How to Determine Your Skin Type: 3 Easy Steps

By Katarina V.| Last updated on April 8, 2024
identify your skin type
⏱️ 4 min read

To build an effective skincare routine, the products and ingredients you use should be tailored to your skin type. However, knowing how to effectively identify your skin type can sometimes be challenging.

In this article, we explain each skin type and its potential concerns, plus we provide helpful tips and fun tricks for determining your skin type to help you narrow down the best skincare products for you starting immediately.

Read on to learn how to determine your skin type!

The Difference Between Skin Types & Skin Conditions

First, let’s clarify something – there is a big difference between skin type and skin condition. Since this is a common cause for confusion, let’s explain the main differences between them.

Skin Type

Skin type implies skin characteristics directly tied to sebum or oil production. Thus, there are 5 main skin types:

  • Oily
  • Dry
  • Normal
  • Combination
  • Sensitive

These traits are determined mainly by genetics and remain consistent over time. However, the skin’s oiliness can change due to various factors such as stress, hormones, humidity, and the natural aging process.

Skin Condition

Skin condition is a specific concern that can be temporary or persistent, influenced by weather, lifestyle, hormonal changes, your skincare regimen, or age.

Different skin conditions manifest in the form of one or combined skin reactions such as burning, itching, or irritation. Such symptoms are the result of a damaged skin barrier that can lead to the following conditions:

  • Acne
  • Dehydration
  • Rosacea

Since the skin barrier plays a crucial role in protecting against external factors, bacterial penetration can lead to inflammation and acne.

Another common side effect of a damaged skin barrier is a lack of hydration that results in dullness and flakiness.

On the other hand, if you have persistent redness, skin reactivity, and visible blood vessels, your skin condition is most probably tied to rosacea flare-ups.

@alirosegray i’ve got a long way to go but have come so far ✨ #rosacea #skincareroutine #facialist #keepitsimple #enlargedpores #glowingskin #aussiebeautyfinds ♬ Beyond the Sea – Bobby Darin & Richard Wess And His Orchestra

How To Determine Your Skin Type in 3 Easy Steps

To create the proper skincare routine, it’s essential to identify your skin type. In the following steps, we’ll help you achieve just that!

Wash Your Face

Start by removing makeup and impurities from your face using a gentle cleanser. Then, pat dry and wait 30-60 minutes.

During this time, avoid touching your face – your skin will return to its natural state, showing its characteristics.

If your skin feels tight and dry, you most likely have a dry skin type. On the other hand, if your skin feels soft to the touch, you most likely have a normal skin type.

Use a Test to Determine Your Skin Type

To check how much oil your skin produces, you can use the blotting paper test.

Place a tissue gently on your forehead, nose, chin, and cheeks. If you notice traces of oil on the tissue, then it indicates that your skin type is oily.

However, pay attention to the oiliness of the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). If those areas are oilier than the cheeks, you have a combination skin type.

This step is crucial in learning how to determine your skin type accurately.

Seek Professional Help

If you feel a little lost, don’t worry! Sometimes, it is best to turn to the experts. They will provide professional advice and an examination to understand your skin type better.

@jamiemakeup Skin type questions? #skintype #oilyskin #comboskin #dryskin #sensitiveskin #antiaging #skincareover40 #dryskintips #mua #skincare #oilyskintips ♬ Spongebob Tomfoolery – Dante9k Remix – David Snell

What Are the 5 Main Skin Types?

Now that you’ve determined your skin type, let’s discuss the main characteristics of oily, dry, normal, combination, and sensitive skin.

Oily Skin

Characteristics of oily skin:

  • Enlarged and visible pores.
  • Thick, shiny, or oily skin.
  • Acne-prone T-zone.

How to know if you have oily skin: Oily skin has an increased sebum production, which can in addition to impurities, lead to the formation of acne.

how to determine your skin type oily skin

Normal Skin

Characteristics of normal skin:

  • Smooth texture.
  • No visible imperfections.
  • Good balance of moisture.

How to know if you have normal skin: There is slight T-zone oiliness (forehead, nose, and chin), but it is typically not excessive. Also, people with a normal skin type can feel dryness in harsh weather conditions or mild sensitivity.

normal skin layers illustration

Dry Skin

Characteristics of dry skin:

  • Produces less sebum than normal skin.
  • Lacks necessary lipids to retain moisture.
  • Struggles to form a protective barrier against external factors.
  • More susceptible to flaking and other issues.

How to know if you have dry skin: Tight and prone to itching, it looks rough and flakes and reacts quickly to external influences such as air temperature.

Combo Skin

Characteristics of combo skin:

  • Combination of normal and oily or dry skin.
  • A typically oily T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin).
  • Other areas of the face are usually normal or dry.

How to know if you have combination skin: Greasy shine, prone to the formation of impurities in the T-zone, cheeks are drier compared to the rest of the face.

Sensitive Skin

Characteristics of sensitive skin:

  • Increased sensitivity.
  • Thin epidermis.
  • Easily triggered redness.
  • Prone to allergies.

How to know if you have sensitive skin: Sensitive skin can react to specific ingredients or environmental factors, causing discomfort. Choose skincare products formulated for sensitive skin to minimize adverse reactions.

Take a look at the best suncare product for sensitive skin here.

Final Thoughts

By following our simple steps, you can identify your skin’s unique characteristics, recognize common concerns, and determine the most appropriate skincare routine.

With that information, you’ll be ready to choose products that work best for your skin. Remember, a personalized approach to skin care is the key to unlocking a glowing complexion!

Image source: Freepik



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