Normal skin type
Normal skin is smooth, finely-textured, soft and supple. If you are lucky enough to possess this skin type, treasure it by using light cleansers and lotions and mild toners and fresheners.
Dry skin type
Dry skin is usually thin and delicate and often flaky and prone to fine lines. It sometimes feels tighter than it should. Extremely rich and greasy creams are not good for it because they strangulate the pores, often enlarging them and so creating an extra problem. Use light oils and lotions for moisturising and choose herbal toners, which are mild and not too astringent. Try to restore the pH or acid-alkali balance with the application of such things as cucumber juice or diluted vinegar so that the sebaceous glands are encouraged to function.
Generally speaking, the emollient and hydrating herbs (chamomile, comfrey, cowslip, elderflower, fennel, marshmallow, orange blossom, rose, violet) are the best to use in lotions and toners for dry skin. But there is no hard and fast rule. Astringent herbs can be good for dry skins, for example, if blended with emollient herbs or oils and gels, and many herbs are suitable for all skin types. If the skin is sensitive as well as dry, see the notes on sensitive skin below.
Oily skin type
Oily skin is shiny and coarser-textured, often with enlarged pores. It is prone to blackheads and spots. Don't use alcohol to reduce the oiliness of the skin, as it will only worsen the problem. Many herbal toners are suitable for reducing oiliness and tightening the pores (see list of suitable herbs below). Egg-white makes a nice mild face-mask. Don't over dry the skin; moisturise with a light lotion. Aim to restore your skin's acid-alkali balance so that the sebaceous glands cease to produce such large amounts of oil.
Astringent and cleansing herbs are generally the best to choose when treating an oily skin. These are: cinquefoil, clary sage, comfrey, cucumber, dandelion, horsetail, houseleek, hyssop, lavender, lemon balm, lemongrass, lemon verbena, marigold, mint, parsley, sage, witch hazel and yarrow. But don't forget that many herbs are suited to all skin types and that many of the strengthening and anti-inflammatory herbs (chamomile, cowslip, fennel, lettuce, elderflower, orange blossom, rose, violet) are suitable for oily skins.
Combination skin types
The person with this skin type will have to follow two beauty routines, one for the dry areas, and another for the oily. I think the oily areas balance up more easily in this type of skin than when the whole face is oily, so don't despair.
Sensitive skin type
This skin is usually fine-textured and often prone to reddish veins and patches. Keep to light oils and lotions for cleansing and moisturising, and mild herbal toners and compresses to soothe the skin and reduce redness and veins. It is usually wise for people with sensitive skins to stay away from the stimulating herbs (lavender, lime flower, mint, nettle, sage, southernwood, summer savory, thyme).
Dull skin has lost the bloom of vitality and the soft glow of renewal. It looks matt and lifeless. Its acid balance has slipped. If it is oily or large-pored skin use diluted cider vinegar or lemon juice, or cucumber juice to balance it. If it is dry skin, use buttermilk or cucumber juice.
Mature skin type
Older skin can be toned and softened and restored to much of its former beauty. The skin is a wonderfully regenerating organ, given encouragement. Use a light hand with makeup if you must use it, as this dries and ages the skin.
Other Factors that can influence you skin
The foundation of a healthy beautiful skin is diet. Are you getting sufficient polyunsaturated fats? These are essential to a healthy skin and do not cause facial oiliness. They are found in cereal grains, nuts and cold pressed nut and vegetable oils.
Plenty of vitamin C is fundamental to a beautiful skin, because it builds collagen and elastin, the bonding and structural substances which give tone and resilience. There is no need to resort to tablets. Eat bean sprouts, green and red peppers, black currants, oranges and lemons. Then there are guavas and rosehips, so your diet need not be restricted or dull. There is infinite variety to suit every palate.
Lack of vitamin A can cause dryness of the skin. Eat dandelion, parsley, watercress, carrots, pumpkins, celeriac.
If your skin is unbalanced, either flaky or too oily, or if your lips peel, then check your intake of vitamin B foods. Oats, years, bran, goat's milk, whole rice, sunflower seeds, sprouted seeds and grains are some of the sources.
About The Author
Danny Siegenthaler is a doctor of traditional Chinese medicine and together with his wife Susan, a medical herbalist and Aromatherapist, they have created Natural Skin Care Products by Wildcrafted Herbal Products to share their 40 years of combined expertise with you.
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