The Dynamic Nature of Skin Types: When and How They Shift

Everyone knows that skin changes with age. While we all know that wrinkles and collagen loss will occur with age, we are less aware that the type of skin we have can also change. You read it correctly. You may have oily skin all your life and develop new sensitivities one day.

It can be a shock to discover that your skin needs have changed. If you spent all of your life learning to take care of one type, waking up with a completely different type is a cruel joke. What works for combination skin might not work for sensitive skin. Ugh…

You can see changes in your skin due to a variety of factors, including stress, age, the environment and hormones. You can find out more about this if you think your skin is changing or you want to know why it could happen so you are prepared for future changes. We asked a dermatologist board-certified and an expert aesthetician for their insight on why this occurs, what specific changes may mean, and how you can adjust your skin care routine to maintain healthy, glowing skin.

Changes in your skin type

Michele Green, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, explains that your skin type may change with time. This can be due to factors such as age, hormones and health issues. Your skin type can change over time, from oily to combination, sensitive or dry. But it’s not something that happens by itself. Climate can have a major or minor impact on your skin type.

Green says that changes in medication, stress, and diet, can also affect the amount of oil produced by your skin. Stress hormones can aggravate acne, as it is an inflammation. Stress-induced acne is characterized by redness, itchiness, and an increase in blackheads and a whitehead count.

If you notice that it is oilier, then it may be a hormone

Your skin may suddenly become oily when it is dry. Green says that this is likely due to hormone fluctuations: “Skin change can be made worse by hormone fluctuations.” She explains that changes in hormones, such as cortisol or adrenal androgens, can affect the sebaceous ducts and cause them to produce more sebum. This can make the skin oily.

You can have both oily and dry skin at the same time

Combination skin is when you have both dry and oily patches on your skin. Many people have a dry T-zone and an oily T zone. Kate Deery BSN, RN, Certified Aesthetician at Clareo Plastic Surgery, Boston, says that you can also have both oily and dry complexions simultaneously if your skin is dehydrated and oily.

It’s important to drink water throughout the day to keep your skin hydrated. Also, use products that add moisture to the skin. Skin Medica HA5 is one of my favorites to hydrate skin. “This helps replenish the skin’s Hyaluronic acid,” says Deery.

Your Skincare Might Be Doing More Harm Than Good

Green says that just because you have used the same product for years and had success, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will always get the same results. This is often the case with skin care. The products you have used for many years may start to show little or no improvement. She suggests that when this occurs, it is time to reevaluate and adjust your skincare. It’s important to switch up your skincare routine as your skin changes.

She explains that your skincare products could actually be harming your skin. The wrong skincare products can cause adverse effects. Green states that the wrong skincare routine can also affect your skin’s pH.

If you have oily skin and use products which cause your skin become dry, this will lead to breakouts. “The same concept is applicable to someone with dry skin.” So, a skincare regimen designed for dry skin will work while your skin remains dry. If your skin becomes more oily, the routine may cause breakouts and clogged pores.

You can improve your skincare routine by using an exfoliant. This step is essential to maintaining a healthy skin tone by stimulating cell turnover. Add a toner for rebalancing and switch to a lighter moisturizer. Green says that this will allow it to penetrate your skin deeper to repair and replenish.

Again, it depends on your skin’s reaction. Deery says that gentle exfoliation is important, but you should only do it 2-3 times per week. Deery warns that excessive exfoliation can lead to dry, stripped skin. In some cases, skin may try to compensate by producing more sebum.

Your skin may change again

It doesn’t necessarily mean that your skin will never return to its original state. Green explained that a variety of factors influence our skin type and it is not always possible to predict its future. It’s important to know what your skin needs while it is in flux. Green says that if your skin changes, you should learn which products and treatments work best for your skin during the transition. The first step to a healthy skin routine is putting one together. It is important to know which products to use, and in what order.

You can adjust your routine to compensate

If you think your skincare routine is doing more harm than good to your skin, it’s best to consult your dermatologist about the best way forward. Green says that the most important thing is to listen to your own skin. You should adapt your skincare routine based on what your skin requires now, not what it required before or what you think it will need in the near future.

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