Understanding Your Skin Type
An Easy At-Home Test and Guidelines
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, just a deer with a background in chemistry and a hyperfixation on skin. This is not medical advice.
Picture this: you’re in your local supermarket or drug store, and you’re walking down aisles of brightly-colored plastic bottles and tubs with labels reading:
“For oily skin”, “For combination skin”, and “For normal to dry skin”
I know you’ve been there. I certainly have! So, let’s take a minute to ignore the marketing and review the four basic skin types:
If you’re not sure what your skin type is, here’s a quick test: first, wash your face gently for 10-20 seconds with lukewarm water. Then, let air dry and wait 10 minutes.
When your ten minutes are up, there are a few things I want you to consider:
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Does your skin feel tight or itchy? Perhaps nearly painful?
If so, you likely have dry skin
Do you feel greasy? Does your skin have a slight sheen to it in the mirror?
If so, you likely have oily skin
Do your cheeks feel tight but your forehead and nose feel greasy?
If so, you likely have combination skin
If none of the above apply, you likely have normal skin
Knowing your skin type is important because it will allow you to curate a routine that is best fit for your needs. For example, I would not curate the same routine for a 25-year old male athlete with oily skin compared to a 35-year old woman with dry, acne-prone skin.
You can find my list of preferred cleanser for every skin type here. General guidelines are as follows:
Combination skin: you’ll have to test out different products to figure out what works best for you. It’s likely that your skin is drier in the winter and oilier in the summer, so you could always just adjust seasonally
Normal skin: you have it the easiest of all! You can look for products that say “for normal skin”, or just stick to the absolute basics like the Vanicream gentle cleanser (this one’s my personal favorite)
Different skin types come with their own unique sets of challenges. For example, dry skin ages faster, but oily skin can make you look disheveled. It’s important to accept your skin for what it is and work around it.
Of course, there are always other factors to consider like lifestyle, age, and environment/season. While knowing your skin type can give you a baseline, it’s important to apply pattern recognition to skincare to see how your skin changes over time as you introduce new variables. While you’re here, go check out my specific routine guides:
That’s all for now! Happy skincare!
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