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How to Distinguish Between Healthy and Unhealthy Skin?

Editor's Note: This article has been recently updated with latest information and research studies.
Q: I have some pimples and dark spots on my skin. Most of the time in winter, I experience redness on my skin along with skin sensation like itching, burning* and pulling. Is my skin healthy? How do I know the difference between healthy and unhealthy skin? What are the components of healthy skin? What should I do to get healthy skin? Help me!
Expert Answer

The health of a person’s skin is based on different factors. Let us first define the classic healthy skin. By knowing the components of a healthy skin, you will know the expectations of an unhealthy skin.

A healthy skin is characterized by an even skin tone. Whether you are pale as a paper or dark as a chocolate, it will be apparent if your skin color is consistent all throughout the parts of your body. For a person with an unhealthy skin, one can see blotchiness, spots in colors red, white, gray or brown, and dark circles under the eyes. Skin spots are attributed to unprotected sun exposure. To prevent new spots from forming, you have to apply sunblock every day at home, work, during errands, and especially on a summer holiday.

For the texture, a healthy skin is expected to feel and looks smooth. Some people may appear to have a smooth texture, but when you inspect it with a magnifying mirror you can actually see some irregularities such as whiteheads, blackheads, and small scars. Obvious problems such as acne and pimples are a huge problem to people because they indicate a certain level of unattractiveness. The more acne and pimple the person has, the higher chance she will have a mindset of being unattractive. To remove* whiteheads and blackheads, make sure your skin is free from oil and dirt before going to sleep. Dirt and oil build-up lead to blackhead and whiteheads, which develop into pimples later on. For major acne problems, go see a dermatologist because they know best what product to prescribe based on the severity of your acne.

A healthy skin is adequately hydrated. This means the water intake is good enough to sustain the normal sloughing of the cells every 21 to 28 days. It is easy to notice that the skin is not healthy because of the presence of flakes, and in worst scenarios there may be scales. Water intake is just one of the too many factors that characterized a dehydrated skin. Weather, genetics, medications used, and inappropriate skin care also contribute to dehydrated skin. It is important to have adequate water, and proper skin care intake to prevent dehydrated skin. Some medications lead to an undesirable effect of dry skin so check first with your physician to determine the alternatives. Winter season also contributes a lot to people to have dry skin. To prevent this, suit your skin care ritual depending on the needs of your skin at the moment.

A person with a healthy skin would never feel burning*, itching, or stinging sensations. They are unusual and maybe symptoms of an underlying medical condition. If you do feel these weird sensations, go see a medical expert to verify if you are suffering from a disease.

Skin type is a huge factor in determining the health of your skin. People with oily to very oily skin are prone to suffer from acne, blackheads, whiteheads and pimples while people with dry to very skin are prone to suffer from flakes and scales. Usually, people with normal skin types have healthy skin. However, skin types change throughout the year. You can have a normal skin type today and can change to oily during the summer where the heat is intense. During winter, people with very oily skin types might discover that their skin is actually dry on the chin, forehead, and nose but remain relatively oily on the cheeks. The best thing to do is change your skin care when your skin type changes. You have to keep thick moisturizers in the locker, and change your skin care essentials to oil free during the summer season. One thing is constant though, sunblock has to be applied every day even if its summer, autumn, spring or winter.

Base on your statement, your skin is not in a healthy state. Your skin is suffering from a combination of problems. As you mentioned, you have dark spots, pimples and do experience unusual sensations. Now that you know the characteristics of a healthy skin, you can now start working to change your skin for the better*. A healthy skin is something not born, rather it is a combination of hard work, discipline and proper skin care.