The face, although a small area of the overall total skin region on the body, manifests quite a lot of topical problems such as acne, wrinkles, sagging skin, sunburns, black-heads, dryness, irritation, eczema and allergies. Therefore looking after it can appear to be quite complicated and confusing if you haven’t done your research.

The following is a simple and inexpensive skin care routine that is effective and is not harsh on the skin. You don’t need to buy cosmetic products in order to look after your skin, and there is no such thing as ‘skin-type’. This term has been manufactured by the cosmetic industry in order to create a need in you to buy the products that they promote. Just think about it – two hundred years ago, before the cosmetic industry became so commercial, women had simple routines to look after their face and hands. They used oils and products that were provided by nature, and judging by the paintings of the Renaissance period they certainly did not have an issue with looking after their skin. So who really stands to benefit from selling you a skin-care range? Is it you or is it the company that you hand your money over to?

Cosmetic companies suggest that any skin type that is not normal can be returned to normal if you use their products. Firstly we have to understand that ‘normal’ skin is a relative term – ‘normal’ in comparison to what? Also, is having ‘normal’ skin an attainable goal anyway? Our skin’s status is ever-changing, and even women with perfect complexions will go through phases of having oily or dry skin. They may even have breakouts once in a while. Given that skin is so volatile, no one is likely to have normal skin for very long no matter what they do.

Second, skin type suggests that once a woman’s skin is typed her skin stays that way, at least for a while, and that isn’t true either. Day to day, month to month and season to season the face is subject to emotions, weather conditions, menstrual cycles and whatever else life brings with it. All those things can directly affect skin type in a hundred different ways. If a woman’s skin-care routine focuses on type, then her routine becomes obsolete the moment the season changes, or she decides to change boyfriends. What does she do then, run out and buy new products?

And thirdly, how is skin type determined anyway? It is always based on how the person’s skin feels on the day that they ask that question, and the answer is influenced by a number of factors. Mainly, it is determined by how a person cleans his or her face. Whatever routine they are using could actually be causing the problems. If a person uses bar soap everyday (which is drying) and then follows up with a moisturiser (which can be greasy and potentially block pores), that can create a severe combination skin condition. Or, if a woman wipes off her makeup with crèmes (which are greasy) then follows up with a toner (which is drying), she should not be surprised at all if she develops a combination skin condition accompanied by dry patches and breakouts. Typing skin without taking into consideration what is presently being used assumes that the skin is the way it is all by itself, regardless of what you do to it and that is not true. Before we can know what our client’s skin type is or is not, sometimes we have to start back at square one before we can go forward.

The last reason why skin type can be misleading is: what happens when all the skin types are present? At various times in my life I have had dry patches on my face at the same time as having breakouts and an oily T-zone area. That’s an interesting situation to consider. If I were to follow what I would be told at the cosmetic counters I would have to buy a small amount of everything to handle all those conditions on my face. And that is not an unusual scenario for most women – to have a little bit of each skin type going on simultaneously, or overlapping each other.

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