Skin Science

A guide to different skin types

A guide to different skin types

You’ve probably read about different skin types countless times, but if you’re not entirely sure which one you have then you’re not alone. However, understanding skin types (and which specific skin type you have) is important for making sure you’re getting the most out of the products you’re using. If you’re not sure where your complexion sits on the skin type spectrum, then read on for our ultimate guide to different skin types.

What skin type am I?

When you’ve layered products onto your face, or if you’ve been wearing make‐up all day, your skin can look and feel very different from how it would naturally. The result of this is that you may think you have a certain skin type when in reality you don’t.

One way to identify your skin type is to take your face back to basics, and wash away all traces of make‐up and products using a gentle cleanser. Once you’ve thoroughly cleansed your skin, pat your face dry and wait for 20 to 60 minutes. Then, inspect your face in the mirror and see which of the following best applies to you:

Dry Skin

After 30 minutes, if your skin feels tight, itchy, or looks flaky, chances are you have dry skin. Dry skin is lacking in moisture. It means that pores secrete little‐to‐no sebum – the oil that coats, moisturises and protects your skin. Another way to confirm whether you have dry skin would be to press a blotting paper over your face. If the paper shows little or no oil when you hold it up to the light, your skin is dry.

Dry skin can often feel very uncomfortable and can appear rough in texture. The scaly, flaky patches can make it difficult to apply make‐up evenly. Dry skin can leave your complexion looking dull, and can also mean your skin is more susceptible to showing fine lines. On a positive note, however, you probably have very small pores and far fewer breakouts than those with oilier complexions.

If you have dry skin, then incorporate products specifically formulated to boost hydration at each stage of your skincare routine. In addition to using a hydrating cleanser, try combining your moisturiser with a serum to intensely hydrate.

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Combination Skin

If, after 30 minutes, the skin on your forehead and around your nose and chin is looking oily, but your cheeks feel tight and dry, you may have combination skin. You can check this by seeing whether a blotting paper picks up oil around your T‐Zone as well as on your cheeks.

Combination skin is common because there are more oil‐producing glands around your T‐Zone. This means your skin can often appear slick and oily in this area, making it more prone to blemishes and blocked pores. In contrast, the skin on your cheeks and the rest of your face can suffer from all the symptoms of dry skin, including tightness, flaking and roughness.

Use a cleanser and scrub that work to purify your skin, leaving it looking healthy and blemish‐free. Just make sure to follow up your cleansing with an oil‐free moisturiser to hydrate the drier areas of your face without clogging pores.

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Oily Skin

After 30 minutes, if the skin across your whole face appears shiny and feels oily, you probably have oily skin. Using blotting paper, you’ll be able to recognise oily skin if the paper picks up oil from all over your face and appears saturated.

Oily skin is caused by the overproduction of sebum from your sebaceous glands. Genetics determine which skin type you have. However, certain factors, such as your hormones, can make your skin produce more oil. Having oily skin can leave your face looking shiny and greasy by lunchtime. You may find yourself having to reapply your make‐up as it seems to slide off your face throughout the day. Oily skin can also mean your pores appear larger, and that you’re more prone to spots and blemishes caused by blocked pores.

Choose skincare products that specifically target excess oil to refine and mattify oily skin. Face scrubs can be a great addition to a skincare routine for oily skin. They can help to tighten pores and visibly reduce shine.

Shop NEUTROGENA® Visibly Clear® Pore & Shine:

Normal Skin

If your skin doesn’t appear particularly dry or oily after 30 minutes, then your skin type is probably normal.

Normal skin is usually neither tight nor greasy and is not particularly susceptible to blemishes and breakouts. People with normal skin usually have small pores, and soft, supple skin as well as a clear, radiant complexion. You might not need to do much to keep your skin looking healthy and hydrated. But, that doesn’t mean you can skip the skincare routine completely.

Even normal skin types can be affected by impurities and pollution. Use a cleanser that targets 100% of toxins, and follow this with a moisturiser that works to protect your skin from external pollutants. And remember, no matter your skin type, always follow up your daytime routine with SPF, so your skin is protected from the sun’s rays.

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To get a full list of products suitable for your skin type, try out our product recommendation tool here:

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Neutrogena

Neutrogena

Writer and expert