What’s your skin type?
Skin types include normal, oily, dry and sensitive. Some people also have a combination of skin types in different areas of their skin. Your skin type can change over time. For example, younger people are more likely than older people to have a normal skin type.
Skin types vary depending upon a combination of factors. They include your skin’s:
- Water content, which affects your skin’s comfort and elasticity.
- Lipid (oil) content, which affects your skin’s softness and nutrition.
- Level of sensitivity, which affects your skin’s tolerance to certain substances.
Here’s what you need to know about what skin type you have and how to take better care of your skin.
Normal skin type
If you have a normal skin type, you’re lucky to have skin that has a good balance and the right amounts of water and lipids. Normal skin has:
- No or few imperfections
- No severe sensitivity
- Barely visible pores
- A radiant complexion
Combination skin type
A combination skin type can be dry or normal in some areas, and oily in others, such as the T-zone. The T-zone is the nose, forehead, and chin area. A common skin type, combination skin may benefit from slightly different types of skin care in different areas.
Combination skin can produce:
- Overly dilated pores
- Shiny skin
This type of skin results from genetic or hormonal factors that cause an imbalance in how much and where lipids are produced. It can also vary, depending on the weather.
Dry skin type
Dry skin can produce:
- Almost invisible pores
- Dull, rough complexion
- Red patches
- Less elasticity
- More visible lines
When exposed to drying factors, skin can flake, crack, peel or become itchy, irritated or inflamed. If your skin is very dry, it can become rough and scaly, especially on the backs of your hands, arms, and legs.
Dry skin may be caused or worsened by:
- Ageing or changes in hormones
- Weather such as wind, sun, or cold or ultraviolet (UV) radiation
- Indoor heating
- Long hot baths and showers
- Ingredients in soaps, cosmetics or cleaning agents
Here are some tips for taking better care of dry skin:
- Take shorter showers and baths, no more than once daily.
- Use mild, gentle soaps or cleansers. Avoid deodorant soaps.
- Don’t scrub while bathing or drying.
- Apply a rich moisturiser right after bathing. Ointments and creams may work better than lotions for dry skin. Reapply as needed throughout the day.
- Use a humidifier and don’t let indoor temperatures get too hot.
- Buy natural cleaning products.
- Wear gloves when using cleaning agents, solvents or household detergents.
Oily skin type
Oily skin is more common in youth. It occurs when glands in the skin secrete too much oil (lipids). Oily skin can produce:
- Enlarged pores
- Dull or shiny, thick complexion
- Blackheads, spots or other blemishes
Oiliness can change, depending upon the time of year or the weather. Oily skin can be caused or worsened by:
- Puberty or other hormonal imbalances
- Exposure to heat or too much humidity
Here are some tips for taking better care of oily skin:
- Wash your skin no more than twice a day, and after you perspire heavily.
- Use a gentle cleanser and don’t scrub.
- Don’t pick, pop or squeeze spots. This prolongs healing time.
- Use products labelled as “noncomedogenic.” They don’t tend to clog pores.
Sensitive skin type
If your skin is sensitive, it’s helpful to find out why so you can stay away from things that make it react. You may have sensitive skin for a variety of reasons, but often in response to particular skin care products.
Sensitive skin can show up as:
Common skin irritants include:
- Bath soaps
- Eye cosmetics
The basics of skin care
These tips will help your skin stay healthier, no matter its type.
- Use a broad spectrum sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Avoid direct sunlight and wear a hat and sunglasses.
- Stay hydrated.
- Wash your skin thoroughly every day and never wear makeup to bed.
- Moisturise your skin.