Identifying Your Skin Type & How to Treat It

Taking care of your skin is both an art and a science, but do not let that scare you away; it is something everyone should be able to understand. Knowing your skin type is crucial for skincare since it allows you to find the most effective solutions for your skin type and efficiently address any potential skin issues without worsening the situation.

Have you ever invested heavily in a high-quality skin care routine only to be left wondering, "WHY isn't this working?!" Maybe you are not using the right products for YOUR skin type.

The amount of sebum your skin makes is directly proportional to your skin type. Simply put, sebum is the greasy substance that your sebaceous glands secrete. It serves as a barrier against dryness and infection, all while keeping your skin supple and hydrated.

The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) identifies five distinct skin types, which are:

  1. Normal
  2. Dry or dehydrated
  3. Oily
  4. Combination
  5. Sensitive

P.S. Regardless of your skin type, acne can affect anyone.

Learn the signs of each skin type and how to identify them, so you can take the best possible care of your skin.


Knowing your skin type and how it responds to changes in climate and other environmental factors is the first and most crucial step in providing proper skin care. The skin is the body's largest organ and is just as intricate and self-aware as the other major organs.

Overly abrasive cleansers and treatments, especially if they are meant for oily skin, might confuse the skin into thinking it needs even more oil to function. However, using moisturisers that are overly thick or heavy might inhibit the skin's natural oil production, leading to even drier skin.

Investing time & effort into understanding your skin's unique requirements will allow you to make informed decisions that promote skin balance and a more youthful glow.

Though everyone has a slightly different skin type, there are a few broad categories that may help you narrow down your options.

Normal Skin

When your skin is normal, it is neither too dry nor overly oily. It does not clog pores, dry out, flake, or leave you  feeling greasy or constrictive.

Normal skin is distinguished by its small pores, lack of dryness, and relative resilience to both sensitivity and acne. Even while normal skin does not have anything to worry about, it still needs to be cared for to maintain its best appearance and vitality.

The best normal skin routine aids in retaining moisture and strengthening the skin's protective barrier, all of which contribute to keeping the skin healthy and hydrated.

You have normal skin if your pores are small, your complexion is clear, and you are not overly sensitive to chemicals or allergens.

Treating normal skin

Keeping up a consistent skincare routine should help your skin remain in good condition. According to our founder, Nicky Lamba, people with normal skin should follow an oily skincare routine in the summer, or humid months and a skincare routine for dry skin in the winter, or drier months.

What to avoid: Normal skin is rather forgiving; you could really test the waters when it comes to skincare.

Dry/ Dehydrated Skin

The skin's natural oil production is lower in people with dry skin. The result could be a dull appearance and a rough, flaky, or scaly texture. It is likely to feel tight or lose elasticity, seem visibly dry, and possibly exhibit more fine lines. It also has the potential to itch and irritate.

For dry skin, it is important to use products with moisturizing ingredients and other compounds that help preserve the skin's natural moisture barrier.

Treating dry/dehydrated skin

Nicky recommends that people with dry skin use fragrance-free, non-comedogenic, alcohol-free skincare products. They should avoid taking long, hot showers, and moisturise multiple times a day.

Mild cleansers that do not produce much foam are best for dry skin. Moreover, she suggests that you ditch the lotion in favour of a rich moisturising cream. Hyaluronic acid, glycerin, and ceramides are three great substances to look for.

What to avoid: Alcohol, sodium chloride, artificial fragrance, benzoyl peroxide, salicylic acid, and preservatives are all drying chemicals that should be avoided.

Oily Skin

Excess sebum production gives oily skin a glossy, greasy appearance and texture, especially in the T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin). The American Academy of Dermatology reports that while those with oily skin may be less likely to develop wrinkles, they may be more likely to develop enlarged pores, acne scars, blackheads, and whiteheads.

Remember that even while oily skin produces more natural oils, this does not mean it needs less moisture than other skin types.

When caring for oily skin, it is essential to choose products that nourish and hydrate without clogging pores or causing outbreaks.

A mild, foamy cleanser that efficiently gets rid of debris, extra oil, and other impurities is what you want as part of your perfect routine for oily skin. It is also important to add a non-comedogenic, oil-free, lightweight moisturiser in your routine if you have oily skin.

Oily skin maybe inherited by certain people. However, other factors such as hormone shifts, new skincare products, and diet may also contribute.

Treating oily skin

Nicky suggests that people with oily skin should look for cleansers that are a little more aggressive because their skin can handle it and it will help prevent acne. Some excellent ingredients to seek are salicylic acid, glycolic acid, and retinol. And she recommends going for a lotion that is either extremely lightweight or a gel-based one to help with the dry skin.

What to avoid: Stay away from anything that contains comedogenic substances including petroleum jelly (Vaseline), cocoa butter, isopropyl isostearate, sodium laureth sulphate, and capric acid. Natural oils such as soy, coconut, avocado, olive, and evening primrose oil should also be avoided.

Combination Skin

The T-zone of someone with combination skin tends to be oilier than the rest of their face, whereas the cheeks might be either dry or normal. This skin type can change with the seasons and in response to external stimuli like stress and hormonal shifts.

To properly care for skin that is oily or normal in some areas and dry in others, it is essential to cleanse and moisturise thoroughly.

Treating combination skin

Combination skin can be a little more challenging to care for. Nicky advises, "You have to either apply multiple creams to different locations of the face or go with the least drying product that your skin can accept." To achieve the best results, you need also be selective while choosing exfoliators. Glycolic acid should be used first, before moving on to salicylic acid or retinol.

What to avoid: If you want to keep your skin's natural radiance, avoid using products that are too harsh. All sorts of artificial additives, such as parabens and perfumes, fall within this category. They have the ability to exacerbate oil production in the skin and reduce moisture content in dry areas.

Sensitive Skin

The term “sensitive skin” is used along with "oily skin," "dry skin," and "normal skin,". The redness, burning, itching, and dryness that might characterise sensitive skin can manifest on any skin type.

These signs and symptoms may be brought on by exposure to environmental irritants or by the use of particular substances (such as colours or fragrances) that make the skin more sensitive.

If you have sensitive skin, you may be able to narrow down the elements that set off your skin's reaction by eliminating them from your routine. You can also make changes to your surroundings to reduce your contact with potential triggers.

Rosacea, eczema, and allergic contact dermatitis are just few of the skin conditions that might cause sensitive skin.

Treating sensitive skin

Nicky recommends using nonabrasive cleansers. Choose moisturising products that are specifically formulated for hypersensitive skin.

What to avoid: Products with scents or active chemicals might irritate sensitive skin. Additionally, "anti-aging" chemicals such as retinoids should be approached with caution.

Other skin issues

Acne-prone skin

Anyone, regardless of age or skin type, is susceptible to an acne outbreak. Several factors can set off a breakout, including:

 Genetics: Acne tends to run in families; this has been linked to genes.

Excess Oil Production: Acne is often brought on by overproduction of sebum.

Diet: reducing dairy and sugar intake may help acne, according to some research.

Medications: Some drugs, including as corticosteroids or birth control pills, have been linked to flare ups.

Pollution: Inflammatory acne may be brought on by pollutants, according to a study published in 2017.

Hormones: Hormonal changes cause acne to flare up throughout puberty, premenstrual syndrome, pregnancy, perimenopause, and menopause.

Treating acne-prone skin

You do not need have an elaborate acne treatment plan. For acne-prone skin, Nicky recommends using salicylic acid and retinol, both of which are available over-the-counter. They can cut down on excess oil and keep pores clear of acne scarring and inflammations.

What to avoid: Products containing oils, perfumes, silicone, lanolin, or sodium laureth sulphate may aggravate acne. If you have tried various over-the-counter remedies without success, it may be time to consult a dermatologist. They can assist you in developing an effective skincare routine to eliminate acne.


Seeking the advice of a professional aesthetician or dermatologist might help you identify your skin's unique needs. But you can also do a skin type test at home. Here is how it works:


Make sure you use a gentle cleanser and pat dry afterward. Go au natural (and do not apply any additional moisturizers, serums or treatments). After thirty minutes, check your nose, forehead, and cheeks for shine.

Normal Skin: You do not see any signs of inflammation, dryness, or oiliness.

Dry Skin: In addition to looking and feeling tight, your skin also has a scaly, dry appearance.

Oily Skin: The oil on your face gives you a greasy appearance and unpleasant feeling.

Combination Skin: While the rest of your face appears dry, your T-zone (around your nose and forehead) appears oily.

Sensitive Skin: Your skin is inflamed, red, and/or itching.


This is a considerably quicker technique, and it can accurately distinguish between oily and dry skin types in many cases. 

Lightly pat blotting paper onto your face in various spots. To see how much oil is actually visible, simply hold the sheet up to the light. 

If the sheet absorbed barely any oil, you probably have dry skin

Oil from your nose and forehead will show up on a blotting sheet if you have combination skin

Finally, if the blotting paper soaks up a lot of oil, you almost certainly have oily skin.


Remember that any skin type can be sensitive or prone to acne, though people with normal skin may be less likely to experience either issue.

But with the right products and following a skincare routine suited for you, you can take care of your skin while also treating issues like sensitivity and acne scarring.

If you are still not sure what kind of skin type you are and what routine is ideal for your skin, it is best to schedule an appointment with a dermatologist to get a professional help.