A woman with the words "dry", "oily", and "combination" pointing to specific areas on her face.

4 Common Skin Types: How to Know What Skin Type You Have

As seasons shift and temperatures fluctuate, we’re reminded—sometimes painfully—of our skin type and the unique challenges of caring for it. That is if you even know what type of skin you have. 

Unless you’re an outlier on the dermatological spectrum, your skin falls into one of four main categories: normal, oily, dry or combination. You probably have a pretty good idea what type of skin you have, but if not, there’s no need to fret. The Internet is chock-full of tools to help you classify the pliable, porous layer that covers your body from head to toe.  

Below, we’ll share information to help you better understand the different skin types, along with some skincare tips to help you better care for each type. If you’re still unsure about how to tell what skin type you have, this information should help you know for sure. Let’s start with the most coveted—and least common—skin type: normal.  

Skin Type #1 – Normal Skin

First of all, not fair. Normal skin is the unicorn we’ve all read about but rarely gazed upon. Is skin type more lore than legit? Could be. Some beauty experts have even questioned if normal skin really exists

If you find out you have this skin type, you’ve been blessed. Normal skin doesn’t suffer from a summer-induced oil slick or wither up in the winter. It doesn’t throw a splotchy tantrum when you try out new products or pull on a wool sweater. It is, by all accounts, low maintenance. So congratulations—and color us jealous! 

In addition to its all-around agreeableness, normal skin is characterized by nearly invisible pores and very few wrinkles or lines. Add in a cherubic complexion, and you have an enviable combo that’s hard to beat. But try as it might, normal skin isn’t flawless.

Normal Skin Care Tips

Caring for normal skin is all about preserving the gift you’ve been given. Be sure to wear sunscreen when you venture out and give that glorious skin plenty of water by hydrating like heck. The don’ts for normal skin are few. Pass on the toner but moisturize on the daily. Beyond that, run free, unicorn!

Skin Type #2 – Oily Skin

If you figure out you have this skin type you’re susceptible to all sorts of internal and external factors that have your sebaceous glands working overtime. Stress, hormones, weather and diet can trigger your skin’s oil spigot—and the results are, well, greasy.

The “oil” is actually sebum, which lubricates and protects skin, but too much of a good thing can lead to an undesirable sheen, clogged pores and acne breakouts. And larger pores tend to produce more sebum, which means an even oilier complexion. Thankfully, with a good routine and a little discipline, you should be able to curb overactive oil production and take that shine down a notch or two.

Oily Skin Care Tips

The don’ts for oily skin are many. Don’t wash your face too frequently. Avoid products with alcohol, mineral oils or petroleum. And steer clear of oil-based makeup and moisturizers, lest you further dam up those pores. 

If your skin type is oily, caring for your skin is simpler than you might think. Start by washing your face at least once in the morning and once at night with a cleanser that’s not too harsh or too gentle. This may require some trial and error, but there’s a world of products to choose from. Find a good moisturizer and do the same. And lastly, consider using non-comedogenic toner and other cosmetics that are specially formulated to keep your pores clear.  

Skin Type #3 – Dry Skin

If oily skin is a swampy bog, then dry skin is the arid desert. And those who suffer from the latter routinely struggle with cracked, tight skin that can be especially miserable in the wintertime. 

If you determine you have this skin type you probably have tiny pores that are stingy about sebum. You’re also no stranger to bouts of itchiness, irritation and flaking that have you wishing you could permanently plop your face in a bowl of lotion. Sadly, though, many lotions only incite dry skin to come back with a vengeance. Skip skincare products with exfoliating agents, retinol and fragrances to keep the peace.  

If you have this skin type, controlling your environment is just as important as your care routine. In those punishing cold stretches, try setting your thermostat lower and find a quality humidifier or two to blast in the rooms where you spend most of your time. Most importantly, deny your natural tendency to take long, hot showers when it’s freezing outside. Short showers with warm water are a must.

Dry Skin Care Tips

There are tons of tactics out there for fighting dry skin, but here are some fundamentals. Be sure to moisturize when your skin is still damp, exfoliate sparingly and embrace face masks. These steps alone should make a world of difference!

Skin Type #4 – Combination Skin

As it turns out, not everyone’s skin falls into one of these clearly defined skin types. There’s a substantial gray area for people whose skin prefers not to be pigeonholed. If your skin has hybrid attributes that keep you guessing, you’re likely in the combination skin camp.

People who figure out they have this skin type have a combination of oily and dry skin. On your face, this combo often manifests itself in the dreaded T-zone—an oily configuration that includes your forehead and nose. Conversely, your cheeks and chin tend to be drier. As if skincare wasn’t complicated enough already. 

Combination Skin Care Tips

Skin with these blended traits calls for a blended strategy. Because of its prominence, your T-zone is the primary skinemesis. Again, you’ll want to avoid the same ingredients noted above for oily skin and consider a mattifier to tamp down the shininess. Use a hydrating serum for your entire face and an oil-free sunscreen that’s at least 30 SPF to protect that delicate dermal mix. Need some recommendations? Check out these lotions, potions, creams and cleansers for combo skin

Regardless of your skin type and its unique challenges, your feet can always benefit from one of our exfoliating peels. Even if your soles or heels are rough, dry or prone to dead skin, our peels, whether you use the Original Exfoliation Foot Peel or our Men’s Foot Peel, will make them miraculously smooth. Hop on over to our Instagram page to see for yourself and don’t forget to pick up a Moisturizing Foot Mask for after-peel hydration.