Top Dermatologist Recommendations for Daily Skin Care Based on Skin Type

July 24, 2019

Women who each have a different skin type

If you’ve ever walked the skincare aisles of your local pharmacy or taken a trip to a beauty supply store, you will likely already be aware that there are too many skincare product options to count. They all claim to offer flawless skin with regular use, but no product is right for every skin type. When you work with a dermatologist, they can help you understand your skin type, how best to care for it, and what products are right for you. In this blog, we asked for guidance on skin type and best care practices with Dr. Caitlin Famer of the Center for Dermatology in Plano and Flower Mound, TX, a member of the U.S. Dermatology Partners family of clinics. Keep reading to learn a bit more about your skin type and how best to care for your skin.

What is My Skin Type?

Before you get started reviewing Dr. Farmer’s recommendations for skincare, she encourages you to take a few moments to review the descriptions of each skin type below. According to Dr. Farmer, “Many people aren’t actually sure what their skin type is. Others believe they have one type, but it turns out they actually have another. In order to properly care for their skin, people need to carefully, accurately examine it to determine the correct type.”

Dry

As Dr. Farmer describes, “Dry skin is quite common, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you will have flaky or scaly skin, which is what many people imagine.” Some common indicators that skin is dry include:

  • Redness
  • Dull or ashy complexion
  • Sensitivity to skincare products
  • Skin can feel tight and have less elasticity
  • More severe cases can have cracking or areas of rough, thickened skin or scales
  • Pores are minimally visible
  • Can be itchy

Oily

Dr. Farmer cautions, “Many people believe their skin is oily, and all skin should be producing sebum oil. However, truly oily skin presents unique challenges for care.” The descriptors of oily skin include:

  • Enlarged, visible pores
  • Shiny complexion
  • Can see oily residue on facial blotting paper
  • Minimal sensitivity to skincare products
  • Can have thickened, paler skin in areas with more oil

Combination

As Dr. Farmer said, “Most people actually have a combination of both oily and dry skin, so being able to care for both skin types is important.” Signs you have combination skin, the most common skin type, include:

  • A combination of oily and normal or dry skin in different areas
  • Oily areas tend to be the T-zone or the forehead, nose, and chin
  • Dryer or normal areas tend to be on the cheeks and peripheral face
  • Can have enlarged pores in the T-zone
  • Can have dry patches with redness and scale on the cheeks
  • May require different skincare routines for different parts of the face

Normal

Dr. Farmer explains, “Normal skin is a bit of misnomer. Actually, ideal would be more accurate, and it’s one of the rarer skin types.” General descriptors of normal skin include:

  • Even, rosy complexion with few to no imperfections
  • No scaly areas or shiny areas with excessive oil
  • Pores are minimally visible
  • Minimal sensitivity to skincare products
  • Soft, smooth skin texture

Acne-Prone

There are many different forms of acne-prone skin, and Dr. Farmer lists the most common types as comedonal, inflammatory, and nodulocystic, explaining, “Comedonal acne has whiteheads and blackheads without redness. Inflammatory acne usually involves red bumps with or without pus, and nodulocystic acne is usually made up of deeper, larger, more painful bumps under the skin that can leave behind scarring.” Common descriptions of acne-prone skin include:

  • Enlarged, visible pores
  • Red/pink complexion
  • Often have oily or combination skin types
  • Often affects cheeks, nose, forehead, jawline, chest, and back

What Skin Care Routine is Best for My Skin Type?

Dr. Farmer’s top recommendation when it comes to caring for all skin types is the same, “Keep it simple. Even though online video tutorials and how to’s will go through 10 plus steps for skincare, this just isn’t realistic for most people.” Instead, she advises finding a simple cleaning and moisturizing routine that will work for you. Below, Dr. Farmer has walked through specific recommendations for each common skin type.

Caring for Dry Skin

Adding moisture back into the skin and keeping it there are essential elements of the dry skincare routine. To achieve this goal, Dr. Farmer recommends:

  • Take shorter showers and bathe with warm rather than hot water.
  • Avoid vigorous scrubbing while bathing as this can cause additional irritation.
  • Use gentle fragrance-free and alcohol-free soaps or washes, cleansing lotions tend to be more moisturizing than foams or lathering solutions.
  • Blot your skin dry with a towel after bathing, then apply a moisturizer immediately, and we recommend using ointments and creams that provide more moisturization than lotions. Most creams and ointments come in a jar rather than a pump bottle, so that can help you find them at the store.
  • Reapply your moisturizer at least once throughout the day.
  • Wear gloves when using harsh products like household cleaners or bleach.
  • Use fragrance-free laundry detergents and avoid dryer sheets.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays every day, including rainy and cold days, and apply to all exposed skin. Use at least SPF 30. If you are outdoors for more than 2 hours or are sweating/exposed to water, you should reapply.
  • If your skin is sensitive to sunscreens, physical blockers such as zinc or titanium-based formulas tend to be less irritating.
  • Green-tinted make-ups or moisturizers can help disguise redness.
  • Use a nighttime moisturizer and undereye cream to replenish your skin’s moisture barrier and minimize undereye circles.

Caring for Oily Skin

Keeping oil buildup on the skin to a manageable level is essential for those with oily skin, so Dr. Farmer recommends the following care steps:

  • Wash your face 1-2 times a day with a gentle cleanser and after any episodes of excessive sweating.
  • Skin toners can help reduce the oily appearance of skin but avoid alcohol-based toners as these can be overly irritating.
  • If you develop acne bumps, do your best not to manipulate them as this can lead to scarring and slower healing times.
  • Look for skincare products like make-ups, sunscreens, and moisturizers that include the words “oil-free” or “noncomedogenic,” which means they will not clog your pores.
  • Avoid applying excess oils to the face such as coconut oil, tea tree oil, etc.
  • Use a noncomedogenic broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays every day, including rainy and cold days, and apply to all exposed skin. Use at least SPF 30. If you are outdoors for more than 2 hours or are sweating/exposed to water, you should reapply.
  • You can use oil blotting sheets during the day to keep the face from being shiny.
  • A nighttime retinol serum or cream can help reduce the appearance of pores and reduce oil production.
  • Do not wear make-up to bed.

Caring for Combination Skin

For combination skincare, you should understand which areas are oily and which are dry. You may need to care for them differently. Dr. Farmer recommends:

  • Avoid vigorous scrubbing or exfoliating while bathing as this can cause additional irritation.
  • Use gentle fragrance-free soaps or washes, cleansing lotions tend to be more moisturizing than foams or lathering solutions.
  • Skin toners can help reduce the oily appearance of skin but avoid alcohol-based toners as these can be overly irritating.
  • If you develop acne bumps, do your best not to manipulate them as this can lead to scarring and slower healing times.
  • Look for skincare products like make-ups, sunscreens, and moisturizers that include the words “oil-free” or “noncomedogenic,” which means they will not clog your pores.
  • Avoid applying excess oils to the face such as coconut oil, tea tree oil, etc.
  • Use a noncomedogenic broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays every day, including rainy and cold days, and apply to all exposed skin. Use at least SPF 30. If you are outdoors for more than 2 hours or are sweating/exposed to water, you should reapply.
  • Green-tinted make-ups or moisturizers can help disguise redness, but make sure they are non-comedogenic!
  • Do not wear make-up to bed.

Caring for Normal Skin

If you’re lucky enough to have normal skin, you shouldn’t have much trouble maintaining healthy skin. Dr. Farmer recommends:

  • Use a gentle skin cleanser 1-2 times a day. Avoid vigorous scrubbing.
  • Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays every day, including rainy and cold days, and apply to all exposed skin. Use at least SPF 30. If you are outdoors for more than 2 hours or are sweating/exposed to water, you should reapply.
  • Use a nighttime moisturizer and undereye cream to replenish your skin’s moisture barrier and minimize undereye circles.
  • Do not wear make-up to bed.

Caring for Acne-Prone Skin

Acne-prone skin can be especially difficult to care for. If you have severe acne, you should work with a dermatologist to create a personalized routine. In general, Dr. Farmer recommends the following:

  • Use an over the counter acne wash such as salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide daily. If you wash your face more than once daily, use a gentle cleanser for your subsequent washes.
  • If you develop acne bumps, do your best not to manipulate them as this can lead to scarring and slower healing times.
  • Look for skincare products like make-ups, sunscreens, and moisturizers that include the words “oil-free” or “noncomedogenic,” which means they will not clog your pores.
  • Avoid applying excess oils to the face such as coconut oil, tea tree oil, etc.
  • Use a noncomedogenic broad-spectrum sunscreen that blocks both UVA and UVB rays every day, including rainy and cold days, and apply to all exposed skin. Use at least SPF 30. If you are outdoors for more than 2 hours or are sweating/exposed to water, you should reapply.
  • Green-tinted make-ups or moisturizers can help disguise redness – but make sure they are non-comedogenic!
  • A nighttime retinol serum or cream can help reduce the appearance of pores and reduce oil production.
  • Do not wear make-up to bed.

What Type is Skin of Color & Does it Require Special Care?

Skin of color can come in all types, and those with skin of color should take care to identify their unique skin types and utilize the care steps above. For those with skin of color, avoiding bleaching agents or ingredients that can increase or decrease pigmentation is important to avoid uneven skin tone. Certain treatments like laser therapies may also not be advisable. Talk to your dermatologist if you have questions or find that your skincare routine isn’t working.

Ready to Work with the U.S. Dermatology Partners?

If you have questions about your skincare routine or need help with a chronic skin condition, one of the trusted U.S. Dermatology Partners clinicians would be happy to help. If you live near Plano or Flower Mound, you can trust your skin health to Dr. Farmer and the Center for Dermatology team. If you don’t live near their office, take a few moments to complete our simple online form. This will give our team members the information they need to schedule your visit to a U.S. Dermatology Partners office location near you.

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