3 Steps to Determining Your Skin Type and How to Handle It

M. David Cole, MD talks skin typesThe human species is incredibly diverse, made up of different shapes, sizes, hair, facial features and even height measurements. Likewise, people have different types of skin (whether oily or dry), which requires different processes for daily care and maintaining a good balance. Of course, in order to know the latter, you must know the former, but not everyone does. However, the process to finding your skin type is relatively simple, and I’ll list some steps for doing so below.

  1. The first thing to do is wash your face. It’s possible that your skin has some type of moisturizer, lotion, sweat or dirt accumulated from the day. Give your face a rinse, using a gentle cleanser, to start fresh. As I’ve shared in a previous blog, there’s no need to scrub or wash the face too much. One time is sufficient, and afterwards, dry off with a clean towel by patting the face, not wiping.
  2. Give your face some time to rest. Wait about an hour or so, as your skin recalibrates and returns to its natural state, for the next step. While doing so, be sure not to touch your face, adding any debris or oil from your hands to disturb the process. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit still the whole time. Feel free to go about your daily routine, and if it helps, set an alarm to remind you of when the hour is up.
  3. Once you’re face is dry and in its natural form, it’s time to perform the skin type test. All you will need is a little tissue and some light. Simply dab your face, focusing on the T-Zone area (i.e. your forehead, nose, chin and area circling the mouth), as it is the most oily part of the face, with more overall glands than the other areas. Then, examine the tissue:
  • Oily Skin will show grease on the tissue afterward. You may also notice large pores and a shine even when you’re not wearing any moisturizer or face lotion. This type of skin may require you to wash twice a day (morning and night) with a gentle cleanser, as well as an alcohol-free toner, and moisturizer for balance. 
  • Dry skin will may show flakes of skin on the tissue, and this is likely because of small pores. Addressing this issue requires less face washing, or washing with water only, and a good moisturizer for dry skin. 
  • Combination skin means a combination of both oily and dry, and is the most common type of skin. There are cleansers made specifically for this skin type which help maintain balance. If you know your problem areas, such as a more oily T-zone and dryer outer areas, then you can target accordingly.
  • Normal skin will show neither oil or flaking. Rather, it should appear smooth and supple. This type of skin doesn’t require as much discretion, however if notice things change, to either oily or dry, it may be a result of the types of cleansers you’re using or your routine (or lack thereof), and in that case, you need to change.