The Cleveland Clinic

Choosing Skin Care Products:
Step 1: Assess Your Skin Type

You've heard all the commercials. You've seen the advertisements in magazines. Everywhere you turn, even on the Internet, companies are selling skin care products that promise to reduce aging lines and provide a younger appearance. All the information can be pretty overwhelming.

Confused? Follow these tips to understand which skin care products are right for your skin.

The most important thing to remember when researching over-the-counter skin care products is to trust yourself: No one knows your skin better than you. There are a lot of skin care products on the market and it's easy to waste a lot of time and money trying to find the best solution. So take a minute to educate yourself before purchasing skin care products. Remember, this information serves as a guide only. Be sure to check with your dermatologist or physician if you have specific problems with your skin.

Assess Your Skin Before You Buy

Before you consider buying any over-the-counter skin care products, there are a few basic facts about your skin you must know. These include:

  • Your skin type. It is oily, dry, normal, sensitive, or a combination?
  • Your skin complexion. Do you have fair skin that burns easily or light to medium that may burn? Or do you have a medium tone that usually tans or a darker complexion the only rarely burns? Or is your complexion so dark that you never burn?
  • Your skin concerns. Do you want preventative maintenance to avoid premature aging? Do you have a skin problem, such as persistent acne, age spots, melasma or rosacea? You may also have large pores, sun damage, facial wrinkles or fine lines that require special attention. Do you have eye puffiness or under eye bags that will require special care?
  • Your personal habits. Are you a smoker? Do you spend a lot of time in the sun? Do you take a daily vitamin? Do you consume a well-balanced diet? All these factors will affect how you should care for your skin.

With this information, you can wisely sort through skin care products to find the ones suited for your specific skin type. If you need help, ask a skin esthetician at your local hair salon or skin care counter for his or her recommendations.

Reviewed by the doctors at The Cleveland Clinic Department of Dermatology.

Edited by Michael W. Smith, MD, April 2003, WebMD.


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Last Editorial Review: 1/31/2005 6:16:11 AM