How to Determine Your Skin Type
A Look at Skin Type Tests and How to Effectively Care for Your Specific Skin Type
Do you know what skin type you have? There are three common types of skin—oily, dry, and combination.
Each skin type has its own unique characteristics and issues, so it’s important to understand what type of skin you have so you can effectively care for it.
Therefore, finding the right treatment will help your skin stay healthy and look radiant.
But if you’re not sure what skin type you have, or how to best treat your skin, here are tips for figuring it out.
Not All Skin is Alike
While each person’s skin is unique, there are three common skin types that are somewhat universal. And each skin type has its own daily and seasonal skincare needs to maintain optimal health and a clear, bright complexion.
What is Your Skin Type?
To determine your skin type, you can do the following at-home skin type tests or VISIA skin analysis for a more accurate assessment of your skin’s needs.
The Blotting Sheet Test
Gently pat a blotting paper on your cheeks, forehead, nose, and chin. If the blotting paper has little or no oil on it, then you likely have normal to dry skin. If the paper picks up oil from only your nose and forehead, you likely have combination skin. And if the paper is full of oil, then you have oily skin.
The Bare-Faced Test
Use a mild cleanser to clean your face, then gently pat dry. Leave your skin bare—do not apply any moisturizers, serums, or makeup. After half an hour, look at your cheeks, nose, chin, and forehead for shine. After another 30 minutes, determine whether your skin feels dry, especially when you make facial expressions.
- If your skin feels tight, then this is a sign you have dry skin
- If you notice some shine on your nose and forehead along with some patches of tight or flaky skin, you probably have combination skin
- If you can visibly notice a lot of shine on your cheeks along with your nose and forehead, then you likely have oily skin.
Due to its natural moisture, oily skin is less prone to wrinkles, looks younger, and is often more supple. But unfortunately, it does come with its drawbacks. For instance, factors such as stress and hormonal changes can increase the amount of oily sebum production in the skin.
Along with leaving a greasy appearance, the excess oil in oily skin can lead to clogged and enlarged pores, blackheads, and acne breakouts. Oily skin is more prone to post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (PIH), which leaves noticeable dark spots on the skin after an acne breakout has healed. This skin type can also look thick and rough.
- Clean with gentle soap and water. Avoid soaps with harsh chemicals, fragrances, and added moisturizers
- After cleansing, gently pat to dry the skin. Avoid being rough with a towel or washing with a cloth or a loofa (this will only increase sebum production)
- Daily enzymatic exfoliators. This type of exfoliant promotes cell turnover, prevents sebum buildup in pores, and lightens dark spots left from blemishes
- Gentle physical exfoliators that don’t use abrasives. These will balance the tone and texture of oily skin
- Anti-bacterial exfoliators for acne-prone skin. These will help speed the healing of acne breakouts while preventing lasting blemishes
- Medicated acne products with salicylic acid, glycolic acid, beta-hydroxy acid, or benzoyl peroxide
- Clay, oatmeal, or honey facials
- Oil-free moisturizers
- Noncomedogenic skincare products—these won’t clog pores
What causes dry skin? Dry skin can actually be caused by several factors, such as genetics, hormonal changes, dehydration, diet, lifestyle, and climate.
Dry skin will often feel tight and itchy and may also become flaky and red. Dry skin can often worsen during colder weather.
- Hydration—drink plenty of water and avoid alcohol and caffeine
- Gentle exfoliants with non-abrasive ingredients to help remove dead skin and promote cell turnover without stripping the skin of its natural oils
- Moisturizers with hyaluronic acid (sodium hyaluronate), glycerin, and marine actives (e.g., algae) that attract water, directing it to the skin cells
- Emollients, such as squalene and camellia oil, to effectively and evenly smooth and hydrate the skin
Combination skin is exactly what it sounds like – a combination of dry and oily skin. This skin type tends to have a well-moisturized t-zone (chin, nose, and forehead) and is less prone to acne breakouts. But, instead of breakouts, people with combination skin will experience dry patches.
Those with combination skin tend to have dry skin on their cheeks. So it’s important to find a moisturizer that will hydrate the cheeks while not being too heavy for the rest of the face.
- Gentle, water-soluble cleansers
- Hydrating and soothing toner that won’t irritate the skin
- Gentle, non-abrasive BHA exfoliant to unclog pores and remove dry, flaky skin
- Moisturizers with gel, liquid, or serum textures that will absorb quickly and won’t cause breakouts
- Feather-light, broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen
Note: No matter what skin type you have, always protect your skin from sun damage. Apply an SPF 30 or higher broad-spectrum sunscreen before going outside, wear a broad-brimmed hat, and avoid direct sunlight.
How VISIA Can Help
For an accurate skin type test, consider the VISIA complexion analysis machine at SKINS Derma Care. VISIA takes detailed images of your skin using UV photography and cross-polarized technology to create an assessment of your skin.
The VISIA skin analysis offers an unprecedented look into your skin, providing fast reports to help you better understand your skin care needs.
Not all skin types are alike. And each has its unique issues and needs. So determining what type of skin you have and providing it with the best care possible will help you achieve an even, healthy-looking complexion.