When it comes to choosing a topical skin care product, you need to bear in mind that each person's skin is unique. Factors like genetics, hormones, ethnicity and even the environment contribute to your particular skin type. However, the skin is typically classified as dry, normal, oily and sensitive, or a combination thereof.
In essence, sensitive skins are prone to irritation, dry skin feels tight and is often flaky or itchy. Oily skin can be identified by larger pores and a sheen that develops during the day, whereas a normal skin has an even skin tone with no flaking or sheen. Many people, however, have a combination skin with an oily T-zone, across the forehead, nose and chin, with drier skin along the cheeks.
Do all skin types (even oily skin) need to moisturise?
Those with oily skin may think that using a moisturiser will worsen their condition as a result and they tend to skip the moisturiser and only cleanse. This, actually strips the skin of moisture, which in turn stimulates the skin to overproduce oil to compensate. ALL skin types require moisture.
Are all moisturisers the same?
Different types of moisturisers consist of different ingredients. Humectants (e.g. Lactic Acid and Hyaluronic Acid) attract water and assist the skin in retaining moisture. Emollients (e.g. ceramides and fatty acids) are soothing and help in repairing the skin. Occlusives (e.g. lanolin or vegetable lipids and waxes) are also known as barrier creams and leave a film on the surface of the skin, which seals in moisture. These are often used post procedure to protect the skin and give it a temporary barrier while the skin heals.
What products complement a moisturiser?
Serums are products containing highly concentrated ingredients that reach the deeper levels of the skin. Specific concerns such as pigmentation, fine lines, acne or severe dehydration are addressed with these. They act as a specialised treatment and are applied before moisturising.
Oils come from therapeutic plants and act as a natural barrier to protect and nourish the skin. They are applied after your moisturiser as they are a defense against the elements. Not all aesthetic doctors would recommend oils, and it is important to check whether it is, in fact, suitable for your skin type.
The right moisturiser will not only hydrate the skin and protect it from external factors; it will also slow down the signs of ageing and prevent skin conditions such as sensitivity, rosacea, eczema and an impaired barrier. Correctly identifying your skin type is essential to maintain the skin effectively. If possible, input from an aesthetic doctor is first prize, as they will not only assist in correctly identifying your skin type, but will also be able to recommend the correct products.