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"What is your skin type?" Ah, the question that appears to be so simple yet consistently flummoxes so many of us. There’s a confusing jumble of options to choose from: Sensitive, Delicate, Dry, Aging, Sun-Damaged, Very Oily, Oily, Combination, Mature, Acne—and then there’s Normal. Which begs the question: does that mean the rest of us are abnormal? (The answer, emphatically, is “no.”) We sought to simplify the process a bit and put this guide together with aesthetician Julia March's help.

Is your skin a double agent? If so, you’re not alone—most of us have combination skin, with certain areas of our complexion serenely balanced while other areas struggle mightily with either too much oil or not enough. And, just to keep things interesting, combination skin (or any skin type, really) can shift from oilier to drier, only to shift back again just when you think you’ve figured out what’s going on. What to do about all of this drama? For a sympathetic point of view, we went to Lori Anderson, one of San Francisco’s best facialists and a member of the combination-skinned club herself.