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.

Three Common Myths about Acne

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Many people have a way of coping with acne. While it is a common part of our lives, it is important that we discuss and highlight some of the most common myths that exist about acne skin care. By understanding and internalizing this information on a deeper level, you will be able to go beyond the standard way of thinking and find the best approaches and methods that can help you on your skin care journey. Like anything in life, the more you know about a something, the better control you will have on an entire situation Do not allow these myths stop you from having healthier and better skin. Learn, understand, and most importantly utilize this information for the betterment of your skin care.

Myth 1: Acne is caused by X factor.

In order to take control of your skin, you need to understand the fundamental background information about how and why acne occurs. Many people commonly believe that acne is caused by one particular situation. While one poor hygiene or specific dietary issues may play a factor to your acne problems, there are a variety of internal and external influences that can impact your acne in a negative way. To start, genetics will always play a role in the overall makeup of your skin. In addition, hormones, cosmetic products, food and dietary lifestyles, stress, and other outside and environmental factors can often alter how your skin or acne will react.

Myth 2: Squeezing and Popping Pimples

While it is tempting, popping or squeezing a pimple will not necessarily get rid of the problem. This type of approach can often push bacteria and pus deeper into the skin, which can cause even more swelling and redness. In addition, this approach can often lead to scabs that can potentially become permanent scars. So when you feel the urge to poke, pick, prick, and pop a pimple, think about the longer lasting negative effects that this can have on your face.

Myth 3: Acne Goes Away on its Own

As much as you can do the natural way of things, you do not have to suffer silently. There is a reason why acne treatments are available. They not only help speed up the process, but also control the situation before it develops even further. To start, acne is caused by clogged pores in the skin. Some of this can be clogged from the skin’s natural oils. If your pores become clogged, the skin’s natural bacteria can sometimes cause inflammation, which can lead to even worse acne. To control that, utilize the various acne treatments available to your locus of control. Do not wait for the situation to worsen. Take the initiative and make moves.

Guide to Treating your Acne Scars and Skin Damage

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When it comes to acne, the physical and emotional effects go beyond the breakout itself. Instead, it is the resulting outcomes and longer lasting effects such as acne scars and skin damage that can negatively impact your physical looks and emotional mentality. Now, while there is not magic want to get rid of them overnight, there are various procedures that you can undergo to handle these unfavorable marks and bumps.

In order for us to treat our skin in the most healthy and optimal way, I believe it is imperative to distinguish acne marks from acne scars. For many patients, they often mistake many dark spots for acne scars. While both can derive from pimples and other blemishes, there is a huge difference between the two blemishes. For acne marks, these are post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation that are usually seen as red and brown marks on the skin. For many of these marks, they tend to go away on their own between three to six months. You can of course expedite the process with diligent treatment of various facial creams that contain topical retinoids, vitamin C serums, sunscreen, and other over the counter remedies. For actual acne scars, these are more permanent indentations from collagen damage and can come in various shapes and forms. Some scars are thick. For atrophic scars, they appear as depressions in the skin and are seen as the most difficult to treat. But this does not mean that they will be there forever.

To help alleviate and remove these acne scars, many dermatologists will recommend laser and filler treatments, depending of course on the severity of the situation. If you find that your acne scars do not fade away on their own, I would highly advise you book an appointment with your dermatologist. Seeing an expert within the medical field, even for a short consultation, can help you decide on whether or not laser and filler treatments are the best options for your skin. Bare in mind, acne scars can be challenging to treat. Certain laser treatments can be very effective. But it is important to keep in mind that results may vary depending on the severity of the scars.

When undergoing laser treatment, it is important that you understand what each treatment can do for your skin. Laser skin resurfacing uses fractionated laser technology to even out the skin surface and increase the formation of new collagen. These new collagens can help fill up those acne scars. An ablative laser is one of the most effective cosmetic procedures for improving aging skin. This procedure can help vaporize your scar, allowing smoother skin to take its place. Filler injections can help fill in the indentations left behind from deep acne scars. The only downside is that this process needs to be repeated for a couple of months.

If you would like more advice or opinions about dermatological health issues, please visit or contact Dr. Matthew David Cole, MD, at Horizon Dermatology and Laser Institute in Newport Beach, CA. You can also call his office at 1-949-439-9288 or visit his site horizonderm.com.