The easiest, most obvious way to figure out your skin type on your own is to take note of visible signs and clear sensations.
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Figuring out how to care for our skin can be complicated. But before we start thinking about products, routines and how to care for our skin, we need to understand our skin type. There are several general categories that help us define our skin type and get to know it better.
There are many factors that can influence and change our skin type. We have to consider lifestyle factors, like how much you sleep, how much you travel, your diet, your sun exposure because all of those things affect the skin, hormones, oil production and affect stress levels.
However, there are still some things that can give you a baseline. To help you cultivate an effective skincare routine without having to book an appointment or consult a ton of experts, we are here to help you get a better idea of your skin’s overall behavior. This, in turn, will give you a blueprint for choosing the best products and methods to care for it.
The easiest, most obvious way to figure out your skin type on your own is to take note of visible signs and clear sensations. So, read our brief guide below and find out which type sounds most like your skin.
Notice how it feels
The easiest means to determine your skin type is to see how it performs from morning to evening on a typical day, on any given day of the week. The texture of your skin can reveal a lot about its essential nature.
- Combination skin usually feels oily in the T-zone (the area that includes your forehead, nose, and chin), but dry everywhere else. It can also be oily and dry in different locations, but if you notice two or more different textures on your face, it is a sign that you have combination skin.
- Sensitive skin usually feels itchy, patchy, dry and can sometimes sting.
- Normal skin feels even and balanced. It’s neither too dry nor too oily or sensitive.
- Oily skin will feel greasy and shiny all over. If you feel like you are constantly reaching for the oil blotting sheets, this means you probably have oily skin.
- Dry skin will feel tight and dry. It is normal for it to be flaky and crack, especially in the winter months.
The washing method
Cleanse your face thoroughly with a mild cleanser and gently pat dry. Leave skin bare (and do not apply any additional moisturizers, serums or treatments). After 30 minutes, examine your cheeks, chin, nose and forehead for any shine. After another 30 minutes, evaluate whether your skin feels parched, especially if you smile or make any other facial expressions.
- After cleansing, combination skin will often feel clean, refreshed and oil-free around the nose area but tight and dry around the cheeks.
- Sensitive skin will often feel clean and a bit dry after washing but the cleanser may trigger itching and irritation to occur. When this happens frequently and with a range of products, it is a sign of sensitive skin.
- People with normal skin will feel their skin clean and clear after cleansing. They might still be in need of a little moisturizer, but overall the skin doesn’t feel too parched or sensitive.
- After cleansing, oily skin will feel clean and oil-free, almost the only time it feels that way. Shortly after cleansing, oil will return.
- For dry skin, cleansing can dry out the skin and make it feel taut and dehydrated.
Take a close look at your pores
Your pores are also big indicators of your skin type. Their size and tendency to get clogged can tell you a lot about your skin and its oil production. You can use a magnifying glass in addition to a good-quality mirror to have a better look.
- If pores are large and often clogged around the nose but are small and unnoticeable on the cheeks and other areas of the face, this is a sign of combination skin.
- People with sensitive skin often have normal to large pores, but this can differ based on a possible reaction to a product or other irritant.
- People with normal skin usually have pores that are unnoticeable.
- People with oily skin often struggle with large pores that get easily clogged with sweat and oils the body secretes.
- People with dry skin typically have small pores that often feel tight.
It's also important to know that your skin type can change over time for a variety of reasons. Some reasons include pregnancy, menarche, medications, health issues/medical problems, menopause, and seasonal changes—and usually, it's related to hormonal fluctuations. In these cases, specialists note, your skin concerns may have changed, but your skin type usually remains the same.
If you need a little more guidance, just remember you can always go to a dermatologist. They are skin experts, and they can help you figure out the best way to take care of your skin, whether you’re dealing with specific issues, such as acne or eczema, or trying to determine whether certain products are right for you.