Identifying your skin type is the critical first step to effective skin care. It will help you choose the ideal products for your skin among the thousands currently on the market. Because each of us is unique, knowing your skin will also help you understand what you should do to take care of your own skin. From an aesthetician's point of view (rather than that of a physician), there are five basic skin types: normal, oily, dry, combination, and sensitive.

If you have normal skin, you have a balanced complexion. Since you are neither too oily nor too dry, your skin should still be smooth and clean by midday and requires minimal care. Your pores are small and acne break-outs are rare.

If you have oily skin, your face often appears shiny or greasy. By noon each day, you probably need to remove excess oil, which can be done with tissue blotting paper. Your pores are enlarged and extremely prone to blackhead and acne blemishes. Using products containing alcohol can aid in oil reduction.

For those of you with dry skin, the face may feel tight, especially after cleansing. Your pores are small and acne is exceedingly rare. However, by the middle of the day, dry and flaky patches may appear in your skin. For darker skin, these patches appear grey or ash colored. Dry skin is more prevalent among older people. As we age, our skin becomes thinner and less able to retain moisture. Use a moisturizer day and night in order to keep your skin hydrated.

TZoneIf your skin feels dry in some spots but is oily in others, such as your T-zone then you have the most common skin type: combination skin. Your T-zone may frequently have acne breakouts and appears shiny or greasy by midday. Treat the dry areas of the face, such as the cheeks and around the eyes, to rich, moisturizing creams. Thoroughly cleanse your t-zone and apply light moisturizer.

If you have sensitive skin, your face is easily irritated. Generally, sensitive skin can be ruddy in complexion and break out in certain areas. Folks with sensitive skin should be careful when choosing skin care products. I recommend that you first test a product on your arm before ever applying it to your face. Use gentle skin care products preferably made form all natural ingredients and refrain from products containing alcohol.

If you aren't sure about your skin type, determining it is easy to do on your own. Simply wash your face and wait for an hour. Note where oil is produced and notice if your skin feels tight. Generally, small pores mean you have dry skin, while large pores suggest oily skin. Remember, factors such as stress or hormone levels can also affect your skin type.

I hope this quick study guide helps. Just learning about your skin type is an important step towards making your face look its best!