What determines my skin type?

The term skin type describes the condition of the skin and is also referred to as skin condition in dermacomsmetics. The skin condition can change over time and depends on many internal and external factors. Everyone inherits a basic skin condition through their genes, but this condition can develop differently from that of their parents due to various factors.

With age, the skin usually becomes drier, impurities subside and pigmentation spots form. Exposure to sunlight, extreme climatic conditions, dry air, hormonal influences, diseases, medication and many other factors affect the skin and its behavior. Therefore, cosmetic skin care must always be adapted to the current skin needs.

List of skin types: normal skin, dry skin, sensitive skin, combination skin, oily skin, impure skin, aging skin

Internal Factors


  • Inheritance
  • Age
  • Hormones (e.g. puberty, menstrual cycle, pregnancy)
  • Illnesses (allergies, diabetes, mental health)
  • Stress

External Factors


  • Climate (UV-rays, cold, wind)
  • Humidity
  • Season
  • Room air
  • Skin care
  • Lifestyle
  • Nutrition
  • Medications

Picture with the word: Impure skin

What is impure skin?

Impure skin usually has the characteristics of oily skin, but has blackheads (comedones), which can also form small reddish pustules. Blackheads develop when a folicle channel shows an increased sensitivity to degradation products of sebum lipids or comedogenic substances and thus reacts with increased formation of horny layer in the folicle channel or in the deeper sebaceous gland. As a result, the sebaceous gland enlarges and is clogged with a horny mass of sebum, horny cells, bacteria and hair remnants.   A distinction is made between open and closed blackheads. The closed blackheads lie deep in the skin with a narrow folicle channel. They can be seen or felt on the skin as a roundish elevation. The open blackheads are located further up on the skin with a widened folicle channel, which is clogged with horny mass up to the skin surface. Due to melanin and oxidation products of lipids this mass is colored black on the skin surface.


With particularly strong cornification, the sebaceous gland inflates like a balloon, which can cause the follicle and sebaceous gland wall to tear. This causes the blackhead contents to spill into the surrounding tissue and trigger an inflammatory reaction with pus formation. Even without tearing of the gland wall, acne patients may experience irritation of the gland wall and migration into the surrounding tissue of the sebaceous gland due to bacterial enzymes and lipid cleavage products in the sebaceous gland. This also leads to the formation of pus and an inflammatory reaction. The result is painful acne pustules and nodules.In order not to unnecessarily provoke the tearing of blackheads and the inflammatory reactions, one should not improperly press on blackheads and acne pustules.


With acne, the skin usually has an oily condition and is characterized by blackheads, pustules, cysts and scars. It occurs on skin areas rich in sebaceous glands such as the face, neck, upper chest, back, shoulders and upper arms. Although acne usually occurs during puberty, it can also break out in later adulthood. The following factors play a decisive role in its development:


  • oily skin condition
  • genetic disposition in the family
  • increased sensitivity to comedogenic substances
  • colonization of the follicular ducts with Propioni bacteria
  • excessive cornification of the follicular ducts

How to care for impure skin/acne?


Aim: prevention of deterioration of the skin condition to acne skin, binding of excess skin fat, opening of closed follicles, prevention of colonization of follicles with bacteria by use antiseptics and avoidance of comedogenic substances.


Cleansing: The care of impure skin corresponds to the care of oily skin. Betaines, ether sulphates and similar ionic surfactants are suitable for cleansing the face. They have a drying effect and an antibacterial effect due to a slightly acidic pH value of 5.5. Antiseptic active agents (like allantoin or nicotinamide) and keratolytic active agents can be used inhigher amounts for impure skin. Shower or bath oils with refattening agents are rather unsuitable. A peeling can be carried out several times a week to open blackheads and absorb skin fat. However, the skin should not be irritated. In case of acne, the care regime of cleansing in the morning and in the evening as well as the additional care with peelings and masks 1-3 times a week should be strictly adhered to. However, acne cannot be fought with cosmetic products, a dermatological therapy is necessary.

Toning: A mixture with a 30% alcohol content and antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and astringent (astringent) active ingredients is suitable as a facial toner. After cleansing, the toner is evenly distributed over the face with a cloth or cotton pad.

Care: As skin care, a hydrogel or O/W cream with a high emulsifier content and little fat is suitable for absorbing the excess sebum. Antiseptics, anti-inflammatory substances like allantoin and keratolytic substances like salicylic acid which refine the skin texture are suitable active agents. For the night care the day care product cane be used, a special night care is not necessary. During the cold months it is recommended to use additional moisture concentrates to counteract the dehydration caused by the dry room air.



Sources: Elsässer, S. (2008). Körperpflegekunde und Kosmetik: Ein Lehrbuch für die PTA-Ausbildung und die Beratung in der Apothekenpraxis (1. Aufl.). Berlin, Germany: Springer-Verlag. | Herrmann, K. & Trinkkeller, U. (2006). Dermatologie und medizinische Kosmetik: Leitfaden für die kosmetische. Würzburg, Heidelberg:Springer Medizin Verlag Heidelberg.