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Does Your Skin Type Determine How You Age?

Does Your Skin Type Determine How You Age?

Does dry skin age differently to oily skin? Actually, it kinda does. Read on for everything we know about how your skin type affects the aging process.

Aging skin is something that affects us all. Yes, you can care, nurture, protect and nourish your skin like your life depended on it, and this will most certainly slow down the visible signs of aging. But you can’t stop aging from happening to some degree. Because that’s life.

The reason aging is inevitable? Time, for one thing. But, there are many other factors that affect the speed at which your skin matures. Firstly, there are the external factors. These are the ones you can control and include everything from your levels of stress, your skincare routine and how much sleep you get, through to your diet and of course how prudent you are at shielding your skin from the damaging rays from the sun. (As a sidenote, the sun is the single biggest external cause of skin aging  – * immediately reaches for SPF 30 Mineral Sunscreen with Vitamin C.)

Then, on top of all these external factors, there’s all the genetic stuff going on in your body; your internal clock that you can’t change. Your genetic makeup is what determines your skin type and, with a little help (or, more to the point, hindrance) from external factors, it also controls how much collagen and elastin you produce… as well as how quickly this process slacks off as you age.

The point is that both external AND internal factors are the combined force which determines how you age. And, while there are a gazillion ways to improve the rate of your external skin aging (more on that later), it's the internal factors that determine you skin type. And this can also have a major effect on how your skin matures.

Firstly, What’s Your Skin Type?

While there are many skin concerns like dehydration, acne, sensitivities and aging, there are only really four main skin types. And these are dry, oily, normal and combination. If you’re not entirely sure what yours is, here’s a quick trick to help you find out.

First, cleanse your face with a gentle cleanser like Soothing Cleansing Milk then pat it dry and leave it for anything up to an hour – with no moisturizer, no serum, nothing. After this time stand in front of a well-lit mirror and examine your face while touching it with clean hands. How does it feel and what does it look like? If it feels tight and itchy and looks dull and maybe even a little flaky, it’s dry. If it looks super shiny and feels greasy to the touch, it’s oily. If it’s a bit of both it’s combination, and if it looks totally a-okay then you’re one of the very lucky few with normal skin.

OK, So How Does Your Skin Type Affect Aging?

The first thing to know is that sebum isn’t directly related to wrinkles. Yeah, we know, and we’re sorry, but just because you have oily skin that produces more sebum than your dry skin friends, you’re not going to get fewer wrinkles as a result. You may have been told otherwise when you were suffering with excess oil and breakouts as a hormonal teenager, but it’s simply not true. Wrinkles are caused by a loss of strength and stability in your skin when collagen and elastin production slow down. Not by a lack of sebum.

However, there is some good news if you’re of the oily persuasion because sebum contains skin-loving components like squalene and fatty molecules which help lock in hydration to keep your skin more moisturized and better protected from the outside world (check!). Oily skin is also inherently thicker and more plump than dry skin which provides extra padding (again, check!) and makes fine lines and wrinkles far less pronounced (ditto!). You’ll probably notice fewer visible lines and crinkling over your forehead and cheeks, for example, where sebum is often at its most prolific.

Dry skin, on the other hand, is usually thinner and lacks the same level of natural moisturization. This makes it less voluminous and can highlight the appearance of lines and wrinkles. But while dry skin types might notice fine lines and wrinkling more than oily skin types, your skin is usually less likely to suffer with enlarged pores and poor skin texture as it ages. So there’s that.

What about normal and combination skin types? Well, you’re going to slot in somewhere between the two.

But, wait, because aging isn’t only about lines and wrinkles. In fact, it encompasses a much larger range of changes in the skin like more prominent pores, a lack of firmness, thinning skin and dark spots.

So, does your skin type affect these changes, too? Actually not so much. Your genes play their part, for sure, determining how quickly your skin’s fat content decreases, sebum production slows down and blood vessels become thin and fragile, but external factors are often the defining factor here. Problems with uneven pigmentation, for example, are more commonly due to fluctuating hormones, skin damage and, surprise surprise, sun damage.

Your Best Line Of Defense Against Aging Skin

All this is good to know, but you can’t do much about your genes and your skin type so we believe it’s better to concentrate on the things you can change. Therefore, here’s our essential checklist for healthy aging, whatever your skin type.

1. Use The Gentlest Skincare For Your Skin Type

It can be tempting to throw tons of active ingredients and harsh products at your face when there are so many to choose from (and this is especially the case if you have oily skin), but don’t do that. Gentle ingredients are the best, combined with carefully curated formulations that have been specifically created with fragile, aging skin in mind. Our new Collagen collection, for example, is an incredible way to strengthen your skin’s barrier function for healthy, maturing skin. It even includes a brand new Collagen Boosting Skin Supplement to help promote natural collagen production. Winner.

2. Eat Well

Overloading your body with sugar, salt, processed foods and refined carbs leads to harmful compounds in your skin that break down collagen, screw up elastin and age you up lightning fast. A better plan? Stick with a balanced diet that’s high in omega fatty acids and antioxidants to feed your skin from the inside out.

3. Do Not Smoke

Tobacco contains so many harmful substances we can’t even begin to list them here. Just know that smoking seriously impacts your skin, ruining its texture, tone, elasticity, firmness and even affecting its color. According to the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, the skin of a 40-year-old heavy smoker can look similar to that of a 70-year-old nonsmoker. We’ll just leave it at that.

4. Protect Your Skin From The Sun

Did we mention that the sun is the biggest cause of external aging in ALL skin types? Thought so. Then protect your skin every day with topical antioxidants found in our fan-favorite Vitamin C Facial Serum and follow this with a good slathering of broad-spectrum sunscreen. This should be standard practice. No arguments.

5. Sleep Well

Sleep is super important for your skin because while the rest of your body gets some valuable rest-time, your skin gets busy repairing and regenerating itself for another day. Blood flow increases to nourish it with valuable oxygen and nutrients; cell turnover and collagen production accelerate to bring fresh, healthy skin cells to the surface, and antioxidants kick in to help defend your skin from damaging free radicals. Without this vital period of rejuvenation your skin stands no chance in the war against aging, so try to get between seven and nine hours every night.

The moral of the story? While you can't change your genes or your inherent skin type, there are plenty of lifestyle habits you can rethink to help your skin age beautifully.

Now, where's that sunscreen again?...

More About This Article

Georgia Gould

Georgia Gould

Georgia is an award-winning beauty writer who has been in the business for over 20 years. British-born, she began her career as a magazine beauty editor in London before moving to San Francisco, CA in 2012 where she now continues her love as a freelance writer and editor. As well as her editorial work, Georgia has created content for many high-profile beauty brands, including Clarins, L’Oréal, Procter & Gamble, Simple and TRESemmé. Her passions include retinol (obviously), golfing, skiing and walking her beloved Schnauzer, Dave.