For a question that seems so straightforward, it can be a challenge to answer with confidence. What is your skin type?
Caring for your skin can require patience, but the number one ingredient is knowledge. A big piece of the puzzle is knowing your skin type. While it can certainly be confusing to confidently choose your skin type, knowing this can help you treat your skin and choose the right skincare products.
There are 4 basic skin types: normal, dry, oily and combination. Skin types can also be described as acne-prone, sensitive and mature. For the purposes of identifying your skin type, we will focus on learning more about the 4 basic types and how to choose the right match for you.
Normal skin is considered to be well-balanced, so it will not be overly dry or oily. In general, normal skin experiences few breakouts and is not sensitive to new products or other potential irritants. Normal skin is usually described as firm and smooth, with good circulation and few fine lines and wrinkles. However, those with normal skin can still experience some oiliness or dryness from time to time, but it will not be excessive either way.
Management of Normal Skin
For people with normal skin, they are able to use a wide range of skin care products. Because they are not prone to sensitivity, those with normal skin can usually experiment with new products until they find what works best for them.
Dry skin can be caused by two factors: lack of oil (sebum) and lack of moisture. Low levels of sebum can result in skin that is less able to protect itself from environmental factors. Dry skin can appear flaky or scaly. Lack of moisture can make the skin look dull and can increase the visibility of fine lines and wrinkles. A common sign that you fall into the dry skin type category is tight skin after cleansing. You might also experience frequent dry patches that can feel raised.
Management of Dry Skin
Dry skin can range from mild to extremely dry. Because of this, product and treatment options vary greatly depending on the severity of your condition. One of the first things you can do to treat and prevent dry skin is to increase your daily water intake. Take an inventory of your current products to see which ones might be contributing to your dryness with ingredients like alcohol and artificial colors and fragrances. Replace them with gentle, nourishing products to increase your skin’s moisture levels.
Oily skin refers to skin that produces more than average oil, also called sebum. An abundance of oil can result from hormonal changes, genetics, makeup or even stress. People who have oily skin tend to have increased oil in their T-zones, the area including your forehead, nose and chin. They may also have enlarged pores and acne. Oily skin will look glossy and feel slick to the touch.
Management of Oily Skin
Oil on the skin is not a bad thing. In fact, it is a vital ingredient for healthy skin. However, too much oil can not only look unappealing, it can result in pimples. If you suffer from oily skin, avoid heavy, rich moisturizers or creams. Consider switching to an oil-based cleanser which has been shown to reduce the appearance of sebum produced by the skin without stripping it dry. Avoid products that will over dry your skin, as these will just encourage your skin to produce even more oil.
Combination skin is just as the name implies – the presence of both oily and dry skin characteristics. Typically, people with this skin type have an oily T-zone caused by an overproduction of oil on their foreheads, nose and chin. They will also have dryness, dry patches or tight skin on their cheeks. Combination skin can also present with some acne in either the t-zone or the cheeks.
Management of Combination Skin
People with combination skin often benefit from targeting their skincare products to specific areas of their face, rather than all over. For example, they may choose a gentle, oil-free moisturizer for their T-zone while opting for a heavier cream for their cheeks.
If you are still struggling to identify your skin type, you can take an online skin test that will help you determine your closest match. However, the best way to know for sure is to consult with a dermatologist. Your dermatologist can evaluate your skin and give you an accurate skin type. Then, she can make recommendations tailored to your unique skin needs to help you get the results you want.
Do you live in the Atlanta area? Dr. Straughn of Buckhead Dermatology can help you get a better understanding of your skin and obtain the best skin of your life. She has over 25 years of experience in diagnosing and treating an array of skin disorders, with a specialization in black skin dermatology.
To schedule an appointment at our Atlanta or College Park offices, call 404-816-4000 today.