There are 5 types of skin. Which one are you?

Are you smooth-skinned and sensitive, or did you pull the oily short straw?

From teenage spot outbreaks to razor rash, everyone’s skin has had its fair share of bad days. But, with the multitude of lotions, creams, oils, washes, scrubs, tinctures, elixirs, mists, moisturisers and foams (we could go on…) available in every pharmacy or chemist you step into, surely there must be a solution.

And there is, for the most part. The problem comes when trying to figure out what product matches your skin type. To do that, of course, you must first determine which category your skin falls into. So, if you’re still none the wiser, and that bathroom cabinet full of tubes, pots, bottles and god knows what else still isn’t hitting the spot, then check yourself against this handy guide below, and figure out your skin type once and for all.


Dry skin is likely to feel tight throughout the day, and may flake readily. Dry skin is most commonly a genetic inheritance, but can be influenced by lifestyle, diet, hormonal changes and climate.

Also, clearly, dehydration is a leading cause of dryness. To identify if you have dry skin, wash and moisturise your face – and then wait 30 minutes. If, when half an hour has passed, your skin feels tight and parched, then you’ve likely got dry skin. Try to avoid diuretics such as alcohol and caffeine if this is the case, exfoliate daily and, most importantly, moisturise.


Oily skin is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, given the natural moisture it imbues into your skin, your complexion is likely to look fuller and younger for longer – and will be considerably less prone to wrinkles.

Conversely, however, clogged and congested pores will occur readily thanks to all that excess oil, which may lead to spots and blackheads. If you’ve got this skin type, try exfoliating daily to clear those pores – perhaps an anti-bacterial product to speed healing and prevent future blemishes.


A real pain when it comes to buying products, people with a  combination skin type are a mixture of the first two categories: with an excessively oily T-Zone (nose, chin and forehead) but with dry cheeks.

If you get spots, you likely get them on your forehead or nose, but not on your cheeks. Dealing with this skin type can be awkward – you need to exfoliate your T-Zone a little more vigorously than the rest of your face – and perhaps even selectively apply a facemask to certain sections of your visage.


If you are prone to sunburn, redness and rashes, then your skin is likely sensitive. Easily irritated by products and common host to unsightly spot breakouts, you’ve – regrettably – pulled the dermatological short straw.

But don’t despair! Alcohol and fragrance free products cater to your less-than-hardy skin, and this gentle approach is best replicated throughout your entire routine – which means lay down the loofah and scrub ferociously at your own peril.


Ah, the lucky amongst us. If you have ‘normal’ skin, then you likely won’t suffer from spots or blemishes, razor rash will be as alien to you as vicious sunburn and your complexion will glow.

With normal pores and an even texture, the only message you need to pass onto your skin is ‘keep up the good work’. But remember, complacency breeds disaster, so keep a good level of basic cleansing and moisturising to ensure continued wrinkle-free days. Scrub or exfoliate, too – but not as often as those with oily skin. Twice a week should suffice.

Further Reading