In this tile, you will learn about the 2 types of classification used to classify the skin and how these classifications divide the skin into various types.
**Fitzpatrick’s classification, first described in 1975 to determine the risk of sun burns and the chance of developing skin cancer, is the oldest system that classifies the skin based on color**. Sunburning and skin cancer development rely on the efficiency of your skin to produce melanin on exposure to the sun.
**Fitzpatrick’s scale divides the skin into 6 types**: white, fair, average, light brown, brown, and black colors. The **lighter skin colors do not produce enough melanin to protect them against the damaging effects of UV rays**.
They burn easily with sun exposure which can lead to skin cancer. On the other hand, **darker skin colors have comparatively more melanin**. They are less susceptible to sunburns when exposed for 30-40 minutes. The higher melanin protects the darker color from developing skin cancer.
Skin classification according to the balance
Fitzpatrick’s system classifies the skin according to its color and **does not consider the skin’s physiological content**. While the system helps determine the aspect of sunburns, it is ineffective in choosing skin care products to avoid acne, wrinkles, or premature aging.
**Another skin classification is based on the balance of water, lipid, and sensitivity**. The balance of these three is essential for healthy skin. However, genetics and environmental conditions can change their ratio, resulting in deviation of the skin from a typical skin, which constitutes different skin types .
According to this classification, there are **five skin types – normal, oily, dry, sensitive, and combination**. Each of these skins has its characteristics and requires a different skincare approach. Therefore, knowing your skin type can help you choose the best skin care products for your skin.
Scientifically, **normal skin is called eudermic**. It is one of the lottery winners because **it requires less maintenance than other types**. Normal skin has the proper moisture and lipids (oil) ratios that make it well-balanced and this, in turn, prevents the loss of excess moisture from the skin, helping it stay hydrated.
**This physiological balance keeps the skin from breakouts, blemishes, and flakiness**. In addition, normal skin has the right amount of collagen and elastin to keep it firm and elastic. Another characteristic of normal skin is that **it has small pores**, keeping the skin radiant.
Unfortunately, normal skin is not generally observed in adults. As people hit puberty and experience hormonal changes, their skin balance often changes . Therefore, even if you have normal skin, you can still experience breakouts or blemishes occasionally. That’s why it is important to have a consistent skincare regimen to avoid future skin issues.
In general, **the skin’s middle layer hosts sebaceous glands**, which produce sebum – the natural oil of your skin. The amount of oil produced in the skin varies from person to person, depending on genetics and environmental conditions.
When the skin produces less oil than usual, it leads to ‘dry skin.’ **As a result, fewer lipids are formed, which damages your skin’s protective barrier**.
A damaged skin barrier can no longer withhold enough moisture to the skin. The lack of water leads to the death of more skin cells than normal, creating a layer of dead cells on the skin surface, making the skin patchy and dull.
Because of the dead skin cells, **people with dry skin can feel tight and irritated**. A good skincare routine can keep your skin hydrated and avoid slackness. Cracked heels are one easily recognizable result of dry skin.
For some skins, **the activity of sebaceous glands is increased**. They produce more sebum than normal, resulting in oily skin. **Oily skin looks shiny around the forehead, nose, and chin**.
The skin industry often describes this region as the T-zone. The T-zone might look shiny, but at the same time, it is greasy . Oily skin is usually thick and heavy in texture. However, it is generally pretty good at tolerating changes in temperature and soaps.
**This oil is usually produced in the middle layer of the skin before traveling to the skin surface, with the help of skin pores**. Since there is more oil in this skin type, the size of the skin pores increases to accommodate this excess amount .
As the oil enters the pores, it also takes dead cells along, which can lead to the pores becoming blocked. This makes it difficult for the pores to let the oil out. Hence, they turn into blackheads and pimples.
You probably guessed it by the name – **combination skin has features of both dry and oily skin**. Combination skin means having oiliness in your T-zone and dryness in your U-zone. While the T-zone consists of forehead, nose and chin, the U-zone consists of the right and left cheek.
**Combination skin has fine lines and wrinkles on cheeks and large pores on the nose, forehead, and chin**. You can experience acne and tightness at the same time.
Your T-zone might be greasy and shine, while the U-zone might have a rough texture. Combination skin results from an imbalance in the distribution and production of the oil due to genes and hormones .
**Combination skin gets overly oily during summers and extremely dry during the winters**, is thick in some regions and thin in others.
You are not very sure how the combination skin will act up, so taking care of this type of skin is quite tricky. It is essential to avoid products specifically made for oily and dry skin.
**Damage to the skin barrier due to stress, hormonal fluctuations, the sun’s UV rays, or a skincare product can weaken the skin barrier, making the nerve endings under your skin over-sensitive**.
Such skin burns on exposure to detergents, perfumed soaps, sun rays, heat, and cold. Sensitive skin gets irritated readily and often feels itchy: even eating spicy meals can make your skin fleshy and irritated.
**Since sensitive skin loses its protective barrier, it is easier for germs and other irritants to enter the skin and create infections.**
By identifying what irritates your skin, you can prevent your skin from overreacting. Does an artificial ring itch your skin? Wear diamond or gold instead. Does your soap make your face red? Replace it.
Sensitivity can coexist with normal, oily, or dry skin. Your eyelids, armpits, groin, and genitalia have more sensitive skin than other body parts. So, **take extra care to treat them well**.
How to identify your skin type
**A good skincare routine** is a key to avoiding dryness, acne, and blemishes. So, how do you know what product is best for you? The answer is simple – by identifying your skin type.
**A simple at-home test can help you identify your skin type**. If when doing it there are plenty of oil marks on the paper, you probably have oily skin.
On the other hand, **little to no oil indicates that you have dry skin**. The combination of skin will only lead to the paper absorbing oil from the forehead and nose. However, if few spots are observed throughout the paper, congratulations – you have normal skin.
The reasons for different types of skin
There are 3 reasons for your skin type: your **genes, lifestyle, and age** . You might have noticed that your skin resembles your blood relatives more than your friends. That’s because you share the same genes; you are likely to have dry or oily skin if one of your parents has.
Likewise, **you will have dehydrated, tanned skin if you spend more time under the sun**.
**Your skin might be oily if you live in regions of hot and humid climates**. However, **living in cold regions often leads to dry skin**. The drop in the temperature and the indoor heating system dries the moisture from the skin.
This also promotes the loss of water from the outer layer of the skin – a process called trans epidermal water loss. As a result, the skin turns flaky and cracky.
How are age and skin type related?
**Age is an essential contributor to the type of skin you possess**. Your skin is the youngest and most radiant when you are between 0 and 6 years old. Then, **as you grow up, your skin begins to change**.
Hitting puberty brings oiliness to the skin for most people. This also increases the chance of breakouts and acne. Research conducted by the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles suggests that approximately 75% of people aged 11-30 experience acne in the United States.
But, as you grow old, the skin proteins – collagen and elastin – begin to break down and lose their function. This turns the skin thinner and dehydrated.
There is more chance of children having normal skin, youngsters having oily skin, and older people having dry skin. **You can have healthier skin even during puberty and old age with the proper skincare routine and a healthier diet**.