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Skin Care Guide

Use this quick guide to figure out your skin type and skin care needs!

Skincare Model

What is Your Skin Type?

Oily Skin

When oil glands produce extra oil, it shows up on the top of your skin, primarily on the nose, forehead and chin, or T-zone area of the face. That’s where the highest concentration of oil glands are. That can’t be changed as the level of oil the skin produces is genetic, but it can be controlled.


You know you have oily skin when:

• Your pores are clogged.

• Your face looks shiny and feels greasy.

• Your makeup wears off within a few hours of application.

• You are prone to pimples, blackheads, and whiteheads.

Combination Skin

When you have some areas of dry skin and other areas of oily skin, it’s considered combination. On most days you probably have either normal or dry skin on most of your face, and your oily skin is concentrated in the T-zone, which is across the forehead, down the nose and chin.


You know you have combination skin when:

• In some areas; your skin can feel tight after washing; it can be flaky, look dull or feel rough.

• In other areas, typically the T-zone, your skin looks shiny, feels greasy and is prone to pimples and blackheads.

Dry Skin

Your skin becomes dry when the top layers lose water and natural oils. You need both oil and water to prevent dry skin. The oil acts as a barrier to prevent your skin from losing water. Dry skin can be caused by heredity, hormones, or other environmental factors, such as sun exposure or cold, dry air. As you get older, your skin may become dryer.


You know your skin is dry when:

• Skin feels tight.

• Skin can be flaky.

• Pores aren’t very visible.

• Skin looks dull.

• Skin feels rough.

• Skin can feel itchy.

• Dry skin conditions.

How to Care for Your Skin Type

Oily Skin

• Cleanse the skin at least twice daily. Never go to bed without washing your face, even if you have no makeup on.

• Moisturizing daily is still necessary. If your face feels tight after washing, use a light moisturizer. Oily skin tends to be dehydrated, since moisturizers are generally not often used.

• Drink lots of water to keep the skin well hydrated from the inside out.

Combination Skin

Utilize oily skin care recommendations on oily parts of the skin such as the T-zone. Utilize dry skin recommendations for dry skin sections of the face such as cheeks. 

Dry Skin

Hydrate your skin using products that contain highly hydrating products such as hyaluronic acid. Avoid products containing alcohol, as these can be drying and irritating to your skin. Light oils can also help to hold in moisture. It is important to utilize hydrating treatments in conjunction with oil. Think of these two steps like you're putting on shoes. Socks (hydration) then shoes (oil). Oil may not be recommended if you are prone to acne as well. If so, stick to hydration. 

Cold weather can also cause a skin type to become dry, as it prevents the skin from forming a natural moisture barrier.

Care Recommendations for Every Skin Type

Your Individual Skin

The character of your skin, whether it’s dark, light, oily, dry, smooth, rough, freckled, easily wrinkled, prone to acne or flawless, comes from your parents. But unlike the color of your eyes or some other traits you’ve inherited, there is much you can do to change the look and feel of your skin. To begin with, follow these good skin care habits:

• Always use a mild cleanser.

• Use a moisturizer formulated for your skin type.

• Wear a sunblock or sunscreen every day.


Caring for your skin properly is essentially how you make it radiant no matter what your individual skin type. As says Substance Skin Care Expert, Sonya Dakar, “You wouldn’t think for a minute that you could have a muscular body without working out. You must understand that to have beautiful skin takes a bit of work. You cannot take it for granted.”


Daily Care for Radiant Skin:

Cleanse Properly

Wash your face with water and a mild cleanser twice a day. A gentle and thorough cleaning helps to remove the dead skin cells off the skin’s top layer, along with excess oils and bacteria. These culprits cause pimples. Antibacterial cleansers are good choices for fighting the bacteria that causes acne, but they can be irritating to facial skin. Unless there is a medical reason, it’s best to stay away from antibacterial soaps for daily use.



It improves the circulation of the blood, increasing oxygen in the skin. Oxygen boosts your skin’s natural collagen building and increases skin regeneration. Both processes lead to healthier, more radiant skin.


Wear Sunglasses

The skin around your eyes is the most sensitive area of your face. Wearing sunglasses will protect this vital area from the sun, and will prevent you from squinting in bright light, which contributes its share to fine lines and wrinkling.


Drink Plenty of Water

This helps keep your skin hydrated. The good thing about moist skin is it’s stronger and more resilient than dry skin. Drinking water is especially important during and after exercising, as you will be losing extra fluids from sweating.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the basic skin types and how are they determined?

The types of skin are normal, oily, dry and combination. They are determined according to the degree of oiliness or dryness. Generally, skin type correlates with pore size. To determine your own skin type, wash your face and wait 30 minutes. Then put a single piece of tissue paper against each area of your face: forehead, nose, chin, and cheeks. Your oily areas will leave oil on the tissue paper.


Normal Skin

Has an equal balance of water and oil, making it naturally well-moisturized. The pores are medium-sized. When you pull the skin away from the bony structure, it springs back to normal position. Lines and wrinkles are appropriate for age.


Oily Skin

Has a coarse texture. Usually, oily areas tend to shine. Oily skin results from overactive oil glands; the oil helps retain dead skin cells in the hair follicles. Pores tend to be larger. The dead skin cells may darken with exposure to the air, forming blackheads. Often, individuals with oily skin tend to develop acne in their teen and middle years, and overgrown oil glands, or sebaceous hyperplasia, in the middle and late years.


Dry Skin

Has a rough texture and may become flaky. There are no shiny areas; in fact, the skin looks dull. Pores tend to be smaller because less oil is produced. Without adequate moisture, dry skin can easily become chapped. As dry skin ages, it’s more likely than other types to become wrinkly.


Combination Skin

Is a mixture of dry and oily areas of differing degrees. Usually the T-zone (the forehead, nose, and chin) is prone to oiliness, whereas the cheeks and neck tend to be dry. More people have combination skin than severely dry or oily skin.


Why do seasonal changes affect my skin?

The skin is remarkably resilient to damage and change; however, skin is in balance with its environment. Skin becomes normalized to the environmental conditions it routinely faces. Therefore, drastic changes in the environment often leave the skin lagging, requiring the skin to adjust to the new conditions over time. Traveling to a dry climate or the sudden dryness of winter often results in itchy, dry skin until the skin responds by increasing oil production to decrease the water loss in cold temperatures. Similarly, changing skin cleansers or other products may tilt the balance with the environment.


Why does stress affect my skin?

Skin is the body’s barrier to the outside world, both as a physical protector and as part of a complex immune defense system. Even today, the interrelated biological systems supporting the skin are not completely understood. The causes and effects of stress on the body are also not fully known. However, the simple fact is that for some people stress interferes with the body’s systems that repair and regulate the skin. For example, the loss in the skin’s natural antioxidant defenses due to stress can lead to accelerated aging of the skin. Also, hormones associated with stress can trigger a histamine release within the skin causing it to erupt in bumpy redness or break out in hives.


Is cleansing my skin good or bad?

Cleansing is important for the long-term health of your skin, reducing bacteria, keeping pore ducts cleaned out and exfoliating surface skin cells. However, cleansing changes the balance of your skin with the environment, stripping protective oils and temporarily disrupting the skin’s barrier properties. Additionally, overuse of skin care products can help create increasingly “sensitive skin.” Always use a gentle cleanser and typically washing twice daily is sufficient.


Does what I eat have an impact on the condition of my complexion?

Yes, it does. In essence, you are what you eat. Nowadays we realize that antioxidants are present in many foods and are the best source for them rather than taking vitamin supplements. Evidence shows that vitamin supplements may, in effect, be harmful, as opposed to naturally occurring antioxidants. Foods that contain large quantities of antioxidants include green and yellow vegetables. Green tea has a large antioxidant content as well. Also, diets high in fat are sometimes associated with increased skin cancer or at least pre-malignant skin lesions.


Baumann, Leslie. Cosmetic Dermatology: Principles and Practice. 2nd ed., McGraw-Hill Medical, 2009. 

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