StackedSkincare™ | Ask Kerry: How Do I Determine My Skin Type?
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Ask Kerry: How Do I Determine My Skin Type?

Kerry,

You always make suggestions based on skin type. Problem: I have no idea what type of skin I have! How do I figure it out?

This is a great question! Skin type is just a guide—complexions are unique from person to person. Genetics, environment, age, and diet are just a few of the factors that can affect how oily or dry your skin is. Even if you think you know your skin type, your skin changes over time, so it never hurts to reevaluate. Use the test below to get started!

Shine Test – 60 minutes

  1. Cleanse your face and pat it dry.
  2. Leave your face bare for 30 minutes: no moisturizer, serum, or toner!
  3. After 30 minutes, inspect your cheeks, chin, nose, and forehead for shine.
  4. After an hour, assess how your skin feels:
  • Normal/Combination: Only shiny on nose, chin, and forehead (T-zone)
  • Oily: Shiny T-zone AND cheeks
  • Dry: No shine – skin feels dry and tight, especially when you smile

Once you’ve figured it out, read on for a closer look at caring for your skin.

Normal/Combination

Most people have normal or combination skin with a slightly oily T-zone and hardly any shine on the cheeks. If you have blackheads on your nose and are troubled by T-zone breakouts, this is likely your skin type. When caring for combination skin, the goal is always balance: hydrating the dry areas while balancing sebum in the oily spots. Gentle exfoliation followed by a lightweight moisturizing serum can help stabilize skin.

Dry

If you have small pores and a face that feels tight throughout the day, you likely have dry skin. Dry skin may appear dull and can feel uncomfortable and itchy in winter months. A gentle peel like my TCA Multi-Acid Face Peel can help counteract dullness by promoting cell turnover without stripping skin of moisture. Opt for a serum with hyaluronic acid to help your skin attract and retain water, and follow with an oil-based face cream to lock in the moisture. Consider overhauling your diet, too. Foods rich in fatty acids (avocado, nuts, and fish) strengthen the lipid layer.

Oily

The good news? Oily skin ages more slowly than dry skin because it’s rich in natural moisturizer. The bad? Clogged pores and breakouts. Oily skin is typically plump and smooth with large pores. Prevent and shrink enlarged pores with regular exfoliation and monthly facials with extractions. Regular exfoliation softens skin texture, prevents sebum buildup, and combats the post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation (dark spots that linger after breakouts) that often comes with oily skin.

Sensitive

Did you know that most people think they have sensitive skin? The reality is that truly sensitive skin is actually not that common. If you have skin that’s often irritated, red, bumpy, and inflamed, you might have sensitive skin. Prevent irritation by testing new products on the inner forearm before slathering on your face. Invest in products free of parabens, fragrances, and sulfates. Still red? Consider an elimination diet to find out if your skin sensitivity is related to something you’re eating.

Dehydrated

What’s the difference between dry and dehydrated skin? Dry skin lacks oil, while dehydrated skin lacks water. Even if your skin is super oily, it might still be dehydrated. You can tell with a simple test: pinch a small area of your skin together. Does it crease easily and take a moment to bounce back? If so, chances are that your skin is a little dehydrated. Look for serums with hyaluronic acid to draw moisture into the skin, and increase your water intake. If you live in a dry climate, you may also want to invest in a humidifier to promote epidermal moisture.

On the fence about your skin type? Comment below with your complexion questions!

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