Human skin color is very diverse. Even in a limited geographical setting, we can find people from very light skin color to very dark one. Human skin complexion can widely be categorized into six categories, running from fair skin that always burns, dark skin that never burns, and everything in between. Understanding your proper skin complexion type can help you determine the best skincare products and routines for your skin.
Your skin complexion is determined by ‘melanin.’ Melanin is a pigment that determines the color of your skin, hair, and eyes. When skin cells are exposed to the sun, they produce melanin. The more time you spend in the sun, the more melanin you create. There are two types of melanin- eumelanin, which gives skin a brown color (tan), and pheomelanin, which gives skin a red color (burn). Tanning is the result of regular sun exposure. It raises the level of eumelanin in the skin, which gives it a brownish tan and protects it from the sun’s rays. Too much sun exposure raises the pheomelanin level which burns the skin, destroys the protective skin barrier and raises the risk of cancer.
There are six skin complexion types according to the widely used Fitzpatrick system of classifying skin type used in the assessment of skin cancer risk. These six types are:
- Type I- Very fair skin, always burns, never tans.
- Type II- Fair skin, always burns, sometimes tans.
- Type III- Medium skin, sometimes burns, always tans.
- Type IV- Olive skin, rarely burns, always tans.
- Type V- Brown skin, never burns, always tans.
- Type VI- Black skin, never burns, always tans.
Apart from our skin color, our skin also has undertones. In layman terms, an undertone is the color from underneath the surface of your skin that affects your overall hue. There are three undertones- Warm: golden, peachy, or yellow undertones. Cold: bluish, red, or pink undertones. Neutral: a mixture of both warm and cool undertones. Undertones are useful and important while determining the type of makeup products that you want to use in order to get the best-finished results. In the skincare department, they are not as relevant as the basic six complexion types.
Before going to the specifics, there are some very basic skincare tips that are a must for ensuring healthy skin. These are-
- Protect yourself from UV rays by using a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation. You can also use an umbrella or wear a hat and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
- Use a good hydrating moisturizer containing hyaluronic acid or ceramides.
- Also, drink plenty of water and eat a balanced diet rich in both macro and micronutrients.
- Avoid smoking.
- Wash your face with mild exfoliators gently every day without fail.
- Avoid wearing makeup to bed.
- Don’t stress yourself too much.
- Proper sleep.
- Avoid skin bleaching.
Due to the low eumelanin and high pheomelanin levels, very fair skin and fair skin is at a very high risk of sun damage and premature skin aging as a result of UV exposure. These skin complexion types are also at a higher risk of melanoma, and other types of skin cancer. The following skincare tips can be useful for such skin complexion types-
- Never skip sunscreen! Even in indoor settings, sunscreen is recommended and should be reapplied every 2-3 hours to ensure full protection from UV rays. Also, try to cover as much skin as possible when under direct sunlight.
- Never go through chemical tanning.
- Don’t use ingredients like turmeric as they can dye your skin.
- Keep your skin clean and hydrated.
Although medium and olive skin tones have more melanin than the fairer skin complexion types, they are still at a risk of burning and skin cancers. The following tips can be useful for such skin types-
- Wear sunscreen outdoors.
- Avoid using skin lightening creams.
- Keep your skin clean and moisturized.
The dark skin complexion types have the least chance of getting sunburnt or skin cancer but still, the numbers are far from zero. The following tips can be useful-
- Wear sunscreen outdoors.
- Avoid using skin lightening creams and treatments.
- Keep your skin clean and moisturized.
- Gentle Exfoliators: Accumulation of dirt, oil and sweat can give a dull appearance to the skin and result in regular acne breakouts. Hence gentle exfoliation of the skin with Alpha Hydroxy Acids like AHA and BHA is advised. Deconstruct Exfoliating Serum is a wonderful choice! With a potent combination of 18% AHA and 2% BHA, it can help tackle multiple skin concerns. The AHA exfoliates the dead skin cells away leaving behind a bright complexion, while the BHA unclogs the pores and purifies the skin deeply. If you are new to the exfoliators, you can try Deconstruct Beginner’s exfoliating serum as it is milder in nature and thus perfect for beginners! Probiotics in combination with Lactic Acid can help relieve a wide range of skin problems and exfoliate the skin effectively. It also contains 1% Hyaluronic Acid which keeps the skin hydrated while exfoliation.
- Hydrating Products: Keeping your face clean and moisturized is very important. Always use mild face washes to clean your face. Deconstruct’s Hydrating Face Wash with Hyaluronic Acid and amino acids can gently cleanse the dirt off the face, leaving the skin hydrated. This can be followed by a good hydrating serum like the Deconstruct Hydrating serum with 2% Hyaluronic Acid and 1% Niacinamide. This serum has a mild formula that will be well tolerated by all skin types alike. It hydrates while repairing the skin barrier. A good hydrating moisturizer like the Deconstruct NMF Hydrating Moisturizer should be followed next which consists of numerous moisturizing ingredients including oils to prevent dryness. Never use skin products that leave your skin dry and flaky.
- Good Quality Sunscreen: A sunscreen with over SPF 30 which provides protection from both UVA and UVB light is a must!
Knowing your skin type is essential when it comes to choosing the best skincare products for your skin. Skincare products can make or break your skin and hence you are advised to patch test every skincare product you use to ensure there are no side effects. Protection from UV rays and keeping your skin hydrated at all times is a necessary step when it comes to overall skin health, regardless of your skin complexion.
- Can our skin color change?
Well to a level, yes! Because of tanning, your skin color can get darker by a few shades while removing tanning could make it appear lighter. But these alterations are mostly temporary.
- Is it possible to lighten my skin?
Skin lightening creams and treatments can permanently and irreparably damage your skin and should be avoided. Using mild facial acids like Vitamin C could give a natural glow to your skin, making it appear brighter. Also, all skin colors are beautiful!
- How do I know what skin type I am?
You can compare your skin color to the skin complexion cards easily available on the internet. You can also determine your skin type by observing how your skin reacts to the sun.