Determine Your Skin Type to Choose the Best Products

Three skin care treatment results over time

With so many skin care products to choose from, how do you know which ones are best for your skin?

At Cayce Medical Spa, we emphasize personalized skin care to maximize your individual skin health. The first step in customized skin care is determining your skin type. Knowing this important information helps you shop smart when selecting skin care products.

Your individual skin type is determined by the amount of sebum released by the sebaceous glands within your pores. The amount of sebum varies from person to person. Based on this, we can identify five distinct skin types: 

  • Oily
  • Dry
  • Combination
  • Sensitive
  • Normal

Let’s take a look at how to find what type of skin you have. We’ll also go over the unique characteristics of the five skin types. 

Determining Skin Type at Home

To learn your skin type at home, wash your face, pat dry with a clean towel and don’t apply any products afterward. Observe any changes that occur over the next few hours. Here are the characteristics you’re looking for: 

  • Oily skin looks matte immediately after washing but becomes shiny and greasy as time passes. You will also notice visible oil after blotting your face with a tissue. 
  • Dry skin feels tight shortly after washing and may become dull, rough or flaky in the hours that follow. 
  • Combination skin appears oily and shiny in the T-zone area of your forehead and nose, while your cheeks remain dry.
  • Sensitive skin often stings, burns or itches after washing and may be oily or dry. 
  • Normal skin may be thought of as the “Goldilocks” skin type, as it’s neither too oily nor too dry. You’ll notice an even appearance throughout your face with no tightness or irritation immediately after washing. 

It’s also important to know that your skin type may change over time. Children under 11 tend to have normal skin. Between the ages of 11 and 30, skin typically becomes more oily. Skin can also change throughout your life in response to many factors: 

  • Pregnancy
  • Menopause
  • Aging
  • Medication side effects
  • Moving to a different climate
  • Exposure to environmental pollutants

If you are still unsure after following these steps at home, schedule a consultation at Cayce Medical Spa. We’ll evaluate your skin to determine your type and recommend the best care plan for your needs.

Oily Skin

Oily skin produces more sebum than it needs, leading to its familiar shiny appearance. Your skin will often feel greasy to the touch, especially around your nose and forehead. Your pores may clog more easily and you may be more susceptible to pimples and blackheads. 

Those with oily skin should choose non-comedogenic products that won’t clog pores. This helps reduce the occurrence of breakouts. Here are some other tips for caring for oily skin: 

  • Avoid harsh cleansers that contain alcohol. These may cause irritation, which stimulates more oil production. 
  • Apply a light, oil-free moisturizer. Good ingredients to look for include starches such as corn or rice starch, clays such as kaolin or bentonite or silicones such as dimethicone. 
  • Look for a sunscreen that contains either zinc oxide or titanium dioxide.
  • Choose water-based makeups instead of oil-based products.
  • Treat blemishes with spot correctors. Your dermatologist may recommend additional products to help manage oil production. 

Dry Skin

Dry skin produces less sebum than it needs, which leads to flaking, cracking and itching. Skin may feel tight, especially after bathing or swimming. You may notice a dull, rough or ashy appearance. 

Gentle cleansers and heavier moisturizers are good options for those with dry skin. Avoid alcohol, fragrances and other ingredients that may exacerbate dryness. Use caution when using products with retinoids or alpha hydroxy acids. 

  • Look for cleansers with humectants to draw moisture into the skin. Avoid excessively hot water when bathing or washing your face. 
  • Exfoliation helps to reduce flaking, but be gentle! Overdoing it or using excessive pressure can irritate your skin. One or two times a week is usually sufficient. 
  • Choose moisturizers with hyaluronic acid, ceramides or free fatty acids to lock in moisture and soften your skin. 
  • Consider using a humidifier while indoors. 

Combination Skin

If you notice that some areas of your face are oily while others are dry, you have combination skin. In most cases oiliness will occur in the T-zone, which includes your forehead and nose. Your cheeks will be more prone to dryness. 

For many people with combination skin, it makes sense to apply different products to different areas. Start with a gentle cleanser and apply light, oil-free products to your T-zone. Follow this up with a heavier moisturizer for your dry areas only. A balancing toner is another good choice, along with spot treatments for acne-prone areas. Exfoliate with a gentle enzyme mask. 

Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin becomes irritated easily and may be associated with conditions like rosacea or eczema. It is not determined by the amount of sebum your skin produces and may be oily or dry. 

Signs of sensitive skin include a burning, stinging or itching sensation when washing or applying products. You may also notice redness, bumps or peeling when your skin is exposed to irritating substances. 

  • You can reduce irritation by knowing which ingredients to avoid. Look for hypoallergenic products that are fragrance-free and dye-free. Stay away from sulfates and parabens. 
  • For your anti-aging regimen, choose gentle retinol formulations or alternatives developed for sensitive skin. Protect yourself from the sun by applying a sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. 
  • Finally, always do a patch test when introducing new products to your skin care routine. Apply the product to a small, inconspicuous area such as inside your elbow. Wait 24 hours to see whether any irritation appears. 

Normal Skin

Normal skin produces just enough sebum to keep skin well-hydrated without becoming greasy. Skin has an even complexion with few blemishes. 

While normal skin has fewer of the challenges that come with other skin types, good care is just as important. Cleanse and moisturize regularly and apply sun protection in the daytime. At night, use a retinoid product to reduce the premature signs of aging. 

At Cayce Medical Spa, we offer a variety of treatments to improve the look and feel of your skin. Get personalized skin care recommendations from a qualified professional and sample applicable products when you schedule a free product consultation with one of our licensed estheticians. 

Call us at 573-234-6930 or contact us online to schedule your appointment!