5 Factors That Determine Skin Type

07.24.2015, 10:56 CDT | Posted In: Health & Beauty

Group of 3 women

Almost daily, we are asked, “Why can’t I find Obagi® at my local retail store?” One of the main reasons that genuine Obagi is a physician-dispensed skin care line is because different skin types will benefit from specific ingredients and protocols. Therefore it is important for a skin care physician to determine your skin type before recommending an Obagi product or system. And, as you’ll notice after reading this post, more goes into skin typing than you might think…and each factor is imperative to developing recommendations for your unique skin type.

What do skin care physicians look for when determining skin type? Here's a quick overview.*

A skin care professional will generally look at 5 factors to determine your skin type: Color, thickness, oiliness, laxity, and fragility.

  1. Skin color is determined on a range from white skin which always burns and never tans, to black skin which never burns, and several shades in between, as measured by the Fitzpatrick scale.
  2. Skin thickness is a function of the depth of the three layers of your skin, the Epidermis, Dermis, and the Subcutaneous, as well as the Stratum Corneum, which is comprised of dead skin cells.1
  3. A skin care professional can determine whether your skin is considered oily, dry or normal by observing the amount of oil secreted in the skin and its lipids, fatty acids, and ceramide levels.2
  4. Laxity, or “sagging” skin, has decreased underlying framework, a thinned or damaged dermis, and/or breakdown in collagen and elastin fibers.3
  5. And finally, skin fragility refers to the tolerance of skin and how it will react to procedures and products.

In order to help you achieve results - for example, younger-looking or clearer skin - a licensed skin care professional will first determine your skin type by looking at each of these factors and creating your unique skin profile, which will then determine which skin care regimen is best suited to help you achieve your desired results. Age, stress, environment, and a number of other factors can affect skin type, so it's important to speak to a licensed skin care professional before you begin any new skin care routine. Find a skin care physician today and start achieving the results you've been longing for!



1. Stratum corneum. Wikipedia website. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stratum_corneum. Accessed June 24, 2015.
2. Bauman, L. Cosmetic Dermatology. New York, NY: McGraw Hill; 2002:30.
3. Obagi ZE. Obagi Skin Health Restoration and Rejuvenation. New York, NY: Springer Science+Business Media; 2000:83.

* This information is not meant to replace a consultation with a skin care professional and does not substitute the benefits that a licensed, trained professional can offer.

®/TMs are trademarks of Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc., or its affiliates. Any other product or brand names and logos are¬ the ¬property of their respective owners. Distributed by Obagi Medical, a division of Valeant Pharmaceuticals North America LLC.

©2015 OMP, Inc. 07/15 DM/OBG/15/0138