There are five basic skin care types: oily, combination (normal), sensitive, dry and sun-damaged. Here we rundown the tell-tale characteristics of each of them to help you find your match.
First, a Bit About Skin
Your skin type is determined by how much — or how little — oil your skin produces. Genes, diet, stress level, hormonal fluctuations, medication and even your skincare regimen all determine how much oil your skin produces and you may find your skin type changes frequently going from dry to oily to normal — all in the course of a matter of months. This is normal.
Rona Berg, in her book, “Beauty the New Basics,” (buy it from Amazon) suggests you take the “skin test” to tell what skin type you have. To do this, wash your face, pat it dry, then take a few pieces of rice paper or lens-cleaning tissue paper and press on different spots on your face. If your skin is oily, the paper will stick, pick up oily spots and become translucent.
If the paper doesn’t stick or pick up any oily spots, your skin is likely dry. If it sticks in your t-zone (forehead, nose and chin) then you have combination (or normal) skin. Most women actually have combination skin.
Oily skin is shiny skin, especially in the T-zone (from the forehead, down the nose to the chin). You may have enlarged pores, and you may be prone to blackheads and breakouts due to the overproduction of the sebaceous (oil-producing) glands.
The good thing about oily skin is it ages better than dry skin because the oils keep the skin plump allowing fewer wrinkles to form. Many young women have oily skin but as they age, they may find their skin becomes more dry, especially after age 35.
To take care of your skin, wash with a cleanser formulated for oily skin before you go to bed. Exfoliate twice weekly with a gentle scrub and use light — rather than heavy — moisturizers. If you suffer from breakouts, an astringent such as Biore Blemish Treating Astringent (buy from Amazon) may help. When it comes to blush and bronzers, powdered blends work better than liquid ones and look for oil-free options for tinted moisturizers or foundations.
Most women (some experts say up to 70 percent), have combination, or “normal” skin. Combination skin means you may have a slightly oily T-zone and drier cheeks with dry patchy spots here and there. You may also have larger pores on your cheeks and possibly your forehead. This skin type has medium pores, a smooth and even texture, good circulation and a healthy color.
To take care of your skin, you may need to treat the T-zone differently from your drier spots. If your T-zone tends to be oily, try an astringent on those areas only after you’ve washed your face. Make sure to exfoliate twice weekly using a facial scrub or a Clarisonic Mia to remove any dead skin cells, and use a heavier facial moisturizer on your dry spots as need be.
Dry skin feels tight, especially after cleansing.
You may notice your skin becomes drier the older you get. This skin fluctuation can be attributed to hormones. You have a tendency towards fine wrinkles, flaking and red patches. In women of color, skin may appear ashy or dull from dead skin buildup.
Dry skin requires special care. Try creamy cleansers and moisturizers formulated for dry skin. Exfoliate weekly and slather on primer under foundation to plump up skin as much as possible. A mineral water spray such as Evian (buy from Amazon) will help moisturize skin as the day wears on (keep one in your purse). If you live in a cold environment, use a humidifier in your office and bedroom to keep skin from drying out.
Sensitive skin tends to be thin, and delicate with fine pores. If you are easily irritated by the sun, certain cosmetic products and if you are prone to redness, itchy patches or blotchy skin, you likely have sensitive skin.
Finding the right cleansers and moisturizers for your skin type can be tricky. The good news is many companies have developed products specifically for sensitive skin. Look for mild products that contain no scents. Many drugstores and department stores allow you to return products, so check out the return policy before you buy or ask if the store carries freebies so you can try before you buy.
Aging or Sun-damaged Skin
This skin also feels tight with visible wrinkles, slack skin tone — especially around the cheeks and jawline — with leathery texture and broken capillaries.
To care for aging skin, you should consider using moisturizers and heavy creams to plump up your fine wrinkles. I love Retin-A which has done wonders on my skin tone and has smoothed some fine wrinkles. And if you are really upset about your deeper lines, you can have them frozen with Botox or filled with injectables. Try Revitol Anti-Aging Cream!