Black Men Skin Revealed: Underneath the Layers

Skin Type

What’s your skin type?  Determining what type of skin you have can be tricky especially when you’re faced with characteristics outside the basic skin types that define normal, combination, oily or dry skin.  It’s quite easy to identify the skin by looking at the surface but what about taking a deep dive underneath the surface!  To the naked untrained eye the skin may appear one way but in fact, is totally different when we start to peel off layers.  When the skin is faced with adversities such as change of climate, hormonal imbalances, poor diet, or using the wrong products it can portray different functionality that resembles a particular skin type. Getting to know your skin type outside of oily skin, dry skin, and combination skin goes deeper than visual characteristics understand the condition of the skin.     

Having a professional analysis of the skin may show you something totally different versus what you believe to be your true skin type.   For example, if your skin is shining throughout the day with occasional breakouts you may think you’re oily when in fact you may have sensitive skin typed normal/combination.  On the other hand, dehydrated skin often gets categorized as dry skin because there is no surface oil present on the skin/face.  Needless to say, a dry, oily, combination or normal skin type all are equipped with oil glands.  Oily skin is considered to have overactive oil glands whereas dryer skin has under active sebaceous glands.  Yet, answering questionnaires can be helpful and offer insight to properly analyze one's skin in its entirety.  Aside from answering general questions about what you think your skin type is, taking a skin quiz will help you gather a deeper understanding of your skin and its functions.  I hope to give you more in-depth understanding of the different skin types and the characteristics to look for when getting to know your skin type.  Now let's clear some things up: 

Different Skin Types 

Normal- Balanced oil production skin, soft texture, clear with no imperfects 

Dry- Lacks natural oil, under active sebaceous glands, flaky, tight, and dull-looking skin.  

Combination- Oils visible T-Zone (forehead, nose, chin) fairly normal/dry in other areas. 

Oily- Sebum in overdrive excessive amounts of oils present on the face.  Appearing extremely greasy looking, shining, and flushed. 

Although the four main skin types are commonly known there are additional categories in which either skin type may fall into such as sensitive, dehydrated, and acne-prone.  The basic skin types can include levels of sensitivity such as inflammation, dermatitis, or Erythema being more reactive to itchy, redness or burning.   Dehydrated skin is often mistaken as dry skin yet is totally different.  Dehydrated skin is lacking hydration whereas dry skin is lacking sebum.  Conversely, dehydration shows up in oily skin type as well as dry skin oily skin lacking water also known as superficially dehydrated skin.  Additionally, oily skin can be grouped as sensitive prone to breakouts when oils, dirt, or dead skin cells block the pores causing inflammation.   

Taking a deep dive into the skin’s functionality requires some knowledge of what to look for when figuring out what’s your skin type.  Knowing the characteristics and functionality of the various skin types can offer more insight into maintaining the skin’s overall health and managing problematic skin.    

The fact of the matter is that everything we know about skin types has been based on dead skin cells.  Think about it for a minute: our skin consists of layers of dead skin cells according to scientific studies and research.  Don’t be alarmed skin cells are renewed regularly under normal conditions the skin sheds dead skin every 28-30 days involuntarily without using exfoliates, scrubs, or chemicals.  However, using product exfoliators can help expedite the process of cell renewal leaving the skin vibrant.  Let’s peel back some layers to see what’s going on starting with the epidermis.   The epidermis is the outermost layer of the skin consisting of 5 layers and is responsible for what we visually see every day.  The main function of the epidermis is to make new cells, give skin its color, and protect the body.   Before we tackle skin types first let's take a glance at the Stratum Corneumconsisting of mostly dead skin cells and is the layer of skin we deal with.   Removing dead skin cells or exfoliating is imperative to accurately determine the true skin type and reviving the skin’s texture and tone.  When dead skin cells are removed the skin appears livelier with a vibrant glow.  With dead skin removed you can assess the skin more effectively to properly care for the skin and to get the best out of your skin regimen.  The buildup of dead skin cells makes the skin dull-looking, rough feeling, or even flaky and dry hindering the ability for the skin to fully benefit from active ingredients.  Dead skin cells hinder the natural functions of the skin by blocking the pores.  Clogging the pores will result in breakouts, blemishes, and blackheads and even strengthen the pores making them enlarged. Having a thorough skincare regimen formulated for your skin type and offers effective ingredients preventing irregularities, imbalances, or inhibitors from affecting the skin, face, and body.

Every skin is structured the same with epidermis, dermis, and subcutaneous layer or hypoDermis but skin types vary.  Each layer of skin serves its duties and is invaluable for its unique ability to release toxins and keep us going without saying.  The body’s covering “skin” undergoes involuntary functions daily.  Seeing that our face represents who we are and identifies us to others is the most valuable part of our skin we focus on the most.  Our face is a clear representation of who we are not our skin type yet when we look at ourselves we notice details of our skin types, texture, and skin tone.  Having normal skin is an absolute plus yet one may think there is no need for using skin care products or getting facial but to maintain normal healthy skin one should consider high-quality products that help renew, replenish and restore.  Think of your skincare-like diet, if you’re fit and in shape, you continue to feed the body well and exercise. It's the same concept as caring for your skin.  To keep the skin smooth, soft, and radiant keeping the skin hydrated will help maintain the skin’s normalcy.  

Having dry it may be the result of food sensitivity, medication, absorbability, and artificial heating/cooling systems however genetics may be a factor as well.  Most people are fearful of the problems with oily skin that they often over wash drying out the skin to a point of no return causing forever dryness.  Using extremely hot water to shower or wash your face with can also cause dryness.  One of the common factors of dry-dehydrated skin is the overuse of artificial heating and air conditioners in our homes, cars, and workplace.  Both heating and cooling units pull all the moisture from the air sucking all the water out of our skin.  The troubles of combination skin are found in the T-Zone targeting mostly the forehead, nose, and chin area but not necessarily at the same time.  It's not uncommon to show characteristics of sensitivity if your skin type is oily.  Oily skin types are more prone to breakouts, blemish, and blackheads due to the overactive sebaceous glands.  Oily skin is one of the most difficult skin types to manage due to the excessive amounts of sebum it produces regularly.  Research shows that there are many factors that trigger the oil glands to become more active such as diet, stress, hormones, and genetics.  Although oilier skin types appear to be the toughest to handle it is the most sensitive prone to breakouts, acne and even severe inflammation. 

 As we know, the skin is the largest organ of the body and a vital one.  Its main function is protection, regulation, and sensation.  Considering the skin’s ability and its capabilities, it is one of our prime assets.  Our skin keeps us protected and shields us from harmful elements daily therefore giving everything it needs and more should be a priority and never compromised.  Investing in quality skin products, treatments, and techniques to maintain and manage healthy skin.  The skin is our first line of defense signaling the body something is wrong showing up in a form of a rash, lesion, breakout, blemish, or inflammation.  From a scientific viewpoint, the skin is an exposed organ, its flexibility, versatility, and adaptability make it resilient to last us a lifetime.  It takes a trained eye to clearly see what’s happening underneath one's skin type.   


Works Cited 
Hani, Yousef July 27, 2020, Anatomy, Skin (Integument), Epidermis Website NCBI
Nancy Moyer, M.D., December 19, 2018 Epidermis Function: Get to Know Your Skin
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