How to Identify Your Skin Type

healthy skin

Do you know your skin type? If not, read on because knowing your skin type is critical for understanding how to care for your skin.

Many patients come in to see their dermatologist because of a specific skin concern. Others simply have a general frustration that their skin care products don’t seem to be working for them. In many cases, it is because the patients do not know their skin type and therefore are choosing the wrong products for their skin.

If you are unaware of your skin type, certain products and skin treatments can actually have negative effects that can cause existing skin conditions to worsen and even cause new skin conditions to arise. If you are using active acids for exfoliation, and begin to notice that your skin is sensitive, you may think that you have sensitive skin in general. In reality, your skin is reacting to the active acid. Then, skin care products targeted specifically for sensitive skin may not be effective enough for you. 

If you’re thinking this is complicated, you are correct! Any time you begin a new skin care treatment or wish to try a new product, it is best to consult with your dermatologist first. Your doctor can help you determine your skin type and recommend products that will work best for you.

How to Identify Your Skin Type

The first step in identifying your skin type is to allow your skin to revert back to its normal state. To do this, you should cease using any skin care products except for an SPF moisturizer for three to four days. This break will allow your skin to rest and recover from some of the more potent acids or serums that you apply as part of your routine. During this time, be sure to continue to use an SPF of 30 or higher to protect your skin from the sun. 

After three to four days, wash your face and then allow it to dry on its own without applying additional products for approximately 30 minutes. At this time, you will likely notice some changes to your skin.

Use the following key to identify your skin type: 

  1. Your skin has become oily and a shiny all over. This may indicate that you have an oily skin type.
  2. Your skin has become dry, tight and flaky. This may indicate that you have a dry skin type.
  3. Your skin is oily in your T-zone, but dry and tight in other areas such as your cheeks. This may indicate that you may have a combination skin type. 
  4. Your skin is irritated and red. This may indicate that you have a sensitive skin type.
  5. Your skin does not seem oily or dry. This may indicate that you have a normal skin type.

Admittedly, it can sometimes be a challenge to identify your skin type even when you follow the process defined above. You can get another clue about your skin type by assessing your skin first thing in the morning after it has had time to rest overnight. 

Does it appear oily? Dry? Sensitive? Keep in mind that if you have used active acids or other strong serums, you may not get an accurate reading of your skin type. 

Your dermatologist will be able to help you assess your skin and address any underlying skin issues you may have including acne, melasma and hyperpigmentation. Getting on the proper regimen for your skin type will allow you to see results more quickly. It can also help address certain skin conditions like acne that can flare up when your skin becomes too dry, too oily or is triggered by certain skin care products.

If you live in the Atlanta area and are struggling with a skin concern, schedule an appointment with Dr. Straughn at Buckhead Dermatology right away. Dr. Straughn has been practicing dermatology for over 25 years and is an expert at treating conditions including:

  • Acne
  • Ashy skin
  • DPN
  • Eczema
  • Keloids
  • Melasma
  • Moles
  • Razor bumps
  • Spider veins
  • Vitiligo

Dr. Straughn can work with you to evaluate your skin and inform you of your skin type, along with proper treatment and products. As a leading Atlanta area dermatologist, Dr. Straughn is well respected and experienced in helping people achieve healthy skin.

To learn more about skin types, read our article What is Your Skin Type?