Understanding your Skin

I often get emails from readers asking me what products they should use for their skin type. When I ask them what their skin type is, they often say things like Dry, Sensitive etc. Now having worked with both Black and Caucasian and Asian clients, I categorically say that Black Skin is rarely truly Dry or  Sensitive. Now I know what you’re thinking, but what about really dry, flaky black skin or black skin that reacts immediately to new products, etc? That is what you call a SKIN CONDITION not SKIN TYPE. So what’s the difference?


Skin Type is what you are genetically born with, and it DOES NOT change, while Skin condition is the present state of your skin, this changes often (from puberty to adult hood, pregnancy, etc). According to the latest dermatological reports, there are 6 known SKIN TYPES:

1. Oily – characterized by shiny appearance, enlarged pores, and overactive oil glands. Acne is a primary concern.


2. Dry -While Oily skin is known to have LARGE pores, Dry skin has invisible to no pores making it difficult for this skin type to produce oil. Characteristics of dry skin include flaking, itching, and dullness.


3. Normal – Very few people have this balanced skin type, but when they do it is characterized as  Skin that is hydrated, clear and even-toned. Normal skin can handle exfoliation and aggressive skincare ingredients.

4. Combination– Characterized by oiliness in the T-ZONE and dry patches on the cheeks.


5. Sensitive– Alot of people misunderstand this skin-type. It is characterized by immediate reactions to products or environment with redness and itching, however this is genetic meaning that almost as early as when you were a baby you were constantly red, and easily irritated by products.  New studies now show that if you have Rosacea, are born with Asthma, Eczema and Hay Fever, you’re skintype is Sensitive.

6. Acneic (new Skin Type!) – Characterized by chronic Acne. Acneic skin type is determined as having chronic Acne since puberty, having acne on the chest and back, having a family history of Acne; if this has been your history then your skin type is Acneic. Acne is now considered a skin type because we now know better that it is a genetic disease in some cases.

NOW that you know about skin types, let’s talk about Skin conditions. Skin Conditions are characterized by the present condition of the skin as a result of environment, weather, lifestyle, medication and many intrinsic and extrinsic factors. Here are the top 5  skin conditions Black women deal with.

1. AGING –  Characterized by Dry skin and wrinkles that are caused by sun exposure and decreased oil production. Signs that you’re dealing with this skin condition include enlarged pores, loss of elasticity, wrinkles, and uneven skin tone.

2.  AcneCharacterized by excess oil and excessive cell production lead to breakouts. Acne includes blackheads, whiteheads, cysts, and nodules. While ACNE is a Skin type it is a skin condition for those who are not genetically ACNE prone.

3. HYPERPIGMENTATION – characterized by:

  • Excess pigment production leads to spots and uneven skin tone.
  • Sun exposure is the primary cause of pigment changes.
  • Hormone-induced hyperpigmentation causes dark patches on the forehead and cheeks.
  • Past acne and other trauma may result in dark spots.

4. DEHYDRATION– Characterized by rough, itchy, and flaky looking skin. Dehydrated skin does not maintain proper levels of hydration. Lack of moisture makes wrinkles more visible.

5. SENSITIZED SKIN– This is usually as a result of product abuse and misuse, it is often characterized as red, inflamed, itchy skin.

Here’s your HOMEWORK for the Day, hold up a mirror to your face and see if you can determine your skin TYPE based on the characteristics discussed, now while jotting down what you see, what would you say your current SKIN condition is? Knowing this information will help you know what products to use and when.


*Send all Skincare Questions to*


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