There are four standard types of skin which fall into the following categories: 

Normal, Dry, Oily and Combination Skin. 

Our skin type can evolve during our lifetime. Those with an oily skin type in their teenage years can find their skin becoming drier post-puberty and those with a normal skin type can find their skin getting drier as they age. 

As all skin types age, skin loses volume and density, fine lines and wrinkles appear and changes in pigmentation can occur. Understanding and measuring these signs of ageing helps us to determine the condition of our skin.

How to recognize what skin type you are?

Normal Skin

‘Normal’ is a term widely used to refer to well-balanced skin.The T-zone (forehead, chin and nose) may be a bit oily, but overall sebum and moisture is balanced and the skin is neither too oily nor too dry.

Normal skin has:

  • Fine pores
  • Good blood circulation
  • A soft and smooth texture
  • A fresh, rosy colour
  • No blemishes 
  • Is not prone to sensitivity.

As a person with normal skin ages, their skin becomes dryer. 

Dry Skin

‘Dry’ is used to describe a skin type that produces less sebum than normal skin. As a result, dry skin lacks the lipids that it needs to retain moisture and build a protective shield against external influences. Dry skin (Xerosis) exists in varying degrees of severity and in different forms that are not always clearly distinguishable. All skin gets dryer with age. Problems related to dry skin are a common complaint and account for 40% of visits to dermatologists. 

Significantly more women suffer from dry skin than men.

There are different degrees of dry skin ranging from skin that is a little bit drier than normal, through very dry skin to extremely dry skin. The differences are:

Dry Skin

  • Skin can feel a little tight & brittle 
  • Have a dull look dull. 
  • Skin elasticity is also low.

Very Dry Skin

  • Mild scaling or flakiness in patches 
  • A rough and blotchy appearance 
  • A feeling of tightness 
  • Possible itchiness
  • More sensitive to irritation, redness and the risk of infection.

Extremely Dry Skin
Certain areas of the body (particularly hands, feet, elbows and knees) are prone to:

  • Roughness
  • Chapping with a tendency to form rhagades (cracks)
  • Calluses
  • Frequent itchiness

Oily Skin

‘Oily’ is used to describe a skin type with heightened sebum production. An over production is known as Seborrhea.

A number of issues can trigger the over production of sebum such as genetics, hormonal changes, medication, stress or a reaction to cosmetic products (make up).

Oily skin is often characterised by:

  • Enlarged, clearly visible pores 
  • A glossy shine
  • Thicker, pale skin: blood vessels may not be visible
  • Prone to blackheads & whiteheads and to the various forms of acne.

Mild acne can appear on the face as well as the neck, shoulders, back and chest.

In moderate to severe cases, papules (small bumps with no visible white or black head) and pustules (medium sized bumps with a noticeable white or yellow dot at the centre) appear and the skin becomes red and inflamed.

Combination Skin

With combination skin the skin types vary in the T-zone and cheeks. The so-called T-zone can differ substantially – from a very slim zone to an extended area.

Combination skin is characterised by:

  • An oily T-zone (forehead, chin and nose) 
  • Enlarged pores in this area perhaps with some impurities
  • Normal to dry cheeks

The difference between Skin Type and Skin Condition

Unlike skin type, skin condition can vary greatly during the course of your life. There many internal and external factors that determine skin condition such as climate and pollution, medication, stress, hereditary factors, sweat and natural moisturising factors that your skin produces as well as the products that you use and the skincare choices that you make.

Skin tone and ethnicity influences how our skin reacts to external forces such as the sun, pigmentation disorders, irritation and inflammation.

The redness of skin is also a useful measure of skin condition; it indicates how successful our circulation is and can be helpful in identifying conditions such as Couperose and Rosacea.

Skincare products should be selected to match your skin type and address any skin condition.