How To

What’s my Skin Type?

Whats My skin type ?


Getting (and keeping) a healthy complexion starts with discovering your skin type. Every decision you make about the cosmetics, skin care, and sun care you use should be determined by your skin. Make the wrong decision and you could find yourself with blemishes or overly dry skin. The right products – chosen based on your skin type – will help balance your skin and won’t irritate your complexion.

There are 6 basic skin types: Normal, Oily, Dry, Combination, Acne-Prone, Sensitive.

Each type is characterised by specific requirements and cautions to provide the best care possible. Your skin will probably be a combination of two or more of these categories. Although the condition of your skin will vary as hormones, diet and environmental exposure fluctuate you will usually maintain your basic skin type and you should always select skin care based on that condition.

Discover what type of skin you have:

  1. Wash your face. Make sure you remove all make-up, skincare and oily buildup. Your skin should be a clean slate to make an accurate determination. Use a gentle cleanser so your face isn’t left feeling unnaturally dry or irritated.


  1. Wait 30 minutes. Don’t apply any skincare products. Keep your hands away from your face. You want your skin to relax and return to its normal condition.


  1. Press a clean tissue against face and examine it to discover which of the following categories your skin most closely matches.


Normal skin will not have oil or dry skin flaking off onto the tissue. It feels smooth and elastic without any tight areas or irritation. People with normal skin should use gentle cleansers and light moisturiser with SPF to maintain a good complexion and slow the ageing process. This skin type is the easiest to maintain and will usually react well to most products.

Oily skin shows spots of grease on the tissue. Your skin most likely feels greasy and appears shiny between washing. Large pores are common with oily skin, and you may even notice some blackheads on your nose, forehead and chin. Use products made with water-based ingredients and SPF, rather than mineral oil or heavy moisturisers and a separate sunblock. Choose cleansers created to balance skin without over drying.


Dry skin feels slightly itchy and taut. You will see flakes of dead skin on the tissue or in the mirror. This skin type needs extra hydration from products. Choose those made with moisturising ingredients and created specifically to treat dry skin. Don’t moisturise, as that could cause breakouts. Always remember to protect your face with SPF if you’ll be spending time in the sun.

Combination skin has aspects of normal, oily and dry skin. If you see traces of oil on the tissue from your nose, chin and forehead but nowhere else you probably have combination skin. Rest assured, it’s the most common type of skin. Unfortunately, it can also be the most frustrating to treat. Choose products made for normal to oily skin so your face doesn’t become over dry. Use light moisturisers with SPF and oil-free cosmetics.

Sensitive skin consistently feels irritated and tight. If pressing the tissue against your face left your complexion red and stinging, you have sensitive skin. If you notice red rash-like areas on your cheeks, you have sensitive skin with elements of rosacea. Treat your skin gently at all times. Choose products made for sensitive complexions. Always wear SPF when spending time outdoors, and shield your face from exposure to extreme elements such as cold, wind or heat.

Acne-prone skin is characterised by breakouts, but may not appear shiny or oily. Some acne-prone skin is overly dry and can even be extremely sensitive. Always choose products that are noncomedogenic and oil-free so pores remain clear. Look for treatment products made for acne-prone skin to supplement your normal skin care routine.


James Patten

James Patten

Writer and expert