How to Determine Your Skin Type So You Can Better Take Care of Your Skin
Is your skin dry? Oily? Perhaps a combination of the two? If you’re scratching your head right now trying to figure it out, don’t worry. Below, we put together a helpful guide to help you determine your skin type so you can better care for your skin’s specific needs.
. Your daily routine, including the wide array of products you use, should be catered to your specific skin type, so you can properly take care of your body’s largest organ. It’s the best chance you have at achieving all of your skin-care goals.
“Most people fall into one of the following skin types: normal, oily, dry or combination,” says board-certified dermatologist, and Skincare.com consultant, Dhaval Bhanusali, M.D. “Combination skin is by far the most common skin type I see in my patients. They come in with oily T-zone areas (nose, eyebrows, chin) and dry skin at the periphery.”
To help you determine what your skin type may be, we’ve describedt a few common indicators of each type below. Your skin may not fit neatly into one category, but this guide can help lead you in the right direction and, clear up any confusion you may have.
Normal skin is often balanced (read: not too oily, not too dry) throughout the day. That said, according to Dr. Bhanusali, normal skin is rare. Here’s how to take care of it.
How to care for normal skin: Cleansing with a gentle cleanser, using moisturizer and applying sunscreen are daily essentials. Incorporating a daily antioxidant serum, like the SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic, and an exfoliating product, into your routine a few times a week is also good.
The easiest way to spot an oily complexion? Shiny skin. Because sebaceous glands in oily skin types are more active, oily skin types may be more prone to breakouts and blemishes. To help you determine if you fall into this category, Dr. Bhanusali recommends trying this quick test: “Grab a blotting paper and gently dab different areas of your face,” he says. “If the sheet becomes translucent, it’s indicative of oil absorption.”
How to care for oily skin: When it comes to taking care of your oily skin, “cleansing two to three times per week with an exfoliating cleanser can be helpful,” says Dr. Bhanusali. We recommend the Vichy Normaderm Deep Cleansing Purifying Gel. “Look for products formulated with ingredients like glycolic acid or salicylic acid.” Just be careful not to over-do it, as over-exfoliating can lead to a hypersecretion of oil. “In other words, your skin can actually become even more oily than when you started.” To complete the routine, stick to lightweight, oil-free moisturizers, antioxidants serums, and, of course, daily sunscreen.
It’s not very hard to tell if you have dry skin. According to board-certified dermatologist and Skincare.com consultant Dendy Engelman M.D., dry skin usually appears flaky. “If you see lifted skin — white flecks, usually — you probably have dry skin,” she says. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), dry skin may also appear dull and occasionally feel itchy.
How to care for dry skin: The AAD recommends that dry skin types reach for a gentle or creamy cleanser and steer clear of foaming cleansers, which may be formulated with ingredients that could strip the skin of moisture. While the skin is slightly damp, apply moisturizer to help lock in hydration and follow up with a broad-spectrum sunscreen (reapply as needed throughout the day). One of our favorite moisturizers for this is the Garnier SkinActive Water Rose 24H Moisture Cream.
Editor’s note: It is worth mentioning that there’s a difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin. Dry skin (the skin type) is what you deal with year-round. Winter, summer, spring — no matter the season, your skin still feels and looks dry. Dehydrated skin, on the other hand, can be a temporary result of exposure to a number of factors, including winter weather, strong cleansers, hard water and more. Dehydrated skin can affect all skin types. In fact, you may even suffer from dehydrated skin and dry skin at the same time. If your skin looks drier than usual in the winter, for instance, this may be a sign that your skin needs more attention.
As Dr. Bhanusali mentioned, combination skin is one of the most common skin types out there. This is often characterized as skin that’s dry in some areas and oily in others. The area of skin that’s typically oily is the T-zone, while the cheeks are usually where dryness is most prominent.
How to care for combination skin: Dealing with two opposite skin personalities can be a bit tricky, but it’s not impossible. Once you create (and stick to) a skin-care routine that addresses both dryness and excess oil, you’re all set. To keep your complexion moisturized, use a light-weight cream like the Kiehl’s Calendula Serum-Infused Water Cream.