When you work with make-up, you aren’t applying cosmetics to a face made of porcelain. Human skin is alive and complex, varies greatly from person to person, and can change from day to day. Consequently, if you are passionate about make-up, skincare, or beauty, you need to understand the complex and fascinating nature of skin.


See the images below to learn more about the nature of skin:

Skin structure


The 3 layers of the human skin

The skin is made up of 3 different layers
The first 2 layers can be of varying thickness, depending on the type of skin you have. The epidermis (outer layer) contains melanin, which determines the skin’s tone or colour. The third layer in your skin prevents the loss of body heat by forming fat — this is essentially where cellulite comes from.



Skin functions

The skin has a variety of functions, such as feeling, absorption, and heat regulation. The functions that are particularly important to beauty therapists, as they all relate to the type of skin you have, are:

  • Protection: The epidermis contains a protein that makes the skin tough and hard.
  • Excretion: Skin excretes varying amounts of sweat that also contains salts. Different people have different levels of excretion.
  • Secretion: The skin produces oil to prevent it from drying up and cracking. This is one of the most important factors when it comes to skin type.



Skin tones

Your skin tone is determined by genetic traits and the amount of melanin in your epidermis (outer layer of skin).  Your skin tone is more than just the colour, and greatly affects how your skin receives UV rays. The different types of skin tones include the following:

  • Dark brown with red or blue undertones
  • Medium brown with no colour in cheeks
  • Olive with golden undertones
  • Pale with pink undertones
  • Ruddy-pinkish red
  • White with golden undertones


Skin types

There are many different types of skin, each with different needs, characteristics, and consequences for beauty or skincare products. These include:

  • Dry skin: Dry skin is very common and can occur at any age. This type of skin is characterised by a lack of oils that act as a natural barrier against moisture loss.
  • Oily skin: This skin type is prone to blemishes and breakouts. But if taken care of, it can be the most beautiful skin, as it is not prone to developing wrinkles because of its natural moisture.
  • Combination skin: A mixture of two skin types can be tough to deal with, as you will be dealing with two opposite types of skincare.
  • Sensitive skin: This skin type has blood vessels extremely close to the surface, which can make the skin seem reddish. People with sensitive skin should be very careful with the products they use, as reactions can be much more severe. Avoid scrubs (exfoliants) and fragranced skincare products.


All of these factors above influence the type of skin you have, and how it reacts to certain products and make-up. A good beautician, beauty therapist, or even make-up artist, knows that there is more to beauty than just what lies on the surface. 


Oxbridge Academy’s Beauty Therapy courses not only cover all the theory above and more, but also deal with make-up application, skincare techniques, and much more! 


View the Beauty Therapy Courses