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What’s Your Skin Type?

Skin types include normal, oily, dry, and sensitive. Some people also have a combination of skin types in different areas of their skin.

Your skin type can change over time. For example, younger people are more likely than older people to have a normal skin type.

Skin types vary depending upon factors such as:

  • Water content, which affects your skin's comfort and elasticity
  • Oil (lipid) content, which affects your skin's softness
  • Sensitivity level

Normal Skin Type

Normal skin is not too dry and not too oily. It has:

  • No or few imperfections
  • No severe sensitivity
  • Barely visible pores
  • A radiant complexion

Combination Skin Type

A combination skin type can be dry or normal in some areas and oily in others, such as the T-zone (nose, forehead, and chin). Many people have combination skin, which  may benefit from slightly different types of skin care in different areas.

Combination skin can produce:

  • Overly dilated pores
  • Blackheads
  • Shiny skin

Dry Skin Type

 Dry skin can produce:

  • Almost invisible pores
  • Dull, rough complexion
  • Red patches
  • Less elasticity
  • More visible lines

When exposed to drying factors, skin can crack, peel, or become itchy, irritated, or inflamed. If your skin is very dry, it can become rough and scaly, especially on the backs of your hands, arms, and legs.

Dry skin may be caused or made worse by:

  • Genetic factors
  • Aging or hormonal changes
  • Weather such as wind, sun, or cold
  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from tanning beds
  • Indoor heating
  • Long, hot baths and showers
  • Ingredients in soaps, cosmetics, or cleansers
  • Medications

Here are some tips for taking better care of dry skin:

  • Take shorter showers and baths, no more than once daily.
  • Use mild, gentle soaps or cleansers. Avoid deodorant soaps.
  • Don't scrub while bathing or drying.
  • Apply a rich moisturizer right after bathing. Ointments and creams may work better than lotions for dry skin but are often messier. Reapply as needed throughout the day.
  • Use a humidifier and don't let indoor temperatures get too hot.
  • Wear gloves when using cleaning agents, solvents, or household detergents.

Oily Skin Type

Oily skin can produce:

  • Enlarged pores
  • Dull or shiny, thick complexion
  • Blackheads, pimples, or other blemishes

Oiliness can change depending upon the time of year or the weather. Oily skin can be caused or made worse by:

  • Puberty or other hormonal imbalances
  • Stress
  • Exposure to heat or too much humidity

To take  care of oily skin:

  • Wash your skin no more than twice a day and after you perspire heavily.
  • Use a gentle cleanser and don't scrub.
  • Don't pick, pop, or squeeze pimples. This prolongs healing time.
  • Use products labeled as "noncomedogenic." They tend not to clog pores.

Sensitive Skin Type

If your skin is sensitive, try to find out what your triggers are so you can avoid them. You may have sensitive skin for a variety of reasons, but often it's in response to particular skin care products.

Sensitive skin can show up as:

  • Redness
  • Itching
  • Burning
  • Dryness

The Basics of Skin Care

These tips will help your skin stay healthier no matter its type.

  • Use a broad spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays. Avoid direct sunlight and wear a hat and sunglasses.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Wash your skin thoroughly every day and never wear makeup to bed.
  • Moisturize your skin.

WebMD Medical Reference

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