How Do I Know What My Skin Type Is (Oily, Dry, Etc.) And Should That Affect How I Take Care Of It?

Dr. Mathew Avram answers the question: 'Men's Skin Care -- Dry or Oily Skin?'

ByMathew Avram, M.D., Dermatologist, Massachusetts General Hospital
December 22, 2008, 3:55 PM

July 1, 2009— -- Question: How do I know what my skin type is (oily, dry, etc.) and should that affect how I take care of it?

Answer: The best way to know what kind of skin you have is just by observing the way your skin behaves.

If your skin is oily, well, you have oily skin. If you have a tendency to have dry skin particularly in the winter, then clearly you have dry skin. The more complicated issue is for those who have a little bit of both.

In terms of trying to even out oily versus dry skin, a couple of things particularly for those who live in the cooler parts of the country in the wintertime, drier skin is going to be more of a problem. And the reason for that is if you work in an office or you're in a home, there's a lot of forced hot air and that lowers the humidity to desert-like levels. So the best things to do in those environments is to moisturize your skin. And generally speaking when you have dry skin, you want to use moisturizers. And on the face, creams are great for doing that.

When you have oily skin, if you're going to use anything on your face whether it be a medication or any other topical application, you may want to use a gel because gels tend to dry the skin more.

And if you have combination skin, it's just going to be a matter of trial and error unfortunately -- and that gets a little bit more complicated. But again, self assessment, trial and error, and you should do very well.

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