How to Tell What Skin Type You Have

All of the decisions you make for the products you purchase for you skin will be based on you skin type. So how do you tell what type of skin you really have? For a very few who are at the extremes of oiliness or dryness it is readily apparent. But for the majority of people and easy test can tell you.

What do you need to test your skin type:

  • A very mild cleanser — harsh cleansers can lead people to think their skin is drier than it actually is. The classic standby of Phisoderm is ideal.
  • Blotting papers — if you do not have true blotting papers than Post-its actually work as a great substitute.
  • An hour of your time.

When you wake up, head to the bathroom and simply:

  • Wash your face with the mild cleanser and pat dry — do not use any toner, astringent or moisturizer.
  • Wait one hour — this allows the skin’s natural oils to return to the surface. Coffee and the Sunday paper would provide an ideal interlude.
  • Pay attention to how quickly any signs of tautness subside.
  • Hold blotting papers for 30 seconds each to your forehead, nose, cheeks and chin.

The blotting papers essentially are the barometer of your skin type. Make sure to note which paper corresponds to which portion of your face. You will have one of four results:

  • Oily residue will be on all of the papers and you have oily skin. Hormone fluctuations can cause temporary oiliness as well so be aware of that. The wonderful upside to oily skin? As you age your skin will tend to wrinkle less than any other skin type.
  • You will have faint or no oily residue on the papers and they will also be free of dry skin flakes. This is the quite uncommon “normal” skin type. The upside for you is that product selection is simple and you will usually need fewer products.
  • There will be oily residue on the papers from your forehead and nose and minimal or no residue on the papers from your cheeks. The papers from your cheeks may have a few dry skin flakes. This is the very common combination or T-zone skin type. The upside is that you will be a good consumer and will help the economy with your skin care purchases.
  • Dry flakes will be present on the papers and a feeling of tautness will remain, sometimes for the entire hour. The commonness of dry skin increase with age, the older you are, the more likely your skin will be dry. The upside for you is that acne is almost never a problem and your skin care choices are virtually endless.

Because the skin changes over time, generally becoming drier, re-testing your skin once a year is a good idea. Your skin care needs will gradually change and the sooner you respond to the changes the more effectively you can take care of your skin and the better you will look.

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