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How To Determine Your Skin Type?

skin type

Determining your skin type is an essential step in understanding how to care for and maintain the health of your skin. It helps you choose the right skincare products and develop a personalised skincare routine that addresses your specific needs. While everyone’s skin is unique, there are five general skin types: normal, dry, oily, combination, and sensitive. Read on to learn more about these skin types in detail and how different tests help to identify your skin type!

What are the Five Main Skin Types?

1. Normal Skin: Normal skin is well-balanced, with a proper amount of oil and moisture. It has a smooth texture, small pores, and few imperfections. Normal skin usually doesn’t experience extreme dryness, oiliness, or sensitivity.

2. Dry Skin: Dry skin lacks oil and moisture, resulting in a parched and dull appearance. It feels tight and may be prone to flakiness, rough patches, and fine lines. Dry skin is often caused by genetics, environmental factors, or inadequate hydration.

3. Oily Skin: Oily skin produces an excess amount of sebum, the skin’s natural oil. It appears shiny or greasy, particularly in the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). Oily skin is more prone to enlarged pores, acne, blackheads, and other blemishes.

4. Combination Skin: Combination skin is characterised by having both oily and dry areas. Typically, the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) is oilier, while the cheeks and other parts of the face may be normal or dry. Combination skin can be challenging to manage as it requires a balance between hydration and oil control.

5. Sensitive Skin: Sensitive skin is easily irritated and reacts to various factors, such as skin care products, environmental aggressors, or certain ingredients. It often appears red, feels itchy or stinging, and may experience discomfort or allergic reactions. Sensitive skin requires gentle and soothing skincare products to avoid triggering reactions.

Remember that these skin types are general categories, and many individuals may have a combination of characteristics from different types. Additionally, skin conditions can change over time due to various factors, like climate, hormones, ageing, and diet, so it’s important to regularly assess your skin and adapt your skincare routine accordingly.

The Bare Skin Method

Photo by Septian simon on Unsplash

The “bare skin” method is an easy way to determine your skin type at home without any additional tools or products.

1. Wash your face: Start with a gentle cleanser and remove any makeup or skincare products you have applied.

2. Pat dry: Gently pat your face dry with a clean towel, avoiding rubbing, which can irritate the skin.

3. Observe your skin: Leave your skin bare for about an hour, allowing it to return to its natural state. During this time, observe your skin in a well-lit area or in natural light.

4. Check for oiliness: If your face appears shiny or greasy, especially in the T-zone area, you might have oily skin. If there is little to no shine, you probably have normal or dry skin.

5. Assess moisture levels: If your skin feels tight, dry, or shows signs of flakiness, these are signs that you probably have dry skin. If it feels adequately hydrated without excess oil or dryness, you’re likely to be blessed with normal skin!

6. Evaluate the T-zone: Pay close attention to the forehead, nose, and chin. If these areas appear oily while the cheeks or other parts of your face seem normal or dry, you likely have combination skin.

7. Note sensitivity: If your skin is prone to redness, reacts quickly to new products, or feels irritated or itchy, you likely have sensitive skin.

The Blotting Sheet Method

Image by Loreal Paris

The blotting sheet method is a simple and popular technique to determine your skin type, particularly for assessing oiliness. Here’s how to perform the blotting sheet method:

1. Start with clean skin: Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and pat it dry with a clean towel.

2. Wait for an hour: Allow your skin to return to its natural state by avoiding any skincare products or makeup for about an hour. This step ensures that the results are not influenced by any residual product on your skin.

3. Obtain blotting sheets: Blotting sheets are typically thin, absorbent sheets made specifically for this purpose. You can find them at drugstores, beauty supply stores, or online.

4. Blot different areas of your face: Take a blotting sheet and gently press it against different areas of your face, particularly the forehead, nose, chin, and cheeks. Hold it for a few seconds to allow the sheet to absorb any excess oil.

5. Assess the results: After blotting, observe the blotting sheet to determine the amount of oil absorbed and assess your skin type based on the following indicators:

  • If the blotting sheet has minimal to no oil traces and your skin feels comfortable without tightness or dryness, you likely have normal or balanced skin.
  • If the blotting sheet shows minimal oil, but your skin feels tight and dry or shows signs of flakiness, you likely have dry skin. 
  • If the blotting sheet has noticeable oil traces, particularly in the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin), and your skin appears shiny or greasy, you likely have oily skin.
  • If the blotting sheet shows a combination of oil from the T-zone areas and little to no oil from the cheeks or other areas, you likely have combination skin.
  • If the blotting sheet has minimal oil but your skin tends to react easily and becomes red, itchy, or irritated, you likely have sensitive skin.

Remember that the blotting sheet method primarily helps determine your skin’s level of sebum production and is not a comprehensive assessment of other skin characteristics like dryness or sensitivity. It’s always beneficial to consider other factors such as how your skin feels, looks, and reacts to different products when determining your skin type.

These are general guidelines, and your skin type may change due to factors such as hormonal fluctuations, climate, diet, or ageing. It’s essential to regularly reassess your skin type and adjust your skincare routine accordingly to ensure optimal skin health. If you’re still uncertain about your skin type or have persistent skin concerns, it’s best to consult with a board-certified dermatologist or skin care professional for a more accurate assessment.


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