Unless a skincare professional has explicitly told you what skin type you have, it’s pretty hard to discern for yourself. Sometimes, it feels like your skin is super greasy, but then you have those days where everything seems normal. Although a few factors can come into play like the environment and your age, most skin types fall into one of five categories: oily, dry, combination, sensitive, or normal. We’ll explain each category so that you can take the trial and error out of skincare and choose the best moisturizer for your specific skin type.
Indicators: Large pores, an all-over greasy sheen, and the need to use blotting sheets several times throughout the day.
Solution: Avoid heavy creams—instead, go for Avene Mattifying Fluid ($22.99), a lightweight soap-free lotion that will regulate excess oils but still keep your skin hydrated. While you might feel tempted to skip moisturizer altogether, your skin will actually become oilier if you try to dry your skin out. Fortunately, this moisturizer is water-based so it will completely absorb into your skin in just a few minutes.
Indicators: Itchy, flaky, and/or red skin that feels uncomfortably tight after cleansing.
Solution: First, stop using hot water to cleanse as it strips your skin of natural oils. Stick to lukewarm water, instead. Second, quench your skin’s thirst with an ultra-hydrating moisturizer like Obagi CLENZIderm MD Therapeutic Moisturizer ($26.99). This moisturizer replenishes chapped skin with two potent ingredients: Allantoin, a plant-derived compound that heals skin by stimulating cell regeneration, and glycerin, which hydrates the skin by drawing water into your skin’s outer layer from the air.
Indicators: Your cheeks are dry but you have an oily t-zone (that’s your forehead, nose, and chin).
Solution: Combination skin is probably the trickiest of all the skin types, which is why you’ll need a two-in-one product. Your best bet is PCA Skin Clearskin ($31.89) since it balances moisture levels and helps soothe acne-prone skin at the same time. You won’t have to worry about clogged pores or an oily residue thanks to the fast-absorbing formula.
Indicators: Your face turns red with light pressure and the majority of the products you’ve put on your skin causes redness and stinging as well.
Solution: Get your skin to react positively with Dermalogica Barrier Repair ($35.99). This silicone-based moisturizer soothes sensitive skin by protecting it from free radicals and inflammation. Free of any artificial colors and fragrances, the vitamin-packed waterless formula will give your skin all the hydration it needs without any irritation.
Indicators: An even skin tone with no sheen or flaking (AKA, the goal of every skincare regimen).
Solution: Celebrate! Oh, and keep up that skin by moisturizing, of course. Peter Thomas Roth Ultra Lite Oil-Free Moisturizer ($23.79) is ideal for normal skin types as it provides antioxidant protection with vitamins A and E. The lightweight gel formula also contains allantoin—which as you’ve already read—works wonders for promoting healthy skin.