As we already established, skin type is determined by skin’s own oil production, which comes from the sebaceous glands in the form of sebum, a technical term to define a substance that is excreted to provide skin with its natural barrier.
What is Sebum?
Sebum, a natural emollient that protects skin, is a semi-liquid mixture that contains mainly triglycerides (around 57%), waxes and their monoesters, squalene and cholesterol and its esters. The sebaceous glands sit close to the hair follicles, which can be in either the main layer of the skin (dermis or epidermis) or even subcutaneous. The sebum they secrete finds its way to the stratum corneum (outermost layer of the skin) through the pores.
Fun fact: It is a common misconception that pores of the skin are used to breathe. They don’t. they are openings to get the sebum produced by the glands to the outside (along with sweat and hair follicles).
In human bodies, pores are everywhere except for hand palms and feet soles. Higher amounts concentrate on the face, scalp, back and upper chest area.
Our Body Parts at Certain Periods of Our Lives Are Defined
When sebum production is exacerbated, commonly during puberty (when the glands commonly enlarge), but can also happen due to hormone cycles, stress, lack of sleep, etc. Pores start having difficulties handling their delivery to the outside and eventually clog, especially when skin is not properly cleansed, and dirt and other external elements accumulate on the surface of the skin. As a result, the area where this overproduction of sebum occurs is oily. Therefore, it is not as simple as classifying yourself by one skin type or another, since different areas can have different types at the same time, depending on many internal or external factors your skin can be one type or another.
Different Products for Different Parts of the Body
All parts of our body deserve proper care, and since they all have specific needs, they need to be properly cared for. The differences lie on three factors:
- Presence and concentration of sebaceous glands
- Skin tone
- Thickness and exposure (or lack thereof) to the outside
Naturally, the face will always be the part you want to invest more on. Not only is it one of the biggest needs, but it’s the part that tells the most about you. It’s your introduction; the first thing that most people see first. You need to ensure that you understand your skin type and use specific ingredients and actives that will work best. Once you identify ingredients that are ideal for your skin type, make sure to use them routinely. Extend the application to the neck and décolletage (AKA “deck”). Your hands also deserve special attention.
Not only are your hands just as uncovered as your face (or close enough), but they get significant action and movement, not to mention sun exposure. Make sure you regularly use products specific for the hands. You want to use products richer in emollients, which will also help the palms (a part that does not produce oil). And don’t forget to use SPF when outside, in the sun. Also, it is important to apply SPF if you are going to get a gel manicure or any other beauty treatment that requires UV light to cure.
Use a body lotion on the rest of your body every day, preferably after showering and also before going to bed. Find a thick lotion, rich in waxes and other lush oils for the soles of your feet (no pores so no oil production on their own), along with your knees and elbows. They get a lot of stretching of the skin and can use extra protection and “love”.