Six Fundamental Skin Types – How to Find the Right Products for Every Type of Skin

As a physician, one question I get asked almost every day is, “What products are the best for my skin?”

This seems like a basic question, but like most simple questions, the more you dig into it, the more complex things are. Ultimately, different skin types have very different needs!

To find your skin type, consider the following grid. You can only choose one column (Oily or Dry), and one of three rows (Sensitive, Normal, Resilient). Together, you’ll have an idea of what skin type you have.

  Oily Dry
Sensitive Oily / Sensitive Dry / Sensitive
Normal Oily / Normal Dry / Normal
Resilient Oily / Resilient Dry / Resilient
 

Choosing whether you have oily or dry skin should be self-explanatory – it’s based on how much oil your skin produces. Dry skin frequently feels “tight” or flaky. Oily skin will be shiny, and frequently is prone to acne breakouts. Whether your skin is oily or dry, in turn, determines how thick (or thin) your moisturizer needs to be. If your skin is dry, you’ll need a thicker lotion, to make up for the oil your skin is lacking. If your skin is more oily, you will need a thinner and lighter moisturizer (if you even need to use any). For oily skin, anything thicker will clog your pores and lead to acne breakouts.

Sensitive, normal, or resilient skin is a bit more complicated. The basic different is that some skin is more prone to inflammation. Inflammation-prone (or sensitive) skin is often red from flushing and broken capillaries. Sensitive skin also tends to develop rashes when exposed to new or harsh products. Finally, inflammation-prone skin is often acne-prone skin, meaning it needs to be treated very carefully.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, resilient skin resists inflammation. You can (and should) use aggressive products and peels; your resilient skin will love you for it.

As you may have guessed, normal skin is right in the middle. With the wrong product, it can get inflamed, but with the right care, it will react like resilient skin.

If you’re not sure of your skin type, take our Skin Typing quiz to find out! From there, you can browse our posts on the ideal skincare routine for any skin type.