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The 5 main skin types

After working as a dog groomer for over 11 years, I've seen many skin issues come ad go. I have created a range of natural shampoo bars designed to work with the main skin types I see in the salon all the time.

Five are:

1, dry and sensitive skin

2, dry sore and itchy skin

3, normal skin

dry skin and greasy hair

5, greasy skin, let's look at these in more detail

Dry and sensitive skin is a condition where the skin lacks moisture and becomes easily irritated, itchy, or inflamed when exposed to certain environmental or chemical factors.

Dry skin occurs when the skin does not produce enough natural oils, called sebum. Sebum is created by the sebaceous glands which creates the important protective lipid layer on the epidermis. This keeps the skin moisturized. Dry skin can feel rough, scaly, and tight and can sometimes be inflamed.

On the other hand, sensitive skin is a condition where the skin is easily irritated by certain products, chemicals, or environmental factors. This can cause redness, itching, burning, or stinging is often genetic or breed-related

Dry and sensitive skin often occur together, as dry skin can cause the skin to become more susceptible to irritation and inflammation. It is essential to take care of dry and sensitive skin by using 100% natural, gentle, fragrance-free products and avoiding harsh surfactants, silicones, parabens, DEA, PEG numbers, and chemical preservatives.

Dry, sore and itchy skin

Dry, sore, and itchy skin is a condition characterized by skin that is lacking in moisture and is prone to irritation and itchiness. You can recognize this skin type if the skin is flaky or scaly skin, redness, cracking, hot to the touch, red in colour, loss of hair, and the skin could be tight' dog will be licking, chewing, and scooting to try to relieve the irritation

Once the skin is damaged due to an ‘itch’ even if the itch is just temporary, bacteria and microorganisms can work their way in causing a much larger problem. Sometimes a temporary itch can be caused by something as simple as spraying perfume, making the dog feel uncomfortable. Itching can also be a behaviour signal of distress or discomfort in a dog. In turn, a distressed dog can scratch or chew through anxiety, damaging the skin and then getting an infection causing a secondary issue. While many people are focusing on treating the ‘skin’. They have missed the anxiety which initially caused the problem.

Always speak to your vet always; there may be an underlying cause that needs medical attention. However, there is always a lot that you can do to help soothe the symptoms. Use natural and conditioning products and take care when grooming your dog. Ensure you're not overstimulating or rubbing them too much with a towel when drying. Speaking to a dog groomer with a good understanding of dermatology can advise you further on managing your dog's skin and coat, depending on their breed and lifestyle.

for more information on behaviour and skin issues, click here:

Normal skin

Thankfully this is the most common skin type. Healthy skin is smooth, soft, and supple, with a clear and even tone. It is well-hydrated and has a balanced oil production, without excessive dryness or oiliness. It has good elasticity, which means it can stretch and then return to its original state without showing signs of damage.

Healthy hair depends on the breed and coat type. Consider if your dog is double or single coated, and should have coarse or silky hair, straight or curly. You can look up any breed on the kennel club website for information, but keep in mind if your dog is neutered, there is a high risk of coat change. Typically healthy hair is shiny, has a smooth texture, and has no split ends or frizz. Hair should cover the body evenly with the same surface throughout (unless for dogs like the Chinese crested consistency where the breed only has hair on the legs, head and tail which is sensitive skin rare for the breed)

It's essential to keep healthy skin and hair balanced. If you use strong chemicals or flea treatments or go too long between grooming sessions, the skin's 'natural ecosystem’ will become imbalanced, and soon you could have dry and sensitive skin or greasy hair. The healthy skin type means it can't stand up to stronger chemicals, but remember our article in the past where you learned about shampoo, some harsh surfactants strip away dirt, natural oils, and the skin, and some molecules are very difficult to rinse out meaning they stay in the skin and continue to clean!

to re-read the article click below

Dry skin and greasy hair

What does dry skin and greasy hair look like? The hair will feel a little sticky and have a wet look. The skin may be cracked, tight, red or look stretched and have yellow or brown flakes. The skin could be inflamed and hot to the touch, and the dog will often be itchy and struggle to shed their coat.

This skin type is often misunderstood. , people stroke their dog and feel greasy hair when they go out and buy degreasing shampoo, which is understandable but if the skin is dry, then the degreasing shampoo will only dry the skin out further, encouraging the skin to produce more grease and they're in a vicious cycle. The skin will try to balance itself out. If the skin is dry, it will start producing more grease (sebum from the sebaceous glands) to try and protect itself but if the dry skin is caused by an underlying issue producing more oil isn't enough. You will have dry skin with greasy hair; degreasing it will dry the skin further.

Greasy skin and hair

Greasy skin and hair are conditions where there is an overproduction of sebum, which leads to a shiny, greasy appearance. Sebum comes from sebaceous glands that are attached to the hair follicle. Sebaceous glands are easily overstimulated, especially when the skin is unbalanced. This could be for many reasons due to food allergy, hormonal imbalances, genetics, poor hygiene, stress, the use of harsh chemicals, and certain medical conditions. Some terrier breeds are more prone to producing grease due to the coarse coat type.

If you decide to use a strong degreasing shampoo, it will work but only for 48 hours, then, the dog is likely to be even more greasy than when you started. It's essential to be gentle with this skin type, the skin is very fragile, and anything overstimulating will cause more production of grease. It's best to stick with natural, gentle, low-foaming shampoos, you may need to wash your dog twice but ultimately, you will have less grease in the long run.

If you need some help understanding what skin type your dog has? Take our online quiz.


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