Why Skin Type Matters

Knowing your skin type can help you make the best decisions for your skin. You may be familiar with the three most common skin types (oily, dry and combination), but aren’t sure which is most like your own. Luckily, there are easy tests you can do to determine your skin type in the comfort of your own home.

Determining Your Skin Type

Bare Face Method

The bare face method is one of the easiest ways to determine your skin type. Wash your face before bed with a light cleanser. Don’t apply extra products like toners or moisturizers, then pat your skin dry. Be careful not to rub your face when drying, as this could leave fine scratches that cause your skin to overcompensate with oil and may not give you the most accurate results. After about an hour, see how your skin reacts.

Oily Skin: You have noticeably shiny, oily spots covering most of your face. Your skin may also feel slick and leave residue on your fingers.

Dry Skin: Your skin is rough to the touch and feels tight. You may also have dead skin flakes that you can see after washing your face.

Combination Skin: Some areas are dry and scaly, while others are extremely oily.

Blotting Paper Method

Blotting papers are often used by people with oily skin throughout the day to absorb unwanted moisture and shine. They can also be used to figure out your skin type. Perform this test at the end of the day and see how much oil is left on the sheet. You can hold the blotting paper to the light to help see what was left behind.

Oily Skin: This test has you going through blotting papers left and right. They’re saturated and heavy.

Dry Skin: The paper doesn’t glide over the skin, and there is little to no residue left on the blotting paper. 

Combination Skin: The blotting papers used on your T-zone picked up a lot of oil, while other areas barely have any at all. In fact, these areas are dry and flaky.

More About Oily Skin

Oily skin is caused by the sebaceous glands producing an excessive amount of oil. Too much oil can lead to breakouts, which is why oily skin and pimples usually go hand in hand. Overdoing your skin routine could cause excess oil as well. Washing your face too often strips your skin of its natural moisture, making the sebaceous glands go into emergency mode and produce extra, unwanted oils.

Quick Tips:

  • Wash your face in the morning and before bed
  • Use deep cleaning products and scrubs
  • Reduce oil in your diet
  • Introduce a weekly face mask to your skin care regimen

More About Dry Skin

Genetics, climate, hormones and lifestyle can all contribute to dry skin. When your skin is unable to retain appropriate moisture levels there are visible fine lines and cracks, itching, peeling, and general skin irritation.

Quick Tips:

  • Drink more water and eat foods with a high water content
  • Use soothing, unscented products
  • Moisturize immediately after cleansing
  • Try ointment or cream rather than an average lotion or moisturizer

More About Combination Skin

If your T-zone and forehead are often oily and moist, but your cheeks and lips tend to be dry, then it’s very likely you have the combination skin type. Managing skin that’s both oily and dry can take trial and error, but is totally doable.

Quick Tips:

Skin care isn’t one size fits all and understanding what works best for you can take time. If you notice your skin is red, blotchy and stings or burns after applying products, you may have sensitive skin. If issues with your skin persist, consult a dermatologist or esthetician about chemical peels, medication or natural remedies that could improve your skin.