Our skin is the largest organ in our body. It is our outer covering, and is responsible for many functions, including the protection of our bodies from the outside world. However, it is not just a functional layer. Our skin appearance is important in conveying a healthy appearance, and is often a reflection of one’s health and age.
These are reasons why one should endeavour to improve the quality of their skin. Some people’s skin may be problematic at times, requiring specific treatments, whilst others have no problems, and simply wish to improve the quality of their skin.
Analysis of skin is the first step in improving one’s skin. There are various skin types, not all of which are problematic, but each can be improved on by matching the correct treatment/skin care to each skin type. Our doctors specialise in skin analysis and can help you to determine what your skin type is, and how to best treat it. They can also determine if there is a medical condition that may be causing problems with the skin. For example, redness of the cheeks may be caused by medical conditions such as Lupus, certain medications, or rosacea.
Secondly, a skin history needs to be determined. A person’s current regime of skin care needs to be assessed to see if this is causing any problems with their skin. Especially in Australia, a sun exposure history needs to be assessed, and whether the person has used sunscreen regularly. As an aside note, we recommend that sunscreen is used on a daily basis, regardless of the amount of sun exposure you receive.
Thirdly, your skin type needs to be assessed as each skin type will require a different type of treatment. Your skin type in conjunction with any problems present will determine the best course of treatment.
Skin Types: Dry or oily
The dryness or oiliness needs to be assessed firstly. This can be determined by how your skin feels after washing. Some drier skin types may feel tight or flaky after washing, whereas some of the more oily skin types may still feel shiny and oily after washing. Signs of oily skin include; enlarged pores, the presence of acne, blackheads, shine. Signs of dry skin include; flakiness, tightness, and cracks. Many people with oily skin may not require moisturiser.
Often people who have oily skin in the T-zone (nose, chin, and in between brow) may feel that they have drier skin around their cheeks. This is often termed combination skin If this is the case, moisturisers may need to be avoided in these areas and used on the cheeks only.
Examination of the oiliness of skin is best done with a Wood lamp. A Wood lamp emits a frequency of UV light. Different skin conditions reflect different colours under this light. Excess oil appears orange under this light. It can sometimes be difficult to determine how oily or dry your skin is by the way it feels. For example, those with oily skin feel dry due to excessive dead skin (stratum corneum) on the surface layer. In this case, moisturisers may be of no use, as it is exacerbating the skin oiliness, and only temporarily moisturising the layer of dead skin on the surface. In cases like these, it may be more important to exfoliate the skin with products such as alpha-hydroxy acids or retinoids to remove the dead skin, reduce oil production and make the skin feel more moist.
Treatment of truly dry skin, however, may require the use of moisturiser. Moisturisers, however, do not actually change or improve skin, but merely affect the way the skin feels temporarily. They can temporarily compensate for the lack of moisture/oil secretion by the skin. For more information on how to treat dry skin click here.
Treatment of oily skin usually involves cessation any existing moisturisers they are using. Oily skin has a tendency to form acne, and the oilier the skin, the more blockage and acne this tends to form. For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of acne, click here.
Oily skins may also benefit from the use of toners, such as Purity Balance from Cosmedix. This can help to remove excess oil and reduce shine.. Topical retinoids (Retin-A, Stieva-A, Cosmedix Refine) can help to reduce oil production in oily skins, as well as increase cell turnover and reduce acne formation. As stated previously, at times, oily skin can feel dry due to the excess of dead skin on the surface, and a topical retinoid can help this.
Skin Types: Sensitive skin
Sensitive skin is a term that is difficult to define, but can this type of skin can be characterised as skin that is easily irritated, has the tendency to form redness, lumps.
Those who have sensitive skin often have difficulty in finding skin care products that do not irritate their skin. Even sunscreens can be irritating on those with sensitive skin. We recommend use of sunscreen containing titanium dioxide or zinc oxide, such as those found in Reflect and Pure Protection from Cosmedix. These active ingredients tend to have a lower rate of irritation.
Sensitive skin can be an entity on its own, or be a part of another skin condition like rosacea, atopic dermatitis, eczema or contact dermatitis. Hallmarks of rosacea inlcude sensitive skin and skin that is red or easily flushed For more information on skin redness and rosacea, click here.
Those with oily and sensitive skin, it is often difficult to reduce oil production and/or acne without subsequently irritating skin. Gradual introduction of active ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids e.g glycolic acids, beta hydroxy acids e.g salicylic acid, vitamin C, or retinoids may be required. Other products such as the new range from Cosmedix, Results Rx, contain active ingredient to help battle oil and acne like azelaic acid and salicylic acid, and combine them with anti-redness/anti-inflammatory agents such as willow herb.
There are other agents that can help reduce irritation and redness, and these include both non-prescription actives such as aloe vera, calendula, and lichocalone. Prescription variants include; metronidazole (Rozex)
Skin Types: Wrinkled/Tight
Skin can be wrinkled or tight. Dry skin does tend to form wrinkles more readily than oily skin. More information can be found on wrinkles and their treatment here.
Skin Types: Pigmented skin
Abnormal skin pigmentation can be a distressing issue for many people. For more information on the diagnosis and treatment of skin pigmentation, click here.
Generally speaking, the darker the skin, the greater the tendency for it to form pigmentation problems as well as keloid scarring.
Why choose Victorian Cosmetic Institute as your provider of skin analysis/treatment?
At Victorian Cosmetic Institute, our doctors specialise in the treatment of all skin condition. We have at hand a variety of prescription and non-prescription skin care products, as well as a number of lasers that can help in the treatment of particular skin conditions.
Making that first phone call about any cosmetic procedure can be a confronting task – many of our patients have preferred filling out our online enquiry form. We can then contact you with an understanding of the results you are hopeful of achieving and ensure the treatment is appropriate.
Or, you can phone us directly on 1300 863 824.