Skin types and conditions

Every person’s skin is unique. When it comes to skin care, the most important thing is to understand your skin’s specific needs. Determining your skin’s type and/or condition and choosing the right products are the key to a balance, healthy and glowing skin.

A skin type is the skin you were born with and the way that your skin behaves, pretty much all the time, due to the genetic, makeup and hormones. A skin condition is usually a temporary concern and can be the result of outside influences, including weather, diet, stress, skincare products, allergies, etc.

Trying to determine yours? Ideally, a visit to your aesthetician would allow you to have a complete skin analysis and skin care regime prescription. However, here are a few common characteristics to each skin types and conditions, that will help you identify where your skin fits in the most.


The 3 skin types are dry, normal to combination and oily. It is determined by the quantity of sebum secreted over the skin surface. Most skins can be classified as normal to dry or normal to oily. It is quite rare that a skin is completely normal without an underlying tendency.



Dry skin is characterized by a lack of sebum secretion (essential lipids) by the sebaceous glands thus altering the skin’s natural balance and rendering it fragile. The NMF ( natural moisture factor ) using the sebum as a barrier is affected. Natural lubrication is reduced resulting in superficial dehydration and an increase of expression lines.

What are the causes of dry skin?

  • Alkaline cleansers usage
  • Sebum secretion deficiency
  • Insufficient lipid production
  • Weak/diminished hydro-lipidic barrier (results in an inability to protect the skin)
  • Age
  • Environmental factors

Dry skin is typically dehydrated and becomes more prominent with age. It can also often become sensitive.

How to recognize dry skin

  • Lack of sebum secretions (insufficient activity of the sebaceous glands)
  • Thin texture
  • No oily film to the touch
  • Skin feeling uncomfortable
  • Taut sensation
  • Lack of suppleness
  • Mate complexion
  • Sensitivity to aggressions
  • Skin feeling rough to the touch
  • Closed pores (barely visible if at all)
  • Flakes if dehydration

How to treat dry skin

  • Use products with a higher lipid content
  • Reinforce hydro-lipidic barrier
  • Add moisture as dry skin is generally dehydrated
  • Ensure skin is not “stripped” with alkaline cleansers


How to recognize normal or combination skin

  • Proper amount of sebum secretions on the skin’s surface
  • Regular skin texture
  • Pores slightly dilated.
  • May present a shinier look on the T-zone
  • Possibility of some comedons
  • Skin is feeling smooth, velvety to the touch.

Combination skin presents an oilier shine on the t-zone with normal skin on the other areas of the face.

How to treat dry skin

  • Can use either aqueous or lipid-based products
  • Maintain the hydro-lipidic barrier
  • Maintain the skin’s balance – ensure that the skin is re-evaluated at the change of season’s and if there is a change in the client's health or lifestyle

Skin conditions associated with the normal skin would dictate the homecare and clinical treatment required.


Oily skin is characterized by an excessive sebum secretion.

How to recognize oily and seborrheic skin

Oily skin:

  • Sebaceous secretions in excess
  • Thick and irregular skin texture
  • Pores generally dilated
  • Shiny look
  • Dull complexion
  • Skin is oily to the touch.

Seborrheic skin

  • Very shiny look
  • Oily secretions all over the face
  • Pores dilated giving the skin the appearance of an orange
  • No comedones or very little
  • Rarely infected
  • Hyperkeratinization
  • Redness
  • May be sensitive or dehydrated on the surface.



Skin conditions are much more varied. They can go from sensitive, dehydrated, acneic, etc. They can come and go, and be triggered by allergens, environmental irritants, infection, hereditary factors, and stress.


conditions related to the vascular system - SENSITIVE SKIN

Sensitive skin is due to an imbalanced ecosystem (hydric & lipidic system). It can affect all skin types and occur at any age. Sensitivity disrupts normal cellular functioning, and should be the first condition addressed in clinical treatments or simultaneously with dehydration

What are the causes of sensitivity?

  • Sun exposure
  • Heredity
  • Environmental stress (pollution, cold, sun, wind)
  • Chemical stress (aggressive treatments/ unsuitable skin care)
  • Physical stress (rubbing, harsh mechanical exfoliants)
  • Emotional stress
  • Compromised barrier function
  • Hormonal fluctuation
  • Medication

Common sensitive skin disorders

  • Erythema is redness of the skin or mucous membranes, caused by hyperemia (increased blood flow) in superficial capillaries. It occurs with any skin injury or inflammation
  • Erythrosis is a permanent redness on certain parts of the face, such as the nose or cheeks. It is linked to the dilatation of the blood vessels.
  • Couperose (vasodilation / increased blood flow) is a chronic skin condition caused by the weakening of the blood vessels, located mainly on the cheeks and nose.
  • Cyanosis (vasoconstriction / reduced blood flow) is a bluish discoloration of the skin resulting from an inadequate amount of oxygen in the blood.
  • Rosacea (medical condition when in crisis) is a long-term skin condition that typically affects the face. It results in redness, pimples, swelling, and small and superficial dilated blood vessels. Often, the nose, cheeks, forehead, and chin are most involved. A red, enlarged nose may occur in severe disease, a condition known as rhinophyma


Dehydrated skin is an impaired ability of the skin to retain moisture resulting in a breakdown of normal skin functioning. It can affect all skin types, occur at any age, and be caused by a variety of factors. Dehydration disrupts normal cellular functioning and can activate sensitivity. Therefore, it should be one of the first condition addressed in clinical treatments.

What are the causes of dehydration?

  • Poor cleansing routine (alkaline-based soaps)
  • Sun exposure
  • Dry climate or seasonal dryness
  • Direct heat (fireplaces, forced-air heating)
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Stress
  • Compromised barrier function
  • Air conditioning
  • Physiological aging
  • Aggressive treatments/products
  • Improper diet
  • Medication
  • Unsuitable skin care
  • Insufficient water consumption


Oily skin

Caused by hyperactivity of the sebaceous glands, resulting in an over-production of natural oil (sebum) and shiny skin

Comedogenic skin

Caused when sebum reacts with oxygen, it covers the opening of the dilated pore with a dark-colored residue and is then called a comedone, or blackhead.

Asphyxiated skin

Classified in the category of "oily skin", with a problem to liberate sebum to the outside. It solidifies within the pore, obstructing it and producing micro cysts called "miliums". Small deposits of grease, perfectly visible from the outside but they are ‘trapped’ inside the skin


Increased sebum production. Abnormality of the microflora of the skin. Clogged pores blocking the evacuation of sebum. Oxidation of the sebum causing comedones and dilation of the pores. Propioni bacterium (the principle bacteria responsible for acne-prone skin

Different Forms of Acne

  • Papules are small, red, raised bumps caused by inflamed or infected hair follicles.
  • Pustules are small red pimples that have pus at their tips.
  • Nodules are solid, often painful lumps beneath the surface of your skin.
  • Cysts are large lumps found beneath your skin that contain pus and are usually painful


Anything that interferes with skin function or causes changes in appearance

  • Skin Atony on both the face and body, is often associated with the loss of fat. The deterioration or reduction of collagen and elastin in the dermis are another cause of skin atony. While anyone can get loose skin, it’s more likely to occur in people as they age. People who have lost significant amounts of weight are also more susceptible.
  • Line and wrinkles on the face are one of the most visible signs of ageing. They're caused by the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin – as we age, our bodies can't produce enough collagen to replenish what has been lost, so the skin begins to lose its strength and elasticity over time.
  • Pigmentation spots are caused by an increase in melanin. Melanin is the natural pigment that gives our skin, hair and eyes their color. Several factors can trigger an increase in melanin production, but the main ones are sun exposure, hormonal influences, age and skin injuries or inflammation.

Causes of Aging



  • Free radicals
  • Sun exposure
  • Tobacco smoke & environmental pollutants
  • Agressive treatments/ inappropriate skin care products
  • Physiological aging
  • Life long effects of gravity
  • Glycation