Beginner's Guide 101: Determine Your Skin Type

Now that you know about the common type of skincare myths, let's get into how you can determine your skin type to select the right type of products! By pinpointing your skin type and understanding the ways to properly treat, it can help you achieve clear, healthy-looking skin for a lifetime.


There are five primary skin types: Oily, Normal, Combination, Dry, and Sensitive. Each skin type has a specific set of characteristics and symptoms, and thus it requires special attention.


Skin type can be determined by simple observation using two easy tests that can be perform at home in just 30 minutes (and most of that time is spent relaxing at home with a clean face):

  1. Bare-Face Method

  2. Blotting Sheet Method

Bare-Face Method

  1. Start off by washing your face with a gentle cleanser then gently pat it dry (refrain from applying any skincare products).

  2. After 25-30 minutes, observe your skin. What does it look like?

  • If your face appear shiny on your cheeks and t-zone, you likely have oily skin;

  • If skin feels tight and is flaky or scaly, you likely have dry skin;

  • If you see an unbalanced mix of oiliness and dryness, you probably have combination skin;

  • If your skin feels hydrated and comfortable, but not oily, you likely have normal skin;

  • If your skin feels irritated, or there are red patches and tight, you likely have sensitive skin.

Blotting Sheet Method

When pressed to the skin, blotting sheets absorb oil.

  1. Start off by washing your face with a gentle cleanser then gently pat it dry (refrain from applying any skincare products).

  2. After 25-30 minutes, press a clean blotting sheet on various spots of your face, then hold the sheets up to the light to see the oil markings.

  • Abundance of oil in all areas of the face, you have oily skin;

  • If little to no oil is absorb, you probably have dry skin;

  • If the sheets show only a small amount of oil from your T-Zone, you have combination skin; and

  • If you only see minimal oil from every area of your face, you most likely have normal skin.

If you are still not sure, you can access our quiz to determine your skin type!


Normal Skin

‘Normal’ is a term widely used to refer to well-balanced skin. The scientific term for healthy skin is eudermic. The T-zone (forehead, chin and nose) may be a bit oily, but overall sebum and moisture is balanced and the skin is neither too oily nor too dry.

Normal skin has:

  • fine pores

  • good blood circulation

  • a velvety, soft and smooth texture

  • no blemishes and is not prone to sensitivity

Dry Skin

‘Dry’ is used to describe a skin type that produces less sebum than normal skin. As a result of the lack of sebum, dry skin lacks the lipids that it needs to retain moisture and build a protective shield against external influences. This leads to an impaired barrier function. Dry skin (Xerosis) exists in varying degrees of severity and in different forms that are not always clearly distinguishable.

Skin is constantly loosing water via:

  • Perspiration: active water loss from the glands caused by heat, stress and activity.

  • Trans-epidermal water loss (TEWL): the natural, passive way in which skin diffuses about half a litre of water a day from the deeper skin layers.

Dry skin is caused by a lack of:

  • Natural moisturising factors (NMFs) - especially urea, amino acids and lactic acid – that help to bind in water.

  • Epidermal lipids such as ceramides, fatty acids and cholesterol which are needed for a healthy skin barrier function.

As a result, the skin’s barrier function can become compromised.

Oily Skin

‘Oily’ is used to describe a skin type with heightened sebum production. An over production is known as seborrhea.

Oily skin is characterised by:

  • enlarged, clearly visible pores

  • a glossy shine

  • thicker, pale skin: blood vessels may not be visible

Oily skin is prone to comedones (blackheads and whiteheads) and to the varying forms of acne. With mild acne, a significant number of comedones appear on the face and frequently on the neck, shoulders, back and chest too.

In moderate and severe cases, papules (small bumps with no visible white or black head) and pustules (medium sized bumps with a noticeable white or yellow dot at the centre) appear and the skin becomes red and inflamed.

Combination Skin

In combination skin the skin types vary in the T-zone and the cheeks. The so-called T-zone can differ substantially – from a very slim zone to an extended area.

Combination skin is characterised by:

  • an oily T-zone (forehead, chin and nose)

  • enlarged pores in this area perhaps with some impurities

  • normal to dry cheeks

Have you found out what's your skin type?

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