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What is My Skin Type and How Do I Know?


Have you ever tried some “amazing” new skincare product only to have it do nothing, or make your skin worse? It might have been wrong for your skin type.

You’ve probably heard or read somewhere (I may have said it a couple times) that when it comes to beauty and skincare, you should be using products formulated for your skin type.


Skincare products aren’t one-size-fits-all magic potions (although, wouldn’t that make life soooo much easier?), so it’s important to know what type of skin you’re working with so you can get the most out of your skincare routine.

Today, I’m excited to help you identify your skin type and figure out some of the best products to care for your fabulous skin!

Why do I need to know my skin type?

In order to practice your most effective skincare, it’s absolutely important to know your skin type. Back in the day, ladies had a limited selection of skincare items to choose from, like those perfumey “all purpose” cold creams on your grandma’s bathroom counter. Today, there’s an unending variety of formulas tailored to care for our unique skin types, but they only work their best if you use the one meant for your skin!

If you misdiagnose your skin type and use the wrong products, it can aggravate skin and lead to irritation, excess oil, breakouts or drying out skin which can make wrinkles more apparent.



Skin Type vs. Skin Conditions

It’s important to note the difference between skin type and skin concerns when it comes to care and treatment. Concerns can include things like wrinkles or signs of aging, hyperpigmentation or temporary dryness and can span across different skin types. For instance, many people think that acne-prone skin is a type; however, people with all types of skin can struggle with acne.


Skin conditions might also change over time, or can be affected by environment, age or hormone changes. For example, your skin may get more oily in summer but needs to be slathered with lotion in the winter. Or you might experience more acne or oily skin as a teenager, or at certain times in your cycle. In these cases, your skin concerns may have changed, but your skin type typically remains the same.

Keep this in mind when choosing skincare products. You may have to find some separate ones to tackle temporary concerns, but you should get a solid skincare routine of products that match your skin type.

What Determines Skin Type

  • Simple Genetics - The biggest one is your genes, which decide how dry/oily or sensitive your skin will be. And, you might inherit your skin type or issues from dear ol’ Mom and Dad.
  • Climate - Relocating to a new environment can change your skin type, sometimes for the better!
  • Hormones - Our hormones fluctuate at different times in our lives - including pregnancy - which can affect our skin’s behavior.
  • Medications - Your Rx might cause your skin to become drier or more sensitive as a side effect.
  • Diet/Allergies - Your daily noshes can definitely affect your skin for better or for worse. Talk to your doc if you think a food allergy might be the source of your skin woes.
  • Skin Care - As I mentioned, using the wrong formula can throw off your skin’s balance. Let’s get you on the right course for your best skin!

How to Identify Your Skin Type

Determining your skin type can be done with a simple test. Just follow these steps!

waterStep 1: Wash your face with a gentle cleanser to remove all makeup, oil and dirt.


towelStep 2: Pat face dry with a soft towel and leave skin bare. Don’t apply any moisturizers or serums. Let your skin act naturally.

clockStep 3: Wait 1 hour. During this time don’t touch your face (resist temptation!). After an hour, look closely and note the quality of your skin.


Now that you know how to find your skin type, let’s dive in and learn a little more about the characteristics of each one and what you can avoid to keep skin on the right track!

While it’s not a hard and fast rule, skin types can commonly fall into different age groups. Teens and those in their early 20’s typically experience more oily skin as this is when sebaceous glands are most active. Mid to late 20’s and early 30’s usually have combination skin. And, mid 30’s and older tend to lean toward dry skin since our skin loses its ability to produce oil and retain moisture as we age.

Dry Skin

How to Identify: If your skin feels tight or itchy year round, especially after cleansing, or you never feel like you can get enough moisture, you have dry skin. You might also experience some flakiness or scaling (when you lightly drag your nails across your skin, it looks like a snow storm).


It’s also important to note that there’s a difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin. Dry skin is a skin type caused by a lack of oil production in the skin. Dehydrated skin is caused by a lack of water and is a temporary skin condition due to climate, environmental factors or not drinking enough water.

Causes: Skin that is genetically predisposed to produce less oil (or sebum), hormone imbalance, dry climate, heaters during cold weather, hot showers/baths, medications, and age (metabolic changes can cause our skin to get drier and thinner as we get older).

What to Avoid: Alcohol and sulfate-based products, which can strip your skin’s natural oils. Also, try not to use super hot water when showering or bathing since it wicks moisture from skin. If you use a heater or live in a dry climate, consider getting a humidifier for your home or bedroom.

oily skin vs dry skin

Oily Skin

How to Identify: Your skin is shiny, or you notice a lot of excess oil on your face, neck, shoulders and back. You may feel like you want to wash your face again midday when oil production is at its peak. Your pores appear larger or get clogged easily, leading to black/whiteheads, pimples or cystic acne. The good news is, studies show that the moisture from oily skin might help prevent wrinkles!

girl squeezes her acne

Cause: The skin’s sebaceous glands overproduce oil (sebum) due to genetic makeup. Other causes can include hormones, humid climates, or over drying your skin which forces it to produce more oil.

What to Avoid: Oil-based cleansers, moisturizers and makeup. Your skin can only absorb so much moisture, the rest is left sitting as a residue on the surface of your skin. Also, look for products that aren’t alcohol-based or contain sulfates which can dry out skin. It might seem counter intuitive, but many products formulated to treat oily skin strip it of its natural oils which it needs for moisture and protection. When your skin senses that it is dry, it actually produces more oil as a defense mechanism, which can just make things worse!

Combination Skin

How to Identify: Your skin is oily, has larger pores, or breaks out in your T-zone (forehead, nose, chin), but is dry or normal on your cheeks and jawline. Combination skin can be tricky to treat since you have to address two different issues. Your goal: balance.


Cause: Genes, or an overproduction of oil in the T-zone. Your products might also be causing some skin imbalance. If you’re attempting to treat the oily areas, you could wind up drying out the dry areas and vice versa.

What to Avoid: Alcohol-based products which are too drying. You also don’t want to use any products formulated for oil control or ultra hydration to treat your entire face. Either use separate products to target the oily T-zone and dry areas, or look for something that can restore skin’s balance.

Normal Skin

How to Identify: Your skin is pretty even-keeled, not much - or only occasional - oil, dryness or breakouts which go away quickly. You don’t really experience reactions to products, and your complexion appears balanced.


Cause: Genes, you lucky duck!

What to Avoid: Though normal skin is one of the easiest types to care for, it’s also one of the first skin types to show signs of aging. Don’t forget to include some anti-aging and hydrating products in your skincare routine. And don’t wait! Start as soon as your early 20’s for good prevention. Also, make sure and back off from any product that causes a shift in skin to become more oily or dry.

Sensitive Skin

How to identify: If your skin is easily irritated or inflamed, or is itchy, dry or gets red easily, congratulations! You’ve won the sensitive skin lottery. Your skin may react when using a new product, flush easily with heat, or you always get those pesky razor bumps when you shave. People with sensitive skin might also sunburn easily or experience conditions such as eczema or rosacea.


Cause: Unfortunately, there are a number of things that can contribute to skin sensitivity, and it can be tough to pin down a single cause. There are, of course, genetics and hormone fluctuations. Weather (heat and cold), dry climates and hard water can have a big effect on skin. And, the products you use (makeup, lotions, soap, laundry detergent, etc.), can include fragrances or harsh chemicals which can aggravate skin sensitivities or allergies.

What to Avoid: Products with lots of synthetic fragrance, heavy dyes or harsh chemicals. Anything that contains ingredients that might inflame potential allergies or irritations. It’s best to stick to basic ingredients which means, yes, some days you might just want to use a little coconut oil as a moisturizer.

A good rule is to always do a 24 hour test patch on skin before applying a new product to your entire face. Become best friends with samples, don’t waste your money or time returning a product you ultimately won’t be able to use.

How to Care for Your Skin Type

Now that we’ve figured out your skin type, I’m happy to share with you my favorite products to care for your unique skin so it can be your ideal skin!

For Oily Skin


Skin Script Glycolic Cleanser

This lovely cleanser removes excess oil while gently exfoliating skin and neutralizing acne-causing bacteria. It also includes antioxidants and nourishing ingredients to boost skin’s health and leave you with a smooth, refreshed complexion. Check out more amazing Skin Script products here!

oilcontrolDermalogica Oil Control Lotion

If oily skin is your concern, then look no further! This lotion absorbs excess oils and controls oil production throughout the day providing your skin with a nice, matte finish. It also clears pores, neutralizes breakout bacteria, and soothes skin by reducing inflammation. Say so long to oil and breakouts!

RAoilRhonda Allison Face Creams - Aloe Matte Moisture

A moisturizer that hydrates skin while controlling excess oil? It’s true! This lightweight cream provides your skin with rich hydration while soaking up oil. It’s packed with antioxidants and ingredients that maintain a balance of moisture and oil control to leave skin radiant.

For Dry Skin


Epicuren Silk Radiance 3-in-1 Cleansing Oil

If you have dry skin, it can be hard to find a cleanser that doesn’t rob your skin of all moisture. I’m excited to present this new addition to our product family! (Available September 19.) You will love this silky formula that transforms from a gel to an oil to a milky cleanser while you’re using it (3-in-1!). It includes antioxidants and a lipid-rich formula to restore your skin’s moisture and suppleness, so you can moisturize while you get skin squeaky clean.

Alana Mitchell Daily Vitamin C Moisturizer

I created this moisturizer-rich formula so that a variety of skin types can enjoy its benefits! Vitamin C provides skin with anti-aging properties while hyaluronic acid packs a moisture punch. This lightweight moisturizer rejuvenates skin, and it smells delightful!

facialoilDermaquest Radiant Skin Facial Oil

A potent blend of oils brings you glowing skin in this formula. Safflower oil delivers ultra moisture to skin, while Jojoba oil heals and nourishes skin with boosting vitamins. Your skin is left fresh and radiant.

For Combination Skin


Epicuren Herbal Cleanser

This great cleanser is designed for those with dry/combo skin. It includes vitamins and antioxidants to nourish and fortify skin, and the formula is sulfate-free so it won’t strip your skin of natural moisture and dry it out. This herbal cleanser soothes inflammation, moisturizes and restores balance.


Eminence Organics Red Currant Balancing Concentrate

Specially formulated for combination skin, this treatment nourishes and hydrates while restoring balance to skin. It provides anti-aging benefits by improving skin’s elasticity and utilizing antioxidants to protect against free radical damage. This lightweight, soothing formula can be worn under makeup as well as applied as a treatment in your nightly skin routine!


Eminence Organics Balancing Moisturizer Duo Green Tea T-Zone Mattifier

This moisturizing duo is tailor made for combination skin. One side is an antioxidant and vitamin-rich green tea formula that controls oil production and refines pores. The other side soothes and moisturizes skin while promoting skin repair. This amazing formula reduces T-zone oil production by up to 42%! That’s a powerful combo skin duo!

For Normal Skin

Alana Mitchell Hyaluronic Moisture Boost Serum

If you’re looking for hydration, I’ve got you covered. I designed my Moisture Boost Serum to deliver the most moisture to skin. It features hyaluronic acid, which actually binds moisture to skin and locks it in boosting skin’s hydration by 10 x! It also diminishes the look of fine lines and wrinkles by plumping skin. Perfect for AM and PM use!


Skin Script Normal/Combination Skin Kit

If you want all your skincare in one place, this kit is for you. It includes ingredients to revive dull skin, remove impurities, hydrate skin, provide anti-aging benefits and so much more! In this kit you get:

  • Green Tea Antioxidant Cleanser - purifying cleanser that also protects the skin with antioxidants
  • Cucumber Toner - provides a uniformly smooth complexion while diminishing the appearance of pores
  • Retinol 2% Exfoliation Scrub - lifts away dead cells and impurities to improve the luster of the skin
  • Glycolic and Retinol Pads - exfoliate the skin while providing anti-aging benefits
  • Peptide Eye Serum - revives tired eyes, eliminating signs of fatigue while lifting the skin for a more youthful look
  • Vitamin C/Green Tea Serum - soothes, cools, and rejuvenates the skin for improved vibrance
  • Acai Berry Moisturizer - showers the skin with hydration while protecting it from premature aging

tintImage Skincare Prevention+ Tinted Moisturizer SPF 30

As long as you’ve got beautiful balanced skin, you might as well protect and maintain it with this daily SPF moisturizer! It hydrates skin while providing antioxidants to protect against sun damage. Plus, it’s tinted to give skin lightweight, even coverage. Make this your go-to for daily hydration and SPF protection!

For Sensitive Skin


Dermalogica UltraCalming Cleanser

This cleanser is created for those with even the most sensitive skin. It deep cleans to remove impurities while soothing redness, irritation and inflammation on contact. It also restores skin’s pH balance and includes no artificial ingredients, fragrances, or colors so it won’t irritate your sensitive skin.



Rhonda Allison Rosacea/Sensitive Skin System

This kit includes everything you need to care for and soothe rosacea and sensitive skin. Products include natural ingredients to calm irritation and are formulated to provide a protective wall to guard skin against future irritation. This skin-calming system includes:

  • Citrus Gel Cleanser 1oz - This cleanser incorporates natural citrus ingredients that sooth and cleanse the skin while providing the proper nutrients and hydration to the skin. The cleanser contains various essential oils such as tangerine, grapefruit, and lemon, as well as shea butter which helps smooth and soften the feel of your skin.
  • Purifying Lotion 1oz - This is a great hydrating lotion that fuels the skin with moisture and all natural ingredients in order to obtain a glowing and healthy complexion. Containing antioxidants and various essential oils, this lotion will refresh and sooth your skin.
  • Rosacea Serum 0.5oz – This serum will give the skin instant relief and protect the skin from further irritation and inflammation. This serum contains natural ingredients such as willow bark extract and olive leaf extract. This product contains ingredients such as Rhodiola Rosea Root Extract.
  • Exotica Rhodiola 0.5oz – This cream feeds your skin various antioxidants and vitamins that help prevent future signs of aging as well nourish and hydrate the skin.
  • Growth Factor Serum 0.25oz – This serum includes powerful antioxidants and various essential oils that support the skin in cell renewal and growth.


Dermaquest SheerZinc SPF 30 - Tinted

If you have sensitive skin, you know how tricky it can be to find a balance between avoiding sunburn and finding a sunblock that won’t irritate skin. This sheer SPF is mineral-based rather than chemical-based, so it’s less irritating. It uses Zinc Oxide to protect against the harmful effects of UVA and UVB rays. Plus, it’s lightly tinted making it great for everyday wear!

Final Thoughts

There are no good or bad skin types, just different ways that our skin behaves. Fortunately, we now have products that are formulated to treat the skin we have, and that’s why it’s so important to find the right one for you!

No matter what type of skin you have, make sure you’re using the products that will offer the most benefits and allow you to take the best care of your skin so it can be its beautiful best!

What is your skin type? Have you found any tips or tricks that help care for your skin? Share your experience with us in the comments section!


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