Understanding Your Skin Type: A Quick Guide

Skin type is determined by genetics, but it is also affected by other factors and will change over time. Based on these characteristics, healthy skin is divided into five categories: normal skin, dry skin, oily skin, combination skin (oily and dry skin), and sensitive skin.

If you need help with identifying your skin type the skin test may be a useful tool. If you need further advice on how best to care for it, it is always best to book consultations with your dermatologist.


1. Normal Skin

Normal skin1 is balanced—feeling neither dry nor oily. It is not prone to breakouts, flakiness, feeling slick or tight. Normal skin has:

  • No or few imperfections

  • No severe sensitivity

  • Barely visible pores

  • A radiant complexion

2. Dry Skin

Dry skin can feel tight, rough, and look dull. "Dry" is used to describe skin that produces less sebum than normal skin. Due to lack of sebum, dry skin lacks the lipids needed to store moisture and build a protective barrier against external influences. Characteristics of dry skin include:

  • Almost invisible pores

  • Dull, rough complexion

  • Red patches

  • Less elastic skin

  • More visible lines

If you have dry skin, it is to be expected that your skin may crack, be prone to peeling, itchiness, irritation, or inflamed. it can become rough and scaly, especially on the backs of your hands, arms, and legs.


Tips to correct your dry skin:

  1. Take shorter showers and baths, no more than once daily.

  2. Use mild, gentle soaps or cleansers. Avoid deodorant soaps.

  3. Don't scrub while bathing or drying.

  4. Smooth on a rich moisturizer right after bathing. Ointments and creams may work better than lotions for dry skin but are often messier. Reapply as needed throughout the day.

  5. Use a humidifier, and don't let indoor temperatures get too hot.

3. Oily Skin

Oily skin types are exactly what it sounds like -- excess oil on the face can make the appearance persistently shiny or greasy. If oily skin is not treated, pores will become clogged and enlarged, and dead skin cells will accumulate. Blackheads, pimples, and other types of acne are also common on this skin type. It is frequent in adolescents and young people under 30 years old and usually related to the occurrence of acne.


Oily skin occurs when the sebaceous glands in the skin produce too much sebum. Sebum is a waxy oily substance that can protect and moisturize the skin. Sebum is important for keeping the skin healthy. However, too much sebum can cause oily skin, clogged pores, and acne.


Tips to correct your dry skin:

  1. Wash regularly

  2. Use a toner

  3. Pat the face dry

  4. Use blotting papers and medicated pads

  5. Use a facial mask

  6. Apply moisturizers

4. Combination Skin Type

Generally, combination skin types are characterized by dry, flaky skin on the cheeks, and excess oil in other parts of the face. People with combination skin have been struggling with their TZone, which includes the forehead, nose, and chin. If you have a combination of oily and dry skin, you are best using a gel-based cleanser or a mild, lightly foaming cleanser. If you have drier skin with signs of rosacea or sun damage, use a mild, creamy lotion cleanser. Avoid bars of soap or cleansing bars.


5. Sensitive Skin Type

The causes of sensitive skin reactions include skin disorders or allergic skin reactions such as eczema, rosacea, or allergic contact dermatitis. Overly dry or injured skin that can no longer protect nerve endings, leading to skin reactions.


Sensitive skin is more likely to respond to irritation than normal skin does not. It is sensitive skin, usually accompanied by symptoms such as fever, tightness, redness, or itching. This skin type loses its barrier (or protective) function, which makes it easy for microorganisms and irritants to penetrate, and increases the possibility of infection and allergic reactions. This is sensitive skin that needs more care to combat dryness, roughness, and its usual appearance. Sometimes it is called irritated skin rather than sensitive, but these terms are synonymous and there is no dermatological difference between them.


Tips to take care of sensitive skin:

  1. Avoid harsh astringents and exfoliants

  2. Use a gentle, fragrance-free soap

  3. Use essential oils instead of perfumes

  4. Use a gentle, fragrance-free laundry detergent

  5. Try using organic cleaning supplies


There are so many products on the market that target oily skin, dry skin, or sensitive skin and you need to figure out what type of skin you have.

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