Plenty of products on the market are designed to meet your skin care needs. But deciding which ones to use can be a bit overwhelming. The key to any good skin care regimen is to figure out which skin category you belong to and choose your creams, cleansers and other treatments accordingly.
There are a few ways to determine what type of skin you have. For some, simply reading through the descriptions of the various types will make it obvious. For example, if you have flaky skin on your face every morning, afternoon and night, you've got dry skin. If the flaky patches appear on your cheeks, but you wake up with a shiny, greasy film on your nose and chin, that's combination [sources: WebMD, The National Skin Care Institute].
If your skin type isn't so easily defined, there are some other simple tests you can do to figure it out. All you need for one of them is a clean piece of tissue or some face blotting strips. When you wake up in the morning, immediately use the tissue to blot your face and take a close look at the results [source: Beener].
If the tissue has lots of transparent spots, then you probably have oily skin. People with oily skin are prone to blackheads, blemishes and breakouts, so cleansing the skin on a regular basis is an absolute must. After washing the skin, use a toner to unclog pores and remove dead skin cells from the face. An oil-free moisturizer can then be applied to hydrate the skin [source: WebMD].
If the tissue is clean and your face feels tight, then you have dry skin. People with dry skin are prone to premature signs of aging, which makes proper skin care particularly important. A good moisturizer with SPF protection should be worn on a daily basis. Use a gentle face wash to cleanse the skin, and apply a night cream before going to bed to seal in moisture.
If the tissue only picks up a tiny amount of oil in the T-zone, then you probably have normal skin. Even though the skin appears smooth and clear, people with a normal skin type need to practice good skin care techniques to maintain the health of their skin. Wash your face daily with a good cleanser and moisturize the skin with a lotion that contains SPF protection.
If the tissue has oil spots from just your forehead, nose and chin, then you have combination skin. Combination skin can be hard to manage because different areas of the skin require different treatments. Wash the skin daily with a good cleanser and use a toner on your T-zone to remove oil and dead skin. Apply an oil-free moisturizer all over your face, but make sure to concentrate on particularly dry areas of the skin [source: WebMD, Beener].
People with sensitive skin should look for hypoallergenic facial cleansers and lotions to avoid irritation. Read the next page to learn about the factors that affect skin type.