Understanding your skin type is the first step in achieving flawless skin and the perfect skincare routine and finding the right products for you.
There are five common skin types which are oily, dry, normal, combination, and sensitive. All of them will benefit from some daily TLC, cleansing, and moisturising. However, each skin type requires a unique approach in how to care for it effectively.
If you don’t know your skin type yet, don’t worry, you’re in the right place. By the time you finish reading this article, you’ll know more about the characteristics of the five primary skin types and how to test your skin type at home.
Common skin types and their characteristics
Everybody’s skin needs a certain amount of oil to look and be healthy. However, for some people, their body ramps up the production of sebum, which is an oily substance produced in the sebaceous glands. Sebaceous glands are found all over the body, however, they are highly concentrated in the t-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). So, if you have oily skin, it’s common for your skin to look shiny and feel greasy, particularly in the t-zone.
Those with an oily skin type will also be more prone to breakouts and acne. They are also more likely to have enlarged and visible pores. However, it’s not all bad, oily skin types tend to have less visible wrinkles – WINNING!
On the flip side, dry skin occurs when the body doesn’t produce enough sebum which typically leads to rough and flaky skin that looks and feels dehydrated. The lack of sebum means that the skin can’t build an effective protective barrier that simultaneously shields from environmental damage and locks in moisture. Wrinkles are more visible on people with dry skin and it often feels tighter and less elastic than other skin types.
A normal skin type strikes the balance between oily and dry skin. People with a normal skin type tend to have smooth complexions, slightly visible pores, little to no flakiness, very rare breakouts, and a balanced t-zone. Normal skin won’t feel tight or itchy, but it will feel hydrated with good elasticity. It’s also the skin type that requires the least amount of maintenance. It sounds dreamy, right? However, ‘normal’ is misleading because if your skin is blemish-free and has the perfect balance of oil-to-water, you’ve won the genetic lottery. In fact, you’re actually quite abnormal as most people under 30 have combination skin, while most people over 40 experience dry skin.
The clue is in the name, but combination skin has areas that are oily and areas that are dry. It’s most common for people with combination skin to have excessively oily t-zones, while other areas of the face like cheeks will be dry or normal. Combination skin requires the most demanding skincare routine because oily areas need to be cleansed, while dry areas need to be kept moist. So, people with oily skin will need to target specific areas with the right products.
Sensitive skin is a catch-all phrase for skin that is more vulnerable to external irritants and environmental factors. What triggers your sensitivity may be different to what triggers others. So, it’s important to pay close attention to what ingredients or environmental factors (pollution, heat, or humidity for example) produce a negative reaction. While the causes may vary, common symptoms of sensitive skin include blotchiness, itching, burning, and redness.
How to test your skin type
Now that you know a bit more about the characteristics of each primary skin type, you’ll probably be able to self-diagnose with pretty good accuracy. However, if you’re still not sure, there are a couple of at-home tests you can do to test your skin type.
Both tests require you to wash your face with a gentle cleanser, pat it dry with a clean towel, and refrain from applying any skincare products. Then, chill out for 30 minutes before performing the test.
The observation test is the easiest way to check your skin type and requires no props. After washing your face and waiting for 30 minutes, step back up to the mirror to see what’s been going on. If your entire face has a shiny appearance, it’s likely that you have oily skin. If your skin feels tight or looks flaky, you probably have dry skin. If your t-zone appears shiny while other parts of your face feel or look dry, it’s a good bet that you have combination skin. Finally, if your skin feels comfortable, looks hydrated, and you don’t notice excess oil, you probably have a normal skin type.
This test requires blotting sheets or blotting paper to help you measure how oily or dry your skin is. Just like the last test, after washing and waiting for 30 minutes, take some blotting paper and gently pat it across different areas of your face. Make sure to take time to hold it up to the light to see if any oil was collected after applying it to each area. If the sheet picks up oil from the t-zone areas, it’s likely you have normal or combination skin. If the sheet picks up no oil, you have dry skin. Finally, if the blotting paper picks up oil from all areas, it’s very likely that you have an oily skin type.
Final thoughts on understanding your skin type
Hopefully, you are now armed with everything you need to find out your skin type. This will go a long way in helping you to choose products that compliment your skin to ensure that you minimise breakouts, reduce sensitivity and achieve the overall complexion you’ve always dreamed of.
To help you find the right Kinvara products for your skin type, click here.