Skin types usually fall into a few different categories: dry, oily, combination, or normal. In order to know your skin type you really need to constantly check in with your skin. Remember that your skin type is not based on your age or on what your skin used to be like. Your skin type is based on what is going on with your skin now – how your skin looks, and how your skin feels at this moment.
Basics: How To Figure Out Your Skin Type
To figure out your skin type, you need to look at your skin in a regular mirror.
It’s not necessary to use a magnifying mirror.
First things first – can you see your pores? And by “can you see your pores?” I don’t mean getting up so close to the mirror that you see your breath in the mirror. Stand at a reasonable distance from the mirror. The larger your pores are, the more likely it is that you have oily and/or acne-prone skin.
If you can barely see your pores then your skin is normal or on the dry side.
The next step – wash your face. Use a regular facial wash, not one for acne-prone skin or an exfoliating cleanser. After drying your face wait about 20 minutes or even half an hour. Now feel your skin – does it feel rough? Does your skin feel tight? Your skin would be on the dry side if you answered yes to one or both of those questions. Or does your skin look shiny? It could look shiny just on your nose and/or forehead or all over. If your face is shiny, then you have oily skin. You could also take a tissue and pat it against your skin. If the tissue is see-through in certain places, then your skin is oily or on the oily side of normal.
If your skin feels fine after washing and isn’t shiny, then you have normal skin. And what if your skin is shiny in some spots and dry in others? Then you have combination skin.
Are 4 Skin Types Enough?
Above I introduced the four most common skin types and how to figure out which one you have: normal, dry, oily, and combination.
But are those four skin types really enough? What if your skin doesn’t fall into one of the above categories? Frankly, the four most accepted skin types are simply not enough. In order to really be able to take care of your skin, you need to know more.
For example, is your skin wrinkled? Or is your skin dehydrated (lacking water)? Does your skin have dark patches (hyperpigmentation)? In order to really treat your skin properly, you need to do more than if your skin is dry, oily, or normal. Dr. Leslie Baumann has written a great book called The Skin Types Solution that takes every skin issue into account in order to help people really take care of their skin correctly. Dr. Baumann actually has found 16 different skin types instead of the accepted 4 types.
When does knowing which of the 4 most common skin types you are helpful? When buying skincare basics like cleansers and moisturizers. Most skincare products are labeled “for normal skin” or “normal to dry” or “oily.” So if you have a grasp on your skin type, it will help you when buying these skincare regime staples.
Remember your skin type can change throughout your lifetime. Just because your skin was one way when you were 20 doesn’t mean that it will be that way when you are 30 or 50. During the summer your skin behaves one way and in the winter another way. That is why it is very crucial to periodically check in with your skin and see what is going on. That doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to change your products, but checking in with your skin could mean the difference between your skin looking ok to your skin looking great.