The skin is the largest organ of the human body and is unique to each person, with different types, tones and textures. When caring for your skin we are extremely spoiled for choice with a huge range of skincare products on the market, but this can also lead to confusion and be quite overwhelming especially if you don’t know your skin type and the right products to treat your skin concerns.
In this simple skincare guide we are going to help you determine your skin type, breaking each type down by common characteristics and providing recommendations so you know the best skincare products to use to suit your skin type.
It is important to remember that your skin type can change as you age, throughout the seasons and in different climates so be sure to monitor your skin's health and if you notice any changes refer back to this guide and adjust your skincare routine accordingly.
If you are still unsure of your skin type after reading this guide or if you are experiencing pain or extreme sensitivity, we highly recommend visiting a dermatologist so they can provide the best course of action.
How can I find out my skin type?
Below we have listed the 5 different skin types, the characteristics of each one and the products and ingredients you can use to balance, nurture and care for your skin.
What are the different skin types?
The 5 most common skin types are:
Normal / Balanced Skin
If you think of Normal skin in relation to Goldilocks and the Three Bears it would be ‘just right’. It doesn’t mean your skin is perfect but overall it is balanced, not too oily and not too dry, with no major skin concerns.
Do I have Normal Skin?
- Not too oily or dry
- No visible open pores
- No visible congestion or breakouts
- No redness or blemishes
- Less prone to sensitivity
How to treat Normal / Balanced Skin?
A less is more approach is recommended for Normal and Balanced skin types so you keep your skin moisturised, balanced and so not to over stimulate or disrupt your skin's barrier. Also avoid skincare products containing alcohol and strong active ingredients so as not to strip your skin.
Use a gentle cleanser, toner and follow with a hydrating moisturiser and always wear sunscreen. You may also like to incorporate a gentle exfoliator 1-2 times a week.
In the cooler months swap to richer day or night cream for extra hydration.
Combination skin is one of the most common skin types and it is when you experience oiliness throughout your T-Zone (forehead, nose and chin) and dryness on the outer parts of your face (cheeks).
Do I have Combination Skin?
- Oily T-Zone (forehead, nose and chin)
- Dry outer areas of the face (cheeks)
- Prone to congestion through T-Zone
- Less prone to breakouts on the cheeks
How to treat Combination Skin?
Treating combination skin is a balancing act to ensure we are adding the right amount of moisture to combat dryness while also regulating oiliness. This can mean a multi-step approach so as not to weigh down or dry out the skin.
Wash the face using a gel cleanser and follow with a gentle liquid exfoliator/toner through the T-Zone. Apply a lightweight Hyaluronic Acid Serum for hydration and finish with a water-based moisturiser.
Always wear sunscreen, but opt for an oil-free formula. You can also use a clay mask 1-2 times a week but only apply it to your T-Zone to balance oil production.
Dry skin is lacking in natural oil production (not to be confused with Dehydrated Skin which is a skin condition and it is when your skin is lacking in water) and can look and feel dry, tight, rough, flakey and in some cases itchy.
You may experience dry skin as you get older and in the cooler months so it is important to increase moisture and avoid taking long, hot showers as this can dry the skin out even more.
Do I have Dry Skin?
- Dryness all over
- Rough and scratchy
- Lacks oil and shine
How to treat Dry Skin?
If you have dry skin you want to increase moisture so start by cleansing with an oil based cleanser and use a gentle exfoliant once or twice a week, but avoid it if your skin is flaking.
Face Serums, Oils and Moisturisers formulated with Hyaluronic Acid, Squalane, Vitamin E and plant based butters and oils such as Shea Butter, Rosehip and Jojoba Oils can help to nourish, repair and hydrate your skin. Apply a rich night cream so it can absorb into the skin while you sleep and wear a moisturising SPF.
In addition to a consistent skincare routine, drinking 2-3L of water a day, increasing your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables and reducing salt in your diet can also contribute to reducing dryness and dehydration in the skin.
If Dry Skin is lacking oil then Oily Skin is when you have an overproduction of natural oils which leads to a shiny and greasy complexion. This can be heavily evident through the T-Zone but is usually all over the face.
While Oily skin can be troublesome it definitely comes with its advantages such as your skin looking more hydrated and plump with reduced fine lines and wrinkles.
Do I have Oily Skin?
- Shiny and Greasy (especially through the T-Zone)
- Acne and Congestion
- Open Pores
- Blackheads and Whiteheads
- Prone to Breakouts and Blemishes
How to treat Oily Skin?
When treating Oily Skin you don’t want to remove the excess oil so using products formulated with ingredients such as Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid, Kaolin Clay and Niacinamide can help balance the skin.
Double cleanse using a gentle gel cleanser and follow with an exfoliant to minimise clogged pores and blemishes without stripping the skin's natural moisture barrier.
Finish with a lightweight moisturiser and sunscreen for hydration and protection. Use a clay face mask 1 to 2 times a week to help to draw out impurities and decongest pores.
Sensitive Skin can be a skin condition as well as a skin type so if you associate with any of the above skin types (normal, combination, dry or oily) it can also be possible that you have sensitive skin too. If your skin becomes red, easily irritated and itchy they could be signs you have Sensitive Skin.
Do I have Sensitive Skin?
- Overly Sensitive
- Redness and Flushing
- Burning or Itching
- Dry and Irritated
- Flares up by certain ingredients or environment impacts
How to treat Sensitive Skin?
Sensitive Skin requires extra TLC to calm and care for the skin and you should always do a patch test before using a new product to ensure it doesn't cause a reaction. Introduce products one at a time and avoid layering so you can determine if the product is right for you.
If you have Sensitive Skin you will want to avoid active ingredients, sulphates, alcohol and synthetic fragrances as they could trigger a reaction. Instead opt for gentle and supportive skincare formulas that will work to restore and strengthen your skin's barrier. Calming ingredients such as Rosehip, Jojoba Oil, Squalane and Niacinamide can be ideal for Sensitive Skin without causing irritation.
Keep your skincare routine simple by using a gentle cleanser and a light to medium weight face serum or moisturiser for hydration. Sun protection is a must but opt for a physical sunscreen which doesn’t absorb into the skin.
Have you found this skincare guide helpful? Let us know in the comments below along with your favourite product to suit your skin type.