What Is My Skin Type? How To Determine And Care For It

Medically reviewed by Dr. Vindhya L Veerula, MD, FAAD
Written by Annie Jangam
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Are you using tons of great skin care products and not seeing any results? If yes, maybe those products are not meant for your skin type.

The efficacy of any skin care product depends on whether it is appropriate for your skin or not. That is why determining your skin type is important to customize your skin care regimen. Keep reading to learn how to find out your skin type and ways to care for it.

Knowing Your Skin Type: Why It Is Important?

Different skin types react differently to cosmetic and skin care products. The way your skin reacts may change based on the weather conditions and seasons. Using inappropriate skin care products may cause reactions like rashes and breakouts. Most of the time, wrong skin care products fail to address your skin concerns and deliver any results.

That is why you need a thorough understanding of your skin and how it behaves. This will help you pick the right products suitable for your skin type and needs. Let’s take a look at the different skin types in the next section.

The Five Different Skin Types

1. Normal Skin

Normal skin does not overreact to any ingredient. It has a balanced oil and sebum production and is usually healthy.

2. Oily Skin

Oily skin usually has large skin pores and overactive oil glands that secrete excess sebum or natural oils. Compared to other skin types, oily skin is prone to frequent acne breakouts.

3. Dry Skin

If your skin feels tight, flakes a lot, and feels itchy, you have dry skin. Dry skin needs a lot of moisturizers to stay healthy and plump.

4. Combination Skin

Combination skin is not a true skin type and has both dry and oily skin characteristics. Those with combination skin often have oily T-zone and dry cheeks. It also changes as per the season and tends to turn oily during summers and dry during winters.

5. Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is prone to irritation and inflammation. It often reacts to multiple ingredients, especially the harsh ones (like alcohol), and gets irritated when exposed to triggers like heat and friction. People with sensitive skin are prone to issues like cystic acne, contact dermatitis, and rosacea.

These are five basic skin types that may further change with age. If you are confused about your skin types, here are a few ways to determine that.

How To Tell Your Skin Type

1. The Bare-Faced Method

  • Cleanse your face thoroughly with a mild cleanser and gently pat it dry.
  • Do not apply any lotion or moisturizer.
  • After 30 minutes, analyze the cheeks, jawline, nose, and forehead to check for shine.
  • Wait for another 30 minutes. See how it feels when you smile or stretch your facial muscles.
  • If your face feels tight and stretchy, minus any shine, you probably have dry skin.
  • If you see a shiny T-zone, it means you probably have normal or combination skin.
  • If both the T-zone and cheeks turn shiny, you have oily skin.

2. The Blotting Sheet Method

Compared to the bare-faced method, this is an easy and effective way to assess your skin type.

  • Pat a blotting paper gently all over your face, especially on the chin, nose, forehead, and cheeks.
  • Hold the sheet against the light to assess the amount of oil deposit on it.
  • If the sheet has little or no oil, you probably have dry skin.
  • If you see some amount of oil on it, especially around your forehead and nose, you must have normal or combination skin.
  • If the blotting paper is saturated with oil, you have oily skin.

3. Take Professional Help

Consult a dermatologist to determine your skin type. Dermatologists thoroughly evaluate the skin and guide you accordingly. Moreover, they can help you set a proper skin care regimen by guiding you through ingredients and products suitable for your skin type and concern and ways to care for it. Here are a few more tips for maintaining healthy skin as per your skin type.

Skin Care Tips Based On Your Skin Type

1. Normal Skin

  • Normal skin is not difficult to manage. It needs basic TLC and a basic skin care routine with the right products.
  • Follow a daily CTM (cleansing-toning-moisturizing) routine.
  • Always apply sunscreen when stepping out and use an anti-aging serum (if you have mature skin).

2. Oily Skin

  • Cleanse your face twice a day and exfoliate once a week.
  • Follow a basic CTM routine. Toning is crucial for oily skin as it helps minimize the appearance of pores and controls excess oil production.
  • Always use a water-based (or gel-based) moisturizer and serum. Pick non-comedogenic products.

3. Dry Skin

  • Choose products that do not contain alcohol and sulfates as they strip the skin’s natural oils.
  • Avoid taking super hot showers. Instead, use lukewarm or room-temperature water to cleanse your face.
  • If you live in a colder region, use a humidifier to maintain the skin’s moisture balance.
  • Use products containing natural butters and plant oils to keep your skin hydrated.

4. Combination Skin

  • Combination skin demands a combination of products to address both oily and dry areas on the face.
  • Follow a basic CTM routine. Choose products depending on the state of your skin at that time.
  • Use gentle and hydrating products that do not irritate the skin.

5. Sensitive Skin

  • Use organic and plant-based products developed for sensitive skin. If you have conditions like rosacea or dermatitis, choose products that help address these concerns.
  • Always do a patch test on your neck or your hand before trying out any product.
  • Stick to products free of chemicals, alcohol, artificial fragrances and preservatives, and essential oils.
  • Avoid experimenting with skin care products.
  • Consult a dermatologist for product suggestions.

Closing Thoughts

Understanding your skin is crucial for keeping it healthy. Knowing your skin type makes it easy for you to pick products that cater to its needs and design a skin care regimen. Follow the tips mentioned in the article for healthy and glowing skin.

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Annie Jangam is a Molecular Biologist with 7 years of research experience in Rice Functional Genomics and Nutrient Signalling with International Publications in Abiotic stress, Nitrogen, and G-protein signaling. She specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. She has been an avid reader since childhood and is passionate about stories that help decipher life and its meaning. She believes in Human Rights for all and that one should "love others like we love ourselves."