There are four basic skin types. Normal, oily, dry and combination. Let’s take a look at how to determine your skin type.
Different Skin Types
Normal skin is neither too oily nor too dry. It has balanced sebum production and good blood circulation.
Oily skin is characterized by a greasy appearance. This skin type is prone to acne breakouts. Oily skin is the result of excess sebum production.
Dry skin is determined by flaky and rough texture. It can at times feel tight and cause irritation.
Combination skin is a mix of oily skin and dry skin. Usually in combination skin types, the T-zone is oily and the cheeks are dry.
Take a sheet of blotting paper and gently pat it on your face. Hold it against a bright light. If you see little to no oil, you likely have dry skin. If the sheet picks up some oil from the T-zone, you have combination or normal skin. If it picks up oil from all the parts of your face, you likely have oily skin.
What is normal skin?
Normal skin is also called eudermic. This means it is well-balanced. It is neither too oily nor too dry. Normal skin tends to have balanced pH levels and sebum production.
How can you identify normal skin?
- Smooth texture
- Fine pores
- No sensitivity
- No blemishes
- Few or no breakouts
How to take care of normal skin
It’s as simple as this - if you don’t have diabetes, will you take insulin? However, that doesn’t mean it’s okay for you to binge on high carbs and your favorite chocolates every night while watching TV shows.
Your skin needs to be taken care of too. If you have normal skin, you don’t have to go all out with a skincare routine. However, you should make it a point to stay healthy, hydrated and follow a basic skincare regimen.
If you have normal skin, these steps will help maintain it:
- Stay hydrated
If you don’t drink enough water throughout the day, your skin may dry up and start getting flaky. It can also lead to excess sebum production.
- Wear sunscreen
Sunscreen is a must for overall skin health maintenance. Direct sun exposure can dry up your skin, cause wrinkles and dark patches. An oil-free sunscreen is recommended to avoid clogging skin pores.
Moisturizers are a must for any skin type. They keep the skin moist and prevent it from overproducing sebum.
However, applying too much moisturizer on normal skin can make your skin prone to irritants. (1) Moisturize your skin once a day or once in two days.
- Remove your makeup before sleeping
Makeup can clog pores and lead to breakouts. You want to avoid that by taking it off after a long day.
- Wash/Cleanse your face before sleeping
Even if you don’t wear makeup, wash your face every night before you sleep. Dirt and bacteria from outside can clog pores.
How can you identify oily skin?
- Greasy appearance
- Open/Big pores
- Prone to breakouts
What causes oily skin?
- Hormonal changes
Hormonal imbalances during puberty or pregnancy can result in oily skin.
Where you live and the time of the year can contribute to oily skin. If you live in a humid or hot environment, it is likely to result in oily skin.
Look around you. Do your immediate family members have oily skin? If the answer is yes, you most likely have it too!
- Large pores
Large pores tend to produce more sebum.
- Exfoliating too much/Using harsh soaps
Sometimes, what you think may be contributing to glowing skin may actually be the cause of diminishing skin health. Exfoliating too much or too hard can stimulate sebum production. Using harsh chemicals, not suitable for your skin type can also contribute to oily skin.
Tips for oily skin:
- Moisturize regularly
Moisturizing regularly will keep your skin hydrated and prevent it from overproducing sebum.
- Stay hydrated
Drink enough water to keep your skin moist. This will prevent your skin from producing excess oil.
- Wash your face twice a day
Wash your face two times a day to remove dirt and bacteria that may clog your pores. Don’t overwash. Overwashing can remove necessary oils from your skin. This can result in sensitive skin and make it more oil-prone.
A lack of moisture in the skin can result in a flaky and rough appearance. This is called dry skin.
How can you identify dry skin?
- Flaky and rough skin
- Uneven texture
- Skin feels tight
What causes dry skin?
If most of your family members have dry skin, you are likely to have it too.
Dry skin is more common in dry climates and in the winter season due to lack of humidity.
- Long showers
If you spend long hours in the shower, it can get your skin rid of its necessary oils. This contributes to dry skin.
As you grow older, sebum production in your skin reduces. This can result in flaky skin.
Tips for dry skin
- Moisturize your skin regularly to keep it soft and hydrated
- Don’t spend too much time in the shower
- Pat your skin gently while drying yourself up
- Drink lots of water
- Use a humidifier to retain your skin’s natural moisture
- Use sunscreen to prevent your skin from getting dehydrated
Combination skin is a mixture of two skin types - dry skin and oily skin.
How can you identify combination skin?
- Oily T-zone and dry cheeks
- Breakouts only on forehead, chin and nose
- Sensitive cheeks
What causes combination skin?
If any of your parents and other family members have combination skin, you may have it too.
Sometimes, harsh products can cause a change in skin type and contribute to excess sebum production in the T-zone.
You may see a change in your skin type depending on the change in climate. For example, summers may make your skin oily. Your skin may feel dry during the winter months.
Tips for combination skin
- Use cleansers
If you have combination skin, the pores in your T-zone are larger than the rest of your face. Harsh products may clog your pores. Using a gentle cleanser is recommended.
- Exfoliate gently and once in a while
Exfoliating everyday isn’t recommended for any skin type. It can remove necessary oils from your skin. When you exfoliate, don’t scrub your T-zone too much. Scrubbing too hard can damage your skin.
- Wear sunscreen
Sunscreen is a must-have skin care product. Choose an oil-free sunscreen if you have combination skin.
- Maintain two separate skin care routines
Products that work for dry skin may be harsh on oily skin. Follow a separate skincare regimen for your T-zone. Don’t use the same products for your T-zone and the rest of your face.
- Buy oil-free products
Whether its a sunscreen or makeup, buy oil-free products to avoid clogged pores.
How can you identify sensitive skin?
- Skin feels itchy and tight
- Parts of your body have uneven texture
- Becomes oily in summers
- Gets dry in winters
- Reacts to skincare
- Becomes red after a hot water bath
- Feels itchy while wearing tight clothes
- Flushes easily after eating spicy food
Are allergies the same as skin sensitivity?
Allergies are more severe and can sometimes cause difficulty in breathing and nausea. If you are allergic to dust, it doesn’t necessarily mean your skin is sensitive.
In skincare, you may be allergic to a particular ingredient but your skin may not be sensitive. It may be able to adapt to other products that don’t contain that ingredient. However, if you have sensitive skin, your skin will most likely react to most harsh chemicals and skin products.
Tips for sensitive skin
- Conduct a patch test
This is mandatory if you want to avoid your skin from reacting. Don’t use a product without testing it on your hand. Wait for 24 hours after the patch test. If your skin doesn’t react to it, go ahead and apply it to your face.
- Don’t overdo your skincare routine
Buy a mild cleanser, moisturizer and sunscreen. Don’t apply too many products to your face.
- Don’t blindly believe the “hypoallergenic” label
Products claiming to be “hypoallergenic” may not necessarily suit you. Conduct a patch test before applying these products as well.