It is a confusing world out there when it comes to skin care. From serum to cleansing to toners to moisturisers, we are constantly being told that we need products to help enhance and improve our skin. But if you don’t know what type of skin you have, then you could not only be wasting your money on the wrong products, you might even be aggravating your skin and cause unwanted issues. If you’re wondering ‘what is my skin type?’ then you’ve come to the right place! In this blog we show you how to find out what skin type you have in two quick and easy tests to try, along with our definitive quiz; The What is My Skin Type Quiz.
Your skin is an incredible piece of kit. Shielding our inner body, the skin is a waterproof covering that is able to safeguard against infection convert vitamin D for healthier bones and act as a sensory aid for the brain. Both flexible and stretchy, skin is constantly regenerating and shedding its outmost layers.
Different Skin Types
So what skin types are there? And what causes different people to have different skin types?
The truth is, the condition of your skin can be influenced for any number of reasons, which account for how your skin feels and looks. These include
- Hormone fluctuations
- Stress levels
And that’s before we throw seasons and environmental factors like smoking or humidity into the mix!
Ultimately, you can almost always improve your skin by making sure you’re drinking lots of water, eating plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit and exercising to get oxygen flowing to your face.
But learning how to tell what skin type you have can be a game changer for your skins appearance and overall health too, because by understanding the all important ‘what skin type am I’ question, means being able to choose the right products specific to your skincare needs.
Head therapist at Mary Ann Weeks Aveda Guildford Spa Veronika says:
“Taking care of your skin is more important than covering it up! Once your skin care routine is in order, you’ll see a massive improvement in the clarity and condition of your skin.”
Types of Skin
There are 5 key categories of skin types, help us to drill down a bit when choosing products and figuring out a skincare routine. These are:
- Oily skin
- Dry skin
- Combination skin
- Normal skin
- Sensitive skin
How to Know What Skin Type You Have
So how do you know what skin type you have?
Luckily there are a few ways to find out and it’s pretty easy, but if you’re not sure you can always consult with a dermatologist or skin care expert like the beauty therapists at Mary Ann Weeks Spa.
We’ve included three easy methods that will give you helpful information about your skin. This knowledge will help you feel confident to pick the right beauty products moving forwards.
Skin Type Test #1 – The Wash Test
Wash your face with a gentle cleanser and pat dry. TIP: you should always pat your face rather than rub it to avoid damaging the delicate skin around the eyes and mouth.
Next, leave for 30 minutes without applying any products at all. Observe how your skin feels and looks after that time. Clear indicators are:
- If your skin is shiny and already producing sebum, you can assume you have oily skin.
- If your skin is tight, irritated and flaky and feels like you desperately need to apply moisturiser, then you have dry skin.
- For skin that’s begun to get oily on the T-zone area on the forehead and nose only, you have combination skin
- For skin that maintains a nice plumpness and feels comfortable and settled, you have normal skin
Skin Type Test #2 – The Tissue Paper Test
Get a single sheet of 2 or 3 ply toilet paper and peel away the extra layers until you’re left with the single thin layer.
Press the thin layer of tissue gently to your clean skin for a few seconds. Then hold up to the light.
- If you can see lots of transparent marks of oil, your skin type is oily skin
- If there’s no oil at all, it’s likely you have dry skin
- With light traces of oil, you’ve probably got normal skin
- If there’s oil on your T-zone, but not from your cheeks, you’re likely to have combination skin
Skin Type Quiz
If you’re still not sure, our skin type quiz should give you a definite answer about what skin type you have. Once you’ve figured out what kind of skin do I have, you’re fully armed to choose the best products for your skincare routine.
Once you’ve done the quiz, learn more about your skin type and how to take care of it below.
Now you have the results, let’s explore each skin type in more depth…
A cliché feature of oily skin are enlarged pores that are producing excessive sebum (oil). This creates a shiny surface, particularly around the forehead, nose and chin.
Thanks to pores being open, they’re prone to becoming infected with bacteria and can experience regular breakouts or even acne.
For those with oily skin it can feel unnecessary to apply moisturiser, because your skin feels the exact opposite of tight or dry.
On the plus side, having excess oil in the skin really helps to fight the appearance of ageing later on in life. As we get older, our skin tends to dry out, but with oily skin, it tends to rebalance to a great amount for making skin will appear much plumper with few lines.
What to Do if You Have Oily Skin
So what should we do for oily skin?
Cleansing is really important with oily skin, because blocked pores can easily harvest bacteria, which in turn causes breakouts and acne.
In addition, just like all other skin types, oily skin loses millions of dead skin cells every day. This means you still need a gentle daily face wash to keep skin looking fresh and clear.
That said, be careful to avoid harsh products with long list of chemical ingredients. Completely stripping your face of its natural oils can trigger the production of even more sebum.
Much as moisturiser seems like it might exacerbate the over oil you should still be using a light oil free moisturiser. This not only rebalances moisture levels after cleansing, but provides a protective barrier against environmental damage.
This can easily end up with being trapped in a cycle where skin is excessively oily, leading to more enlarged pores and angry blemishes.
Look for oil-free moisturisers and sun screen so you’re not adding even more oil to your skin. What happens if you use dry skin products on oily skin is a thick layer of rich moisture over the top of already well-oiled skin, essentially trapping bacteria and suffocating your skin!
Finding the right products often means trial and error, so finding samples of products that look like the right fit is a great idea.
Aveda has a range of skincare products that are perfect for oily skin:
Anyone can have dry skin. In fact over 50% of adults aged over 40 have dry skin.
Most of the time dry skin is caused by environmental factors, but it can indicate underlying health issues too.
Skin will always be driest during winter as it reacts to the more severe temperature fluctuations of inside and outside. Things like central heating or stoves take the moisture out of the air, drying your skin further.
Immersing skin in water a lot also causes dry skin. If you work in an environment where you have to wash your hands a lot, or you swim or bathe frequently, the natural moisture in the epidermis top layers of your skin are stripped bare, leaving skin feeling dry.
Sometimes detergents, shampoos and soaps can remove too much oil from skin, leaving it dry and uncomfortable.
Health conditions such as eczema and psoriasis also cause extreme dry skin that can be highly uncomfortable for the sufferer.
Despite this, there is a major bonus of having dry skin, in that you will rarely have breakouts. Those with dry skin who are managing it well often have clear healthy looking skin.
Dry Skin Symptoms
Dry skin is rough and uneven to touch and is often flaky and sometimes even cracked. Dry skin can often feel itchy or irritated too.
You may also have trouble finding your pores with dry skin as they’re usually tiny and completely closed.
Another feature of dry skin is how it can feel extremely tight and uncomfortable after you’ve washed your face or used cleanser.
From a cosmetic point of view, dry skin shows wrinkles and fine lines more obviously.
As we get older, we’re generally less hydrated, so dry skin needs plenty of rehydration.
How to Treat Dry Skin
Generally speaking, dry skin can be significantly helped by drinking plenty of water, eating well, exercising and developing good skincare habits.
Choose a richer moisturiser with good quality ingredients that hydrates. Products containing hyaluronic acid helps to retain moisture and plump up the skin.
In the winter, you will particularly benefit from a serum or facial oil underneath your moisturiser for that additional deep penetration.
Using products that relieve tightening and plump the skin out really makes a difference. Staying physically hydrated by drinking plenty of water will also help.
That said, you can never go wrong with a good skincare routine, so daily cleansing and toning, as well as a good quality serum and moisturiser for both nourishment and protection. Plant based oils will always compliment dry skin over synthetic options.
Aveda have excellent products specifically for dry skin. In particular our skin care specialists recommend:
What does it mean to have combination skin?
Tricky to manage combination skin is as the name suggests. Skin around the T-zone (nose, forehead and chin) might well be oily, but cheeks are dry and uneven.
Another thing to watch is the size of the pores. Much like oily skin, pores around the forehead, chin and nose can appear much larger.
Battling with occasional breakouts around the oily parts of your face whilst trying to keep cheeks hydrated and supple takes mindfulness in your skin care routine.
Makeup can be also be difficult to get right, because it starts to get patchy after a few hours where skin is absorbing it in some places and not in others.
It’s very common to pick the wrong products with combination skin and, much like oily skin, can end up with skin over producing sebum and causing more outbreaks, whilst dry skin is aggravated and red.
How to Treat Combination Skin
Hydration is key with combination skin. Keeping hydrated helps dryness in the cheeks whilst balancing moisture in the forehead and nose.
Oil free formulas are always a good idea during the day, with a nourishing serum for evening time.
Be mindful to gently exfoliate so as to get rid of dry dead skin cells too.
People with normal skin usually don’t think about it too much because it doesn’t draw their attention with larger pores, a greasy surface or blemishes and breakouts.
When you have normal skin, your skin feels balanced, with just the right amount of moisture and elasticity. Normal skin isn’t sensitive and pores are generally smaller so you can’t see them unless you’re really looking closely. Normal skin adapts to new products well and doesn’t tend to get overly dry, or breakout in spots often either.
After washing, someone with normal skin won’t feel a desperate need to apply moisturiser straight away like someone with dry or dehydrated skin might. In fact, skin stays feeling hydrated throughout the day.
How to Treat Normal Skin
Simply choosing good quality products with plant based ingredients suits normal skin well.
Plant based is always a better choice, since unnecessary chemicals get absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. There is still limited research about mixing a plethora of different toiletries and skincare products over years so natural products are a great choice if you can.
Provided you keep it clean, you really won’t need much more than a light moisturiser and a serum during the winter months for an additional boost of nourishment and protection.
Being careful not to overload the skin and tip the balance out in any way is another good tip with normal skin. After all, it’s doing a pretty good job on its own of looking great!
Make sure you use a good facial sun cream with high SPF is a great way to maintain and preserve your skin into your future.
Daily light guard by Aveda gives your skin natural defence against UV rays. This light sheer, formula is dermatologist-tested. Non-comedogenic and can be used on all skin types.
Contrary to popular belief, sensitive skin isn’t officially a skin type of its own.
It’s actually a skin condition and can apply to all of the above skin types. For example, you can have oily skin that’s sensitive and you can have dry skin that’s sensitive.
Sensitive skin can be caused by a few different things, including allergies to chemical ingredients, underlying skin disease or environmental factors such as pollution or low temperatures.
Tell-tale signs of sensitive skin are red, irritable or itchy skin. Typically sensitive skin burns easily and will often be bright red after a hot bath.
Sensitive skin will often respond badly to particular ingredients, whether in skincare products or other products such as the ones found in washing powders. Switching to new products usually takes a few applications before your skin adapts to it.
Identifying which ingredients cause your skin to react will give you a real head start about which products you can and can’t use on your skin.
Having sensitive skin means double the work because you need to choose products that are right for your skin type (e.g. dry), whilst avoiding ingredients that aggravate your skin.
How to Treat Sensitive Skin
Always opt for products that are specifically for sensitive skin as these will be extra gentle. Botanical Kinetics All Sensitive Cleanser is an excellent daily solution for keeping sensitive skin clean and clear.
Sometimes you can spend much time and money buying products that aren’t right, so patch tests, testers and samples are a great rule of thumb. Getting professional advice from a dermatologist might be worth doing too.
Remember, the best foundation you can wear, is glowing healthy skin.
If you’d like a professional facial, using only professional grade plant based products, Mary Ann Weeks Aveda Guildford and Walton spa offers customised facials for all skin types.
Aveda Outer Peace is fantastic for acne prone skin or sensitive skin. It deeply cleanses pores, whilst dissolving oil, makeup and other impurities. Infused with powerful plant extracts—including tamanu, amla, boswellia and saw palmetto to bring balance back to the skin.