Skin types no longer fit into neat little boxes. We can have one skin type, but can also have different skin conditions or concerns too. This makes understanding our temperamental complexions all the more difficult.
For example, I have combination skin. However, I also have a mild form of Rosacea. Therefore, I also have sensitive skin. I struggle with congested skin around my t-zone, open pores, and dry areas too.
I definitely do not fit into a particular ‘type’ and have needed to adjust my skincare routine accordingly. I have a post detailing my personal skincare routine here for anyone that is interested.
In addition, if we do not understand what our own skin type is we run the risk of using skincare products that do not actually work. Or, even worse, create problems for our temperamental complexions.
Therefore, I have listed below every skin type and common characteristics that accompany them. Included are some tips on how to care for each individual skin type.
After that, if you are still unsure about your own skin type, you will find a useful ‘skin type test’.
Ok, let’s get into the minefield that is our skin.
Normal Skin Type.
Kicking off with the skin type we all wished we had.
Normal skin is exactly that. Normal.
It is well-balanced and you will rarely suffer from any imperfections. You will not experience any sensitivity and generally, you will have a smooth and radiant complexion.
How to care for normal skin:
Normal skin is an easy skin type to keep happy.
You can seamlessly introduce new skincare ingredients or actives such as Vitamin C or Retinol without experiencing any adverse reactions.
Caring for normal skin is extremely simple.
I am not jealous at all. Honest.
Combination skin type.
A combination skin type can be a mish-mash of several skin types.
It’s like your skin hates making decisions and therefore just gives you all of the skin types at once.
Predominantly, combination skin types have an oily T-Zone (forehead, nose, and chin), with either normal or dry areas elsewhere.
If you have combination skin you also tend to suffer from big pores, congestion, blackheads, and some shine. Not the dewy highlight you were hoping for though (more’s the pity).
How to care for combination skin:
The Best way to care for combination skin is to approach it as two completely different skin types (like your complexion has a split personality).
If you are oily in your t-zone. Use Non-Comedogenic, oil-free skincare in that area. I have a great post here providing more detail on dealing with congested skin.
For the normal or dry parts of your skin use products to keep this area of your face moisturised and hydrated. Glycerin and Hyaluronic acid are great hydrating ingredients.
It is a pain, to begin with however, it does make a big difference in balancing your complexion.
Oily Skin Type.
Oil on our skin is created by the Sebaceous Glands. The oil it produces is called Sebum.
If you have oily skin your Sebaceous Glands are basically on overdrive producing excess Sebum, AKA, oil.
You will be prone to acne, breakouts, blackheads and congestion.
Oily skin types often get more oily as the day goes on and you will notice your makeup has a tendency to slip down your face.
How to care for oily skin:
Focus on giving your skin a thorough cleanse every morning and evening. Try to incorporate a double cleanse into your routine.
You want to really concentrate on removing all the excess oils and dirt whilst giving your pores a deep clean.
Use skincare products containing Salicylic acid and avoid heavy emollient creams like your life depended on it.
Exfoliate regularly, however, try not to over-exfoliate or strip your skin as this will confuse the pesky Sebaceous Glands into thinking you need even more oils!
In addition, even oily skin types still need moisture. Use light layers of hydration. Hyaluronic acid serums are your friend.
Make sure to use Non-Comedogenic ingredients that will not block your pores as this can lead to increased breakouts.
Dry Skin Type.
If you have dry skin it can feel very ‘tight’. Like your skin is being pulled by a load of invisible fairies.
Whilst you will not suffer from large pores or any skin congestion, your complexion will look dull, have a rough feel and fine lines will be much more visible.
If you have extremely dry skin it can become quite inflamed and could even crack or split in areas.
How to care for dry skin:
Dry skin types need all of the moisture!
Use rich, emollient products that include hydrating ingredients such as Hyaluronic acid and glycerin.
Avoid using stringent products or ingredients such as foaming cleansers or glycolic acids as they will strip your skin and contribute to the overall dry feeling and texture.
Lactic acid can be used on dry skin types and you may find a hydrating oil beneficial to lock in moisture.
Sensitive skin is not exactly a skin type. However, it is something that a lot of us battle with every day. You could have any of the above skin types and still have sensitive skin too.
There are many reasons why we may develop sensitive skin. It could be due to allergens, genetics, diet, or a particular skin condition like Rosacea or Eczema. There could be some ingredients in your current skincare routine that are causing irritation.
Sensitive skin can be extremely reactive. You may experience things like, redness, irritation, itching, and other such pleasant experiences, not.
How to care for sensitive skin:
First and foremost, try to understand why you are experiencing sensitivity. It is a process of elimination. I would always recommend discussing this with your doctor. From personal experience, I did just that and discovered that I had a mild form of Rosacea.
You can read all about my Rosacea battle here.
After that, I discovered the best way to care for sensitive skin is to go back to basics. Do not use any harsh ingredients in your skincare routine such as alcohols, SLS, or fragrances. I would also recommend avoiding essential oils as they can be extremely irritating.
Ingredients such as Shea Butter, Oatmeal, Chamomile, or Aloe Vera are all great choices for soothing and calming sensitive skin.
I will be going into much more detail on specific sensitive skin types and conditions on the blog soon so make sure that you sign up to my newsletter so that you don’t miss it (you can do so on the home page)
Dehydrated skin again, is not exactly a skin type. It is a skin condition.
However, we do still need to take dehydrated skin into consideration as it does contribute to your overall skin health.
Dehydrated skin often gets confused with dry skin however they are completely different.
Dry skin is a permenant skin type, dehydrated skin is only temporary.
Both however, are lacking in moisture.
Any skin type can become dehydrated. Even oily or combination skin types.
The issue is if the characteristics of dry skin and dehydrated skin are so similar, how are we supposed to know exactly what we are experiencing and more importantly, what we need to do to treat it?
With dehydrated skin, it comes with a couple of additional ‘symptoms’. Such as dark under-eye circles and your face can have an overall sunken appearance. Add this to a dry and tight feeling and you are more than likely experiencing dehydrated skin (I have a really useful test below, specifically for dehydrated skin, which you may find useful).
How to care for dehydrated skin:
Like dry skin, if your skin is dehydrated, it needs moisture.
However, if you have either combination or an oily skin type you need to be careful with how you provide this moisture.
Stick to Non-Comedogenic skincare products to avoid congestion.
Use light hydrating layers rather than heavy creams.
Make sure you are drinking plenty of water. It really does make a huge difference to your complexion.
If you are still unsure, the following two skin type tests are super helpful:
The skin type test.
The most effective way of distinguishing your own skin type is as follows:
- Wash your face: remove all traces of makeup and give your face a good clean.
- Once washed do not apply any skincare products: wait for around 15 minutes to let your skin settle.
- After the 15 minutes have passed: look through the above skin type characteristics and assess your own face. How does it feel and look without any skincare products applied?
The Dehydrated Skin Test.
The dehydrated skin test is referred to as the ‘pinch test’.
- Lightly pinch a section of the skin on your cheek between two fingers.
- If your skin is dehydrated the ‘pinched skin area’ will be slightly wrinkly when you release the skin it will not ‘bounce back’ or immediately return to normal.
I have personally used this test several times and it is very apparent when you do have dehydrated skin. You get lots of lines in the pinched area.
Discovering exactly what our skin type is and what it needs can be difficult.
However, it is so important to learn what it is and really understand what it needs. Otherwise, we could just be making the situation worse.
This may not be too much of a problem if you are blessed with normal skin. However, for the majority of us dealing with different skin concerns, haphazardly slapping different skincare products on to our faces can be seriously detrimental and make things go from bad to worse.
The condition of our skin has such a huge impact on our confidence, mental health, and self-esteem. When my skin has been at it’s worse, I would not leave the house unless I absolutely had to.
However, on a good skin day, I feel so much more positive, confident, and happy.
Once you take control of your skin and skincare routine it can have such a wonderful impact on how you see yourself. How you feel about yourself.
With so many seemingly perfect people, skin, makeup, and lives being plastered all over social media it can be difficult to deal with. Please remember that we only post the ‘good skin days’ or the photos where we are looking our best.
Nobody is perfect and we all have our insecurities that we hide from the public eye.
Please don’t be too hard on yourself .
The aim of my skin savvy series is to provide you with information, reviews, and product recommendations that can help. Not throw loads of marketing campaigns or sales pitches at you. I know first hand how difficult it can be to deal with a skin condition and hope to help people with the years of experience and research I have.
Let’s keep in touch.
If you have any specific skin concerns that I have not covered on the blog or you would like more detail, clarification or information please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will be more than happy to help further.
I also have a really useful post here which covers all known comedogenic ingredients which will be really useful for anyone suffering from congested skin.
I also have a Pinterest board dedicated to Non-Comedogenic skincare products which you can find here.