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what skin type do I have?
If you're new to building a skincare routine, where do you start? Knowing your basic skin type can help, especially before delving into more specialized treatments. See below for our handy little guide (plus an easy quiz) to help decipher your skin type. Read on...
The four standard skin types are balanced (normal), dry, oily and combination. Sensitive skin (which we also discuss) is often mistaken for a type even though it's actually a condition. Generally, genetics play a big hand in determining your skin type. With that said, the state of your skin at any point in type can vary according to various factors such as age, climate, treatments etc.
the 5 skincare types
This refers to generally healthy skin is whose pH and sebum production is in equilibrium. The T-zone (forehead, chin and nose) may be a bit oily, but overall, the skin is neither too oily nor too dry. This skin type isn't generally prone to sensitivity either, although it's normal for skin to become dryer with age.
Those lucky enough to have balanced skin enjoy:
Fine, small pores;
Even skin tone;
Good blood circulation;
A strong skin barrier that handles irritants well.
Basically, it's skin goals! To help maintain balanced skin, keep a simple routine. A gentle cleanser always works best. There's no need to use thick creams, but consider a serum for additional antioxidant protection and to protect the quality of your skin through the years. And as always, wear SPF (the sunscreen rule applies to ALL skin types).
Dry skin typically produces less sebum than other skin types, and includes slightly parched to atopic skin. As a result, it lacks the lipids required to retain moisture and build a protective shield against external influences. Those with dry skin tend to have one or more of the following characteristics to varying degrees:
Tightness and pulling, especially after cleansing;
Rough and uneven texture;
Scaling, flaking and itchiness;
Redness and irritation;
Tendency towards chapping and cracking and fine lines.
What should you do: Dry skin requires a hydrating routine to put it back into balance. You should be moisturizing regularly, avoiding harsh ingredients and drinking plenty of water. You may even find a humidifier effective. Check out our range for dry skin dry skinhere. If you have extremely dry to atopic skin, or conditions such as eczemaand dermatitis, we've curated a range of products designed to solve the itching and flaking here.
This skin type has the opposite issue to dry skin: it produces too much sebum! People with oily skin are generally:
More prone to various forms of acne, especially in the T- Zone;
Battling larger, more visible pores;
Bestowed with plumper, shinier skin (the flip side of oily skin).
What you should do: To counteract excessively oily skin, people naturally reach for harsh, drying skincare - particularly if acne is a concern. However, this could be counter-productive as sebum production can go into overdrive to compensate! pH-balancing toners are useful to return your skin back to equilibrium after an acne or oil-targeting cleanser. Exfoliation is beneficial, but keep away from overuse. And as always, moisturize regularly to keep your skin hydrated and to keep it from overproducing sebum. A lightweight, water-based moisturizer is your best bet. Shop all the best products for oily skinhere.
Combination skin is, as the name suggests, skin that has both oily and dry patches. Generally, the T-Zone is oily while the cheeks tend to be dry. Combination skin is usually prone to:
Acne and congestion on the T-Zone;
Mouth, eyes, and cheeks may have dry or normal skin
Enlarged pores around chin, nose and forehead
Dry skin around the eyes, upper lip and cheeks.
What you should do: If you have combination skin, you may need to segment your skin care, by using more emollient products on the dry areas, while treating the oily areas with lightweight and sebum-absorbing product. This is where layering skincare comes in handy. There's also a range of products designed for combination skin - we've gathered it in the one spot for you here.
If you have sensitive skin, you could experience burning, itching, sore and red skin that may also feel quite rough to the touch. Other signs include:
Poor reaction to products, including itchiness and blotches;
Stinging, flushing and dryness;
Heated skin; and
The best way of caring for sensitive skin is to be gentle and patient. Focus on rebuilding your skin barrier, and avoid anything that might be potentially irritating such as fragrances, drying alcohols, dyes and chemicals. Conducting a patch test is mandatory if you want to avoid your skin from reacting. Keep the routine simple, by using a mild cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen. You can browse our recommended products for a compromised skin barrier here, for rosacea here or more generally, sensitive skin products here.
So how do we know if we're still not sure? And when's the best time to check?
Take the sage advice of 'The Korean Skincare Bible' by Lilin Yang, Leah Ganse and Sara Jimenez. Wash your face as per usual. When you're done, do not apply any products onto your face, wait for about an hour and let your skin settle naturally. Check again in the mirror and examine your skin. Shiny or greasy skin points to oily skin. If that is concentrated only in the T-Zone, it's most likely combination. If your skin feels uncomfortably tight and dry, then you most likely have dry (or dehydrated) skin.