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Knowing your skin type helps you buy products that will help -- rather than hinder -- your skin's health. It ensures that you're treating what needs to be treated, instead of making problems worse (like breakouts or dry patches). A good rule is to think about how your face feels after you wash and dry it. If it feels tight everywhere, you probably have dry skin, whereas if it's shiny within a few minutes, you're on the oily side. Tight in the cheeks and shiny down the center? That's combination skin. If you skin tends to turn red easily, either though irritation or from heat or cold, you may have sensitive skin.
This is probably the most important skin care rule to follow. No matter how tired you are and how much you'd rather fall into bed without taking your makeup off, do your face a favor and wash up. Keep a box of facial wipes by your bed for nights where you just can't be bothered to turn on the tap. Makeup left on your skin can clog pores, irritate your skin and make a mess of your pillow. No thank you!
To remove buildup of dead skin cells and reveal fresh new skin, regular exfoliation has to be part of your routine. Aim for one to three times a week -- less if you have sensitive skin. Keep an exfoliator in the shower so you remember to give your skin a scrub every week to improve its texture and tone. Not only will your skin look smoother, you'll be getting rid of pore-clogging debris that can cause blemishes and other skin problems.
Check out our guide to choosing the best exfoliator for your skin type >>
Skin needs moisture. Even if you have an oily T-zone, you may have dry patches on your cheeks. Because skin is always losing moisture (dry air, central heating and air conditioning all dry out your skin), it's important to keep it supple with a moisturizer. A gel is better for oily skin, while a rich cream is best for drier complexions. Don't forget to always wear sunscreen under your moisturizer to protect your face from the sun's harmful rays.
Find out how to pick the perfect moisturizer >>