5 Skin Types To Know And How to Easily Identify Yours

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Updated on: Educator Review By: Michelle Connolly

When we talk about skin types, we don’t mean if it’s dark or white. We divide skin into different types based on its composition (mainly its oiliness), no matter its colour. Knowing your skin type is crucially important as it will make it easier for you to pick the most suitable products for your skin.

In this article, we are going to cover each of the five major skin types in detail. We will also tell you how to easily identify your skin type and why you should do so in the first place. At the end of this article, we provide a trusted website and an app that will safely help you through your skincare journey.

The following topics are discussed in this article respectively:

Skin Types

There are five major skin types, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.

These are:

  • Normal
  • Dry
  • Oily
  • Sensitive
  • Combination

These skin types differ in their characteristics and needs. In the following sections, we will discuss each type in detail; what defines that skin type, how to identify it, its common concerns, and how to take care of it.

1. Skin Types: Normal Skin

As mentioned before, the type of skin is determined mainly by its oiliness (the amount of oil it produces). The normal skin type, as you may have guessed, is well-balanced. This means it produces the right amount of oil it needs, not too much nor too little. This is the type of skin that everyone wishes to have, as it has the least problems among all other skin types.

2. Skin Types: Dry Skin

Dry skin produces less amount of oil compared to other skin types. Less oil means less shiny skin (dull). This makes it prone to some problems, like being flaky, scaly, itchy, and easily irritated. That is why dry skin benefits the most from moisturizers.

3. Skin Types: Oily Skin

Oily skin, as its name implies, produces excess amounts of oil (the medical term of which is sebum). That is why people with oily skin have shiny skin. Although producing more oil means more moisturized skin, it might get annoying for some people, especially the greasy sensation of the sebum on their faces. This greasy feeling is more prominent in the following areas: nose, forehead, and chin (these are sometimes called the T zone area).

It is not only the greasy sensation that people with oily skin might complain of; there are many other problems they are more prone to than all other skin types.

These problems include:

  • Acne.
  • Enlarged pores.
  • Whiteheads.
  • Blackheads.

4. Skin Types: Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is not a distinct type on its own. In fact, it describes a state in which any skin type becomes more susceptible to irritation and other skin problems. You may have normal or dry and, at the same time, sensitive skin.

5. Skin Types: Combination Skin

As its name implies, it is a combination of two skin types. People with combination skin usually have oily skin on their T zone (forehead, nose, and chin) and dry or normal skin on their cheeks. For this reason, it is somewhat difficult to take care of this skin type.

Does my skin type change?

After knowing all the skin types and their properties, we want to draw your attention to a very important fact. That is, your skin type is not constant all year round or throughout your whole life, and it may change from time to time, depending on several factors.

The factors that affect your skin type:

  • Stress.
  • Genetics.
  • Hormonal changes.
  • Some medications.
  • Seasonal changes (climate).
  • The natural ageing process.

We know that the amount of sebum (oil) produced by your skin determines its type. But do you know where that sebum comes from or how it is formed?

Sebum production inside your skin.

Oil is produced inside your skin by a specialized gland known as the sebaceous gland (see the above picture to get a clear picture of where this gland lies; it is that yellowish structure attached to your hair).

But how does the sebum formed in this gland get to the surface of your skin?

The opening of the sebaceous gland is attached to the hair, and thus sebum finds its way out to the surface through the hair opening.

And here’s a short video that explains these types in a fun way.

Skin types (normal, dry, oily, sensitive, and combination)

Why Should You Know Your Skin Type?

Before we get to know how to identify our skin type, we need to know first why we should care in the first place about our skin type.

There are many benefits to knowing the type of your skin. These benefits include:

  • Each skin type has different needs. For example, oily skin won’t benefit that much from moisturizers, unlike dry skin, which will benefit tremendously from them.
  • You will give your skin the personalized care it needs to look healthier and younger.
  • Since you choose the products that best fit your skin type, you will give it what it needs to stay stronger. This translates into lower chances of infections or any other skin problems.
  • You will save your money as you won’t buy any skin products unless you know they work best for your skin type.

How to Identify Your Skin Type

Identifying your skin type is extremely easy and does not require any complex tools. You might have already guessed your skin type based on the information provided above about each type and its characteristics. But if you are still confused, don’t worry. We will tell you how to do so right away.

There are two simple methods you can try at home to know your skin type.

These two methods are:

  • The bare-faced method.
  • The blotting sheet method.

1. The bare-faced method.

  • Wash your face with a gentle cleanser.
  • Gently pat it to dry.
  • Wait for 30 minutes, and don’t apply any skincare product during this period.
  • Examine your face for any shine and notice how it looks to determine its type:
    • If it looks shiny throughout, then your skin type is most likely oily.
    • If it sounds tight and dull, it is most probably dry skin.
    • If it looks shiny only on the T zone area and normal or dry on the cheeks, it is most likely combination skin.
    • If it appears hydrated and not too shiny, then you are most likely blessed with normal skin.

2. The blotting sheet method.

  • Do the first three steps as mentioned in the previous method (cleanse, dry, and wait).
  • Pat a blotting sheet to all areas of your face.
  • Hold this sheet up to the light and notice how much oil it contains.
    • If the sheet appears soaked up in oil, then you most probably have oily skin.
    • If it picked up very little to no oil at all, then it is most likely dry skin.
    • It is a combination skin if it absorbs only a small amount of oil (mainly from your T zone area).
    • If it has a minimal amount of oil, then your skin type is most likely normal.

Still confused?

Well, you can just take this 7-question quiz, and it will automatically give you your skin type.

How to Take Care of Your Skin According to Its Type

We are pretty much familiar with all five major skin types and their characteristics. So knowing how to take care of each type should be easier for you. Let’s take a look at how to take care of each skin type in the following sections.

1. Normal Skin

Starting with the easiest skin type to care for. That is mainly because people with normal skin type are blessed with fewer concerns and don’t have any major problems like other skin types. But you can still pamper your skin with some skincare products to make it looks healthier. Some of these products may include a gentle cleanser and a lightweight moisturizer. And, of course, don’t forget your sunscreen; this applies to all skin types, not only the normal ones.

2. Dry Skin

Given the fact that people with dry skin have tight and dull-looking skin due to the lack of oil production, they need to deeply moisturise their skin. You can use a heavyweight moisturizer to deeply nurture your skin and lock in the moisture. It is recommended to avoid cleansers as your skin does not produce much oil, and washing that minimal oil you have might exacerbate the dryness. However, you can use a gentle cleanser to wash away the dirt from your skin.

3. Oily Skin

Having excess oil secretion means they will benefit from cleansers. Cleansing the skin will remove excess oil along with unwanted dirt that accumulates on the skin. This will reduce their risk of clogged pores and subsequent problems as there won’t be excess oil obstructing these pores. You can also exfoliate your skin regularly to minimize your chances of getting clogged pores.

4. Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin is one of the most difficult skin types, as it is not easy to find a product that won’t negatively affect it. It is more of a trial and error process that you have to go through to know the ingredients that your skin is highly sensitive towards and try to avoid them in the future. Meanwhile, it is highly recommended to stay away from ingredients that were proven to cause irritation to the skin, like synthetic fragrances, parabens, mineral oil, phthalates, urea, and sulfate detergents.

5. Combination Skin

Now the most difficult skin type to take care of, the combination skin. This type is quite hard to deal with as it combines two or more skin types. This means if you try to deal with one of its problems, you might make other problems worse without intending to do so. That is why it is better to stay on the safe side and use gentle skincare products rather than strong ones. If you have combination skin, you may benefit from lightweight moisturizers and gentle cleansers.

If you want a quick summary of all the previously mentioned information, we have designed the following table to give you a bigger picture of all the differences and similarities among these skin types.

Combination Skin
Skin typeNormalDryOilySensitiveCombination
PropertiesWell-balanced (neither too oily nor too dry). Its oil production is less than the normal average. The opposite of dry skin; it produces more oil than the normal average.Very sensitive to internal and external factors.It combines two or more skin types. Most commonly presented with oily T zone area and normal or dry cheeks.
How to identify itlooks healthy and hydrated (neither too dry nor too oily).Looks dry and dull with minimal oil secretion.Looks shiny throughout and feels greasy on touching.Looks red and irritated.Looks oily only in the T zone area, while the cheeks might look normal or dry.
Common problems1. Not Found1. Flakiness
2. Scaliness
3. Fine lines
1. Acne.
2. Greasy appearance.
3. Enlarged pores.
4. Whiteheads.
5. Blackheads.
1. Irritation
2. Redness
3. Itching
4. Dryness
1. It combines the problems of the two types it encompasses but in a much more mild form.
How to take care of itYou can use the following:
1. A gentle cleanser.
2. A lightweight moisturizer.
You can use the following:
1. A heavyweight moisturizer.
2. A gentle cleanser.
You can do the following:
1. Use a deep cleanser.
2. Use a lightweight moisturizer.
3. Do regular exfoliation.
You can use the following:
1. Fregerance-free skincare products.
2. It is highly recommended to test any product on your arms or behind your ears before applying it directly to your face.
You can use the following:
1. A gentle cleanser.
2. A lightweight moisturizer.
Skin types (normal, dry, oily, sensitive, and combination)


After knowing all types of skin and how to easily identify yours, you are ready to go out there and pick the most convenient skin products for you. And to make it easier for you to check the best ingredients for your skin type, we highly recommend this miraculous app. It’s available on both Android and IOS. This app uses artificial intelligence to match your skin type with the most effective products for it. You don’t need to memorize anything, all you need to do is to give it some accurate information about your skin type and the most irritating problems you face, and it instantly gives you the best products based on this information.

Enjoyed this article!

You will find similar articles on our website that talk about different body parts like your heart, nose, eyes, urinary system, skeletal system, cardiovascular system, and much more.

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