How to Find Out Your Skin Type & Then Care For It
Everyone has a slightly different type of skin and it is important to know what type you have if you want to keep your face looking at its best.
Your skin type can, for example, determine whether you get good or bad results from using a particular skin care product, determine what cosmetic or beauty products you should use and determine how your skin will react in different weather conditions or after eating different types of foods.
Understanding your facial skin type is also important when it comes to taking effective anti-aging measures, because if you use the wrong type of product on your skin, then it could cause it to react badly and may even accelerate the aging process causing you to look older sooner than you should.
This is also true when it comes to how you care for your skin, because even though your friends may follow a particular skincare or beauty routine, if you have a different skin type to them, you will probably find that what works for them doesn’t work so well for you.
How to Find Out Your Skin Type
Below you will find a simple test that you can take right now to determine what your skin type is. For each question, answer “yes” or “no” and give yourself one point for a yes response.
At the end of the test you will need to add up all your scores, so get a piece of paper and write down your answers as you go along so that you can keep track of your responses.
The questions in this test should be answered based on the condition of your facial skin from your teenage years onwards, and not just how your face looks today.
Also, because some of these questions will require you to look at your face, try to have a mirror handy so that you can look at your skin closely to give an accurate answer.
But above all, please give honest responses! The accuracy of this test ultimately comes down to how accurately you are able to answer the questions. So don’t cheat!!!
Answer the following questions as honestly as possibly, giving yourself one point for a “yes” response.
Is your skin resilient?
To check for resilience, press the middle of your cheek down with one finger and then let it go. Does it spring back to its original position quickly?
Resilient skins will spring back to their original position when touched, just like how a sponge will go back to its original shape when you squeeze it and then let it go. Resilient skins very rarely have bags underneath the eyes or a chin which sags.
Do you have good skin elasticity?
To test for elasticity, pinch the skin on the top of your hand for five seconds and then let it go.
If your skin immediately springs back to shape, then you have good elasticity indicating plentiful levels of collagen and elastin. If your skin returns to its original shape slowly, then this indicates poor elasticity and aging skin.
Does you skin have a natural glow to it? Does it have color and appear radiant?
This is something that you can only accurately determine without wearing make up.
Does your skin remain relatively stable regardless of what you eat or what you do?
If your skin always seems to remain more or less the same, then it is stable. If it changes, such as by regularly going from clear to spotty skin, then it is not stable.
Is your skin oily?
Skin that is oily will quickly become oily again after you have washed it, whereas skin that is dry will feel dry and tight after it has been washed. Oily skin can also appear to be greasy at times, especially when under direct light.
Q6) Pore Size
Do you have large pores on your face or hands?
Large pores are visible holes or depressions in the skin. This is most easily seen on the cheeks, nose and where there is hair growing on the top of your hands.
Is your skin thick and rough?
You are looking for thick or rough patches of skin on your face only, similar to what you might get on your elbow.
Does your face make you look younger than your actual age?
If people have told you that you look younger than your age, then the answer to this question is yes.
Q9) Sun Sensitivity
Do you get sunburned easily?
If you get sunburned easily then your skin will get red and inflamed after being out in the sun for a short period. You may also notice an enlargement in the size of your pores.
If you don’t get sunburned easily, you can get a tan without suffering from too much redness or soreness.
Do you blush when you are nervous?
Blushing will appear as intense redness of the cheeks. This is something that you might not be able to tell by yourself if someone else hasn’t mentioned it to you before.
If you are unsure about the answer to this question, then the answer is probably yes if you also answer yes to the next question.
Do your cheeks, nose or forehead get red when exposed to the wind, cold weather, when you wash your face or come out of the shower?
The following questions may help to you answer this.
Do you notice any changes in the appearance of your facial skin in different types of weather conditions?
Do you get breakouts of spots and pimples after eating certain types of foods or drinking alcohol?
Does your face become red, irritated or itchy after using certain types of skincare, beauty or cosmetic products?
If you have answered yes to Q.10 and Q.11, then this may indicate a rosacea skin condition.
Do you have any sinus problems or allergies?
This can include things such as difficultly breathing through the nose or allergies to pollen, dust mites or animals.
Does your skin have small to medium-sized pores but can sometimes be rough to the touch?
If you do, then you may have never really thought that your pores look big but you have noticed that sometimes your skin feels rough and dry in places.
Do you notice areas or patches of both dry and oily skin on your face? Especially around your T-zone?
Skin that is uniform is the same all over. A lack of uniformity is seen as the skin having different characteristics around the face.
For example, your forehead, nose and chin might be oily, but you get rough patches of dry skin on your cheeks.
Does your skin appear dull or grey?
If your face appears radiant, then this tends to indicate good blood circulation and healthy skin.
If your face lacks color and has a dull complexion, then this may indicate poor blood circulation, an unhealthy diet, too many toxins in the system (especially if you see yellowish areas) and/or a build up of dead skin cells.
Q16) Premature Aging
Do you have many fine lines or wrinkles that make you look older than your years?
Expression lines are the natural lines on your face that appear as a result of your most dominant facial expressions. Typically, these appear around the mouth, on the forehead and between the eyebrows above the bridge of the nose.
Signs of premature aging will appear as fine lines or wrinkles such as on your lips or around your eyes, especially in the outer corners of your eyes (i.e. Crow’s feet). Do other people of a similar age show the same signs of aging as you do?
Do you often have visible whiteheads or blackheads?
This question relates to the presence of whiteheads or blackheads only.
Is the texture of your skin uneven with raised bumps in places?
Skin that is even will feel smooth and uniform when you rub your finger across its surface.
Do you often get spots on your face?
If your face is often spotty, or seems to get spotty very easily, then the answer to this question is yes.
Does your skin sometimes feel painful or uncomfortable?
This can include skin that feels tender, sore, tight, overly dry or just generally feels very sensitive.
What is my Skin Type?
Well done for answering all the questions, you are about to find out what your genetic skin type is! Count up all your “yes” responses and then match up your score to the different skin types listed below.
You Scored 1-4
Your skin type is: Normal
You Scored 5-8
Your skin type is: Oily
You Scored 9-12
Your skin type is: Sensitive
You Scored 13-16
Your skin type is: Oily-Dry (combination) or Dry
You scored 17-20
Your skin type is: Acne
Now that you have discovered what type of skin you have, below you will find listed some of the main characteristics of each skin type.
Normal skins are very resilient, and even though you may get the occasional flare-up, for most of the time your skin will be stable. Normal skins tend to look healthy, are moist but not overly oily, have small to medium-sized pores, feel smooth to the touch and don’t wrinkle very much.
This is considered to be the ideal skin type to have, and doesn’t require any special treatment as it tends to look good no matter what you do.
Oily skins tend to be thick and are very susceptible to breakouts because the excess oil, or sebum, that is produced can clog pores and also provides an ideal breeding ground for germs to multiple in.
Oily skins very rarely appear dry and will quickly lubricate themselves after you have washed your face possibly resulting in oily shiny patches. Fortunately, excess oil on the face can quite effectively be dealt with by using blotting paper and oil absorbing powders or foundations.
Although oily skins can be difficult to live with during your teenage years, later on in life they can turn out to be an absolute blessing because they tend to be much less susceptible to developing fine lines and wrinkles than other skin types.
The main challenge that comes with oily skins is in being able to control the amount of oil on the face with a proper cleansing, toning and moisturizing routine.
Sensitive skins are usually quite thin and tend to be very unstable. As a result, you may notice changes to your face after using different types of cosmetics, in different weather conditions and after eating or drinking different types of foods.
Most of the time these changes will appear as redness on the cheeks or nose, and this is especially likely to occur in cold weather, after eating spicy food, after drinking alcohol or after taking a hot shower or having a bath or sauna.
People with sensitive skin also tend to be much more vulnerable to developing fine lines and wrinkles prematurely, and because they can react badly to certain types of products, they need to be very careful about what they allow to come in contact with their skin.
Oily-dry skins, also known as combination skin, can be difficult to control at times because you will have rough, dry or flaking patches on your face in addition to oily areas. Some of the dry areas may feel tight and can even be painful at times if the skin is stretched and then cracks.
Most of the time the face will be oiliest in the T-zone region, so that means your nose, forehead and chin. Dry patches may appear on the cheeks, and sometimes, on the upper forehead underneath the hairline. The main challenge with combination skins is in finding the right type of product that works for both your dry and oily areas.
Oily-dry skins also tend to have an uneven skin tone with a dull complexion, so women need to think carefully about the type of foundation which they use in order to give their face a more radiant looking appearance.
Dry skins differ from combination skins as the whole of the face tends to be dry, rather than just having patches of dryness.
Dry skins may also suffer from skin disorders such as eczema or psoriasis, and are very vulnerable to cracking, flaking, itching or peeling skin if not cared for properly.
People with a dry skin type also tend to have a dull complexion, and using the wrong product can make their skin feel very tight or sensitive to touch.
The main challenge faced by a person with dry skin is in keeping their face adequately hydrated during the day, because skin which is allowed to remain dry is susceptible to premature wrinkling that will make a person look much older than they actually are.
Having an acne skin type doesn’t necessarily mean that you have acne, but rather that you are more prone to skin disruptions such as blackheads, whiteheads and pimples.
Acne skins can easily become inflamed when using the wrong type of product or when exposed to extreme weather conditions.
They need to be exfoliated on a regular basis because they have a tendency to accumulate dead cells on the surface of the skin (i.e. become keratinized) which can result in blemishes and a dull looking complexion.
However, care must be taken when exfoliating, as there is a risk of causing permanent facial scarring if you use too harsh of an exfoliant.
Acne skins are graded on a scale of 1-6, with one being the least severe and six being the most severe.
Characterized by normal looking skin that is not red or inflamed and has no breakouts or spots on the face.
At level two the face appears oiler than normal, sometimes taking on a greasy looking appearance with visible blackheads and whiteheads.
Characterized by small raised bumps or pimples underneath the surface of the skin.
The small bumps and pimples that were present at level three have now progressed in to large bumps and pimples with pus in them.
At this stage, acne begins to get very severe with cysts that can be seen beneath the skin’s surface. These cysts are vulnerable to becoming inflamed and causing scarring.
All of the previous symptoms are occurring at once, both on the face and on the body. This is the most severe form of acne and can be both very uncomfortable and painful to live with.
Store-bought treatments are unlikely to be effective and so medical or specialist intervention (i.e. a doctor or dermatologist) is usually required to alleviate one’s symptoms.
Skin Care for Your Skin Type
When it comes to keeping your face looking young, healthy and attractive, how you clean your face is extremely important because different skin types mean that different faces need to be cared for differently.
Below you will find some basic skin care tips for each of the different types of skins.
Although normal skins tend to look great regardless of what you do, they still need to be cleansed in order to keep them clean. Normal skins can tolerate a wide variety of skin care products, so just choose a facial care product which you like, are comfortable with and get good results from.
You should wash your face in the morning and evening, applying a cleanser to your face and neck to remove dirt and excess oil from its surface.
It’s up to you if you want to use toner afterwards, as with your skin type, toning is not an absolute necessity. But you might find that toning helps to improve the appearance of your pores, so you may want to experiment a little to see if you get good results from using a toner.
Moisturizing should be done by applying a light moisturizer for daytime use and a thicker anti-aging night cream just before you go to bed.
You can exfoliate 2-4 times a week, but be careful not to over exfoliate as otherwise you risk irritating your skin.
Oily skins require proper cleansing in the morning and at night, because if you don’t cleanse your face well twice a day, then you are likely to experience frequent breakouts in your T-zone area.
Oily skins therefore benefit from the use of a strong cleanser, such as a gel based face wash or facial bar soap, especially on the forehead, nose and chin. Salicylic acid cleansers can also be useful to help clear up blackheads and whiteheads.
Some people find the use of peppermint based cleansers to be beneficial in helping them to control oil secretion.
After you have cleansed, use an alcohol free toner to remove any excess oil and dirt that you might have missed whilst cleansing, and also to remove any residual traces of the cleanser itself.
Cleansing and toning should be done no more than twice a day, as doing so more frequently, could actually result in your face becoming more oily not less.
If you find that your face is still oily during the day, consider the use of blotting paper or an oil absorbing foundation.
When you moisturize, be very selective over the type of moisturizer that you use because using the wrong type can easily make your face appear greasy and shiny.
Ideally, you should be using an oil-free moisturizer that is also non comedogenic so that your pores do not become clogged and also contains humectants so that your skin will remain moist and soft throughout the day.
As you get older, you will notice that your skin becomes less oily, and when that happens, you may then benefit from using a thicker oil based moisturizer. But in your teens and 20s, you definitely don’t want to be using anything too oily on your face.
Exfoliation can be done 2-4 times a week and you are likely to find the use of a stronger nut shell based exfoliant to be more beneficial that gentler exfoliants.
Sensitive skins need to be treated much more gently than other skin types. If you cleanse too often, or use the wrong skin care products, you are likely to find your face becoming inflamed, dry or spotty.
As a result, sensitive skins are usually best looked after by cleansing them once a day only. The best time to do this is at night just before going to bed, as this way you will still be able to remove any oil, dirt and pollution that your face has accumulated throughout the day, without disturbing your skin’s pH balance or causing irritation from over cleansing.
The ideal type of cleanser for your skin will vary depending on its exact makeup and how sensitive it is. But generally, you will find lightweight lotion or cream type cleansers to be the best and the heavier gel cleansers to be the worst.
When shopping for a cleanser, try to find something that contains as few ingredients as possible or with all natural ingredients, as this should greatly minimize your risk of suffering from an adverse reaction to that product.
Fragrances are also likely to cause you irritation, so try to avoid using scented cleansers or scented toners or moisturizers.
If you choose to use a toner after you cleanse, opt for a spritzing light toner which also acts as a humectant to lock moisture into your face. Avoid anything that is too greasy or leaves an oily film over your skin.
You definitely do not want to be using an alcohol based toner, such as rosewater or witch hazel, as this is likely to leave your face feeling dry and may also irritate it.
If you find that you are getting bad results with a toner, you are probably best just skipping its use entirely as you can still get good results without using one.
After you have cleansed and toned your face, you should moisturize it with a sensitive skin moisturizer that is not too oily but still leaves your skin moist throughout the day. You want to avoid anything that leaves your face feeling dry, because this can cause it to crack and develop fine lines and wrinkles prematurely.
Some people find it very beneficial to use a thicker cream at night so that their face still feels very moist when they wake up. You can get away with this if you have sensitive skin, because you shouldn’t need to use a cleanser to wash your face in the morning.
If you find that you are reacting badly to store-bought products, then try using something entirely natural instead such as emu oil or coconut oil. These can be applied liberally to the face at night and will keep your skin moist throughout the night and the following day.
Emu oil is especially good for this because it can be absorbed very deeply into the epidermis, and it also has natural anti-inflammatory properties that will help to minimize irritation and inflammation.
But be prepared to experiment with lots of different products until you find something that works well for you.
Irritation from water
Some people have very sensitive skins, so much so that water causes them irritation. This can include water in the products that they are using, which can sometimes be listed as “aqua”, or the water in which they bathe and shower in.
If you find that water is irritating your skin, choose a water free cleanser and avoid washing your face with water or use mineral water, either from a bottle or a spray, to rinse your face after cleansing.
In virtually all cases, it is not actually the water that is causing your skin irritation, but rather the contaminants that it contains. So the cleaner your water is, the less chance there will be of you suffering from irritation.
One contaminant that sensitive skins tend to be especially sensitive to is chlorine, as it can cause the skin to become red, itchy, dry and may also irritate the eyes.
This tends to be most noticeable when you have a shower, as when chlorine containing water is heated, the chlorine can escape from that water as a gas. So not only do you end up absorbing it in your skin, but you also end up breathing that chlorine into your lungs.
Fortunately, the use of a shower filter can quite effectively reduce the amount of chlorine that you are exposed to, so this is something that is definitely worth considering if your skin is reacting badly after showering.
You should only exfoliate 1-2 times a week with a very gentle oatmeal or micro bead based exfoliant. Do not use harsh exfoliants on your skin as this will cause it to become irritated and inflamed.
Oily-dry skins should be cleansed twice a day with a lotion based cleanser that doesn’t disrupt your skins pH balance (i.e. the acid mantle layer).
You need to treat your skin with care however, because using the wrong product could make your skin oilier or cause it to become overly dry.
As a result, you should avoid using anything that is too harsh such as cleansing gels or bar soaps and opt for something more gentle instead such as a lotion based cream or foaming cleanser.
If you definitely notice that large areas of your face are oilier than others, then you might want to consider purchasing two different cleansers.
On your T-zone, which includes your forehead, nose and chin, you could use a cleanser that is designed for oily skin, and on the rest of your face, a cleanser that is designed for dry or sensitive skin.
To tone, use a humectant spritz to spray your face or gently apply your toner with a cotton pad. If you are applying toner directly to your face, be careful not to press too hard on your dry areas and make sure that you use a soft cotton pad.
Avoid alcohol based toners such as rosewater or witch hazel containing toners, unless you find them to be beneficial on very oily patches of skin.
The ideal moisturizer for your skin type is one that leaves your face feeling hydrated but not overly dry or overly oily. If your face is clearly very oily along your T-zone and very dry outside the T-zone, then you can quite effectively use two different types of moisturizers.
This, however, can get a little fiddly at times, and not everyone likes the idea of always having to purchase two separate skin care products.
So see how you get on with using a light moisturizer during the day, and a thicker moisturizer at night, as you can always buy separate products later on if needed.
Women may find the use of a liquid powder foundation to be useful, as this can hydrate dry areas and prevent oily areas from becoming overly oily.
Oily-dry skins will benefit from using a strong nut shell based exfoliant 2-4 times a week to remove dead skin cell build up.
Dry skins need to be cleansed just like any other skin type, although because they lack moisture, you should avoid using harsh cleansers that will strip away the little oil your skin has and cause it to become even drier than it is. As a result, the use of a cream based cleanser is recommended rather than a gel or soap based cleanser.
If a skin toner is used, then it should definitely not contain alcohol as this will cause further drying and uncomfortability. So avoid anything containing rosewater or witch hazel as those will likely contain alcohol.
Instead, opt for a spritz toner that can be sprayed on to the face to hydrate it and contains humectants to lock moisture in.
Dry skins benefit the most from using a thick oil based moisturizer, and depending on how dry your skin is, you may even need to use a night cream for daytime use.
If you are using the right type of moisturizer, then your skin should be kept well hydrated throughout the day. You may however, have to moisturize your face more often than twice a day especially if you will be outdoors for long periods and it is cold or windy outside.
Dry skins can quite easily accommodate oily moisturizers without looking greasy, so you might want to try using oils such as emu oil or coconut oil as your main moisturizer.
Emu oil will absorb into the deep layers of the epidermis and keep it moisturized for many hours. It also contains anti-inflammatory agents and vitamin E which can be of great help if your skin tends to crack a lot.
Generally, the use of a strong exfoliant containing nut shells will be required to properly exfoliate the face, as you are likely to have a lot of dead skin cells building up on the surface of your skin.
Be careful though, because if your skin is already cracked, then using a harsh exfoliant may wound or scar your skin. So if you notice that your face feels sore or is very red after exfoliating, then try using a more gentle exfoliant instead.
If you have an acne skin type then you need to avoid the temptation to clean your face more than twice a day, because doing so can over stimulate your skin and cause breakouts, spots and irritation.
If you find that your face is still very oil during the day, then use some blotting paper to remove the excess oil or use an oil absorbing foundation.
Acne skins will benefit greatly from a strong antibacterial based cleanser that cleanses deep into the pores of the skin.
Look for products containing salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide, as these are both very effective at controlling the acne bacteria which cause breakouts. You may, however, find benzoyl peroxide to be overly drying, so discontinue its use if you find that it makes your face feel uncomfortable.
Generally, you find gel-type cleansers that are specifically designed for acne skin types to be the most effective.
When using a toner, look for one that also has antibacterial properties so that you can ensure your skin is really clean before you moisturize it. Some toners offer 12 hour antibacterial protection, which can further help to reduce the number of breakouts you get.
Unlike other skin types, you may benefit from using an alcohol containing toner such as witch hazel or rosewater, as this can be helpful for preventing the occurrence of blackheads in addition to killing acne causing bacteria.
However, if you are using a strong cleanser, such as a benzoyl peroxide based cleanser, then you may want to avoid using alcohol based toners as using both together will likely be far too drying for your skin.
Any moisturizer that you use should be oil free, as otherwise your face may become too oily which will then lead to more breakouts. Tea tree oil containing moisturizers are ok however, as tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial and so can beneficial in helping to stabilize your skin.
Your moisturizer should keep your skin adequately hydrated throughout the day, yet not leave it feeling too greasy or with an oily coating over its surface.
Look for something that has been specially formulated for acne skin, such as a liquid powder based moisturizer, and is non comedogenic so that it doesn’t clog your pores.
For those who are using benzoyl peroxide, you may need to use a thicker oil based moisturizer if you notice that your skin is starting to become overly dry. Some people have had success using emu oil.
Exfoliating an acne skin type definitely is necessary, as you need to remove the build up of dead skin cells, oil and dirt that can clog your pores and cause you to breakout. The trouble is, if you have pimples, then using too harsh of an exfoliant can tear them open and cause permanent scarring on the face.
If you feel that this is a risk, then use a gentler exfoliant, such as a micro bead exfoliant, otherwise, use something stronger like a nut shell based exfoliant to cleanse your face more deeply.