Know Your Skin

Whatever your age, there are two guiding principles underlying everything you do as part of your daily basic skin care: one is to increase its moisture content. And two is to protect the skin’s barrier function. Water is what keeps the cells plump and functioning. Even after the cells die, their ability to absorb moisture continues for some time. As long as the cells are moist and fit tightly together, the barrier function of skin is assured.

Protecting the topmost layers, the stratum corneum, is essential when caring for the skin. Washing, toning, and moisturizing seem so simple and straightforward that many of us take these routine skin care steps for granted, assuming we know what we’re doing and using our favorite products. I’ve found that as knowledgeable as many men and women are, they are often victims of misinformation. They mistakenly believe, for example, that some products will shrink pores. Or that one cleanser is as good as another. Some people also believe that the skin type they are in their thirties or fifties is the same type they were a decade earlier or when they lived in the desert or in the mountains.

People often don’t realize that skin type may not only change with age, it can also change in response to a shift in the external or internal environment. Traveling to a different climate or a higher or lower altitude and seasonal shifts in temperature and humidity are the most obvious examples. But certain medications, particularly hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives, can affect skin type, too. So do drugs designed to get rid of wrinkles, such as Retin-A, or those used to treat acne, such as Accutane. Illness, pregnancy, and menopause cause significant changes in skin physiology. Normal/combination skin can become dry. Dry skin can become oily.

Just as we all have different hair colors, eye colors and skin tones, we also have different skin types. Knowing yours can help you choose the skincare products that are right for you. For example, is your skin oily, dry or a combination of both? Using the appropriate products formulated specifically for your skin type will make a difference in how your skin looks, feels and repairs itself. Our expert team here at Murad has put together this simple flow chart to help you identify your skin type.

What's Your Skin Type Infographic_FINAL

Doctor Murad Article by Howard Murad, M.D., FAAD, a world renowned skincare expert and founder of the Inclusive Health movement. Read more about Dr. Murad.

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