What Is My Skin Type?

Group of women friends

Before venturing out into the world of skincare and skincare products, you first need to understand what type of skin you have. It’s a weird question, but an important one.

Your skin type will determine what products you should be looking for and what you should be avoiding. So before diving into that new Korean skincare routine, or trying out a new acne product, ensure that it’s right for your type of skin. If you end up with a product that doesn’t suit your skin, you’ll never see the positive results that you’re looking for.

What type of skin do I have?

Typically, there are five different skin types, all requiring different types of care. Sometimes it may even be tricky to determine what type you have, as some can overlap. However, once you understand what type of skin you have, picking products that will improve your skin will be much easier.

Normal Skin Type

If you have normal skin, you deserve a gold medal. “Normal” skin type just means that your skin isn’t too oily and not too dry. It’s that ideal in-between skin type that is the easiest of the group to care for. This type of skin has:

  • Few to no imperfections
  • No severe sensitivity
  • Barely visible pores
  • A radiant complexion
  • Even skin tone

If you’re lucky to have normal skin, you can get away with lots of different types of skincare routines and skincare products. While this type of skin requires less maintenance, you should still follow a solid skincare regime to get the most from your skin. By using gentle, water-soluble cleansers and finding products containing antioxidants, you can be proactive looking after your skin.

It’s best to look after your skin now while it’s healthy, than wait until you have skin problems when you’re older.

It’s all about being proactive when you have normal skin!

Dry Skin Type

As the title says, this skin type is characterized by dryness. Also known as Xerosis, (the medical name for dry skin), you may see red patches, flaking and have a dull complexion with this skin type. As expected, you can also experience skin that will crack, peel and may become irritated or itchy. Dry, itchy skin can also feel really tight and uncomfortable.

This type of skin requires deep hydrating products to counteract the dryness. A good moisturiser cannot be overlooked! It’s also important to keep up your routine so your skin gets the hydration it needs every day.

The cause of dry skin can be due to numerous factors, some even working together. You may have dry skin in your family, as genetics can impact the amount of sebum produced in the skin’s oil glands. Sebum is responsible for keeping our skin supple. Too little and you can have dry skin, but too much sebum can make our skin too oily.

Overall, hydration is key for dry skin. A great moisturiser is absolutely required for this skin type.

Woman applys moisuriser to hand

Oily Skin Type

People with an oily skin type may see enlarged pores, breakouts, acne and have a shiny complexion. A lot of people with oily skin tend to grab products that promise to dry out your skin, but this can actually make things worse. Drying ingredients make trigger your skin to produce more oil, thus making the situation even worse.

Opposite to someone with dry skin, those with oily skin need to be careful with their skincare products to avoid causing more oil. You’ll need to find a good balance between hydrating products (which are super important) and products that won’t increase the amount of oil on your skin. Sometimes a tricky task! Looking for oil-free sunscreen and creams are important so you aren’t inadvertently adding more oil to your skin. Always make sure to read the label of products to ensure it’s oil-free.

Like mentioned before, having an oily skin type can be a result of too much sebum. However, lightly exfoliating oily skin is very helpful. Excess oil can cause dead skin cells to clog your pores and result in acne breakouts. However, be sure not to use anything too rough as that can damage your skin instead of helping it.

Combination Skin Type

What is combination skin? As the name suggests, people with combination skin type suffer from both dry patches and oily sections. Unfortunately for the human population, combination skin is very common. Most with this skin type will experience dry skin on their cheeks but oily skin in their T-Zone (the nose, forehead and chin, conveniently making a T shape).

When seeing the oily patch in your T-Zone, some people mistake their combination skin type for strictly oily skin. However, unless your entire face is oily, it’s more likely that you have combination skin instead.

Shopping for products with combination skin can be hard because you need something to help both your dry skin and oily skin at the same time. A trick to solve this issue can be to use two different moisturisers. Find a heavier moisturiser for your dry areas such as your cheeks, but also use a light moisturiser for your oily T-Zone. That way, both areas of your skin stay hydrated and happy!

Products will also be labeled “for combination skin” so just make sure to check the labels to find something that will suit your skin the best.

Sensitive Skin Type

Finally, you may be in the group of sensitive skin type. This group can experience symptoms of dry skin, oily skin or combination skin, in addition to experiencing sensitive tendencies.

As you can imagine, people with this skin type need to find products that will support their sensitive skin. Otherwise, they can experience burning, itchy and general discomfort when using skincare products. Not fun!

It’s important not to use rough exfoliants with this skin type as well as using water that is too hot or too cold. Light exfoliants and lukewarm water are your new best friends with sensitive skin!

A great way to find the products that will work best for you is by doing patch tests before fully using a product. Simply apply a small portion of the product to your skin and wait to see if you will experience a negative reaction. If your skin isn’t aggravated by the new product during the patch test, you should be able to use it normally in your regular skincare routine. It can be annoying doing patch tests when you really want to just dive into the new product, but it’s hugely important in the long-term.

Those with sensitive skin will also need to avoid products with harsh ingredients and don’t use too many active ingredients at once so you don’t overwhelm your skin. “Active ingredients” are scientifically proven to have medical effects and benefits for your skin. So if your skin is sensitive, you don’t want to use too many active ingredients all at once.

What Affects Your Skin Type

We aren’t necessarily born with a certain skin type. There’s different factors that will impact your skin type, such as:

  • Environment - Do you live in a hot, wet climate? Or do you live in a dry, cold climate? Both will impact your skin differently.
  • Alcohol - Drinking alcohol can negatively impact your skin, especially by dehydrating it.
  • Hormones - Changing hormones can upset your skin and cause breakouts.
  • Stress - Stress has a direct impact on your skin and can cause increased acne and a dull complexion.
  • Sun exposure - Too much sun can cause premature wrinkles and deep lines.
  • Diet - A poor diet can hurt your skin, such as causing breakouts from too much sugar.

How To Help Your Skin (No Matter Your Skin Type)

Whether your in the sensitive skin type camp, or you deal with an oily skin type, there are ways that we can all help protect our skin. A great skincare routine is vital for healthy skin, but it can’t solve all our issues unless we help it along.

Here are some simple tips for looking after your skin alongside a great skincare routine.

Broken makeup and cosmetics on a table

Clean Off Makeup

Like our last point, sometimes it’s easy to leave on makeup overnight. However, this can be really upsetting for your skin. If you’ve had makeup on all day and sleep with it on all night, your skin may be dealing with makeup for 24 hours. That’s way too long!

Always ensure to wash off all makeup each night to keep your skin healthy and happy.

Stay Hydrated

Water! Water! Water! Keeping your body hydrated is hugely important for your skin. If your body overall is dehydrated, your skin will be, too.

Have you ever woken up after a long night drinking alcohol and felt like your skin was dull and tight? This is a direct result of dehydrated skin. Drinking alcohol will dehydrate your body (and your skin) leaving you feeling hungover the next day, with upset skin. By drinking enough water, your body and your skin will thank you.

Wear Sunscreen

As much as we all love hanging out in the sun, sun exposure has a direct negative impact on your skin. Too much sun can result in dark spots, wrinkles and more severely, skin cancer.

Get into a routine of applying sunscreen daily and you will protect your skin from future sun damage. Or, you can find some great daily moisturisers that include SPF within their formula. Even something as simple as avoiding too much direct sun can really help support your skin.

Wash Your Skin Everyday

Sometimes it’s easy to forgo your skincare routine. Maybe you can’t be bothered that morning, or you’re too tired at night, so you skip your routine. Don’t! If you want that bright and even skin tone, you’ll need to put in some work.

Skincare, even glorious Korean skincare products, won’t show their true effects after just one use. You’ll need to continuously use your products so you can see a real end result.

Keep Your Skin Moisturised

Above all other products, having a good moisturiser is the most important. Your skin experiences so much throughout the course of a typical day. From sun exposure, pollution, and stress, your skin can easily turn dry and dull. Make sure to apply a good moisturiser that fits your skin type every day. We've recently dived into the top 5 men's moisturisers for Asian skin in order to help you make an informed decision about your next moisturiser.