11.7 min read2994 words

How to determine your skin type


Mahlagha Homayouni


August 31, 2020


How to determine your skin type

Nowadays along with the global expansion of the internet and the skincare commercials going viral, people have begun showing more inclination towards their skin-care routines than they used to and have belatedly recognized its necessity.

So if you are a newly-joined member of this category and have just aimed to rejuvenate your skin by devoting more attention to it, or if you are a kind of person who has always been trying to take good care of their skin through any daily routines, but never achieved the desired outcome, read this article to learn the very basic simple tips you need to know about, before starting your beauty treatments.

As you may all have heard, not every human being has the same exact type of skin as others. In fact, there are five basic skin types, namely, normal, oily, dry, combination, and sensitive.  Thus, when it comes to taking care of skins, the first and foremost step which you need to take is figuring out what type of skin you have.


The importance of identifying your skin type

Since there are skincare products galore on the market and every type of skin has its own needs according to its true nature, one should know what product is ideal for their own skin type. Accordingly, even a brand-new or bestselling product, if wrongly chosen, may aggravate your existing condition or even bring about some potential issues. Thus, only if a product is targeted to your own skin type can it deliver the desired benefit.

Factors affecting your skin type

Given that any individual has their own type of skin, it should be noted that it can change over time under different circumstances such as:

* Sun exposure

* Diet

* Stress

* Hormonal fluctuations

* Aging

* Climate

* Aggressive products



How to recognize your skin type

1. Go off your current skincare products

If you are following a regular skincare routine and yet not content with it because you still wonder what your skin type is, you had better take a break from any product you have been using. As we already mentioned, if you use any product which contradicts your skin type, it may deteriorate your existing problems or even cause new disorders. Thereby, put away all those products to make sure that you are about to find out your genuine type of skin.

2.Cleanse your face

Cleanse your skin with a mild soap-free cleanser, and then gently dab dry it with a tissue. Let an hour go by without touching it, and finally, look in the mirror to examine it.

* Use a tissue

Gently press a tissue on different parts of your face to see whether it takes in any oil or not:

* Oily skin

If it has a shiny and greasy look as if there is excessive oil on it, or if the tissue absorbs oil from your cheeks and other parts of your face, you most likely have oily skin. Also, you might even feel the need to wash it again.

* Combination skin

If your T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) is oily while other parts are normal or dry, you have a combination of both dry and oily skin.

 * Oily skin

You can notice some visibly enlarged pores.

* Normal skin

You can observe fine pores.

* Dry skin

You can still perceive them, yet their size is not that noticeable.

 *Dry/dehydrated skin

If your skin feels tight once you smile or while blinking, or if the tissue takes up little to no oil, you have dry skin. Moreover, you might even notice that it looks dull and lifeless with some flaky patches on it.

* Sensitive skin

If it seems red, itchy, irritated, or inflamed, you have sensitive skin.

* Normal skin

If you do not observe any of the aforementioned signs or any imperfections, you enjoy a normal and healthy skin.

Cleanse your face

3. Check out the pore sizes

* Oily skin

You can notice some visibly enlarged pores.

* Normal skin

You can observe fine pores.

* Dry skin

You can still perceive them, yet their size is not that noticeable.

4. Note how often your skin demands moisturizer

Although any type of skin needs moisturizer, the fact that how often you feel the need for it throughout the day, can also reveal your skin type.

* Dry skin

It requires a lot of moisturizer during the day, and drinks it up once applied on it.

*Oily skin

It does not need much moisturizer as dry skin does. Also, it gets roughly oilier if they meet each other.

*Normal skin

Since this type of skin is naturally moisturized by itself, it might need moisturizer every now and then but not frequently.

*Sensitive skin

As sensitive skin is prone to strong fragranced products and gets easily irritated, it needs to be moisturized with a mild moisturizer after each cleansing.

Dry skin

5. Check out your skin`s elasticity

Skin`s elasticity refers to the skin`s ability to stretch back to its initial state after being pressurized. Despite the fact that the elastin loss is a sign of aging and it can not be a conspicuous feature of dry skin per se, some specialists name it as one of the dry skin`s symptoms.

In order to examine your skin`s elasticity, pinch your skin with your thumb and forefinger and hold it for a while (a few seconds) and then let it go. Notice how much time it takes for the skin to bounce back to its original shape. The longer the time, the drier the skin.

Skincare tips for every skin type

Now that you have determined your skin type, it is time to find out more facts about each type exclusively and how to take proper care of them.

1. Normal skin

This type of skin is neither dry nor oily, and has a thick, smooth and supple texture with no blemishes, flaky patches or greasy areas, except for the occasional breakouts that appear due to some hormonal changes and go by within days.

People with normal skins, moreover, enjoy a fresh rosy look with the least amount of issues and do not tend to feel dry or greasy. Simply put, it is a well-nourished skin which produces fair sebum (an oily substance made of fat) and moisture.

How to take care of it?

Although it is common knowledge that normal skin is healthy and well-balanced and does not need any particular regimen, it should be mentioned that it can turn into either dry or oily skin if it is not properly taken care of.

All you need to do is to ensure that you select the products which do not cause any harm to your skin`s equilibrium. Harsh cleansers and too rich moisturizers, for instance, can each make your skin drier and greasier respectively.

So, use soap-free and water-soluble cleansers to get any bacteria or pollutants off your face, and light moisturizers to keep it balanced and fresh.

* Use products which contain hyaluronic acid

Products that include hyaluronic acid are much preferable as this substance retains water in the skin and prevents it from evaporating. Consequently, it helps your skin remain supple and wrinkleless and defers the aging process.

* Apply sunscreen before going out

No one can cast a shadow of doubt on the fact that sunlight despite all its benefits, involves some harmful rays known as ultraviolet lights (UV rays) which are highly detrimental to the skin.

These rays would put you at the risk of skin cancer, accelerate the aging process, cause acne and dark spots, or burn it if you do not protect it from the sun. So, regardless of your skin type, seek to wear sunscreen with at least SPF 30 or greater twenty minutes before you want to go out, and reapply it every 2 hours. It is noteworthy that sunscreen is not devoted to summer and spring, but to all seasons, fall and winter in particular.

use soap-free and water-soluble cleansers

2. Oily skin

This type of skin produces more sebum than the normal skin. As a result, the pores would become larger and even get clogged by the surplus sebum and dead skins. The congested pores lead to blackheads, whiteheads and acne.

Typically, oily skin has a glossy appearance with enlarged visible pores. What`s more, the oilier parts of the face make breakouts, blackheads, pimples and acnes much more prevalent. Furthermore, people with oily skin have usually trouble wearing make up for a long period of time during the day, because it sort of slides off the face and is not durable.

How to take care of it

* Wash your face on a daily basis

Since the surplus oil of this type of skin leads to possible breakouts if you do not wash it away, you need to cleanse it at least twice a day, once in the morning and once at night, to get rid of the excessive oil – but do not go too far.

* Use soap-free cleansers

Do not assume that you need to wash away all that oil by drying out your face with harsh or strong soaps. In fact if your face experiences an abnormal dryness, it will produce even more sebum to compensate the lost oil. Hence, bear in mind to use soap-free face washes, if you do not want to worsen your current condition.

* Be careful not to stimulate your pimples

Do not rub the washcloth or face brush on your face, if you have pustules on your skin. Because on the one hand, it would provoke them, and make them swallow even more. On the other hand, the bigger the pimples grow, the harder they would fade away. So, gently wash the infected pimples and then rinse them with water.

* Add toner to your beauty treatment

Astringent toners which include alcohol, are suitable for oily skins as they dry the skin out. Also, restoring the skin`s PH level, tightening the pores, removing the remained bits of makeup, and smoothing the skin are among the toner`s benefits.

* Exfoliate regularly

Another fundamental step toward a problem free skin is exfoliation. As a matter of fact, what exfoliation does is to strip off the dead skin cells and make the way for other skin products to penetrate easier. If you exfoliate your face two or three times a week, you will soon observe that the number of blackheads and acnes would diminish as time goes by. The best exfoliant is salicylic acid which removes the debris and softens the skin`s surface.

* Use oil-free and non-comedogenic products

These products will not clog your pores and cause acne. So, if you are fed up with your persistent acnes and want to prevent the possible future ones from appearing, purchase those products labeled as non-comedogenic because they would lessen the number of breakouts in the course of time.

* Use blotting papers

As a person with oily skin, you might have encountered an unwelcome greasy and shiny look just out of the blue when you did not expect it at all – For example, when you are wearing makeup and you do not want to remove it only just to get rid of the excessive oil, while it has already made your face look unpleasant.

In this case blotting sheets would come in handy. Blotting papers are some superabsorbent sheets which mop up the redundant oil or sweat on your skin. If you have an oily skin and experience occasional greasiness during the day, do not ignore the importance of blotting sheets.

Plus, these sheets will keep your makeup intact, and you can use them with an ease of mind. First grab a paper and gently press it on your skin, then let it do its job and absorb the oil, finally pick it up and throw it away.

* Do not sleep in your make up

Oily skin

3. Dry skin

The symptoms of dry skin may vary from one person to another, but the overall characteristics would be as the following:

Since dry skin produces little sebum than normal skin, it is normally devoid of moisture or water (dehydrated) and has a dull rough complexion with flaky patches which peel. The color of dry skin is normally gray and ashy.

People with dry skin usually feel uncomfortable during the day and tend to apply moisturizer more often.

How to take care of it

 * Wash your face with warm water instead of hot water

You may wonder how on earth would hot water damage our skin? But in fact what it really does is far from the imagination. Hot water is a mortal enemy of the keratin cells in the epidermis – the outermost layer of the skin.

These cells are made of protein and responsible for the skin protection against environmental pathogens. So, if hot water comes in contact with them, they will no longer be able to act properly as they used to.

Another major disturbance that heat causes, is that it damages the cells by drying the skin out and not letting water stay in. So, do not use hot water, as it prevents the skin from retaining the moisture.

The last but not the least disadvantage of hot water is itchiness. This itchiness would be caused as a result of mast cells releasing their content (histamine) into the skin for the use of hot water.

* Use soap-free cleansers

Generally soaps contain some salts which remove the dirt and germs. These salts are made of alkaline that disturbs your skin`s PH by increasing it and make it even drier. Therefore, try to use soap-free products instead.

*Moisturize daily

: As dry skin lacks the required moisture, you need to use rich moisturizers more frequently during the day especially after each cleansing to compensate the lost moisture.

The appropriate moisturizer for dry skin is a cream with higher oil content.

Moreover, your wrinkles would gradually fade away if you stick on moisturizers. Another merit of ointments and creams is that they help skin stay young by giving it moisture at the time of renewing process when it is shedding dead cells and building new ones.

* Use humidifier

It not only adds moisture to the air and your skin but also sooths the existing itchiness and tightness associated with dry skin.

During the day, skin is busy combating the pollutants, bacteria, and etc. But as the night arrives, it goes through a “recovery phase” and starts to regenerate and stops to protect itself. If you do not wash your makeup away before sleeping, your pores will get clogged during the time and cause acnes.

So, make sure to remove your make up before going to bed, and do not interfere with your skin`s natural process, or you will end up with more pimples the next day!

Dry skin

4. Sensitive skin

Sensitive skin is more of a skin concern than a skin type which appears when the dryness aggravates. People who suffer from sensitive skin show strong reactions to harsh products or any environmental factors like wind, or sunlight by flushing.

The most noticeable signs of this skin concern would be dryness, red rashes and bumps which are often itchy.

How to take care of it

The process of the skincare routine for this issue is somewhat similar to dry skin regimen. Furthermore, there is another crucial factor that you need to take into careful consideration at the time of product selection.

Bear in mind to use mild fragrance-free products that are specifically formulated for sensitive skins, and make sure to do the patch test before using it.

Sensitive skin

When and how to use moisturizers

Apply your moisturizer after bathing, and cleansing. First of all, pat dry your skin with a clean towel or tissue, then rub some cream on it while it is still damp to trap the water in it.

* Add Antioxidants and Omega-3s to your diet

Since dry skin loses more cells compared to what it can normally produce, a healthy diet can contribute to its treatment. The best foods which are high in antioxidant,  are plant-based foods, such as fruits and vegetables. Beans, strawberries, carrots, tomatoes, blueberries, and peas are among the antioxidant rich foods.

Dry skin vs. dehydrated skin

Speaking of dryness, there is a skin condition called “Dehydrated” which is usually mistaken for dry skin. Although they both share some similar symptoms, they are totally different. Dry skin, is a skin type which is short of moisture and lipid, while dehydration is a skin condition that has inadequate water, and can happen to anyone with any type of skin.

How to tell dry skin and dehydrated skin apart

If your skin is dehydrated, you would feel dry and oily as well. Another distinguishing sign would be the presence of the breakouts. When the skin gets dehydrated, it attempts to make up the loss of water by producing more oil. Thus, when the oil production exceeds its limits, it makes the face break out. Other symptoms would be tightness, itchiness, sensitivity, and red flaky patches.

How to treat dehydrated skin

 Drink enough water *

* Use water-based products

* Wash your face with a gentle cleanser

* Cut down on coffee and alcohol

* Wear water-rich sheet masks

* Forgo the scrub and replace exfoliation instead

* Stop smoking

Bottom line

In a nutshell, No matter what your skin type is, it can stay healthy and normal as long as it receives great daily and constant care. So, if you have recognized your skin type, start your skincare routine right now and try to keep it up. As you might have noticed, all the skincare routines regardless of your skin type include some identical steps as the following:

* Avoid hot water

* Use essence free products

* Hold onto a healthy diet

* Exfoliate every now and then

* pat dry instead of harshly rubbing the towel on your skin

* Never underestimate the importance of moisturizer

* steer away from harsh strong cleansers (use soap-free cleansers)

And above all, treat your precious skin as gently as you can, and love yourself the way you are.


How can I identify my skin type?

Gently pat a blotting paper on the different areas of your face. Hold the sheet up to the light to determine how much oil is visible. If the sheet picked up little to no oil, you most likely have dry skin. If the blotting sheet reveals oil from the forehead and nose areas, your skin is normal/combination.

How do dermatologists determine your skin type?

To test your skin type, rub a blotting sheet over the face, then hold it up to the light. If the paper is covered in oil, you can conclude that your skin type is oily and visa-versa for dry skin.

What does oily skin look like?

An oily skin type is exactly what it sounds like – excess oil on the face produces a persistently shiny or greasy appearance. If you don't treat your oily skin, pores can become clogged and enlarged, and dead skin cells may accumulate. Blackheads, pimples and other types of acne are also common with this skin type.