What Type of Skin Do I Have?

What Type of Skin Do I Have?

Your skin type determines what skin care products work best for your skin. It also determines what makeup you should go for and what foods to avoid. The five basic skin types are dry, oily, combination, sensitive, and normal. But aside from the obvious, would you know how to classify your skin type?

How Do I Figure Out What Type of Skin I Have?

Finding out what type of skin you have takes careful analysis. And analyzing your skin takes more than just a visual check. Here’s how to find what type of skin you have:

Step 1: Cleanse your skin twice

Cleanse your skin with your cleanser of choice! Not sure what type of cleansers you should be using? Check out our blog on what type of products you should use for your skin type!

Thoroughly cleansing your skin before analyzing it lets you clearly see what you’re dealing with.

Step 2: Take a close look at your T-zone.

Your T-zone is the area of your face covering the area circling the mouth, chin, nose, and forehead. It is called the T-zone simply because it is shaped like the letter T. T-zones tend to be oilier than the rest of your face because this area has more oil glands. Because it tends to be oilier, breakouts are more common too.

If your T-zone is oily but your cheeks are normal or dry, the type of skin you have is Normal/Combination Skin. The objective is to balance our skin in all these areas. So one part may require a different kind of skincare routine than the other.

Some questions to ask:

  1. Is my T-zone oily? Does it get oilier throughout the day?
  2. Do I tend to break out in the T-zone alone?
  3. Is there any texture in the T-zone caused by whiteheads, blackheads, blemishes, or dry skin?
  4. What size are my pores in this area?
  5. Is my skin uneven in this area?

girl with her eyes closed | What Type of Skin Do I Have?

Step 3: Take note of your cheeks

Your cheeks take up a large portion of your face, so it is important to know what problems you have on your cheeks, if any at all! Not really sure how to identify what "problems" you may have with your cheeks? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do I have large pores?
  2. Can I see small veins if I look close enough?
  3. Is my skin very red or ruddy in this area?
  4. Do I tend to break out here?
  5. Do I get oily in this area throughout the day?
  6. Do I experience dryness on my cheeks? Does my skin every get itchy, tight, or flaky in this area?

Step 4: Observe your face’s overall color

Some people are lucky enough to have been blessed with an even skin tone, but don't worry if you don't! Most people don't have an even skin tone, so that's why we have foundation! Pay close attention to what type of unevenness you experience, and ask yourself these questions:

  1. Am I redder in some areas than others?
  2. Do I blush easily?
  3. How evenly do I tan when I’m not wearing SPF?

What are the 5 Different Skin Types?

Now that you’ve taken note of the type of skin you have, check out the following to know which skin type most describes your own.

Do I Have Dry Skin?

If you have dry skin, you may have noticed that your face

  1. Often feels tight
  2. Is flaky, possibly even in patches 
  3. Has almost invisible pores 
  4. Suffers from premature wrinkles
  5. Regularly feels irritated 
  6. Often suffers from allergic reactions

Dry skin is caused by so many factors but the biggest factor is genes. It is a misconception to think that dry skin is caused by a lack of moisture. The truth? The water content in dry skin is similar to that of oily skin. What makes it dry is your genetic predisposition when it comes to the amount of sebum that your skin’s oil glands produce. Sebum makes our skin soft. If you don’t produce enough, your skin tends to dry.

How to care for Dry Skin

girl with hair in bun | What Type of Skin Do I Have?

Dermatologists strongly advise against benzoyl peroxide treatments for this type of skin. This does more harm for dry skin types because it further diminishes the amount of oil that glands produce. Consider hydrating as well. While drinking more water doesn’t improve dry skin, it ensures that your body is as healthy as it can possibly be.

As for lifestyle, avoid taking long, hot showers. Prolonged exposure to hot water strips the oil from our skin.

If, however, you notice redness, irritation, or flaking, see a doctor immediately to rule out other skin problems such as allergic contact dermatitis, seborrheic dermatitis, or eczema

Do I Have Oily Skin?

You know your skin is oily if you notice a great deal of shine on your face. Unfortunately, this is also the type of skin that suffers the most from acne.

Oily skin is both genetic and hormonal. If you have the genes for active oil glands, expect more sebum.

Sebum is the oily substance that keeps your skin hydrated and soft. It flows from the inside of the epidermis to the skin surface through hair follicles and pores.

When your hormone levels fluctuate, male hormones (which are present in both men and women), stimulate an increase in sebum production.

Excess sebum production causes the skin’s pores to expand. The ugly result? -- blockages that become pimples and other types of acne (such as whiteheads, blackheads, pustules, and papules) plus pores that are more visible. Makeup also tends to “melt” off of your face.

girl washing face | What Type of Skin Do I Have?

How to care for Oily Skin

It is quite tempting for individuals with oily skin to go for products that promise a matte look. But do watch out for ingredients such as benzoyl peroxide. This may trigger your skin to work harder at producing more oil – resulting in oilier skin.

Do exfoliate lightly. Oil buildup can cause dead skin cells to accumulate in the pores. We know how irresistible those rough loofas and harsh products are, but it really is important to use gentle exfoliators to prevent excess sebum production.

When it comes to aging, individuals with oily skin are lottery winners. Oily skin tends to develop fewer wrinkles. And thanks to genes, oily skin types have thicker skin. Thickness means lesser fine lines. It also means less prone to dehydration.

Avoid heavy cosmetics. These can lead to blocked pores. Go for oil-free products that have been tailored for oily skin. Be diligent with makeup removal before bed. Don’t forget to clean your makeup brushes regularly!

Think you don’t need moisturizer? You still do. Skipping on the moisturizer can make your skin oilier. When your face feels dry, it signals your oil glands to work overtime. So find a lightweight moisturizing cream to keep your skin soft and adequately hydrated.

Do I Have Normal Skin?

Normal skin features a good balance of small pores, even skin tone, and moisture. Oiliness or dryness is rare and tends to resolve by itself pretty quickly. In addition, normal skin types exhibit fewer lines and wrinkles.

How to care for Normal Skin

Contrary to popular belief, normal skin isn’t “perfect” – even if it requires the least maintenance compared to the others. Skin changes over time thanks to age, routine, life events, pregnancy, and menopause. Those with this type of skin should use products that don’t make their skin feel too dry or greasy.

Stick to a consistent skin care regimen and product.

palm full of bubbles | What Type of Skin Do I Have?

Do I Have Combination Skin?

Combination skin is what as it names says – a combination of different skin types on the face. It’s typically dry and flaky skin on some areas of the face. Oily on the other parts. It’s easy to mistake oily skin for combination skin. But the trick is to check your entire face. If your skin is oily all over, you’re classified under the oily skin type. But if you see that there are portions of skin that are dry, you got combination skin.

Individuals with Combination skin possess a shiny T-zone. These areas (nose, chin, forehead), tend to have more active oil glands than other parts of the face. This being the case, your regimen is a bit different.

How to care for Combination Skin

Stick with natural ingredients such as those by Penny and Pine. Penny and Pine uses natural and organic components that have been proven to actually WORK! Combination skin tends to have cheeks that are dry and even flaky. Dry skin is very susceptible to irritation. As much as you like scents, avoid products with fragrance too as chemically created fragrances are known to irritate this skin type.

Exfoliation is essential for combination skin types. Dead skin cells on dry areas of the face need to be sloughed off. Clogged pores also need to be cleared.

Penny & Pine products | What Type of Skin Do I Have?

Do I Have Sensitive Skin?

Sensitive skin types may mask itself as oily skin, combination skin, or even dry skin. The difference is, they exhibit quite a bit of redness and irritation. Sensitive skin is easily inflamed. Other skin conditions such as allergies and rosacea heighten inflammation. When it comes to sensitive skin, dermatologists use systems that classify according to its propensity for burns and hyperpigmentation. Another grading system classified according to acne severity.

How to care for Sensitive Skin

Sensitive skin should always be under the care of your dermatologist as you may have underlying conditions that need to be diagnosed. Avoid harsh, chemical-based skin care treatments and test products on a small patch of skin to check for reactions.


Now that you’ve gone through this list, we know that you’ve got your skin type down to a T. Got some tips you’d like to share?

We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below!


  • Brenda

    My older skin is mostly normal, but procedures, surgeries, anemia is making my skin dry.

  • Monique

    Thank you for such detailed information on this subject. It has taken me years of questioning to understand what my skin type really is, which also meant years of trying many products.
    Sincere adoration for the time put in to this article and it’s helpfulness

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