Before you shop for skincare products, there is one crucial pre-shopping step that you must take: determining your skin type. Just because a product works well for a friend or your favorite celebrity is reported to use it, doesn’t mean that it will work for you. Skin types, like skincare products, are not one size fits all. I’m going to share my favorite way to effectively determine your skin type.


Find out your skin type in 3 simple steps

  • Pull your hair back away from your face. Using a gentle cleanser, remove all traces of makeup. Rinse thoroughly and carefully pat dry with a soft cotton towel. Do not follow with any other products at this time.
  • Wait for one hour. Using a clean tissue, gently cover your face and blot lightly.
  • Remove the tissue and then observe your findings.

What is your skin type?

Oily Skin — Those with oily skin will have spots on the tissue in multiple areas. These spots will be noticeable and are transparent. Visible signs of oily skin are enlarged pores, greasiness and acne breakouts. Using a gel cleanser as opposed to a creamy cleanser is best.

Combination Skin — If your tissue has obvious spots of oil concentrated just in the t-zone area (the forehead, nose and chin) but not on the cheeks, then you would most likely fall into this category. Those with this skin type will often have a great deal of t-zone shine, but normal looking cheeks. Combination skin types need products that help spot treat their oily areas, while nourishing their dry and normal spots. Balance is the name of the game for this type of skin.

Dry Skin — Does your tissue look the same as it did when you put it on your face? If your skin does not leave any sebum on the tissue, then chances are your skin is dry. If you have dry skin, it will often feel uncomfortably tight and even look dull. To combat dryness, look for products with rich butters and oils, hyaluronic acid, and moisturizers in a more concentrated cream form. A milky, lotion or creamy cleanser will work best for dry skin types, as will oil-enriched serums.

Normal Skin — If you have normal skin, there will be just the lightest touch of oil left behind. Your skin is neither oily nor dry. It will feel comfortable to the touch and look healthy. People with normal skin will do well with a basic skincare routine.

Troubled Skin — Troubled or sensitive skin is delicate skin. It is very easily irritated. There are often visible blood vessels and spots of redness or irritation. It is very important for people with sensitive skin to avoid products containing fragrance, alcohol and harsh chemicals. Conditions that will fall into this range are Rosacea, eczema, psoriasis and acne. What do these forms of troubled skin all have in common? Inflammation. Troubled skin is inflamed skin.

What if my skin falls into more than one category?

This is entirely possible. So many people assume that you cannot have sensitive skin if you have oily skin, but you can have both. If you have acne, for example, you more than likely have oily and troubled skin. It is important when your skin is troubled to be very careful when it comes to selecting a skincare product regimen. You do not want to ignore the fact that your skin is sensitive and pick something that may be too harsh.

Now that I know my skin type, what do I do next?

Knowing your skin type may be the most important step of your skincare routine. Now that you can identify your skin type, you will be able to be a smart shopper when looking at skincare products. Once you select your products, be sure to stick with them and give them a chance to effectively do their job. Consistency is key with your skincare products.

Do you have a skincare topic you’d like to see addressed on the ZENMED blog? Comment below with your suggestions.