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Determine your Skin Type

July 30, 2015

With so many skincare products to choose from, the task of finding the perfect match for your skin can be hard especially if you don’t know what it is you’re looking for. Determining your skin type is the first step and, fortunately for you, it’s not rocket science. Here’s how:


Begin to listen to what your skin is telling you. Observe its behaviour over a given time period and under different conditions. When it’s humid, does it become greasy? Is it excessively dry, does it do all these things at once? Once you’ve understood and observed the behavioural pattern your skin exhibits, you can go ahead and attribute a type to it.

These are the basic types:

Normal skin is overall healthy skin. There are no visible, open pores and blemishes and the texture is smooth. Normal skin possesses a harmonious balance of water content and oils that keep it supple yet not greasy. It is not overly sensitive to any conditions it is exposed to either.

Dry skin is characterised by dry and dull, flaky rough patches. This type of skin can be normal and oily and even irritable and red at times with very tiny pores.  It does not perform well when subjected to excesses in temperature and humidity and tends to generally be quite delicate and touchy.

Oily skin is mostly found to be shiny in the t-zone (the area that forms a t shape from above your eyebrows, down along and around your nose and ending in your chin) where there will be a marked presence of blackheads, blemishes and enlarged pores. Inconsistencies in the weather and hormonal balances may adversely affect the performance of oily skin, causing the sebaceous glands to go into overdrive and make skin appear heavy and waxy.

 Combination skin, as the name suggests, this type of skin can be a little bit of each type. Usually being either excessively oil or excessively dry, this type of skin can be oily in the T-zone and have rough dull patches elsewhere all at once.

Sensitive skin can be extremely fussy when subjected to changing products and weather conditions. It can turn red, become itchy and stingy and in more extreme cases, under these conditions, can develop skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.


If regular observation of the behaviour of your skin still does not help you narrow down your skin type, try this more definitive test:

STEP 1: Wash your face with a mild cleanser and pat dry.

STEP 2: Take a blotting tissue (available at all leading supermarkets and beauty stores, you can even use wax paper instead) and press firmly over each area: your nose, cheeks, chin and forehead.

STEP 3: Take a look at the wax paper and follow the tips below to determine your skin type:

If your skin is oily, the blotting tissue will stick to your skin, lift up oil and appear translucent.

If your skin is dry, the blotting tissue will not stick or lift up oil.

If your skin is combination or normal, the blotting tissue may stick to your T-zone or parts of it.

Sensitive skin is easier to detect as it will show obvious signs of irritation by turning red or itchy at the slightest instance. Sensitive skin symptoms are most commonly triggered by additives and foreign substances in skincare products such as fragrances, alpha hydroxyl, etc. People with sensitive skin are most often instructed to stick with natural or organic skin care products.

Besides knowing your skin type and being able to match the right product to it, it’s still helpful to conduct a patch test 24 hours prior to using the product. Simply rub it into the forearm and avoid washing the area. If your skin remains clear, you should be alright. At the first sign of discomfort or anything unusual, however, discontinue use immediately.


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