Beauty, Skincare, Tutorials

How to Determine Your Skin Type

You see it everywhere but probably don’t realize it. Foundations, concealers, cleansers and moisturizers all have labels on the bottom that say “For Normal Skin Types” or “For Combination/Oily Skin“. Do you pay attention to those labels? Do you pick the right product for your skin when shopping the beauty aisles? Or do you just grab whatever sounds right, or what you hope you have? Like grabbing the size 2 dress when you really need a size 6.

Most people don’t know what kind of skin type they have, but what kind of skin you have should be the first and the most important step on your skincare journey. Determining and understanding your skin type is essential to properly treating and maintaining your skincare regimen. Commonly, people will even misdiagnose themselves with a different skin type than what they actually have. Here are the different types of skin types and how to recognize and test yourself.

Skin types vary depending upon factors such as:

  • Water content, which affects your
    skin’s comfort and elasticity
  • Oil (lipid) content, which affects
    your skin’s softness
  • Sensitivity level
  • Weather or season
  • Hormones

To determine your skin type at home, the best method is to wash your face at night of all make-up, sunscreen and dirt. Do not use any skin care products (that’s including moisturizer!) and sleep in an air condition free environment. (It might be miserable, but you cant have cold or hot circulated air messing up your results!) When you wake up, before doing anything to your face, wipe a clean oil blotting tissue (or piece of tissue paper) around your face.

How to test your skin:
Before going to bed, wash your face of all make-up and debris you’ve picked up during the day and pat dry. Do not apply any skincare products or moisturizers. Turn off your A/C, tie your hair in a braid away from your face and go to sleep. Get an appropriate amount of beauty sleep. Test your skin with a fresh, clean facial tissue or oil blotting paper right when you wake up before you wash or apply anything to your face. Also, observe the look and feel of your skin in the mirror.
There are five main categories:
  1. Normal
  2. Oily
  3. Dry
  4. Combination
  5. Sensitive
Here are the zones that are the most effective in determining your skin type. These are the areas you should wipe with your fresh, clean facial tissue.

The T-Zone

Imagine writing a T in the middle of your face. The T-Zone consists of the forehead, nose, sides of the nose and chin.


The C-Zone

The C-Zone is a lesser known term. Draw a C on the outside of your face from your temples to your jaw. The C-Zone is usually dry and blemish free, but can help identify combination, acne prone and oily skin types.


(slightly oily T-Zone but dry
Normal skin is not too dry or not too oily. It has a radiant complexion, few problems or imperfections, barely visible pores and a sturdy disposition. You might see slight oil on your facial tissue around your t-zone, but the rest of your skin will appear and feel hydrated and smooth. Normal skin types create just the right amount of oil/sebum to keep skin hydrated, elastic and happy, but don’t be confused – normal skin types can also suffer from acne and other skin problems just like any other skin type. The idea that normal skin is always flawless is what commonly confuses people when trying to figure out their skin type.
If you think you have this skin type (congrats), learn ways of caring for it HERE.


 (oily t-zone and c-zone)

Oily skin is oily on the cheeks, nose, and forehead. It can also cause oil on the outer areas like the chin and hairline. Basically, oil slick everywhere.
The oily skin type simply makes much more oil than necessary to have naturally and properly moisturized skin. Oily skin is not a result of “rebound oil production” or a poor diet. Oily skin is just that – oilier than normal. Oily skin tends to look greasy, thick, dull, coarse, and shiny. It also can have enlarged pores, and tends to break into acne like blackheads and pimples.

If you think you have this skin type, learn ways of caring for it HERE.


 (dry t-zone and c-zone)
There will be no visible oil on the facial tissue, your face skin will feel
flaky, dry, and tight after you have wiped it.
Dry skin simply does not naturally produce enough sebum to keep the skin properly moisturized. Dry skin can easily develop a sallow tone, wrinkles, and fine pores,
and it is very prone to aging and irritation. Dry skin has almost invisible pores, a dull or rough appearance, red patches, less elasticity and more visible lines.
If you think you have this skin type, learn ways of caring for it HERE.



 (dry in some areas oily in others)

Combination skin can suffer from both oil and dryness, but from differing locations. You can have a dry T-Zone and an oily C-Zone. Or you can have an oily forehead and chin but dry cheeks and nose. Combination skin has patches of both dry and oily skin, and it requires different types of care in relation to those particular facial areas. You might need to buy a different foundation for different parts of your face. How high maintenance! Oh, the things we do for beauty.
Combination skin can produce overly dilated pores, blackheads and shiny slightly wet looking skin.

If you think you have this skin type, learn ways of caring for it HERE.



 (red and flaky)

Oil will not usually appear on a facial tissue from sensitive skin, as it usually is very dry and flaky. You might experience burning or itching on the face from very mundane things, like water or using a new product.
Sensitive skin is usually very dry, tends to feel tight, and becomes inflamed and irritated very easily.

If you think you have this skin type, learn ways of caring for it HERE.

Common things that confuse people

1. All skin types can suffer from skin problems like acne, roscea and sensitivity (espeically if you’re allergic to an ingredient). Normal skin types can get comedones just as likely as an oily skin type. The idea that there’s an “acne-prone” skin type is, quite frankly, ridiculous. Some people are more likely to have acne, but there’s still a skin type under there.

2. Not all oily skin is caused by “rebound oil production”. There’s a commonly held belief that if you starve your skin of moisture that it will start producing more sebum to make up for it. There’s very little scientific evidence that this is true. Some people just produce more oil than others, and have to care for their skin differently than those who do not. To learn more about rebound oil production, click HERE.
3. Another term used to describe skin is Dehydrated Skin. This is actually a condition of the skin, not a skin type. To learn more about dehydrated skin, click HERE.
4. Skin types change. You can have oily skin in the summer and dry skin in the winter (which is quite common). Medications or changes to your skincare routine can also change the way your skin behaves on a day to day basis. Don’t forget to always be aware of any skin changes and adapt your products and routine accordingly.
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