Getting to Know Your Skin Type

Understanding your skin type is the first step to establishing a skincare routine. While the basis of a skincare routine is the same for everyone, your skin type will determine what products to use and which to avoid. Every skincare routine includes a cleanser, toner, serum, and moisturizer. At each step, you’ll want to consider your skin type when choosing which brands and products to invest in. We’re going to look at the five most common skin types so you can find out how you should personalize your skincare routine.


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Four ladies of different ethnicities and different skin types applying different products


Acne-Prone Skin Types

We often think acne-prone skin is what every teenager has. In reality, you can suffer from acne-prone skin at any age. If you suffer from the occasional hormonal spot, you likely don’t have acne-prone skin. A telltale sign of this skin type is when you have continuous breakouts.

Acne-prone Skin Type

A common trend that you’ll see in these skin types is that they often overlap. Acne-prone skin typically sits on the oily side, as the excess oil allows the breakouts to develop quicker. You can also have acne-prone skin that is drier, as this can result in clogged pores and environmental issues can lead to skin irritation that triggers acne.

If you have acne-prone skin, you’ll want to take the time to figure out what kind of acne you suffer from. We can split acne into two types: inflammatory and non-inflammatory. Inflammatory acne leads to redness in your skin, which emphasizes the appearance of the spots and pimples. Non-inflammatory acne is blackheads and whiteheads, which are typically smaller in appearance than pimples.

Start your skincare routine by cleansing your skin, and double-cleansing at night after wearing makeup. You should include a mild face wash in your double cleanse. For acne-prone skin, you’ll want to stay on the lookout for serums that include salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide. You might also choose to use retinoid products once or twice a week to remove dead skin cells to clear out your pores. Invest in face masks that are formulated for acne-prone skin to help reduce inflammation, tackle oiliness, and remove impurities.

Combination Skin Types

Combination skin types can differ across a full spectrum of mixtures. Most people have combination skin but misinterpret the signs that their skin differs between their t-zone and cheeks. Traditionally, combination skin is when your t-zone is oily while the rest of your face is dry. Most of the products you see being sold for ‘combination skin’ typically have this type in mind. You can have other combination skin types such as dry and sensitive or acne-prone and oily.

Combination Skin Type

If you have combination skin and use the wrong products, you can exacerbate your problem areas. The trick to looking after combination skin is to spot treat. Your skincare concerns will usually revolve around your t-zone, but you should find products to treat each part of your face. Don’t be afraid to apply moisturizers designed for dry-skin on your cheeks and jawline, while using a lighter cream on your t-zone.

One way to treat all of your skin is to exfoliate regularly. Exfoliating will help to clear out the clogged pores in your t-zone. It can also help improve the moisture in the dry sections of your skin. Serums will let you target specific skin concerns, such as acne and hyperpigmentation. Developing a consistent skincare routine can help balance your skin type and improve both parts of your skin.

Dry Skin Types

Dry skin can be one of the easiest types to determine. If you feel the need to moisturize your skin to reduce tightness, you likely suffer from dry skin. Another telltale sign of dry skin is when you experience flaky patches of skin. People can often misunderstand what dry skin is and assume it’s a consequence of dehydration. In reality, dry skin occurs when the face doesn’t have enough natural oils. You can develop dry skin at any time, particularly during the winter months and as you get older.

Dry Skin Type

Products to add to your skincare routine includes hyaluronic acid, which gives your skin a boost of moisture and helps improve the skin’s natural protective barrier. You might also want to use vitamin C products to brighten your complexion. If you enjoy hot showers, apply moisturizer to your skin afterwards as the steam of the water can strip your face of its moisture. Make sure you finish every skincare routine with moisturizer to help seal in the rest of your products.

Oily Skin Types

Oily skin is usually indicated by your t-zone. If you struggle to keep your makeup on your face and have visibly shiny, you likely have oily skin. Hormonal imbalances, stress, and irritation from cosmetic products can trigger the excess production of sebum that leads to oily skin.

Oilyl Skin Type

When you have oily skin, you can also experience acne flare-ups, particularly in your t-zone. You’ll likely have enlarged pores and may suffer from blackheads and whiteheads.

For your skincare routine, you’ll want to focus on cleansing with a double cleanse at night-time that includes a makeup remover. Invest in a toner, as this step will remove the excess oil in your skin and bacteria that can lead to breakouts. Don’t hide away from using moisturizer, as your skin will still need a hydration boost after cleansing and toning.

Sensitive Skin Types

Does your skin react badly to certain products? Do you suffer from allergies? If both apply to you, you likely have sensitive skin. Sensitive skin will differ from one person to the next. You might suffer from rosacea or be prone to breakouts triggered by specific ingredients. Your skin can also become sensitive if you overuse products like retinoids and harsh exfoliators.

Sensitive Skin Type

If you have sensitive skin, you’ll want to build your skincare routine around gentle products. Invest in a mild face wash and micellar water which are specially formulated for sensitive skin types. Introduce new skincare products one at a time so you can identify the culprit if you suffer from any irritations. Avoid using products that contain fragrance and make a note of any common ingredients that you think your skin might be allergic to.