With a seemingly unending supply of skin care products available, choosing the product that will provide you with the ideal combination of ingredients can be challenging. However, choosing skin care products based on your skin type is the perfect way to determine which products will work best for you.

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Skin Type Characteristics

Normal Skin

Normal skin is typically clear, blemish-free and has good elasticity.

Dry Skin

Dry skin appears flaky and rough. In addition, it lacks elasticity and frequently becomes irritated.

Oily Skin

Oily skin will often have a shiny appearance. Due to natural oil production, irritations occur regularly.

Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin usually looks dry and red. It is common for sensitive skin to feel tight and itchy. Additionally, this skin type is very delicate and may react negatively to many skin care products, especially those that are not labeled as ‘hypoallergenic.’

Combination Skin

Just like oily skin, combination skin has a shiny appearance. However, impurities typically develop in what is referred to as the ‘T-zone.’ The areas within this zone generally include the forehead and the bridge of the nose, and sometimes the chin. The skin in the cheek area usually has characteristics commonly seen in dry or normal skin types.

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Choose Your Skin Care Products Based on Your Skin Type

Regardless of your skin type, you should wash your face twice a day and choose a moisturizer that contains a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF rating of at least 30.

Normal Skin
  • Moisturize your skin daily.
  • Choose a light, non-greasy moisturizer that contains silicone-based ingredients like Cyclomethicone.
Dry Skin
  • Do not use harsh cleansers.
  • Moisturize daily. Choose a moisturizer that contains skin-replenishing ingredients like ceramides, glycerin, hyaluronic acid, petrolatum and glycerol as well as emollients like cocoa butter, Shea butter, coconut oil and sunflower oil.
  • The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends that individuals who have extremely dry skin choose a moisturizer that contains urea, hyaluronic acid, lanolin, Dimethicone and/or lactic acid.
  • Avoid products that contain ingredients known to dry the skin, such as sodium or ammonium lauryl sulfate and certain alcohols.
Oily Skin
  • To reduce the formation of acne and pimples, wash your face using a gentle anti-bacterial cleansing gel.
  • After cleansing, always use a ‘noncomedogenic’ moisturizer.
  • Dr. Cynthia Bailey is a board-certified dermatologist in Sebastopol, California. She recommends that individuals with oily skin choose an oil-free moisturizer that contains glycerin and hyaluronic acid.
Sensitive Skin
  • You need to moisturize daily with a hypoallergenic moisturizer.
  • Choose an unscented moisturizer that is made for sensitive skin. Dr. Bailey states that individuals with sensitive skin should avoid moisturizers that contain retinoids, beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and alpha hydroxy acid (AHA).
Combination Skin
  • Controlling outbreaks in the T-zone is essential: To accomplish this, use a gentle anti-bacterial cleansing gel on this area.
  • Avoid using moisturizer on the T-zone.
  • Dr. Bailey recommends that you do use a moisturizer on your chin, cheeks and the sides of your jaw.
  • Choose a moisturizer similar to those recommended for individuals with normal to dry skin.

Now that you know your skin type and which ingredients you should look for, it may be easier to find products specifically designed to meet your skin care needs.