Beauty & Skin Care

How To Decisively Identify Your Skin Type


Everything has a type, even your skin! Knowing your skin type is the crucial first step towards creating a healthy skincare routine to get your skin where you want it to be. Your skin is the largest organ on your body and it faces lots of wear and tear throughout your life span. The least you could do is put a little effort into taking good care of it. So first off:

What is skin type?

Skin type, basically, is the categorization of the skin according to characteristic behaviors which it exhibits. To this end, there are five types of healthy skin:

  • Normal
  • Oily
  • Dry
  • Combination
  • Sensitive

Normal Skin

This type of skin is very well balanced. This means that it is neither too dry nor too oily. Of course, there are variations and the skin on the T-Zone may be a bit oilier than other areas on the overall face, but all in all, this skin type has great moisture-oil (sebum) balance. In real life, normal skin has little to no blemishes/imperfections, doesn’t have very visible pores, and usually has a dewy/radiant complexion.

Oily skin

Oily skin is characterized by the excessive production of sebum (the skin’s natural oil) which leads to it having more visible pores and a bright, oily appearance. This skin type is also the most prone to various forms of acne.

Dry skin

Dry skin does not have a lot going on with regards to moisture and so it usually feels a bit rougher to the touch than other skin types. Outwardly it may look flaky or scaly, and it is more prone to dry patches.

Combination skin                                                                                                            

This is the most common skin type. This type of skin is a mix of oily and normal or dry skin. Usually, the oily region is the T-Zone (nose, forehead, chin) while the rest of the face is covered by dry or normal skin. It does require a bit more complex care than either of these skin types would originally require alone.

Sensitive skin

This is not really a skin type in the same sense as the rest are. Sensitive skin refers to skin that has a greater reaction to stimuli than other skin types would. So humidity, temperature, etc. affect sensitive skin very differently than they would affect other skin types. It is sometimes called irritated skin because of how easily it reacts to stimuli.


how to determine your skin type

How does my skin type affect my skincare routine?

Your skin type doesn’t just affect your skincare routine, it determines it. It’s the deciding factor. Your skincare routine is tailored to fit the needs of your own unique skin type. The products you buy, the steps you follow, and how you layer products all depend on it. It would be wrong for a person with oily skin to follow a skincare routine formulated for normal skin and expect results. It just doesn’t work that way. This is why you need to figure out your skin type before you embark on an intentional skincare journey.

How To Determine Your Skin Type

There are two really simple tests you could do at home to determine your skin type. They are:

  • The bare-faced method
  • The blotting paper method.

Steps to use either of these methods are outlined below.

  • The bare-faced method:

This method requires you to inspect your facial skin without any embellishments (i.e. no creams or moisturizers of any sort). The first thing you’ll need to do is cleanse your face thoroughly with regular mild soap, rinse it off, and pat your face dry. Do not apply anything to your face.

After 30 minutes, get in front of a mirror and do a little inspection. Particularly check your T-zone for any signs of an oily glow or exposed pores. Note your findings. Now wait an additional 30 minutes and get in front of your mirror again for the final inspection.

This time you’re looking for signs of dryness. You’ll need to move your face around a bit because while you can always feel dryness, you cannot always see it. Try rubbing in circular motions, giving a big grin, and even laughing.

If you feel some resistance to your motions and your skin feels tight, then it’s most likely dry. However, if your T-Zone is still gleaming with oil, you have combination skin. If there’s no dryness and your cheeks are jaw look and feel oily, you have oily skin.

  • The blotting paper method

This is a bit faster than the bare-faced method. You start out by washing your face and patting it dry. After a five-minute interval, place some blotting paper on your forehead, nose, chin, and cheeks. Wait a little while for the paper to absorb what it can. Remove the blotting sheet and inspect it in the light. If your T-zone is oily but your cheeks and the rest of your face aren’t, then you likely have combination skin. If there’s hardly any oil on the sheet at all, then you have dry skin. When the sheet comes off laden with oil, then you have oily skin.

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