Your skin holds more than just aesthetic value; it serves as a reflection of your internal well-being, often revealing more about your health than you might realize. When you radiate from within, your skin glows in harmony. Unfortunately, in today's competitive world and amidst poor lifestyle choices, our skin, the body's mighty guardian, suffers the most.
These factors contribute to premature ageing, where fine lines, wrinkles and sun damage are a common sight. To enhance the condition of your skin, it is crucial to identify the root causes and address them effectively. Before addressing the question of “how to improve skin health”, it is important to first find out the root cause and then work on solving those causes. Wait! Before you move ahead, we want you to splash your face with water, moisturise it and cosy up in a corner as we take you to the world of skincare and health, filled with insights and great tips!
Types of skin
Before you resort to the plethora of products available in the market to improve your skin, it is too crucial to first determine your skin type. You may have come across the terms such as normal, oily, dry and combination skin. Well, what are those? And how it influences the kind of product you choose has a direct correlation to your skin health. Continue reading to find out what are the types of skin and how you can consciously choose the right products. more about the space ahead.
Several factors contribute to determining one's skin type which is further discussed.
Types of skin:
Normal skin: as the name suggests it is neither excessively dry nor oily. It exhibits the following characteristics:
- Minimal or no imperfections.
- No significant sensitivity.
- Barely visible pores.
- Even skin texture
- Not prone to breakouts or flaking
Because normal skin is considered healthy, it does not equate with not taking care of it. it still requires proper skincare to look and feel its best. The ideal normal skin routine helps maintain your skin’s hydration by locking in moisture and supporting your skin’s protective barrier.
Combination Skin Type:
Combination skin, as the name implies is a combination of normal and oily skin. The skin can be dry or normal in certain areas while being oily in others, typically occurring in the T-zone. The T-zone consisted of the nose, forehead, and chin. This skin type is quite common and may require slightly different care based on the specific areas.
Characteristics of combination skin include:
- Pores that may appear larger due to increased openness.
- Presence of blackheads.
- Skin that tends to become shiny.
- Prone to breakouts, especially on the T-zone
- Uneven texture
Dry Skin Type:
One can easily determine this skin type as excess moisturization is needed. Dry skin can experience cracking, peeling, itchiness, irritation, or inflammation. In severe cases, rough and scaly patches may develop, particularly on the hands, arms, and legs.
Dry skin is characterized by:
- Almost invisible pores.
- Dull and rough complexion.
- Red patches.
- Less elasticity.
- More visible lines.
- Stretchy and dry feel
Oily Skin Type
Oily skin frequently appears shiny or greasy, especially in the T-zone area, which includes the forehead, nose, and chin. This skin type is prone to clogged pores, blackheads, and breakouts of acne.
Individuals with oily skin may also face difficulties. Overproduction of sebum can cause an accumulation of oil on the skin's surface, trapping dirt and impurities and resulting in clogged pores.
Oily skin is characterized by:
- Enlarged pores.
- Dull or shiny complexion with a thick texture.
- Presence of blackheads, pimples, or other blemishes.
Sensitive skin type
Sensitive skin is a skin type that is easily irritated and prone to reactions. It is more of a condition than a skin type. It can be characterized by redness, dryness, and a tendency to develop allergies. People with sensitive skin may experience discomfort when exposed to certain products or environmental factors.
Factors affecting skin health
Our skin, when in optimal condition, shields our bodies against external aggressors like irritants, allergens, and microbes. Numerous factors, both intrinsic and extrinsic, exert their influence on the state of our skin, degrading its appearance and texture. While certain factors lie beyond our control, a considerable number can be actively influenced. By taking baby steps towards skin care, one can definitely tweak some of the harmful factors and preserve its youthful vitality over extended periods.
The internal factors that affect the skin:
The condition of our skin is determined by various internal (endogenous) factors, including genetics, hormones, and specific metabolic conditions such as diabetes.
Genes are the blueprint of our bodies and hence .it play a significant role in determining our skin type and overall skin condition. They dictate whether our skin is normal, dry, oily, or a combination thereof. Additionally, genetics contribute to the biological ageing process of the skin, which encompasses several changes:
The decline in cell regeneration and renewal.
- Reduction in sebaceous ( the oil-secreting gland) and sweat gland secretions.
- Degeneration of connective tissue leads to decreased water-binding capacity and loss of firmness.
- Breakdown of elastic fibres, resulting in decreased skin elasticity.
It's important to note that biological skin ageing should not be confused with premature skin ageing, which is primarily caused by external factors like sun exposure and can be influenced by our actions.
Genetics play a major role in most skin diseases. For example, diseases like Atopic Dermatitis, Psoriasis, and Ichthyosis are all genetic in nature. Moreover, individuals born with a genetic deficiency in Filaggrin, a protein found in the skin, often have a weaker skin barrier function and are prone to sensitive skin and Atopic Dermatitis. In such cases, skin can be more easily triggered by stress and exacerbated by external factors.
Furthermore, certain diseases like diabetes and kidney disorders can have an impact on the condition of the skin. These conditions can affect the skin in various ways, highlighting the intricate connection between internal health and skin health.
In conclusion, our genetics, hormones, and specific medical conditions all contribute to the internal factors that influence the health and condition of our skin. Understanding these Hormonal changes account for many skin disorders, especially acne in females. The hormone androgen causes acne among teenagers while fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone and testosterone in females cause acne. Other disorders such as PCOS, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism can also trigger acne and change the way skin looks like. Pregnancy can cause hyperpigmentation and affect the skin’s moisture balance. During menopause, the levels of estrogen drop and hence causes dryness since estrogen is known to balance and regulate moisture.
The External factors that affect the skin:
Like Internal factors, numerous external (exogenous) factors significantly impact the condition of our skin. When the natural balance and hydration of our skin are disrupted, its ability to function as a protective barrier diminishes, rendering it susceptible to sensitivity. The health of our skin is intricately intertwined with various external influences derived from our surrounding environment, our overall well-being, and the lifestyle decisions we embrace.
We have all heard the importance of wearing sunscreen. It is crucial to protect your skin from the harmful sun rays. Prolonged exposure to sunlight stimulates the generation of free radicals, which can have detrimental effects not only on the skin but also on your overall health. While moderate sunlight is beneficial for our overall well-being, excessive sun exposure can result in skin damage. The sun's rays affect our skin in various ways.
UVB rays are primarily responsible for causing sunburn, and both UVB and, to a lesser extent, UVA rays have been associated with DNA damage that can lead to skin cancer. On the other hand, HEV Light does not pose a risk of skin cancer. Both UVA rays and HEV Light can accelerate the ageing process of the skin, leading to premature photoaging. UVA rays are the main culprits behind sun allergies, although UVB rays can also trigger them. Furthermore, UVA, UVB, and HEV Light rays can stimulate hyperpigmentation and contribute to the development of conditions like age spots (commonly known as sun spots) and melasma.
It's not just the sun, in extreme temperatures such as in cold conditions, the skin reacts by narrowing the blood vessels to protect the body from losing too much heat. Sustained cold temperatures reduce sebaceous gland secretion and cause the skin to dry out. Whereas in higher temperatures, the sweat and oil glands are more active, ultimately producing more sweat and oil, rendering it more prone to acne.
2. Inappropriate skincare and chemicals
The natural pH of the skin ranges from 4.7 to 5.7 which is mildly acidic in nature. It is extremely important to use products that do not disrupt this pH. Most of the cleansers out there posses a pH that is highly alkaline. This disrupts the delicate balance, overwhelming the skin's ability to neutralize and causing detrimental effects on cell structure. Moreover, the protective function of the outermost layer of the skin, the epidermis, is compromised. Consequently, the skin becomes prone to dryness, sensitivity, and even hypersensitivity.
When the skin is in a sensitive state, it becomes more susceptible to infections. The vulnerability of sensitive skin, characterized by a weakened protective barrier, is further exacerbated in the case of hypersensitive skin, which is additionally afflicted with hyperactive nerve fibres. Both types of skin are highly susceptible to the drying and damaging consequences of harsh skincare products.
It is essential to exercise caution when considering chemical peels, as they can elicit similar effects. Consulting a dermatologist is of utmost importance to ensure that a specific procedure is suitable for your skin type and condition. Certain individuals, such as children and the elderly, are particularly susceptible to the adverse effects of aggressive products. This is due to the fact that young skin is still developing and lacks full resistance while ageing skin experiences a decline in the function of the skin barrier.
While cleaning your skin is a necessity, over-washing, Excessive and prolonged exposure to hot water during showering or bathing can result in the depletion of essential components that naturally moisturize and protect the skin. These vital elements, known as natural moisturizing factors (NMFs) and surface lipids, gradually diminish, leaving the skin dry and rough. Moreover, tap water, which often leans towards a neutral to mildly alkaline pH, may disturb the skin's inherent equilibrium as it differs from the mildly acidic pH characteristic of healthy skin. This disruption can compromise the skin's protective barrier function, making it more susceptible to damage.
3. You are what you eat
The more colours you eat, the more you glow! And no we do not mean for you to pop in a handful of M&Ms just because it is colourful! A diverse array of nourishing options such as succulent fruits, vibrant vegetables, wholesome whole grains, and lean proteins (opting for fish over meat) can offer remarkable benefits to our well-being. Among the most valuable are antioxidant-rich foods, known for their protective properties.
These treasures encompass a spectrum of delights, including luscious yellow and orange fruits like carrots and apricots, juicy blueberries, verdant leafy greens such as spinach, plump tomatoes, peas, beans, and lentils, as well as fish brimming with Omega oils and the crunchy goodness of nuts. The list is endless!
When it comes to promoting skin health, it is generally unwise to follow diets that eliminate specific food groups along with their invaluable nutritional contributions. However, it is prudent to moderate the consumption of sweets and dairy products. Adequate hydration, particularly for the elderly, is of paramount importance, making it essential to prioritize drinking ample water. Avoiding alcohol and smoking is a must.
Although the connection between diet and the causes of acne remains elusive, it is worth noting that a well-rounded and balanced diet can positively influence overall skin health.
Specific medications, such as chemotherapy, diuretics, laxatives, lipid-lowering drugs, immunosuppressants and commonly prescribed for cardiovascular conditions, as well as medical procedures like radiotherapy and dialysis, have the potential to heighten skin sensitivity and increase the likelihood of dryness. The incorporation of longevity supplements such as trans-resveratrol and spermidine are known to fight off inflammation and slow down the ageing process
5. Lifestyle choices
Stress happens to be a malady of all. By proactively addressing stress, one can promote a healthier skin condition. An essential factor in this process is ensuring an adequate amount of sleep, as it provides skin cells with an opportunity to repair and rejuvenate themselves. Conversely, uncontrolled stress can lead to heightened skin sensitivity and various issues like acne breakouts. Thus, it becomes imperative to adopt stress management techniques such as reducing workloads, incorporating leisure activities, and practising relaxation techniques to foster a harmonious balance.
In addition to stress management, regular exercise plays a pivotal role in promoting both skin health and overall fitness. Engaging in physical activities not only benefits the body but also positively impacts the condition of the skin.
Daily skincare routine at home to follow
1. Daily Skincare Routine for Dry Skin:
- Cleanser: Use a gentle, hydrating cleanser to cleanse your face in the morning and evening.
- Toner: Apply an alcohol-free toner to help restore the skin's pH balance and prepare it for further products.
- Moisturizer: Choose a rich, nourishing moisturizer to hydrate your skin. Look for ingredients like hyaluronic acid and ceramides.
- Sunscreen: Protect your skin from the sun's harmful rays by applying a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher during the day.
- Optional: Consider incorporating a hydrating serum or facial oil into your routine for added moisture.
2. Daily Skincare Routine for Oily Skin:
- Cleanser: Use a foaming or gel cleanser to remove excess oil and impurities from your skin. Wash your face twice a day.
- Toner: Apply a toner that contains ingredients like witch hazel or salicylic acid to help control oil production and minimize pores.
- Oil-Free Moisturizer: Opt for a lightweight, oil-free moisturizer that won't clog your pores but still provides hydration.
- Sunscreen: Even oily skin needs sun protection, so use a non-comedogenic sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher during the day.
- Optional: Consider using oil-absorbing sheets or blotting papers throughout the day to control excess shine.
3. Daily Skincare Routine for Combination Skin:
- Cleanser: Use a gentle cleanser suitable for all skin types to cleanse your face twice a day.
- Toner: Apply a toner that balances the skin and addresses specific concerns (e.g., oily T-zone or dry cheeks).
- Lightweight Moisturizer: Use a moisturizer that provides hydration without feeling heavy or greasy. Apply it to the dry areas of your face.
- Sunscreen: Protect your skin with a broad-spectrum sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher during the day.
- Optional: Consider using different products on different areas of your face to address specific concerns.
4. Daily Skincare Routine for Sensitive Skin:
- Cleanser: Choose a mild, fragrance-free cleanser that is specifically formulated for sensitive skin. Wash your face gently.
- Soothing Toner: Look for a gentle, alcohol-free toner with ingredients like chamomile or aloe vera to calm and soothe your skin.
- Gentle Moisturizer: Opt for a hypoallergenic, fragrance-free moisturizer that is formulated for sensitive skin.
- Sunscreen: Use a gentle, physical sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide to protect your sensitive skin from the sun.
- Patch Test: If introducing new products, perform a patch test on a small area of your skin to check for any adverse reactions.
Note: These are general recommendations, and it's essential to listen to your skin's specific needs and consult with a dermatologist if you have any concerns or specific skin conditions.
TLDR, your skin is a reflection of your inner health. To embark upon the skincare journey it is first important to determine your skin type. Based on your skin type you can customise your skincare routine and follow it religiously. A basic skincare routine involves the usage of gentle cleanser followed up by a toner, moisturizer and last dallops of sunscreen. While these are external care that one can do, it is equally important to make lifestyle and dietary changes to get the best results. Including anti-ageing supplements like Resveratrol and Spermidine has shown evident benefits for skin health by optimising your overall well-being.
1. What are the different types of skin and how do they affect skin health
The different types of skin are normal, dry, oily, combination, and sensitive. Normal skin is well-balanced and has few issues. Dry skin lacks moisture and can be flaky. Oily skin produces excess sebum, making it more prone to acne. Combination skin has both oily and dry areas and lastly, sensitive skin is easily irritated and may react to certain products or environmental factors.
2. How can I determine my skin type to tailor my skincare routine?
To determine your skin type, observe your skin's characteristics. You can wash your skin and wait for some time to determine your skin type Normal skin has balanced oil production, while dry skin feels tight and lacks moisture. Oily skin appears shiny and may have visible pores. Combination skin has oiliness in the T-zone and dryness in other areas. Sensitive skin is prone to redness, itching, or irritation.
3. Are there specific skincare products or ingredients recommended for each skin type?
Skincare products and ingredients can be tailored to different skin types. For normal skin, a gentle cleanser and moisturizer are usually sufficient. Dry skin benefits from moisturizers rich in hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid. Oily skin can benefit from oil-free or lightweight products, such as cleansers with salicylic acid. Combination skin may require a combination of products for different areas. Sensitive skin benefits from gentle, fragrance-free products with soothing ingredients like aloe vera or chamomile.
4. What are the external factors that can negatively impact skin health?
External factors that can negatively impact skin health include UV radiation from the sun, environmental pollutants, harsh weather conditions, smoking, stress, poor nutrition, and certain medications. These factors can lead to premature ageing, dryness, sensitivity, acne, and other skin issues.
5. What are the essential steps in a basic daily skincare routine?
The essential steps in a basic daily skincare routine are cleansing, toning, moisturizing, and applying sunscreen. Cleansing removes dirt, oil, and impurities. Toning helps balance the skin's pH and prepares it for other products. Moisturizing hydrates and nourishes the skin. Sunscreen protects from the sun’s harsh rays
6. Which products should I include in my skincare routine for optimal skin health?
Cleanser: Use a gentle cleanser suitable for your skin type to remove dirt, oil, and impurities.
Toner: Apply a toner to balance the skin's pH levels and remove any remaining residue after cleansing.
Moisturizer: Use a moisturizer to hydrate and nourish your skin, preventing dryness and maintaining its elasticity.
Sunscreen: Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF 30 daily to protect your skin from harmful UV rays and prevent premature ageing.
Exfoliator: Use a gentle exfoliator once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells and promote cell turnover for a smoother complexion.
Serum: Consider adding a serum containing antioxidants, hyaluronic acid, or other active ingredients to target specific skin concerns like wrinkles, hyperpigmentation, or uneven texture.
Eye cream: Use a specialized eye cream to hydrate and protect the delicate skin around the eyes, reducing the appearance of dark circles and fine lines.