The 5 Skin Types: Identifying Your Skin Type and Finding the Right Skincare Routine
The 5 Skin Types
Your skin type is perhaps the most significant aspect to consider when building a skincare routine. While all skin types need the essentials (like cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF), you might also think of adding additional products to address your skin type’s specific challenges to build a routine that works for you.
There are five main skin types—oily, normal, combination, dry, and sensitive—and each has its own pros and cons.
So now you’re thinking, “how do I know my skin type?” Well you’re in the right place. We’ll cover a simple method for identifying your skin type at home, outline some defining characteristics of each skin type, and teach you simple tips to address your skin’s unique needs.
What are the 5 skin types?
Let’s take a closer look at the five main skin types: oily, dry, combination, normal, and sensitive.
Oily Skin: Oily skin is characterized by a high production of skin’s natural oil called sebum. This extra oiliness can cause the skin to look shiny or greasy. Those with oily skin may often experience blackheads and enlarged pores which can contribute to acne breakouts.
Dry Skin: Dry skin is the lack of enough oil in the skin. Dry skin can cause skin to appear dry and dull, have rough patches and itchiness, and in more severe cases can cause skin to crack and/or flake. It’s important to note that dry skin and dehydrated skin are not the same, as dehydrated skin (or a lack of water) can happen to any skin type.
Combination Skin: Combination skin is skin that displays two or more defining characteristics in different areas (like dryness on the cheeks and oiliness in the T-zone). Combination skin is the most common skin type, but it can look different from person to person.
Normal Skin: Contrary to its title, “normal skin” is far from normal as it is the least common of the 5 main skin types. Normal skin refers to skin that is well balanced and displays no regular skincare concerns.
Sensitive Skin: Sensitive skin is skin which overreacts to specific ingredients and is more prone to inflammation. People with sensitive skin may have acne, redness, stinging/burning, or even rashes.
What is my skin type?
If you've tried many products and are still left with skin that looks or feels irritated, has active breakouts, or simply needs some improvement than it may be a sign to go back to the drawing board. Now that you know all of the skin types, there’s an easy way to determine which one you have.
Start by washing your face with a mild foaming cleanser, like our Black Soap Foaming Face Wash, which is gentle enough for all skin types. After you’ve lathered your skin and patted dry with a clean cloth, refrain from applying any additional products (normally, you should always follow cleansing with a moisturizer). After 30 minutes, observe your skin’s look and feel. If it feels tight, dry, and uncomfortable, you probably have dry skin. If you notice more shine, then you probably have oily skin. If you both oily and dry areas, you likely have combination skin. Irritation indicates sensitivity and having none of these concerns probably means you’re one of the chosen few with normal skin.
How do I care for my skin type?
Knowing your skin type is one thing, but knowing how to meet your skin’s needs is something else. Finding the right routine naturally takes a bit of trial and error. The following information will help you make the right decisions for your skin!
Skincare Routine for Oily Skin
Climate, genetics, age and diet may all influence the skin’s oil content. A common mistake many make when addressing oily skin is attempting to remove oil from the skin. Stripping the skin of oils causes the skin to ramp up oil production — resulting in even oilier skin and more opportunities for breakouts to form. Rather than starving oily skin of moisture, reach for non-comedogenic hydrators which are specially formulated to not cause blocked pores.
The key to dealing with oily skin is balance. First reach for an exfoliating cleanser, like AFOKOSKIN’s Black Soap Foaming Face Wash, that will reset the build-up of dead skin, dirt, and debris. Next, apply a toner to further penetrate pores to thoroughly cleanse and exfoliate skin. Then, treat skin with serums or masks that address your unique skin needs (think oil regulating, acne treatment, scar fading, or anti-aging ingredients). Finally, end your routine with a non-comedogenic moisturizer to hydrate skin without clogging pores and an SPF.
- Exfoliating cleanser
- Alcohol Free Toner
- Treatment Serum/Mask
- Matte Sunscreen
Skincare Routine for Dry Skin
All skin types can experience dryness at times, but dry skin types typically deal with dry skin all the time. The lack of oil present in dry skin makes it harder for the skin to retain water, thus weakening the skin’s moisture barrier. The key to dealing with dry skin is to nurture and nourish the skin’s moisture barrier. You’ll want to use hydrating products in combination with moisture rich products. Emollient ingredients like squalane in AFOKOSKIN’s Dream Serum can help restore the skin when it’s dry.
- Gentle Cleanser
- Gentle Toner
- Hydrating Serum
- Hydrating Moisturizer
- Facial Oil
Skincare Routine for Combination Skin
This skin type may take more trial and error to find the right routine, as it is a combination of both oily and dry areas. You’ll generally want to seek out products that are suitable for all skin types and avoid any harsh ingredients. You can also try using different skincare products on different areas of the face to spot-treat specific concerns. Skincare for combination skin should always start with a nourishing cleanser that exfoliates the skin while still leaving it feeling comfortable. After studying your skin’s specific characteristics, opt for treatment serums that can address concerns that may appear such as dryness in the cheek area or acne and scarring in the T-zone.
- Nourishing Cleanser
- Gentle Toner
- Treatment Serums
- Lightweight Moisturizer
Skincare Routine for Sensitive Skin
Sensitivity ultimately stems from a disruption of the skin’s natural moisture barrier. The moisture barrier is the skin’s first line of the defense, and when it isn’t working properly skin stressors can penetrate to cause inflammation. AFOKOSKIN’s Black Soap Foaming Face Wash is formulated to be gentle enough for sensitive skin. You’ll also want to reach for a calming toner and/or serum. Next, follow with a soothing moisturizer and sun protection.Your Steps:
- Gentle Cleanser
- Calming Serum
Skincare Routine for Normal Skin
Since those with normal skin don’t have any major concerns to address, your priorities should simply be maintaining your skin’s natural disposition. At minimum, your routine should include the essentials: a gentle cleanser, a lightweight moisturizer, and a broad-spectrum sunscreen to help maintain and protect your skin. Less is more with normal skin, but as a bonus you can add a serum to brighten, hydrate, or smooth skin.