How to determine your real skin type before anything else

Perplexed about what kind of skin you have? Here’s a skin type quiz for you. It can be very annoying to deal with a lot of problems on your skin when you don’t know your skin type. The kind of skin you have can determine what you do about the skin problem. In this little guide, we will talk about the different skin types, how to test your skin and how to determine your skin type.

determine your skin type
determine your skin type

Skin type is the type or state of the skin. You can notice your type of skin from age 16. This is because of the hormonal changes people experience at this age. The five different types of skin include dry skin, oily skin, combination skin, normal skin and sensitive skin. Over the year’s a person’s skin type changes due to weather, diet and even the skin treatments used. It is essential to know your skin type and monitor the changes to make adjustments where they are needed.

The best way to determine your skin type is by looking at its essential characteristics. So, let’s look at the different skin types

1.    Normal skin or well-balanced skin (eudremic)

Normal skin is a skin where the t-zone section of the face (forehead, chin and nose) has a balanced biofluid and moisture. This means the skin around those areas is neither too oily nor too dry.

Characteristics of normal skin or well-balanced skin

  • The pores are small and subtle. They release the right amount of oils and sweat needed by the skin to stay moisturized
  • The flow of blood from the heart to other parts of the body and can be improved by eating fatty fish
  • This skin will have a soft and smooth texture
  • The surface has a uniform color without blemishes.
  • It is not prone to sensitivity or experience breakout
  • Normal skin may remain the same the whole day without significant change.

2.    Oily skin

The word oily is used to represent a skin type with intensified sebum (oil and sweat) production. The increased sebum production is known as seborrhea. Seborrhea can occur for many reasons including stress, comedogenic cosmetics (make-up products that irritate), medication, genetics and hormonal changes and imbalance.

Characteristics of oily skin

  • Natural pores are usually small and almost not visible to the eyes, but in the case of oily skin the pores are large
  • Due to the enlarged pores, the skin releases a large amount of oil and sweat given the extra skin shine
  • Oily skin is prone to black and whiteheads and the different forms of acne.

3. Dry skin (xerosis)

The dry skin is the direct opposite of oily skin. It is easy to determine your skin type if it is dry skin as here the production of sebum is less when compared with the normal skin type. Due to the little or no production of sebum, dry skin lacks the adequate amount of lipids needed to retain moisture and provide sufficient protective shield against external influences, which leads a weak deterrent function.

Unlike other skin types, dry skin has different degrees of extremity and in various forms. However, you must realize that all skin types get dryer as it ages. This drying event occurs rapidly in women than in men.

Reasons for dry skin

  • Loss of excess water through various daily activities
  • Lack of natural moisturizing factors (urea, amino acids and lactic acid) that help to bind in water.
  • Lack of epidermal lipids (ceramides, fatty acids and cholesterol) that are needed for a healthy skin barrier function.

How to identify different stages of dry skin

Stage 1 – Mildly dry skin

  • It feels tight
  • Brittle and rough,
  • Dull looking.
  • Skin elasticity is low.

Stage 2 – Very dry skin

  • Mild scaling or flakiness in patches
  • A rough and blotchy appearance (sometimes it appears to be prematurely aged)
  • Tightness and possible itchy patches
  • It is also very sensitive to irritation and the risk of infection.

Stage 3 – Extremely dry skin

Most areas of the body (hands, feet, elbows and knees) are prone to:

  • Roughness
  • Chapping with a tendency to form cracks)
  • Calluses
  • Scaling and frequent itchiness

Note: dehydrated skin is not dry skin and should be treated medically.

4. Combination skin

As the name implies, combination skin type is a state when one person has more than one skin type. The variation is notable in combination skin the t-zone and the cheeks. If you have a combination skin type, then you might have an oily t-zone around forehead, chin and nose while you may also have dry or normal cheeks. You can identify those oily areas by their enlarged pores with impurities.

The causes of combination skin

  • The oilier parts of combination skin are caused by an overproduction of sebum (sweat and oil).
  • The drier parts of combination skin are caused by a lack of sebum and a corresponding lipid deficiency.
  • Localized dry patches.

Bear in mind that some people might have varying degrees of skin types according to weather conditions. Discover how your skin feels with different weather conditions and work with it. Also, note that your skin type will change with age, diet and hormonal changes.

What type of skin do you have?

With the information given above, you should be able to determine your skin type, but if you have serious doubt, you can take any of the tests below to find out your skin type. However, bear in mind that you might make mistakes with many of these tests. The only error-free way of knowing your skin type is by consulting a dermatologist or a skin doctor. There, you will have the opportunity to determine your skin type, get solutions to your skin problems and receive a skincare regimen that best suits you. This is pricey and time-consuming. However, we encourage you to visit a skin care professional at least ones in three months. If you have a severe skin problem, you need to visit more regularly.

If you don’t have the time or money to see a dermatologist, here are tests you can do at home;

The blotting paper test

The Blotting paper test is a kind of sebumeter test you can carry out at home. You can use it to measure oil and sebum levels. The test involves blotting critical areas of your face to determine your skin type. All you need is a blotting paper and a mirror. You can buy blotting papers from any cosmetics shop, supermarket or even an online store.

How to use it:

  • Before bed
  • Wash your face
  • Do not apply any skincare product.
  • In the morning
  • Take the blotting paper and stand in front of a mirror.
  • Blot key areas of your face around the t-zone (forehead, under the eye, cheeks, and jaw area.) Leave for a few seconds then take them out.
  • Check the oils absorbed by the blotting paper:

How to assess the results of the blotting paper test on how to determine your skin type

  • For oily skin: the blotting paper will have excessive oil in most areas of your t zone
  • For combination skin:  some of the areas on your face will be oily while other areas will feel tight and may have little or no oil on them.
  • Normal skin: if the blotting paper has an average amount of oil in all areas, then it’s normal skin.
  • Dry/sensitive: the blotting paper has little or no oil on it.

The Eye test for skin type

You can also use the eye test, which is not a test done on your eyes but around them. It is so easy to do, and you won’t spend a dime.  All you have to do is wash your face in the morning and head out for the day.

To do this effectively, make sure you do not rewash your face or apply any form of makeup to it. You also have to avoid wiping your face or blotting as well. This might be hard if you have a hectic day or if you sweat profusely. Ensure you carry out the test on a less active day.

At midday, look at the mirror and see what your face looks like:

  • For oily skin – your entire face will be shinier than it was in the morning (too much sweat will make it harder to get the accurate result). Carry out the test for about three days in a week to be sure the result is the same.
  • Combination skin type – your t-zone will look shiny, but the rest of your face will look the same.
  • For dry skin type – your skin will look almost the same but a bit drier than it did in the morning. You may notice dry patches and a little peeling and redness.
  • For normal skin type – your skin looks hydrated and pretty much the same as it did in the morning.

Touch and feel test

This requires the same step as the “eye test” method.  Apply the same preparation steps as you did with the “eye test”, as soon as its midday, go ahead and feel critical areas of your face. This is another good way to determine your skin type.

How to assess your results

  • If you have an oily skin type, your t-zone and other parts of your face feel moist or wet.
  • A combination skin type will have your t-zone feeling moist while you feel roughness and dryness on other parts of your face.
  • If you have a normal skin type, your entire face feels smooth and moisturized.
  • Dry or sensitive skin will have rough patches around the eyes that might sting a little bit.

These steps can be done more than ones to get a precise result.

What about the sensitive skin type

Apart from the four basic kinds of skin, there is a fifth version that is troublesome. It is not really a skin type since, this kind of skin can be dry, normal, combination or oily. However, this skin type is sensitive to a lot of things.

People with sensitive skin can develop contact dermatitis, acne, rosacea, or eczema quickly. They overreact to certain ingredients in seconds and should avoid harsh compounds. This kind of skin is the most delicate. Steer clear from excessive heat, friction and avoid triggers like stress or alcohol. These issues can affect the skin.

To end this fascinating article about how to determine your skin type, let’s talk about the little things you can do to balance your skin type. If you have an Oily skin type, you can re balance with clay masks and oils. For the dry skin, hydrate and moisturize daily. If your skin is too sensitive, make sure you avoid harsh products and ingredients. For the normal skin types, give your skin, boosts of antioxidants weekly and apply sunscreen regularly. Finally, for the combination skin types make sure you use spot treatments. This means you can moisturize some areas of your skin and re balance with clay mask from time to time.

There are many more skin type tests out there. However, these skin type tests are fun and easy to help you determine your skin type. Always bear in mind that your skin type might change over the years.  Pregnancy, lactation, location, diet and other factors may also affect your skin type. Test your skin from time to time, so you know the best approach to take in balancing your skin type.


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