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How to Determine Your Skin Type

By guest blogger Charmaine Leah, host of the video blog Glamology and founder of beauty eco-boutique Mint & Berry.

Do you know your skin type? It’s important to know your skin type so you can determine the best way to look after your skin, how to care for it, what kind of products to use, and what things to avoid.

Your initial type of skin is genetically determined; however, the health and beauty of your skin later in life largely depends on what you eat and how you take care of yourself.

There are five basic skin types: normal, oily, dry, combination, and sensitive. To figure out what type of skin you have, do this simple test:

1. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and pat dry.

2. Wait an hour so for your skin to return to its natural state.

3. Press a separate piece of tissue onto each area of your face: chin, cheeks, forehead, and nose.

4: Take a look at each piece of tissue and look for oil or flaky skin residue.

Which type are you?

Normal Skin Type: No oil or flaky skin on any of the tissues likely indicates a normal skin type. Normal skin does not feel dry or oily and only a few small pores may be visible. After cleansing, it generally feels smooth, it only occasionally breaks out, and it’s not easily irritated. Even with a minimal care, normal skin is the least problematic skin type.

Oily Skin Type: Oil on each tissue would indicate an oily skin type. Oily skin feels greasy, tends to be shiny and have enlarged pores, and is prone to blackheads and blemishes. A good thing about this type of skin type is that oily skin is not prone much to aging and wrinkling. Cleansing carefully, reducing consumption of sugars and carbohydrates, and avoiding rich facial creams can be helpful in improving the quality of oily skin.

Combination Skin Type: Oil on only some tissues (specifically those on the T-zone, that is, the forehead, nose, chin, and cheeks) indicates a combination skin type. Combination skin is generally a normal skin type with a few dry patches and a few oily patches. Dryness is usually on the cheeks and oiliness is usually on T-zone areas. Combination skin is the most common type, and it requires different types of care for particular facial areas. Dry zones should be treated with rich creams and moisturizers, while oily areas will benefit most from frequent and thorough cleansing.

Dry Skin Type: Flaky skin residue on all tissues—without any oil residue—or a tight feeling in the skin may indicate a dry or sensitive skin type. Dry skin feels dry to the touch and has very fine pores. After cleansing, it feels tight; by midday, flaky patches may appear. And it is generally not prone to breakouts. Dry skin can easily develop a pale tone, wrinkles, and fine pores, and it is very prone to aging and irritation. To keep this type of skin healthy, you should apply a thorough skin-care routine and use regular skin treatments with natural scrubs, masks, and moisturizers.

Sensitive Skin Type: This skin type is usually dry, feels tight, and becomes inflamed and irritated easily. Typically this type of skin develops reddish and scaly patches and can be itchy. It is the most problematic type of skin and needs a very special type of care. To get the right skin-care products may require a lot of research and trial and error.

Remember, regardless of your skin type, a consistent skin-care routine is very important. Remember to cleanse your face and moisturize twice a day, and treat your skin to a scrub and mask at least once a week. While sensitive skin types will benefit the most, all skin types will also generally get the best results from using only natural skin-care products free of fragrance and with as few ingredients as possible.

So, what type of skin do you have? Have you found great skin-care products or techniques that work for your skin? Or, if you have any skin-care questions, please share them by leaving a comment below.

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10 Responses to How to Determine Your Skin Type

  1. Jenn V. November 2, 2010 at 8:23 am #

    This was such a timely post for me. I am desperate for a new, healthy foundation. I think with my skin type I need a liquid, but when looking for healthy (and few!) ingredients I can only find powder foundations. Are these OK for all skin types (esp. in winter)? Any good brands to recommend? THANKS!

  2. Kristen November 2, 2010 at 2:25 pm #

    Or another approach is to use a natural facial moisture serum intended to balance the skin’s oil production to create skin harmony. Look for ingredients like jojoba oil which is one of the closest natural oils to the skin’s sebum and active palmarosa essential oil which is renowned for its ability to balance oil production (this one should be lower on the list however, as it is very powerful and must be diluted with a carrier oil).

  3. Angie November 2, 2010 at 4:25 pm #

    I’m not sure if I am oily or sensitive. I’m almost always oily, but depending on the cleanser I use I can get dry patches. I almost always now a days breakout like crazy, mainly my chin and around my mouth area. Would this be considered sensitive or oily? I’ve tried so many products and either I end up very oily still breaking out, or my skin gets really dried out and irritated and breakouts out some. I also have some pretty bad nose to mouth lines (I’m only 31) from trying different products and getting so dry. I’m sure tanning when I was younger, because it help clear up my skin didn’t help with the lines. Help me I am desperate!!!!

  4. annie November 2, 2010 at 7:04 pm #

    How about skincare for aging skin (in my 30’s), scarring from breakouts, and blemish-prone combo skin type? I also would like to know of good healthy foundations for combo skin 🙂

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