Knowing your skin type is the first step to caring for it. This knowledge lets you put together the skin care routine that's best for you. So what kind of skin do you have, anyway? A dermatologist can answer that question at your annual checkup. But if you can't wait until then, here are some guidelines that will help you make an informed guess.

Normal Skin? You're Lucky  
Are your pores barely visible? Is your skin not too dry or too oily? Do you have almost no skin imperfections? If you answered yes to these questions, then your skin is normal—and we're jealous. Normal skin is one of the five basic skin types and is characterized by balance. It needs regular cleansing, moisturizing, and a vitamin c serum or a retinoid. Either a chemical or a mineral sunscreen is a good choice for normal skin types.

Do You Have Oily Skin? 
Oily skin is the type where your pores are large, and your skin is shiny all over. This extends beyond the center of your face and includes your cheeks, too. Oily skin is often acne-prone and needs special care. 
· Cleanse your face morning and night. 
· The best way to moisturize oily skin is with an oil-free product. We recommend you go for a moisturizer with salicylic acid to keep acne under control. 
· A retinoid can help keep pores clear and reduce breakouts. 
· Choose a mineral sunscreen because it won't clog your pores.

How To Know If Your Skin Type Is Dry 
You might have dry skin if your pores are almost invisible and you have more lines than other people your age. Other clues that point toward dry skin include red patches and dull, rough skin. Dry skin needs the following hydrating skin care regime: 
· Wash your face at night. In the morning, just splash it with water and gently pat it dry. 
· Reach for a moisturizer that's oil-based and thick. 
· Add a layer of moisture on top of your retinoid at night. Consider using retinoid every other night to keep your skin from getting too irritated. 
· Use a sunscreen and moisturizer combination during the day.

You Have Combination Skin If… 
Combination skin means your skin is only shiny in your t-zone (the center of your face) and not along the sides. In this case, your pores will usually look large on your nose and forehead. But your pores will be less visible on other parts of your face. 
· Wash your face morning and night unless it becomes too dry and then you can skip washing it in the morning for a day or two until it regains its balance. 
· Consider using a thicker moisturizer on the dryer parts of your face and an oil-free product in the center of your face. 
· You'll benefit from a retinoid at night but might need to layer moisturizer on top of the dryer parts of your face. 
· Reach for a non-comedogenic mineral sunscreen.

Is Your Skin The Sensitive Type? 
Redness, itching, burning, and dryness are all signs that you might have sensitive skin. Sensitive skin needs extra gentle care, so remember to: 
· Use a mild facial cleanser and consider washing your face only at night. 
· It's helpful to moisturize sensitive skin with a fragrance-free product. 
· Ask your dermatologist before you use retinoid. 
· Sunscreen is vital, so already-sensitive skin doesn't become even more irritated.

Your Skin Type Can Change 
It's important to know that your skin type doesn’t always stay the same throughout life. It can change as you age or undergo significant changes like pregnancy or menopause. It can also vary based on the season. For example, most people experience more dryness during the winter.

Understanding your skin type is the first step to care for it. If you're not sure what category your skin falls into, schedule an annual checkup with one of our board-certified dermatologists. They’re happy to answer all of your skin care questions.
Rachelle Riley