how to determine skin type

How to Know What Type of Skin You Have

There are 5 main skin types. Normal skin, Oily Skin, Dry Skin, Sensitive Skin and Combination Skin.

It is important to know what type of skin you have when choosing skincare and makeup products. The last thing you want is to think you have one type of skin, only to find the products you’ve purchased don’t really suit.

It is also important to remember internal and external factors can affect your skin – the weather, hormones, medications and ageing, just to name a few.

Let’s take a look at two ways you can identify your skin type.

Bare Faced Skin Method

Wash your face with a gentle cleanser. It should remove makeup and impurities without scrubbing harshly or stripping your skin. Pat your skin dry with a soft towel.

Do not apply any serums or moisturizers. Leave your skin bare. After approximately 40 minutes take a look in the mirror and note what you see and how your skin feels. Try not to touch your skin.

Does it feel tight in places? Is there any redness? Can you see any shine? Wait another 40 minutes and repeat this process.

Face Paper Method

Buy some blotting paper (usually used for oily skin) and after washing your face as described above for the bare faced skin method, wait approximately 60 minutes.

After one hour, take an oil blotting paper and gently press the paper against your skin. You may need to use more than one. These blotting paper sheets absorb the oil on your skins surface. You will see this on the blotting paper. Make a note of where oil is being produced on your skin and how much. Also make a note of how your skin feels as described above. If it is tight in areas or if redness appears.

What Kind of Skin Do I Have?

Oily Skin

how to know skin type
Oily skin may be more prone to breakouts

Your entire face is likely to be shiny with oil, including your cheeks. If this is the case, you have oily skin.

If the blotting paper has absorbed a lot of oil including from your cheeks, you have oily skin. You may also notice your pores are quite large. Oily skin sufferers also tend to get more blackheads, acne and pimples as these pores can easily become blocked and enlarged with excess sebum and oils.

Oily skin is not a bad thing – the natural oils in your skin keep it hydrated and helps to keep a youthful glow.

Dry Skin

If your skin feels tight, may be red, feels dry or flaky it is likely you have dry skin. 

Little to no oil should be absorbed on the oil blotting sheet. Your skin is likely to feel tight, could be dry, rough or flaky. When touched, it may not feel elastic or bouncy, like it needs an injection of moisture to make it feel plump again.

When you apply moisturizer to your skin, it is likely to be absorbed quickly.

Using a gentle exfoliant will help your skin absorb creams and serums better. Increase your water intake also to help to hydrate your skin from the inside out.

Combination Skin

Have you ever heard of the T-Zone? The T-Zones is across the forehead, down the nose to the chin – like a capital T. If you have oil or shine in the t zone, but your cheeks feel normal or a little dry, this is an indication of combination skin.

When using the blotting pad, there should be very little or no oil from your cheeks. The oil will be in the oily t zone described above.

The goal with combination skin is to try and get a balance between oily and dry. Thankfully, most skincare products have products specifically for combination skin that won’t dry out your cheeks any more, but hope to control oil and shine in your t-zone.

Sensitive Delicate Skin

normal to dry skin meaning

Dry skin can very easily turn into sensitive skin if not protected. You may find that your skin reddens easily, may feel inflamed or itchy or you get breakouts from skincare and makeup products.

Allergic skin conditions can also cause sensitive skin, such as rosacea, dermatitis and eczema. It is important to do a 24 hour patch test on your skin before using any new product. To do this, apply a small amount of the product behind your ear. Wait 24 hours and see how your skin reacts.

Symptoms can vary from person to person. If you think you have sensitive skin and find you are getting reactions to over the counter beauty products, we’d recommend contacting a medical practitioner.

Normal Skin 

If your skin feels soft, velvety, perhaps a small amount of glow or shine in the t zone, it is likely you have normal skin. If you used the blotting paper method, the blotting sheet should have a small amount of oil, but nothing excessive and mostly contained to the t zone area.

Keep your skin hydrated and moisturized, but don’t use anything too heavy or intense on your skin that could alter the balance.

Are There Other Types of Skin?

Yes! There’s combinations of all of the above and as mentioned earlier in this post, your skin type can change with hormonal changes and external conditions such as the weather. It is more common for your skin to be dry in Winter than in Summer.

Some of the other combination skin types are:

Normal to Dry Skin – this simply means your skin is mostly normal, but can sometimes be dry, particularly on your cheeks.

Dry Combination Skin – likely to be dry cheeks and oily t-zone, similar to combination skin.

Sensitive Combination Skin – delicate skin that is prone to sensitivities and oil in the t zone.

Normal to Oily Skin – likely normal on the cheeks and oily in the t zone.