As the classic aphorism goes, it’s important to “know thyself.” Finding the right products for your skin starts with knowing your skin. Having a grasp of the different skin types — and knowing how to tell what skin type you have — is essential for choosing the right products and keeping your skin in the best possible condition.
To help you get started, we’ve put together a quick guide on the major skin types, what to look for, and what products might be right for you. Learn everything you want to know about your skin type and how to care for it.
At-Home Skin Type Test
Identifying which type of skin you have is as simple as an at-home test. This can be conducted simply and swiftly, with materials you may already have on hand. Here’s how to tell what skin type you have in just half an hour:
- Using a gentle cleanser, wash your face thoroughly. Be sure that your skin is completely rinsed, then gently pat your face dry (be careful not to rub!) with a clean towel or cloth.
- Wait 30 minutes. Do not apply any toner, serum, or moisturizer to the skin. Avoid exercise, direct sunlight, and any skin irritation during this time.
- Observe the skin. Skin type can often be accurately determined simply through sheer observation. Look for oiliness or dryness in all areas of the face. Oiliness and dryness may be consistent across the skin or may vary by area of the face. For example, you may notice that your only oily area is the T-zone (the vertical space of your nose and chin along with the horizontal space of your forehead), or that this area is normal while the rest of the skin is dry.
- Use blotting paper. While you may be able to ascertain the information you need simply by look and feel, a blotting sheet can be a useful tool. After 30 minutes, press a clean, unused blotting paper to your facial skin, then pull it back to see where oil has been left. When held up to the light, you can observe in what areas (if any) the blotting paper has picked up oil from your skin.
Now that you know the steps for an at-home test, here’s a quick overview of the five major skin types:
This skin type may feel a bit tight or rough to the touch. You may visually notice more pronounced fine lines, and a blotting test will reveal little to no oil on the paper. As you might expect, dry skin benefits from hydrating products, and finding a good moisturizer is key.
If your skin is oily, you’ll notice a good deal of oil on the blotting sheet, with oiliness typically occurring to some degree on all areas of the face. Skin will also appear shiny and may feel a bit greasy. Look for pore-minimizing products and, if you suffer from acne as a result of the excess sebum of oily skin, an effective, medical-grade acne kit might be right for you.
When you’re learning how to tell what skin type you have, a question that often arises is the difference between oily skin and combination skin. Oily skin is typically characterized by all-over oiliness, while the combination skin type experiences oil predominantly in the T-zone. A pH-balancing toner can help remove excess dirt and promote a more even skin tone.
Normal skin is defined by overall balance. This skin type is neither excessively oily nor excessively dry and is perfect for a high-quality skin care kit designed for skin without the issues of other skin types.
Sensitive skin issues can vary broadly, from frequent breakouts to reactions to certain ingredients. Unfortunately, if you want to know how to tell what skin type you have and how to care for it, those with sensitive skin will have to research a little further to find out the cause of their reactions. The best solution for this skin type is to connect with a skin care advisor to identify the source(s) of their sensitivities and the right products to soothe them.
It’s important to keep in mind that no two skin profiles are exactly alike, and giving your skin the treatment it deserves often benefits from a custom solution. We invite you to get in touch with Salameh Skin Care for a free consultation.