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Skin Types + How to Treat Each Type

Skin Types + How to Treat Each Type

Everyone’s skin is uniquely beautiful, and we believe it should be treated that way.

We believe in the importance of understanding your skin type, especially if you’re looking to kick off your skin care journey.

Generally speaking, there are five different skin types: balanced, dry, oil, sensitive and combination skin. Each type comes with its own unique traits, which means different methods of care. So, how do you determine your skin type? We’re here to help you meet the best skin of your life!

Determining your skin type

The first step in designing your optimal skin care routine is determining which of the different skin types you are. While your skin type isn’t everything, it definitely goes a long way toward guiding you in the right direction.

But how exactly are you supposed to know what your skin type is? Is there a handbook? Luckily, we have two easy ways to figure that out, and you can do both from the comfort of your own home.


One of the easiest ways to determine your skin type is to evaluate your skin right after you’ve cleansed. This can help determine how your skin looks and feels without any makeup or skin care products. Then, you can choose a more targeted skin care regime to address your individual needs.

To follow this test, start by washing your face with our Gentle Soothing Cleanser. After cleansing your face thoroughly, pat your face dry with a soft clean cloth and wait about 30 minutes. Resist the urge to use any other skin care products, like moisturizers or serums.

We want to see what your skin does without any outside assistance. Let’s take a minute and pay attention to how your skin looks and feels.

  • Is it dry, tight and uncomfortable? You may fall into the dry skin category.
  • Does your skin look shiny all over? You likely have oily skin.
  • Is your skin dry and tight in some areas and shiny in others? You may have combination skin.
  • Does your skin react to any and every product you use? Chances are, you have sensitive skin.
  • Is your skin well balanced — not too oily or dry? Lucky you, you’ve got balanced skin!

To truly get a feel for your skin type, we recommend performing this test twice— once in the morning and once in the evening. (Some people’s skin has different needs at different times of the day, translating into a more diverse skin care routine.)


The blotting sheet test is another way to determine your skin type at home. The only downside to this method is that, unlike using your current cleanser (like with the bare-faced test), you may have to go out and buy blotting sheets for this one.

To perform your own blotting sheet test at home, firmly press a clean blotting sheet against different areas of your skin. Pay close attention to the main “problem” areas – like the forehead, cheeks, nose and chin.

After each blot, hold the sheet up to a light source (or even your phone’s flashlight) and check out how much oil is present.

If you see a ton of oil from all of the areas you’ve checked, it’s probably a sign that you have an oily skin type. On the other hand, if there is very little or even no oil present, your skin is likely considered dry. And, if you only see oil in certain areas (specifically your “T-zone” — the forehead, nose and chin), it may be a clue that you have combination skin.

We recommend performing your blotting test in the late afternoon or evening before washing your face. Timing it that way can give you a more accurate idea of how your skin naturally behaves.

The five basic skin types

With your bare-face or blotting sheet test under your belt, you’re one step closer to finding out your skin type. Let’s discuss the five main skin types, and then we’ll dig into our specific recommendations for taking care of each.


First things first, all skin is “normal” skin. Just because you may have a little more oil or your skin feels tight after you wash it doesn’t mean your skin is “abnormal,” It just requires a little extra care.

Ok, with that out of the way, what are some of the qualities featured on a normal skin type? Having normal skin means that your skin is well-balanced – meaning there are no obvious oily or dry areas – and that it doesn’t have any persistent issues like acne or redness.


On the other hand, oily skin has a higher than average amount of sebum (the skin’s natural oil). Because of this excess oil production, people with this type of skin notice that their skin looks shiny. The oil build-up can also clog the pores, increasing the likelihood of breakouts and blemishes.


Dry skin types experience the polar opposite of oily skin. Dry skin is often drier than the desert. This is often the result of a lack of water in the outermost layer of the skin, known as the stratum corneum. If that term sounds familiar, it’s because it’s also the layer we refer to as the “skin barrier.”

Those with a dry skin type may notice tightness, dryness and even flaking. But don’t get dry skin confused with dehydrated skin!

While dry skin does suffer from not having enough moisture, it has very little to do with how much water you’re actually drinking. Dehydrated skin can happen to anyone, anytime – no matter their skin type.


Dermatologists have some differences of opinion on whether having sensitive skin is actually an official skin type. Regardless, skin sensitivity does require special consideration – so we include it on our list just the same.

There are different degrees of sensitivity that people experience, as well. For some, skin sensitivity may be regular itching and redness (especially if they have any triggers). For others, their skin may just feel sensitive without showing any signs on the outside. You may also notice stinging and burning after applying your skin care products.


Combination skin lives up to its name by being a combination of two or more of the other skin types on this list. However, those skin types appear on different parts of the face.

Combination skin typically has an oily T-zone, with excess oil on the forehead, nose and chin (in the shape of a T, hence its name!). The rest of the face may be dry or balanced.

Creating a custom skin care routine for your skin type

Now that you have a better idea of which of the five skin types your skin is closest to, let’s get started on creating your customized skin care routine!


Normal skin is also the easiest skin to take care of. Without any major skin care concerns, the goal is to find products that keep your skin well-balanced. A basic routine should always include a cleanser (like our Papaya Enzyme), moisturizer and 100% Mineral Tinted SPF.

Don’t forget to treat your skin with a detoxifying treatment like Clay Time!


Oily skin requires a little more targeted care. Although you can’t stop the sebaceous glands from sebum production and the excess oil that goes with it, you can minimize the impact on the skin (and the appearance of blackheads).

If you want to save yourself the trouble of choosing individual products, we’ve put together a complete Oily Skin Kit, which includes:

Don’t be tricked into thinking that oily skin doesn’t need moisture, either. All skin needs hydration. Exfoliating is also vital, especially for acne-prone skin. There have also been a few recent studies that showed that Botox might actually help treat oily skin.


Dry skin naturally lacks oil, so any skin care routine designed to help boost moisture and hydration is essential. You’ll need to put moisture back into the skin and keep it there.

That means choosing products with emollients, which soften and moisturize the skin while also trapping oil inside it. Look for products with hyaluronic acid, squalene and ceramides for the most effective results.

We’ve also designed a complete Dry Skin Kit to help save you time, which includes:

Don’t forget to Look for products with hyaluronic acid, squalene and ceramides for the most effective results.


Although sensitive skin types can manage their skin care at home, it’s essential to rule out any potential skin conditions with your provider.

For sensitive skin, you’ll need mild hydration for sensitive skin while also staying away from products with added fragrance or harsh ingredients.

We suggest including the Gentle Soothing Cleanser, Eye Sculpt, Youth Serum, Glow Factor and 100% Mineral Tinted SPF.

You can also look for non-comedogenic products to help avoid breakouts.


If normal skin is the easiest to take care of, combination skin can be the most difficult. While the skin itself isn’t anything extreme to manage, providing the different areas of the skin with the specific ingredients it needs can be challenging. It’s all about balance.

If you have combination skin, look for lightweight skin care products that hydrate and moisturize the skin. Take advantage of targeted products, like serums, that you can apply to the areas that need them most.

Don’t forget the sunscreen!

Regardless of your skin type, any complete skin care routine should end with applying sunscreen. In fact, sunscreen is arguably the most important thing you can do for the health of your skin — both in the present and in the future. Reapply your sunscreen at least every two to three hours throughout the day, if outdoors and even more frequently if you’re sweating or in the water.

Swing by our shop at Skin Pharm and pick up one of the following options: 100% Mineral Tinted, Sheer Defense or Clear Defense. If you do find your skin is a bit parched or feeling fried at the end of the day, do some damage control with our Recovery Lotion to help heal your skin.

To wrap things up...

We love all skin types at Skin Pharm! Whether you have normal, dry, oily or sensitive skin (or a combination of any of the above), we want to support you on your skin care journey.

Our providers are ready to help you choose the right products and services for your uniquely beautiful skin. Give us a call today to schedule a consultation — and prepare to be amazed at how different your skin can look with the proper care.

So what are you waiting for? Take our quiz and we’ll customize a Skin Pharm routine just for you!


Skin care tips dermatologists use | AAD

Dry skin management: a practical approach in light of latest research on skin structure and function | PubMed

Oily Skin: A review of Treatment Options |PubMed


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