Skincare by skin types
Skin can be separated into 5 subtypes
Proper skincare is a topic that can cover a lot of grounds. Nevertheless we should arm ourselves with a better understanding of the essential knowledge, and to clear up some common misconceptions.
Oily skin
Shiny with larger pores, more prone to acne formation.
Dry skin
Small pores with tight dry skin, easy to have wrinkles and irritation.
Combination skin type
Sensitive skin type
Sun damaged skin type
Medium sized pores with smooth skin. Cheeks: Pro-dry, T-Zones: Pro-oily.
Small pores with thinner skin which breaks easily, and is more erythematous with more facial capillaries, more sensitive to cosmetic chemicals (see sensitive skin).
Sun Damaged
Occur in older skin, with loss of elasticity, wrinkles and leathery texture.
The degree of oiliness also depends on genes, diet, stress, medications and skin care products. You can determine how oily your skin is by pressing an oil absorbing paper onto the face after washing and drying. If the paper stick onto the face, it is oily and/or sensitive, if not, it is dry and/or sensitive, if it sticks only in the T-zone, it is combination.
ABC of skincare, theory and practice
3 layers of skin
Skin has 3 layers: Stratum Corneum, Epidermis and Dermis. The dermis produces cells that migrate upward. With cell death these forms the stratum corneum, protecting the skin.
 layers of skin
ABC of skincare
The skin looks smooth when the cells are stacked up in an orderly manner. In the opposite end, the skin looks tattered if the cells are randomly aligned. A breakage in the stratum corneum layer is what forms a skin crack.
The whole point of skin care is to align the three layers perfectly. So cells from the stratum corneum will slough off slowly and in an orderly manner.
One can deduce that with a very strong cleanser, the stratum corneum will get washed away, leading to skin dryness and skin breaks ( older generation of soap are as strong as some detergents for house cleaning today )

On the other hand, inadequate cleaning will leave lots of dirts on top, leading to clogged pores with various problems such as infection or acne. In addition, ultraviolet rays from the sun can cause oxidization of the skin, affecting cell growth, leading to wrinkles, freckles and problems with skin texture. Thus protecting the skin from sunlight is an essential step of daily skin care too.
With the above knowledge, we can now put theories into action
Bar soaps should not be used as they are indiscriminate in cleansing. There are several types that can be used:
Oil based cleanser
These are the common cleansers, where the soap molecules will remove most of the dirt and has better cleaning property. But because it will also wash away some of the stratum corneum as well, it is not suitable for dry skin type. It can be used on the T-zone in combination skin, and all types of oily skin.
Cleansing milk
Common cleansing milk, they are more gentle and will not wash away too much and more suitable for dry skin. Because it cannot wash away any thicker layers of oil, it is not suitable for oily skin. It could potentially cause clogged pores.
Foaming cleanser
A water based substance that when squeezed will extrude into foams. Due to the increased contact area of the foams to the skin, it is great for delivery of beneficial substances such as Vitamin C or other antioxidants. However the cleansing strength is usually sub-standard. It can be used as a supplementary wash after the above two types of cleansers.
Some opinion suggests never using water, but wiping the cleanser with sponge. Others suggest only to using water. As you can see from the above theories, both are not good for the skin.
As to the temperature of the water, too hot or too cold will affect the skin capillaries. The best is lukewarm water.
Proper way to facial cleansing:
First use lukewarm water to remove the majority of dirt. Then use a right cleanser in the right amount for your skin type, rubbing gently. Afterwards, wash away with water, or watered sponge (Makeup remover before all these if required).
  • Combination or dry skin should not be washed more than once or twice per day, best at night.
  • Oily or Acne prone skin should wash the face at least two to three times daily with a medium strength cleanser.
  • Skin Exfoliation
    Scrubbing or dermabrasion can remove the top layers of skin cells, resetting new growth in an orderly manner, thus improving lustre and skin tone. It can remove excessive stratum corneum. Appropriate exfoliation is an essential step to skincare, but is omitted by many people.
    (Studies have shown men may have better skin tone in general because they shave regularly)
    The frequency of each treatment will depends on the skin types, for example:
    Oily Skin
    Dry or Sensitive Skin
    Suitable for daily scrubs, monthly acid peels, or dermabrasions
    Scrubs used once weekly, twice
    monthly acid peels or dermabrasions
    Skincare products with fruit acids can also help exfoliate.
    These come in various strengths and concentrations, gearing for different skin types. It is best your skin be assessed and the appropriate one selected based on the assessment by professionals well versed in this field.
    One of the three important steps in basic skincare; it helps skin retain moisture, hence keeping cell viability. With the wrong type of moisturisers for the skin, one can run into problems with clogged pores. However, even oil-based type of skin will need some form of moisturising.
    Classification of Moisturisers
    These can insulate water from evaporation from the skin, hemming them within the skin cells. Commonly used in night creams or stronger moisturisers, they are more prone to cause allergy (1 in 1000). Suitable for dry or combination skin, and of course not suitable for oily or sensitive skin.
    It can replenish lost water from the skin, but has no retaining property. They have a low chance to cause allergy. Suitable for oily or sensitive skin.
    There are various types. Mainly from study of skin cell natural moisturising chemicals (NMFactor or NMF), such as the more expensive hyaluronic acid or various ceramides. (Using hyaluronic acid as moisturiser is very common, but often misused. It is a humectant, namely it can draw water out from beneath the skin. However if you don't put another oil-based film on top of it, after evaporation it will leave the skin even more dry, making its effect short lived).
    Many skin products already have more than one function, with more than one active ingredient. For example cleansers with moisturising properties, or facial scrubs with fruit acids etc. It is not recommended because it will be difficult to tailor individual effects. (There are certain exceptions such as scrub-cleanser or acid-moisturisers ) We do not recommend toners, as most have some form of alcohol, which may not be good for the skin. They can cleanse and reduce pore size temporarily, but it is nothing other products cannot achieve.

    How about eye balms? The skins around the eyes are especially thin and without fat underneath, and prone to wrinkles. Most eye balms gear for this problem with stronger moisturisers. Thus they may not be suitable for oil-type skin, and it is easier to cause fatty deposits or milia like lesions on that area of skin. Some experts believe a normal moisturiser is just as good under the eyes.
    In conclusion, the way to take care of your skin:
  • Use UV-A blocking sunscreens
  • Choose the correct products for the 3 basic steps of skincare
  • Prevent skin damage from burn, heat, cold or needleling
    (such as for facial acne)
  • Treat skin disease appropriately (Acne, Urticaria etc)
  • Studies have proven fresh green tea and fresh soya has components that are good for the skin when ingested, other substances are unproven
  • Utilize cosmetic therapies and clinical acid peels appropriately