Identifying Your Skin Type - by Editor

Identifying your Skin Type

Are you aware of your skin type? Here are some simple experiments which you can do at home to identify your skin type.

Buying toiletries and cosmetics today can be a bewildering experience. The bug of super-specialization has bitten even the world of beauty. Everything from moisturizer to soap to face wash to sunscreen to cleansers and toners is classified according to the type of skin you have. When you buy beauty products, you have to know whether you are a dry, normal, oily or combination skin, just like you have to know whether you are a small, medium or large when you buy clothes.

In the looking glass

Normal mirrors and soft lighting can be quite deceptive. The first step in pinning down your skin type is to get hold of a magnifying mirror to see what's really happening with your skin. Now brace yourself, because in most cases, this is not a pretty sight. A magnifying mirror highlights every blackhead, whitehead, pimple, crater and wrinkle. But if it's any consolation, most people's skins don't pass the magnifying mirror test with flying colours.

Tissue test

The next thing to do is to check on the glandular activity of your skin. As complicated as that sounds, it's actually a simple procedure that just requires a paper tissue. Press the paper tissue to your nose and forehead for a few seconds. Do not rub it over the surface of your skin. Then remove the tissue and examine it.

If your glands are working overtime, the tissue will have greasy marks on it. If the tissue is spotless, don't get too excited. It's not a good sign. It means that your skin lacks lubrication. If the tissue is hardly soiled, you are one of the lucky ones with perfect skin.

The pH factor

This may sound like something out of a science fiction novel, but the pH factor is actually a measure of the acidity of your skin. pH is a measure of hydrogen particles, which, in excess, cause 'alkalinity' and if deficient cause 'acidity'. If the pH factor has a value of 7, it is neutral and represents perfect balance. When the figure is above 7, it is alkaline and when it is below 7, it is acidic.

To determine the acidity or alkalinity of your skin, you have to apply litmus paper to the surface of your skin. First clean your face thoroughly. Then wait for an hour before you apply the litmus paper so that the test result is not affected by the remnants of soap or cosmetics. Keep the paper against your skin for one minute and then remove it.

If the paper remains blue, your skin lacks acidity and will be prone to infections. If the paper is a rosy-lilac, your skin is sufficiently acidic. But if the litmus turns a pinky-red, your skin is too acidic as a result of which is delicate, sensitive and likely to show the effects of age prematurely.

Skin can be broadly classified into 5 categories:

  • Normal
  • Dry
  • Extra dry
  • Oily
  • Clogged

Normal skin:

It's ironic, but normal skin is a rarity. It's the kind of skin you have as a baby and which rarely survives the ravages of puberty and pollution into adulthood. This type of skin leaves only faint traces on the tissue and turns litmus paper pink. When you squeeze it, the skin is smooth and you don't see any pores.

Dry skin:

This type of skin leaves no traces on the tissue paper and turns the litmus paper red. It is a delicate kind of skin that wrinkles and burns easily under the rays of the sun.

Extra dry skin:

The skin is drab and dull and has a flabby texture. It wrinkles prematurely and its acidity varies from day to day.

Oily skin:

A shiny nose is typical of oily skin. It is not prone to developing wrinkles and has enlarged pores. It leaves very visible traces on the tissue paper and usually lacks acidity.

Clogged skin:

The skin is rough, thick, flecked with blackheads and whiteheads. It tends to be high on alkalinity and leaves no traces on the tissue paper.

You will notice that different areas of your skin exhibit different characteristics. For instance, your cheeks may be really dry, but your nose is always shiny and your forehead is a field of blackheads. In that case, you will have to care for each area of your skin as is required.

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Comments on Article

Name: Hema
City:   chicago
Comments:   In Identifying the skin, you have mentioned about litmus paper. Where can we find NULL I would want to try it.
Name: am_vyas
City:   mumbai
Comments:   what is litmus paper and where can one find itNULL
Name: Deepa
City:   louisville
Comments:   Hi, I have freckles on my face.can you please suggest a remeady for it.
Name: Jo
City:   portland, or
Comments:   Freckles are beautiful! You should be proud of them instead of trying to hide them! When you get older and they fade you will miss their presence! I never believed my mother when she told me this and when she told me that they will fade away. I did not see how such bright freckles could fade... but, alas, I am twenty eight and they have faded... and I miss them! Whether you call them beauty marks or angel kisses they are beautiful and not that many people are graced with them... especially after their early twenties! Be proud of what God gave you!
Name: Shobha
City:   Austin
Comments:   I would really like to know where can I find litmus paper.
Name: Samantha
City:   Caribbean - Fed. St Kitts Nev
Comments:   After reading this piece I still amd not sure whether my skin is oily or clogged. Please give me a finer distinction and possible treatment for both skin types.
Name: jayme
City:   milwaukee
Comments:   how do you treat clogged skinNULL
Name: akshata
City:   bangalore
Comments:   you can find litmus at any chemist shops.Thre are two and blue..for those following the above article, blue is advised.we use litmus strips in chemistry practical classes to test the acidity or alkaine nature of substances..acids turn blue litmus red..alkalies turn led litmus blue.
Name: Messadonna
City:   Singapore
Comments:   LITMUS PAPER!!! oh god if i knew i could have used litmus paper to check what what type of skin i have got, i would have taken that whole bunch of litmus paper that the teachers keep in the Chemistry lab in school... Who would have thought all those litmus papers would be this handyNULL
Name: Lalitha Rajasekaran
City:   Chennai
Comments:   how do u treat oily skin
Name: Nisha
City:   US
Comments:   what is litmus paper and where can one find itNULL
Name: meag
City:   Newcastle
Comments:   My face is always itchi and spoty I tried many creams none of them works. What shall I doNULL
Name: anupmenon
City:   mumbai
Comments:   my face is oily.i wash it after every 3-4hrs with medimix soap.i have pimples on my face but has reduced to a great extent from last 3 only a few(5-6) come once a week.i apply ERITOP cream(earlier TRetition-25).thats all ido for my there any thing else i can do for my skin.i dont apply any cosmetics. i also have holes(craters) formed becuase of squeesing of pimples(which i used to do earlier).can i anyhow get rid of themNULLNULL please age is 20.
Name: siva
City:   hyderabad
Comments:   hi my skin is dry especially in winter my skin looks like a snake skin please,give remeady for it
Name: deepak
City:   mumbai
Comments:   hi, i hav many blackheads and bcause of open pores i also hav hairs on my face,pls help me.
Name: wesley
City:   lagos
Comments:   plz kidly help recomend a medicine for my face i got pinples and black spot for a long time so is becoming to much so i have to cure it hope 2 hear from u soon wesley
Name: saber
City:   hyderabad
Comments:   i have pimple's problem from last 10 years they keep coming and going very often pls tell me some solution iam 30 years old
Name: Poonam
City:   Delhi
Comments:   how do u treat oily skin pls give me some adivse thanks
Name: arshia
City:   Manchester
Comments:   I have black spots n hyperpimentation of face problem,as my rest of the body is fair.please advice me.Thank u
Name: Dannny
City:   phoenix
Comments:   im not sure on my skin type.. when iwash my face it gets really tight and dryed out. It is also flakey. But during the day it will turn very oily and greasy, but still have flakes. I also have acne. I dont know what to use becaue i have two types of skin. PLEASE HELP

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