Acne treatment is not all or nothing. The “wrong” product may not cause you major skin problems. It may just not do you a lot of good. But since there is almost always a product that is a good match to your skin needs, you can save months of embarrassment and hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you just know your skin type and find the products that match your specific requirements.
What Determines Skin Type?
Skin may be dry or oily. It used to be thought that acne only occurred on oily skin and that drying out skin was a good thing. Now it’s known that it’s only the oil that accumulates in pores, not the moisture in the epidermis of the skin, that is relevant to acne care. And it is also known that excessive oil in and of itself does not necessarily result in acne.
Skin may be sensitive or resistant. Some people experience redness or irritation no matter what chemical comes in contact with their skin. They are said to have sensitive skin. Other people have skin that is naturally insensitive to allergens and chemicals. They are said to have resistant skin. A treatment that works well on resistant skin may cause serious complications on sensitive skin.
Skin may be loose or tight. If you have loose skin, the way you hold your head has a lot to do with whether your blemishes are visible. If you point your chin down, blemishes may disappear into your skin. If you gaze upward toward the ceiling, your skin may loosen and reveal all. Tight skin is obviously clear or blemished all the time. Unless you plan to look at the ground the rest of your life, taking the tightness or looseness of your skin into account is a critical step in choosing the right acne product.
And skin may be pigmented or non-pigmented. In skin care, pigmentation usually refers to tiny areas of pigmentation, not the overall color and tone of the skin. Some types of skin are much more prone to change color—either darker or lighter—as acne heals. If you have olive, tan, black, or Asian skin, chances are you will have more problems from changes in pockets of pigment in your skin than you will from acne itself. Since products that inflamed the skin to get rid of acne can trigger a series of changes leading to permanent changes in color, it is important to know whether you have pigmented or non-pigmented skin, especially before choosing an exfoliant, a skin peel, or a benzoyl peroxide product.
Following are 38 questions that will tell you whether your skin is oily or dry (or combination), sensitive or resistant, loose or tight, and pigmented or non-pigmented. There are 8 to 10 questions about each set of characteristics. Just choose the the response that best describes you and note the point value for your answer, and add up your points for each section. (If addition just isn’t your thing, you can enter your values separated by plus signs on Google’s search page and the search engine will do the math for you.) At the end of this quiz you’ll know all four of the important qualities of your skin that can help you choose acne treatments that really work.