What is my skin type? Your guide to 4 common skin types

What is my skin type? Your guide to 4 common skin types

Finding out your skin type is not as easy you may think, just like ordering a coffee there are many different things to consider, do you need an extra shot of something? How much coffee will it take for you to begin your day? Figuring out your skin type takes similar steps, are you lacking hydration? Do you need to cleanse once a day or twice? Confused? Can’t say I blame you, but I’m here to get to the bottom of this and we’ll figure out your skin type together.

Oily Skin

Having an oily skin type is quite the challenge there’s no denying that. What you will find is having an oily skin type in your teenage years can result in an overwhelming amount of breakouts and blemishes, but it’s not all doom and gloom, having oily skin in your later years will result in the skin taking longer to show any signs of ageing, like fine lines and wrinkles. Yep, you will literally age slower as the oils in your skin will keep it looking plumped and youthful for longer which makes up for the teenage problematic skin in our opinion.

Here are some characteristics of an oily skin:

  • Shiny complexion, especially in the T-zone
  • Skin feels comfortable without applying a moisturiser after cleansing or bathing
  • Prone to blemishes, such as spots, whiteheads and blackheads
  • Enlarged and visible pores
  • Age slower than other skin types

If you are still a little unsure on whether this is your skin type, you can perform a simple test, here is how to do it:

  1. Ensure your hands are freshly washed with anti-bacterial soap
  2. Take the index finger and run it across the forehead using a light, but firm pressure
  3. Rub that finger against your thumb to see how much excess oil you have wiped from your forehead
  4. Repeat step 2 using your middle finger swiping across your cheek, starting at the bridge of your nose up towards your ear
  5. Repeat step 3
  6. Next repeat step 2 again using your ring finger and run this along your chin across the jawline.
  7. Repeat step 3
  8. Finally take your little finger down the bridge of your nose
  9. Repeat step 3

If you have found that you have had excess oil on all of your fingers that is a clear indication of your skin type being oily. This can be used by everyone and is a simple way to help figure out which type you are. If you find that there is very little to no excess oil, this suggests you’re a dry skin and notable oil on the forehead and chin (T-zone) and dry on the cheeks would suggest a combination skin type.

You will find that there are a few myths about oily skin type floating around, I’m not really sure where they all started, but I’m here to hopefully expose the truth for you. Just because your skin is oily doesn’t mean you have to avoid using moisturisers and facial oils. Though it may sound counterproductive using an oil on oily skin, by using the correct formula for the skin you will keep the skin’s barrier balanced, protected and cause no damage. There are some ingredients that are best to avoid, such as rich emollients, cocoa and shea butter and mineral oils, these are not ideal for an oily skin type but appear in many products out there so always have a quick glance at the ingredients list before purchasing or using.

Another skin myth for oily skin types is to use a foaming face wash or cleanser, although these may make you feel squeaky clean, the harsh chemicals will strip the skin of entirely of oil leading to the overproduction of oil on the skin, leading to big trouble. Opting for skin ingredients such as the BHA, salicylic acid to help keep pores clear and AHAs glycolic and lactic acids will keep the skin clear of any dead skin cell build-up and lock in hydration to keep the skin happy and healthy.

Dry Skin

If you have a dry skin type, you will know about it without me having to tell you. Unlike oily skins there would be no way you could go a minute without applying a rich moisturiser after cleansing, here are some key traits of a dry skin type:

  • Feels dry in the mornings if you didn’t use a moisturiser the night before
  • Can become super tight and uncomfortable after cleansing
  • Prone to looking dull with flaky patches
  • Can become very uncomfortable during the winter months
  • Becomes dry at the end of the day
  • Shows the signs of ageing like fine lines and wrinkles earlier than other skin types

Dry skin takes some looking after, but using ingredients such as hyaluronic acid is extremely hydrating and helps to iron out visible fine lines and building the skin’s moisture barrier, giving huge relieve to the tightening sensation so many dry skin types endure, especially during the chilly winter months and combating central heating. 

Though skin clarity is a bonus of having a dry skin doesn’t mean you’re safe from getting the occasional blemish. Maintaining a good skincare routine that consists of cleansing, acid toner, serum and moisturiser as a basic start will keep the skin at its healthiest state with flaky patches and debris sloughed away from the face.

Here are a few ingredients to look out for that will benefit a dry skin type:

All the above AHAs are known for their exfoliating and hydrating properties that are gentle enough for dry skin types to use with the peace of mind that they won’t find their skin to become dry and uncomfortable. Opting for high-grade plant oils and rich creams both teamed with gentle exfoliants will keep the skin at its best.

Combination Skin

Combination skin is an interesting skin to have, you will find you are mainly oily down the T-zone, from your forehead to your chin and dry along your cheeks. This usually means it can be quite tricky to maintain as you can find it becomes slightly reactive with breakouts and other hormonal related problems, but have great clarity the rest of the time. Many find that if they use the wrong type of products that are too harsh and strip the skin altogether making it quite problematic.

Combination skin can be detected by:

  • T-zone, such as forehead, nose and chin are oily and prone to breakouts
  • Pores are more visible on the forehead, chin and around the nose
  • Cheeks are generally more prone to dryness
  • Makeup becomes patchy by the end of the day

Finding and maintaining a good skincare routine that will keep the skin balanced and manageable is a tricky one, but the one thing to always remember is locking in the hydration with hyaluronic acid will have a significant effect on the skin. Stick to gel formulas high in hyaluronic as this will keep dry cheeks moisturised, but won’t unbalance the more oily areas of the skin. Swap formulas for oil-free but nourish the skin in the evening routine with plant oils and liquid exfoliants to stop any build-up of dead skin cells that lead to breakouts.

Sensitive Skin

Having sensitive skin is not easy, especially when it comes to using any skincare product. Most of the time the sensitivity is most reactive to ingredients that are almost always present in all skincare products. If you are feeling up for it, you could get to the bottom of the problem by taking the time to monitor and figure out the which ingredient it is you are most sensitive too, thereby allowing you to use products that don’t contain it.

Sensitive skin type traits are as follows:

  • Flares up easily after trying a new skincare product
  • Reactions can come and go
  • Sometimes looks quite angry after bathing
  • Can catch the sun and burn easily
  • Sometimes feel hot and itchy after cleansing

Sensitive skin can affect be a number of different skin types, such as oily, dry and combination and so finding the best routine can be difficult. Always perform a patch test for any new products you purchase and if there is any slight reaction you must not use or stop using it immediately. Asking for a consultation with a dermatologist and doctor to find the best products for your skin will help with keeping your skin happy and healthy with no signs of sensitivity.

There is also another skin concern that every skin type can have and that is dehydration. Though many confuse dehydration with dryness or ageing it is neither and boils down to the skin lacking in moisture and suffering from an imbalanced skin barrier. If you find your skin is looking dull, a little flaky and you’ve noticed a few new fine lines than applying a product with high concentrates of hyaluronic acid or glycerine will lock in moisture re-plumping the skin. It is also a good idea to drink plenty of water throughout the day, keeping the vital organs healthy and giving the skin the opportunity to drink up every ounce of hyaluronic enriched moisturiser you apply to the skin.


We hope that this has helped you understand the different skin types and finally figure out which one you are. You’ll be surprised to see how different your skin will become once you have a better understanding of treating it and which products to include in your routine.


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