Understand various skin types and the different care tips

From combi skin to dry skin types - how to care for each of them

By Hana O.
Understand various skin types and the different care tips

Different skin types, their characteristics and how to care for them

It is generally accepted that there are 5 main skin types: normal, dry, oily, combination and sensitive. Knowing your skin type is important in applying the right products for skin care and beauty. Using the wrong ones can lead to irritation, damage, acne and further implications. It is in everyone’s goals to have smooth and radiant skin after all.


The following is a description of the skin types, their characteristics and maintenance.

1. Oily Skin Type

It is quite easy to conclude if you have oily skin. Just by looking at the mirror (not after washing of course) and seeing a great deal of shine means you have oily skin. This skin type is also prone to more acne due to the over-excited oil glands under your skin.


Another characteristic of having oily skin are vast amounts of blackheads and whiteheads. Plus, the pores on the skin tend to be more obvious and visible.

Oily skin is mainly the result of genetics and hormones. Further causes of oily skin were further discussed in another post so feel free to look through that for further information. While sebum, the oily substance produced by our glands, are generally made to keep the skin soft and hydrated, too much can lead to pore enlargement, blockages and eventually, acne.

Proper Care for Oily Skin

What is the opposite of oily skin? Most probably dry skin. People usually assume that because their skin is oily, they need to apply products that will stop the sebum and dry out the skin. This is actually the worst way to care for oily skin.

When oily skin gets dry, the glands will think that something is wrong and it will go into survival mode and therefore create even more sebum to compensate for the lost ones. Drying out oily skin will lead to even oiler skin.


When looking for products to use, take note of the following ingredients: salicylic acid, glycolic acid, hyaluronic acid and retinol. You can also opt to work with honey, cosmetic clays, oatmeal, egg whites and lemons to treat oily skin with a more natural approach.

Limit washing to one or two times a day, without harsh scrubbing. Light exfoliation is the best for oily skin. Don’t forget to apply a lightweight and oil-free moisturizer to keep the skin properly hydrated. Above all, do not touch or poke acne blemishes to avoid irritation.


When it comes to makeup, heavy cosmetics should be avoided because this leads to clogged pores. Remember to use oil-free products that are made specially for oily skin.

2. Dry Skin Type

Dry skin can be caused by numerous factors such as genetics and the environment. While it is assumed that dry skin means having a lack of moisture, water content for both oily skin and dry skin are actually the same. Therefore, adding extra hydration on dry skin will only make it drier.


For dry skin, having the right moisturizer is a must. Moisturizers for dry skin should have oil; the more the better absorption through the skin to boost hydration.

Proper Care for Dry Skin

While oily skin needs certain ingredients to be present in the skin care products, dry skin needs to avoid benzoyl peroxide which diminishes the amount of oil in the glands thus leading to even drier skin. On the other hand, green tea is a great addition in moisturizers for skin that is well-hydrated.


Water. Logic would say that drinking more water is a great way to hydrate the skin. Unfortunately, this is a myth. However, drinking the recommended amount of water does ensure a healthy body which will lead to healthy skin as well.

When it comes to showering, people with dry skin usually avoid taking long hot showers because it can strip necessary oil from the skin. Humidifiers, on the other hand are great not just for those with allergies but also for dry skin.

3. Combination Skin Type

Having two or more different skin types is the main characteristic of a combination skin type. The common combination is an oily T zone (forehead, nose and chin) and a dry cheek and eye area. People with combination skin type usually assume they have oily skin because of the prominent T zone and ended up using the wrong products on the parts that are dry. The quickest way to find out is through the cheeks; if they are oily or not.


Combination skin types are usually the hardest to treat and maintain because of the numerous parts to address. Dealing with both dry and oily skin needs the perfect skin care routine that is strong enough to reduce oil but mild enough as to not irritate the dry areas.

Proper Care for Combination Skin

Harsh, chemically based treatments and products usually irritate those with combination skin so it must be avoided. A common ingredient causing the irritation is benzoyl peroxide. This causes the dry areas to become parched while making the oily skin create more sebum.


Green tea extract, cucumber and chamomile are great natural ingredients that can be used by the combination skin type. When it comes to moisturizers, it is usually best to have two. One for the dry skin and the other for the T zone. While it is not heavily advised for oily and dry skin, exfoliation is important for the combination skin type in order to unclog pores and remove dead skin cells.

4. Normal Skin Type

Those with normal skin types are blessed. They sit in the middle of the balance. Their skin isn’t too oily nor too dry. When they do experience a bit more oil or dryness, these get resolved easily with just a few tweaks in the skin care routine. Having normal skin type usually means a generally even, blemish and wrinkle-free skin.


Normal skin types might not have problems in the present but still needs the proper skin care in order to maintain this status. Aging is something that no one can avoid, therefore, it’s best to prepare for it and slow it down.

Proper Care for Normal Skin

Products that are light and non-greasy are recommended for normal skin types. Even though they don’t require as much maintenance compared to the other types, normal skin types still need to be diligent in their skin care routines in order to preserve their healthy state.

5. Sensitive Skin Type

Sensitive skin can fall into dry, oily or combination skin types but with an additional amount of redness and irritation. People with this skin type usually have to be extra careful on the products they use because of allergies in the form of irritation. Harsh chemicals are taboo to sensitive skin.


In a more scientific manner, dermatologists use grading systems in order to categorize and classify sensitive skin. These help in the proper treatment and maintenance of the skin. Two common schemes are called Fitzpatrick Scale and a grading system that observes the severity of acne. From here, prescriptions for treatment are made.

The Fitzpatrick scale consists of 6 levels and the criteria are based on the skin’s potential for burns, irritation and hyperpigmentation. The acne grading system on the other hand, focuses on the severity of acne on the skin.

Proper Care for Sensitive Skin

Using the grading systems to determine the level of sensitivity someone’s skin has is usually the first step in creating a skin care routine for sensitive skin. From the findings of these tests, the proper products can be prescribed.

A basic skin type test to understand your skin

There are numerous tests you can take to determine your skin type. A lot of skin care companies offer them at their website for ease of use.


The test usually asks the state of your skin at random times of the day and at certain situations.


The following are some reliable links to basic tests and guides to determine your skin type:

1. Nivea Skin Type Test
2. Renée Rouleau Skin Type Test
3. Eucerin: About skin | Skin types and conditions

Understand how different skin types react to tanning (sun exposure)

Oily Skin and the Sun

The most resistant of the skin types, oily skin is not so affected by sun exposure because of the layer of sebum that acts as a defense mechanism against sun damage. Oily skin types don’t usually burn under the sun but acquire a tan instead. This doesn’t mean to skip the sunscreen though. It is still essential for people with oily skin to add a lightweight sunscreen with at least SPF 15 in order to get the needed protection from sun exposure.

Dry Skin and the Sun

Because it is the sun we are talking about, it’s only natural that dry skin will further become dry under sun exposure. Essential moisture and oils can be evaporated from the skin’s surface. The result is parched and flaky skin that feels tight to the touch. Go for products that moisturizes and protects you from the sun.

Combination Skin and the Sun

For combination skin, just like with moisturizers, it is advised to use two kinds of sunscreen in order to avoid adverse effects on either skin type. Light, oil-free and non-greasy for the oily T zone and hydrating for the dry cheek area. The goal is to get a nice tan and not an ugly sunburn.

Normal Skin and the Sun

Normal skin usually doesn’t burn under the sun. With the proper protection, this skin type can achieve a nice tan.

Sensitive Skin and the Sun

Being sensitive, it is highly normal for this skin type to react terribly to sun exposure. Severe cases also result to itching and rashes when hit by the sun. It is recommended for sensitive skin types to avoid sunscreen with chemical UV filters and instead go for Titanium Dioxide Physical filters. There are numerous brands that offer these kinds of products for skin care.

Skin care routine for various skin types

Because each skin type requires special attention, the typical skin care routine is not advisable as a universal guide to follow. Do read on for a more specific routine that is best for your skin type.

1. Oily Skin Type Skincare Routine

In order to keep oily skin at a minimum, do remember to use oil-free products. Start of your day with a cleansing gel that is light, a toner, an antioxidant serum and sunscreen with zinc oxide. When your day is done, wash off all dirt, makeup and pollution with your cleansing gel followed with your toner, AHA/BHA and retinol serums and your oil-free moisturizer. A weekly tradition that would be good to incorporate are clay masks and face oil applications.

2. Dry Skin Type Skincare Routine

Hydration is important for dry skin. In the mornings, cleanse with a lotion type cleanser, follow it up with toner and an antioxidant serum then lastly apply moisturizer with SPF to protect you from the sun. For the evenings, cleanse, tone, apply some retinol serum and eye cream to keep the sensitive areas from drying up and then apply hydrating moisturizer. A weekly practice would be peels and face oil applications.

3. Combination Skin Type Skincare Routine

For combination skin types, it really depends with how oily, dry or sensitive the skin is. Finding a balance between their individual routines would be highly advised for this skin type.

4. Normal Skin Type Skincare Routine

In the mornings, do cleanse, use toner then follow with a moisturizer that has SPF. In the evenings, cleanse of makeup and other debris, use a toner, followed by an antioxidant serum and topped with your go-to moisturizer. Remember to exfoliate at least 3 times a week.

5. Sensitive Skin Type Skincare Routine

Sensitive skin type skin care routines usually start with a cleansing lotion, an alcohol-free toner, some scent-free moisturizer followed by some sunscreen. To end the day, wash with a cleansing lotion, apply some alcohol-free toner and scent-free moisturizer. Remember that fragrances are usually frowned upon for sensitive skin types. Every week, try to squeeze in a session for gel masks and lactic acid serums.


Now that you know your skin type and are informed on its characteristics and proper care, you can now make informed decisions as to what products can be used on your beautiful skin. Having radiant and healthy skin is always great to have, maintain and achieve.