Determining Your Skin Type

by Charlotte Wood
(last updated February 10, 2016)

When seeing commercials on TV or glancing through a magazine, you often see advertisements for products geared toward people with a dry skin type, an oily skin type, a sensitive skin type. While these products may all work for their intended demographic, they won't do you any good if you don't even know what your skin type is. If you're unsure about what your skin type is, then continue reading. Determining your skin type is simple, and once you know, you'll be better able to shop for skin care products that suit your needs.

The easiest way to determine your skin type is to simply take a look at your skin and realize how it reacts to certain conditions. Do you tend to break out in blemishes often? Do you sunburn easily? Do skin products often irritate your skin or cause it to break out? If your skin falls into the affirmatives of these questions, then you have a sensitive skin type. Your skin reacts to lots of outside factors, and it usually reacts by breaking out—that is no fun for anyone. You'll want to look for products that are geared toward sensitive skin. These are usually light formulas and don't contain a lot of oils. They typically include some kind of drying agent, but that shouldn't be a problem for you if you have oilier skin. Be gentle in your skin care routine, and don't overdo anything.

If your face always looks shiny, is oily even when you wash it, and is prone to breakouts because of that oil, then you have an oily skin type. You take care of this skin care type by regular washing and moisturizing. You don't want any products with extra oils added it (i.e. no products that are for dry skin). The products you buy will be typically heavier than those for sensitive skin, and will include drying agents. You'll probably want to wash your face with a scrub at least once a day, and don't hesitate to rinse off your face midday if needed.

If your face is itchy, flaky, and dry, then you have a dry skin type. You want to look for products that add oils to your face. You want heavier moisturizers for your face, and especially when your face is dry, you don't want to be too hard on your face when you're washing it. The trick to dealing with dry skin is being firm enough to get rid of the dead skin cells, but gentle enough so you don't aggravate the problem.

If none of these categories seem to fit your skin or if these skin care treatments aren't working for you, you might want to consider seeing a dermatologist. Determining your skin type isn't hard and once you do, you'll be able to care for your face with the best techniques and products out there.

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