Women with different skin tones

Our Ultimate Guide To Figuring Out Your Skin Type

Identifying your own skin type is the first essential step in finding products that work for you. Follow our ultimate guide to better know your skin.
Updated: November 9, 2022
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The first step everyone needs to take on their skincare journey is figuring out what type of skin they have to begin with. This way it will be easier to find the right products and treatments that work best for you.

It’s well established that there are 5 main industry-identified skin types – Normal, Oily, Dry, Sensitive, and Combination (which incorporates aspects from more than one category.)  Each of these skin types comes with its own unique issues, challenges, and benefits.  Everyone is different and there is no universal product that will suit all skin types.  This page will guide you through the process of figuring out exactly what skin type you have, and how to move forward with your product choices.

Before we dive in further, here are a few answers to some commonly asked questions about skin types and the process of identifying your particular skin type:

When is the best time to determine your skin type?

While technically there’s no specific or official time of day to do a skin type determination, we recommend doing it first thing in the morning after you wake up.  This ensures that your skin hasn’t been exposed to various environmental factors as it would be at the end of a normal day, and it also hasn’t been covered in makeup or other cosmetic products.  These natural morning conditions are the best base to work from when carrying out your skin type determination.

Can your skin type change?

According to experts, your skin type is largely genetic and you are born with it.  Most likely, your skin type will remain the same throughout your life and won’t change.  However, there are some factors that can influence your skin type and may possibly alter or change it in some respects.

The first potential cause of skin change is environmental factors.  It has been proven that if you spend too much time in the sun, this can cause your skin to age more quickly.  There are also further dangers from UV rays that can physically harm your skin, which means it is imperative to always protect yourself properly whenever you know you’ll be spending more time than usual in the sun.

Next, hormonal issues can lead to changes in your skin, especially in women.  You can experience a host of unexpected and unique issues depending on what else is happening inside your body, especially if you become pregnant.  Many women have reported an increase in skin breakouts and blemishes when using certain birth control, for example.  This isn’t universal to everyone, but it’s important to consider this possibility.

Another factor could be reactions to certain medical treatments.  Of course, we are not medical professionals, and if you have any particular skin reaction to a medicine you are taking you should consult a doctor as soon as you can.  However, this could be a common cause of skin changes in certain individuals.

Nutrition can also play a vital role in skin management.  For example, if you don’t drink enough water, have too much caffeine, or drink excess alcohol, you could be planting the seeds for negative changes in your skin down the line.  It’s always best to keep a balanced diet, stay hydrated, and get your recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals.

Finally, a big influence on your skin is your overall lifestyle.  According to experts, the amount of exercise you do, the amount of sleep you have, and the amount of stress you have in your life can all be contributing factors in regard to your skin.  Being too stressed can lead to breakouts and inflammation, so you need to be aware of how you are living day to day.

Does skin type change depending on age or the seasons?

It can, yes.  As touched on above, environmental changes can affect your skin in different ways.  For example, if the weather gets gradually colder towards the winter, it’s not uncommon for people to experience skin dehydration, which can lead to cracks and tightness.  Similarly, as the weather grows warmer towards the summer months, the heat can increase oiliness and greasiness in your skin, which can in turn lead to blocked pores and breakouts.

Getting older of course brings about changes in your skin.  The older we get, the more wrinkles and lines appear on our skin.  This is natural.  Thankfully if you want to minimize the visual appearance of aging, there are plenty of fantastic anti-aging products on the market that can assist you.

What determines my skin type?

The simple answer to this question is your genetics.  You are born with your unique genetic code and that has much more influence over your skin than anything else.  Of course, you can experience temporary changes due to heat, weather, and environmental factors (like we’ve discussed above) but these are definitely secondary components behind your genes.

What skin type is the most common?

There’s no real conclusive answer to which individual skin type is the most common, but in general, the most widely known skin types range between – normal, oily, dry, sensitive, and combination.  More information about each of these skin types is listed further down this page.

Which skin type is prone to pimples & blackheads?

Technically, every skin type can experience pimples and blackheads, but there is a higher percentage of breakouts related to oily skin.  This is because excess moisture, oil, and a greasy texture can block pores and increase the chances of various blemishes and spots appearing.  Managing oily skin can be a bit tricky but we have more information on how to do so effectively later on in this article.

Which skin type is more prone to sunburn?

When it comes to getting sunburnt, it has much more to do with your skin tone rather than your specific skin type.  Usually, the lighter your skin is, the more susceptible to burning it is.  So as a general rule, white skin is most prone to sunburn, and dark black skin is least likely to burn.  Depending on your own individual skin tone, you will have to judge for yourself how to best protect your skin.

Hopefully, those questions have given you a wider perspective on skin types and more knowledge on how your skin can be affected by various factors, both natural and artificial.

So, how do you determine what your skin type is? Well, it’s actually simpler than you may think! Follow the instructions below and we’ll have you on the right path in no time.  We’ll also fill you in on what each skin type is and how they can be managed appropriately.

Firstly it’s very important to start from an even slate.

ID Your Skin Type with these easy steps;

  • Remove any makeup and wash your face with a soft or gentle face cleanser, as you would on a regular morning, and wait 10-15 minutes for your skin to settle.
  • Don’t apply any other products during this period.
  • When the time has passed, look at your skin closely and gently touch it to determine your type from the descriptions below.

You Have Normal Skin if:

Your skin feels “normal”.

It is smooth to the touch and has little to no oily patches or dry spots.

No flaking.

Congratulations, you have skin many of us envy!  Of course, the definition of “normal” can be subjective and hard to define, but in skincare terms, it basically means that you don’t suffer from any common or recognizable visual or physical skin complications.

Your best course of action is to use products made to maintain your healthy skin.  Though it’s important to remember that while you do have the luxury of being able to try a wider range of products, you should still make sure to not overdo it.  Using too many products to excess could have the potential to cause dryness on your otherwise healthy skin, so just keep it in mind.

Click here to browse the best products for normal skin.

You Have Oily Skin if:

Your skin feels a bit slippery and has a shiny look.

You have issues with spots and breakouts regularly.

Oily skin occurs when the body produces an excess of Sebum, which is the natural oil found in our skin.  It’s obvious to determine if you have oily skin as your skin will feel greasy and have a shiny look.  Excess oil in the skin can block pores which then leads to a fertile environment for breakouts and blemishes.

Despite being annoying to deal with, there is evidence that suggests that people with oily skin tend to actually age better than everyone else.  Discounting external environmental or health factors, oily skin can fight off the visual markers of aging such as lines and wrinkles for longer than other types of skin.

Here are some common questions about oily skin:

Is oily skin prone to acne?

Believe it or not, having oily skin doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be more prone to acne.  Sure, having oily skin increases your chances of experiencing breakouts, but acne is usually caused by a multitude of other factors including stress, lifestyle choices such as diet, and genetics.  If you suffer from acne you should consult with a doctor about the best course of action for yourself.

Is oily skin dehydrated?

No, quite the opposite!  Oily skin is actually caused because you have too much moisture in your skin cells.  Your skin is producing an excess of Sebum, which is a natural oil that your body creates.  Dehydration is usually a symptom of dry skin.

Are there any benefits to having oily skin?

Surprisingly yes!  As mentioned above, oily skin is more resistant to the visual signs of aging.  Researchers have found that in the areas of the face where the most oil is produced, lines and wrinkles don’t appear as pronounced as they do in other types of skin.  Another benefit is oily skin has more protection from the sun.  This is because your oil contains more vitamin E, which can act as a natural sunscreen to a certain extent.  Finally, oily skin is usually smoother.  If managed correctly by the most suitable products, people with oily skin will find themselves receiving compliments about how nice their skin is to touch, and will look more youthful.

What are the drawbacks of oily skin?

The biggest drawback of oily skin is the chances of you experiencing breakouts and blemishes are increased.  Again, this is because the excess oil being produced in your skin blocks pores which sets the scene for spots and pimples.  Another drawback is that you simply need to spend more time caring for your skin than you would if you had normal skin.  Generally, the level of maintenance you’ll need to cover is larger, but you can make life easier for yourself by using the correct products.

Can I use hyaluronic acid on oily skin?

Yes!  Hyaluronic Acid is a gel-like substance that absorbs heavy amounts of moisture in your skin.  If you have too much oil, this can really help in managing your skin.  It is recommended you use a gentle product to achieve this while protecting against further clogging in your pores.

Can oily skin be cured?

Oily skin can’t be “cured” as such because it isn’t a medical condition, it’s a natural form of skin that millions of people have around the world.  It can be effectively managed by using the correct products at the right times, and with practice, it will become an easy and quick part of your daily routine.

Can I get microblading if I have oily skin?

You can, but your skin will react to microblading differently than those with normal skin types.  Because of the extra moisture in oily skin, the effects of microblading might fade quicker than in other skin types, requiring you to get the procedure done more regularly.  Obviously, if you speak to a microblading professional they will be able to advise you on this matter from an expert’s perspective.

Why am I suddenly getting oily skin?

There could be numerous reasons why you’ve suddenly developed oily skin.  The most common reason is your oily skin may be hereditary and it’s just in your genetics to develop it during your life.  This may be frustrating but it is completely natural.  Secondly, your lifestyle can play a big role.  If you are under a lot of stress, this can cause changes in your skin, including potentially making it oily.  Dietary choices like eating too much sugar or not drinking enough water can also contribute to changes in your skin.

Millions of people deal with oily skin. The best strategy for you is to avoid products with heavy textures in order to effectively manage it.  But don’t worry, we have compiled an amazing product list to help you along your journey!

Click here to browse the best products for oily skin.

Oily skin can be a leading cause of blemishes appearing all over your skin, with the biggest problem areas usually being the face, neck, shoulders, chest, and back.  While being unpleasant to look at, blemishes can also be a cause for self-confidence issues and anxiety.  It has been proven that many people suffering from blemishes suffer an elevated level of stress, which just reiterates the importance of managing it effectively.

If you suffer from frustrating blemishes, we have compiled a great list of products that may be able to help you with that specific issue!

Click here to browse the best products for blemish-prone skin.

You Have Dry Skin if:

Your skin is dry to the touch, feels tight, and may even have some flaking.

Lack of moisture.

Dry skin is basically the complete opposite of oily skin.  While with oily skin your body is producing a higher than average amount of Sebum, dry skin doesn’t produce enough.  This can create a number of visible problems including cracking, peeling, and flaking.

Many people make the mistake of thinking that dry skin is simply a result of dehydration, but this isn’t necessarily true.  Yes, dehydration can contribute to the prevalence of dry skin, but dehydration can occur in every type of skin and isn’t a specific symptom of dryness.   Of course, it’s important to use products that will help prevent your skin from losing moisture and refresh it with more nourishment, but dehydration alone isn’t the only issue.

Here are some common questions about dry skin:

What causes dry skin?

Dry skin is common for many people.  Usually, it is down to your genetics and is just natural for you.  However dry skin can also occur due to a variety of reasons.  If you wash your skin with sanitizing products on a frequent basis, this can cause your skin to become dry.  It’s always important to remember not to overdo it.  Secondly, dry skin is usually the result of your skin being dehydrated and not being able to hold moisture.  Using moisturizers can manage this effectively.

What does dry skin look like?

A common visual indicator of dry skin is the appearance of cracks and scale-like flakes in certain areas.  These symptoms occur on a wide scale from mild to severe.  Dry skin also shows signs of peeling.

What does dry skin need?

To put it simply, dry skin needs moisture and hydration more than anything else, as dry skin is caused by a lack of those things.  Using gentle moisturizers and avoiding harsh products that contain ingredients such as alcohol is an effective way forward.

Can dry skin be cured?

Having dry skin is normal for millions of people across the globe, so it isn’t appropriate to look at it as something that can be “cured”.  If you have a specific medical issue you should consult your doctor.  The best course of action for most people is to choose the right products that will allow you to manage your dry skin as best as possible.  We will link you to a great list of recommended products a little further down.

Can dry skin cause acne?

According to experts, dry skin can’t cause acne directly, but it can make existing symptoms worse.  Acne is treated as a medical issue and thus you should follow your doctor’s advice for treating it.  However, keeping on top of your dry skin by using the correct products can go a long way in protecting yourself from inadvertently exacerbating your acne.

Are there any benefits to dry skin?

Of course, this is all subjective, but there are a couple of benefits to having dry skin.  Firstly, unlike with oily skin, your face won’t look greasy or sweaty.  You’ll also statistically be at a lower risk of breakouts and blemishes.  Finally, the regimen you’ll need to take to care for your dry skin will usually be much easier and simpler than caring for other skin types, so that’s some good news!

What are the drawbacks of having dry skin?

The obvious drawback of having dry skin is, well, the dryness.  Your skin will feel tight and may crack and flake.  This isn’t the most pleasant thing in the world, we know!  Secondly, the appearance of lines and wrinkles may be more defined with dry skin as you age.  Of course, this can all be managed with the right products.

Feeling a little more knowledgeable about dry skin?  We hope so, it’s really not as scary as it sounds, and not that difficult to keep on top of either.

For a comprehensive list of products designed to tackle dry skin, check out our detailed list.

Click here to browse the best products for dry skin.

You Have Sensitive Skin if:

You experience inflammation, redness, or other noticeable reactions to products.

You feel odd or unpleasant sensations in your skin.

Sensitivity is a broad spectrum.  While it’s easy to diagnose someone as having sensitive skin, sometimes that can just be the start of getting down to the core of the matter.  The truth is, some people may suffer extremely mild levels of irritation while others may have to deal with explosive problems such as redness, puffiness, rashes, and other uncomfortable sensations that may not even be visible.

Having sensitive skin can be problematic for many reasons. Everyone’s skin is different and you may need to do some experimentation to find products that work best for your sensitivity.  It is best to seek out milder products that are specifically made and marketed toward people with sensitive skin.

Here are some common questions associated with sensitive skin:

What is sensitive skin?

This is a broad question, much like everything related to sensitive skin.  Generally, you’ll know if you have sensitive skin if you regularly experience reactions to products, environmental changes, and certain ingredients.  If your skin develops redness, rashes, and inflammation, you have probably had an involuntary reaction to something.  The tricky thing is, everyone is different and may be reacting to completely different elements.

What does sensitive skin feel like?

Again, this answer is totally subjective to the individual person.  Some people with sensitive skin can’t feel anything out of the ordinary when they touch their skin, while others may feel discomfort or even pain in some scenarios.  It’s important for you to figure out what your skin is sensitive to in order to plan an effective management program.

Can sensitive skin be cured?

Sensitive skin isn’t a disease that you can be diagnosed with, but rather a frustrating natural state your skin finds itself in.  Very rarely is sensitive skin a symptom of a serious underlying medical problem.  However, if you do have concerns, you should seek advice from your doctor.

Can sensitive skin cause acne?

As mentioned a few times on this page, acne is a condition that arises independently regardless of what your skin type happens to be.  Treating acne should be done by medical professionals, but you can choose the right products to help you manage your sensitive skin to avoid making existing symptoms worse.

Click here to browse the best products for sensitive skin.

You Have Combination Skin if:

Your skin is a mixture of many different types.

You have oily patches, as well as a bit of dryness in places.

It may feel different depending on environmental factors such as weather and temperature.

Determining whether you have combination skin might be a bit difficult at first.  A common indicator of having combination skin is your T-Zone being oily and your cheeks/chin area being on the dry side.

Having a combination of different skin types can be frustrating and tricky to manage. You should be looking for products that can restore as much balance back to your skin as possible.  Milder ingredients and gentler products are the way forward here.

Here are some common questions about combination skin:

What does combination skin look like?

The simple answer to this question is it can look like basically any skin type.  The problem with combination skin is it takes elements from multiple skin types and mixes them all together.  Therefore you can look like you have dry skin, oily skin, or even normal skin.  Yes, we know it’s annoying!

Does combination skin need a moisturizer?

That depends on how prevalent dry skin is within the combination.  If you have a lot of dry skin, it’s a good idea to use a good moisturizing product.  If a different skin type element is more prominent in your combination than dry skin, you may need something else.

Is combination skin acne prone?

Having combination skin doesn’t make you any more or less likely to develop acne.  Acne is a specific medical condition that can appear independent of whatever skin type you have.  If you suffer from acne you should consult your doctor on how to treat it effectively.

Click here to browse the best products for a combination of skin types.


Thank you for following the instructions. Hopefully, you now have a clearer idea of what type of skin you have, and how you can best look after it going forward.

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