Knowing your skin type and is the first and most crucial step in selecting the right products to treat your skin care concerns.
To practice the most effective skincare, you must know your skin type. That way, you can choose products and routines to match. Certain ingredients work better than others for particular skin types, for example, using the wrong products for your skin type can lead to irritation, excess oil production, breakouts, or drying skin.
In general, your skin is defined by two things; its type and its condition.
It is essential to note the difference between skin type and skin condition when it comes to care and treatment.
In this article, you will learn:
- The difference between skin type and skin condition
- How to determine your skin type
You will then have the knowledge to empower you to learn more. After determining your skin type, you can read a little about each of the skin types and visit a comprehensive skin care guide made just for you.
We have also written guides on a few skin conditions, which are also included further down below.
The Difference Between Skin Type and Skin Condition
Skin type is categorized into:
- dry skin type
- oily skin type
- combination skin type
- normal skin type
By the age of 20, your individual skin type should be evident, but it can change gradually over time.
Skin conditions affect all skin types, they may be temporary or become permanent, and include:
- blackheads and whiteheads
- wrinkles and fine lines
- hyperpigmentation and sun damage
- lack of firmness or radiance
Your skin condition can fluctuate. Over the years it may change, or even through the seasons. It is essential to pay attention to changes in your skin and adjust your routines and products accordingly.
What Affects Your Skin Type and Condition
- Genetics - You will generally have a similar skin type as your family.
- Climate - a hot, dry climate will affect your skin differently than a warm, humid climate, or a cold, windy climate.
- Hormones - Hormones fluctuate during puberty, pregnancy, menopause, monthly cycles.
- Diet/Allergies - Research shows a diet high in antioxidants and omega-3 can improve the appearance of skin.
- Skincare Products - Using the wrong skin care products can cause more problems than it helps.
- Skincare Routines - over-exfoliating, over-moisturizing, or using products with irritating or drying ingredients can cause problems that weren't there before.
- Skin Disorders - rosacea, dermatitis, and psoriasis
How to Determine Your Skin Type
Skin Type is determined through touch and visual inspection. To determine your skin type, take the following steps:
- Wash your face with a mild cleanser, pat dry, and don’t apply any products.
- Wait 2 hours (don’t touch your skin)
Now note the feel and look of your skin:
- If it feels itchy and tight, with flaky or rough patches, you have dry skin.
- If it looks shiny and feels greasy, you have oily skin.
- If it is shiny and oily in the T-zone, but you have dryness on the cheeks or jawline, you have combination skin.
- If your skin feels good and even, not too oily or dry, you have normal skin.
Once you know your skin type, you can visit the skin care guide that is relevant to you.
The Skin Types
If you never feel like you get enough moisture, experience flaking or scaling (run your fingernails across your skin, do you see flakes shooting off?), and have skin that feels tight and itchy, then you most certainly have dry skin.
Note that there is a difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin. Dry skin is a skin type caused by a lack of oil production in the skin, whereas dehydrated skin is a temporary skin condition that is caused by a lack of water or the use of products that dry out the skin.
Dry skin is characterized by:
- A matte appearance
- Sensations of tugging, dryness, and discomfort
- Skin irritation and possible sensitivity
- The presence of fine lines and roughness
Dry skin is made worse by such factors as:
- Using cleansers and treatments not adapted to the skin type
- A lack of essential fatty acids in the diet
- The sun
- Extreme climates
Do you feel like you need to wash your face multiple times a day? Like you can’t get rid of the shine? Does it feel like your makeup slides off? Do you deal with enlarged pores or breakouts? If you answered yes, then you likely have an oily skin type.
Oily skin is skin that produces too much sebum. It may be caused by genetics or internal factors such as hormones.
Oily Skin can result in:
- Blackheads and pimples
- Shiney skin due to overproduction of sebum, especially in the T-zone
- A dull complexion
- Enlarged pores
Oily skin is made worse by such factors as:
- Warm, humid climates
- Aggressive cleansing products
- Products that are inappropriate for the skin type.
Do you have an oily nose but dry cheeks? Do you have trouble finding products that offer enough moisture without making you break out? Do you have flaking and shine at the same time? Then you probably have combination skin.
Combo skin occurs when the T-zone is oilier than the rest of the face.
Combination skin is characterized by:
- Shiny and oily T-zone (nose, forehead, and chin)
- Dilated pores
- Areas of normal or dry skin
Combination skin is made worse by such factors as:
- Trying to treat the whole face with the same products
Does your skin feel good most of the time? You don’t feel too dry or oily? Maybe once and awhile you deal with imbalances, but for the most part, your skin is easy to care for. If this sounds like you, you are one of the lucky people to be blessed with normal skin.
Normal skin refers to skin that is not showing any of the imbalances seen in dry or oily skin.
Normal skin is characterized by:
- A matte and luminous appearance
- Doesn’t feel tight or look shiny.
Normal skin is rare, except in children. Even normal skin, which is defined as well-balanced, can undergo fluctuations due to environmental and internal factors.
Skin sensitivity can affect all skin types. You may be someone who has had sensitive skin from birth, or it may be something that has developed over time.
Sensitive skin is characterized by:
- Irritation that is painful and results in blotchiness
- Itching or burning
Skin sensitivity can be caused by:
- Using products not adapted to your skin type
- Lifestyle (stress, diet, etc.)
- Harmful environmental stressors (climate, pollution, excessive sun exposure)
If you suffer from regular breakouts, whiteheads, blackheads, congested skin and pimples, you are someone who deals with acne.
This is a skin condition close to my heart, as it has been something I heave dealt with for decades, you can read about my acne journey here.
Skin aging is affected by a variety of factors such as genetics, lifestyle, sun exposure, diet, and pollution.
The skin naturally ages, but we can help slow it down and keep our skin looking healthy as we age.
Aging skin is characterized by:
- fine lines and wrinkles
- sagging skin
- loss of radiance
Anti-Aging Routines for Your Skin Type
Every skin type is going to need different products and routines to help it age gracefully, that is why we created these guides to help you find routines and products that will work for you.
Click on the link below to be taken to an anti-aging routine based on skin type.
Other Skin Types
Men have different skin needs than women, that is why we created a guide just for them!
Babies have fragile skin and it is important to avoid irritating ingredients. We created a handy guide to help you care for baby's skin.
We hope this article has helped you determine your skin type and brought you one step closer to finding skin care that works.
If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below. We always answer!