If you want a clear and healthy complexion, diligent use of the products in your skin care routine is important—but only half the battle. The other half is putting in your research to learn how to develop a skin care routine for your skin type.

There is no universal routine that suits everyone, and what works great for one person may not work for you. This is why it's important to personalize your skin care to your specific needs. For some tips in beginning to curate your routine, follow the steps below.

Figure Out Your Skin Type

The first step to developing the ideal routine for your skin is figuring out your skin type. Your skin type is based on what skin concerns you normally have to manage. Below are the most common skin profiles, and you'll probably find that you fit into one of them.

  • Oily skin: If you get extra shiny, deal with acne, or find that makeup melts off too quickly, you may have oily skin. This means that the oil glands in your skin are producing an excess amount of oil. This might be especially noticeable in the T-zone, the area across your forehead and down your nose to your chin.

  • Dry skin: When your skin doesn't produce enough oil, you'll experience dry, itchy, or flaky skin. You'll also notice that your skin feels too tight or has a rough texture. If you suspect your issue goes beyond what's normal, see a Dermatologist as you may wind up treating eczema.

  • Sensitive skin: If you experience stinging, burning, rashes, bumps, redness, peeling, or itchiness—especially when you apply products or are exposed to seemingly slight irritation—it's a good indicator that your skin is sensitive.

  • Mature skin: As you get older, your stops producing collagen and elastin, and it loses its elasticity. This results in fine lines and less firmness in your skin, which is especially noticeable on the face.

  • Combination skin: Having combination skin means you have more than one of the types above in different areas. For example, you may have an oily T-zone with some dry patches on the cheeks. Or, you might have both sensitive skin and deal with regular breakouts.

Stick to Key Ingredients Based on Skin Type

Different ingredients work best with certain skin types. For example, a good skin care routine for oily skin will have acne-fighting properties and contain ingredients that help control excess oil production. A good skin care routine for dry skin will have ingredients that provide hydration and lock in moisture, and so on. So, if you know what your skin type is, you'll be able to discern what ingredients your skin needs to stay healthy—and what ingredients to avoid so that you don't make your skin concerns worse.

In general, the following skin types should look for these key ingredients in their products:

  • Oily skin: Studies show that salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and retinol are all known to help treat acne and help control excess oil production. Stay away from ingredients like silicone, petrolatum, and mineral oil as those are known to clog pores and cause breakouts.

  • Dry skin: Look for moisturizing ingredients like hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides that are known to help your skin lock in moisture and stay hydrated.

  • Sensitive skin: It's all about using gentle ingredients that won't irritate the skin. Niacinamides and ceramides are anti-inflammatory and extremely soothing.

  • Mature skin: Firming and collagen-producing ingredients like retinol and growth factors.

  • Combination skin: Because you'll have a combination of the skin types above, you'll want to address each area separately rather than looking for something all over your skin.

Pick a Sunscreen and Commit to Daily Use

Regardless of skin type, there's one constant for anyone putting together a regimen: you should always use sunscreen. Daily sunscreen use will help protect skin from the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays, fighting premature wrinkles and preventing dark spots. And don't worry—sunscreen doesn't have to be at odds with your carefully constructed routine.

There are many different formulations that offer the consistency or active ingredients that your specific skin type needs. If you have oily, acne-prone skin, you may want a lightweight sunscreen that's labeled "noncomedogenic" or "oil-free," so that it doesn't clog pores and cause breakouts. For sensitive skin, look for sunscreens with an ingredient like niacinamide, or even a mineral-based physical formula.

And there you have it. Three simple steps to developing a skin care routine for your skin type. It may require a bit more effort, but trust us—it will all be worth it.


  • Audrey Noble

    Audrey Noble is a New York City-based reporter specializing in features, celebrity profiles, and beauty topics. Her work has appeared in Vogue, Harper's BAZAAR, Allure, Vanity Fair, Refinery29, and more. She is a University of Southern California alumna with bachelor's degrees in print journalism and creative writing.

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