin, urea and sorbitol.


Next up is oily skin! Obviously, the first characteristic we think of is oily/shiny skin. The 'oil' on the skin is sebum, which is naturally produced by your skin as a protection mechanism. Oily skins over-produce sebum and are also prone to larger pores, blackheads and spots. I still wouldn't recommend foaming cleansers for oily skin, as you don't want to get rid of all the sebum on your skin, its there for a reason! Go for gel or milky textured cleansers and use a salicylic (BHA) acid after to tone. You can still use oil on your skin, in some cases it can be hugely beneficial. ESPA Balancing Face Treatment Oil is AMAZING for oily skins. It keeps the skin hydrated but also balances to help reduce over production of sebum (£59 for 30ml https://www.lookfantastic.com/espa-balancing-treatment-oil/12226492.html?affil=thgppc&kwds=39700017997406161&thg_ppc_campaign=71700000020666642&adtype=&product_id=&gclid=Cj0KCQiA4feBBhC9ARIsABp_nbVxX6z0Wjuf2KhQav0t3Epc1NKD3fZ_rrV5e9r4hzruRpzKvKhNF0UaAumKEALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds). When it comes to exfoliating, if you're using a physical exfoliator (one with little beads/grains) stick to once a week, massaging the beads over the skin will stimulate sebum production which you don't want. You don't need to exfoliate more than once a week, but you may prefer an AHA exfoliator which you apply and leave on the skin instead. Pores - everyone thinks they have huge pores (myself included!) and there's good news and bad news: the bad news is, pores do not close. The good news is - they can be refined and appear smaller! Focus less on reducing size and more on making sure your skin is nice and clean to keep blackheads at bay! Salicylic acid is amazing for clogged pores, I recommend NIP+FAB Salicylic Fix Tonic 2% (£19.95 for 190ml https://www.lookfantastic.com/nip-fab-salicylic-fix-tonic-xxl-extreme-2-190ml/12137767.html). Mud and clay masks are brilliant for oily skins as they absorb excess oil on the surface of the skin and are also packed full of minerals to help condition the skin. Use lavender based masks or oxygen treatments if you're having a breakout as lavender is antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and healing and oxygen is purifying and hydrating! (Natura Bisse Oxygen Mask is £37 for 75ml https://www.lookfantastic.com/natura-bisse-oxygen-mask-75ml/11329111.html and Elemis Herbal Lavender Repair Mask is £35 for 75ml https://www.lookfantastic.com/elemis-herbal-lavender-repair-mask-75ml/10437947.html)


Combination is not always dry cheeks and an oily T-Zone (forehead, nose and chin) although this is the most common variant of combination skin. Combination skin can be a mix of any skin types, you could be dry and sensitive, sensitive and oily etc. The key to treating combination skin is knowing which part to treat first: always start with sensitivity, then dryness, then oiliness. Skincare is so well researched and developed now, if you find you are oily but your skin is dry, go for a hyaluronic serum (which doesn't usually have a high oil content) and then apply a combination skin moisturiser over the top. ALWAYS wear SPF over the top, no matter what skin type you are. (Look out for my upcoming blog on SPF to help you find which one is best for you).


So now let's talk 'normal' skin. Being completely honest, in 11 years of my career, I have seen maybe a handful of clients with normal skin. As much as normal skin may be something we aspire to, it is perfectly fine if its not what we have! Even those who are naturally blessed with normal skin will come up against other factors such as hormones (I hate how much we have to blame on them), lifestyle, sun exposure, medication and incorrect skincare routine can all change your skin and cause you to develop skin conditions. Skin conditions are usually temporary due to lifestyle or can be longer term and due to illness, medication or an inherited disease.


Top of the list of skin conditions as it is probably the most common, is dehydration. No matter what skin type you have, you can develop dehydration! Dehydration is basically Trans Epidermal Water Loss - a loss of water in the skin. Dehydrated skin has the same 'tight' feeling people with dry skin can feel, however the skin can still be oily, have spots, and pores can be large or small. Always go for rich products as dehydrated skin will absorb products really fast so I'd recommend using an oil under moisturiser in the evening at least. Dehydrated skin can often look like it has fine lines and people often mistake dehydration lines around the eyes as wrinkles - if you think this is you and you're not using eye cream, start! I promise you'll seen a difference! Weleda Skin Food is my absolute go to for dehydration (I use it on my hands, feet, lips and face and I keep a tube by my bed, in my handbag and in my car), it is super rich as it contains shea butter and there is also a Skin Food Light if you prefer something lighter for the face (£13.50 for 75ml https://www.lookfantastic.com/weleda-skin-food-75ml/10540680.html?autocomplete=productsuggestion). Indeed Labs Pure Squalane Facial Oil is perfect for oily skin types that are dehydrated it reduces sebum production whilst retaining moisture in the skin (£19.99 for 30ml https://www.lookfantastic.com/indeed-labs-squalane-facial-oil-30ml/12188464.html).


Acne is another fairly common skin condition. The causes of acne are unknown however there are plenty of treatments available. Suffering from breakouts and suffering from acne are 2 completely different things. Acne can be extremely painful, sore, there can be a lot of redness and the spots tend to be a combination of black and whiteheads. Acne can be linked to hormones, which is why we think of mainly teenagers having acne skin, but women go through hormonal changes many times through their lives (contraception, pregnancy, menopause) and it can be experienced at any stage. In severe cases, I would definitely recommend seeing your GP as prescription medication can be more beneficial in some cases. To treat acne at home, stick to oil free moisturisers, use a gentle salicylic acid on spots, an AHA exfoliator and tonnes of hyaluronic acid! One of my favourite oil free moisturisers is Kate Somerville Oil Free Moisturiser, as well as being oil free, it contains amino acids to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles (£59 for 50ml https://www.lookfantastic.com/kate-somerville-oil-free-moisturizer-50ml/11288293.html). For an exfoliator, I would absolutely choose Murad Replenishing Multi-Acid Peel (£49 for 100ml https://www.lookfantastic.com/murad-replenishing-multi-acid-peel-100ml/12245718.html), it contains lactic and glycolic acids to exfoliate the skin and BHA (salicylic acid) to deep cleanse the pores.


Pigmentation is another common skin condition. Generally this occurs from sun exposure but it can also be down to age and hormones (some pregnant women can also get pigmentation during their pregnancy but it usually fades afterwards). Pigmentation can be really effectively treated with professional facials (I recommend my microdermabrasion and frozen facials). There are also plenty of products you can use at home to help! Look for products that are marketed as 'brightening' and ingredients such as Vitamin C, niacinamide and retinol (retinol is a whole subject on it's own so keep an eye out for my retinol blog coming up!). Try Caudalie Vinoperfect Radiance Serum (£46 for 30ml https://www.google.com/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=best+skincare+ingredients+for+pigmentation&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8) or if you like a retinol product, Medik8 Retinol 3TR Serum (£29 for 15ml https://www.lookfantastic.com/medik8-retinol-3tr-serum-15ml/11795624.html).


Eczema is a really common skin condition which affects so many people. It is usually genetic and can be aggravated by external factors such as washing powders. People suffer with eczema on their body as well as the face. Doctors often prescribe steroid creams and if these work for you I'm not going to tell you different, however long term use can cause the skin to thin. Again I would recommend Weleda Skin Food for small aches of eczema, or ESPA Deeply Nourishing Body Oil (£34 for 100ml https://www.lookfantastic.com/espa-nourishing-body-oil/12226518.html) for larger areas of the body. Much like eczema, rosacea should be checked by your GP. Symptoms can vary in severity and there are different types of rosacea so it's best to get it seen by a doctor before you try and treat it yourself, particularly if you suffer with it long term. In many cases, rosacea is temporary and can flare up every now and then in response to heat, alcohol or stress. Many advanced professional facials (such as peels, microdermabrasion and micro needling) can't be performed on active rosacea (hands on facials are usually beneficial). Wearing SPF is a priority for rosacea skins as they can be far more sensitive to the sun, use a mineral sunscreen such as SkinCeuticals Mineral Radiance UV Defense SPF50 Sunscreen Protection (£41 for 30ml https://www.lookfantastic.com/skinceuticals-mineral-radiance-uv-defense-spf50-sunscreen-protection-30ml/11705734.html) which also contains a slight tint to help reduce the appearance of redness.


The beauty of skincare these days is that there is just so much out there, every skin type or condition can be treated with over the counter products on the market. Always use a moisturiser that is for your skin type and then use serums and masks to treat skin conditions! I hope you've enjoyed reading this blog and have a better idea of what skin type you are (if you didn't already know) and have some suggestions on products! Should you want to purchase any of the products I have put the links to Look Fantastic, use my code LFTFMELIORA to get 20% off (not available on all products). As always, if you have any questions at all on skin types, conditions or products feel free to get in touch!


Love Naomi xxx



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