How to discover your skin type

5 min read
Blue Line
To get the most out of your skincare regime you need to match it to your own individual skin type. But which one are you? Here’s how to find out.
Department stores and dermatologists might have fancy machines to determine people’s skin types but there’s a simple way to find out what yours is without even leaving the house: you simply need to pay attention to how it looks and behaves – and then create the perfect grooming regime to take of it.


If your skin often feels dry and tight after washing, is easily irritated, prone to redness and flaky patches and is rarely greasy or shiny you probably have skin that’s dry.

Dryness is caused by a lack of water content in the skin and the skin producing less sebum – the protective oil that coats the skin and keeps moisture in. And though women tend to have drier skin than men, men do suffer from it too, especially those with fair skin.

Skin saving strategy:

  • Moisturise twice daily with a product designed for dry skins.
  • Use gentle, non-drying cleansers and avoid very hot water.
  • Protect skin from sun damage using high SPF products.
  • Gently remove dead cells and dry patches with a face cloth rather than an abrasive scrub.
  • Look for anti-pollution skincare products to protect the skin’s protective barrier and ones containing hyaluronic acid, which draws water towards the skin to keep it hydrated.
  • Incorporate an eye cream into your routine to minimise fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes.
  • Apply a night cream just before bed to hydrate skin overnight.



Men’s skin is naturally oilier than women’s thanks to a higher number of oil-producing sebaceous glands and larger pores, but sometimes those glands go into overdrive, which is when the problems begin. If you have oily skin you probably already know the downsides: shiny patches, spots, blackheads and pores like mini manholes being the main ones.


What’s more, everything from hormonal changes to stress, friction, heat and using the wrong kind of skincare products can exacerbate the problem.


That’s the bad news. The good news (yes there is some) is that oily skin tends to less susceptible to premature ageing because the oil protects it produces helps keep it supple and hydrated. The other good news is that the problems associated with oily skin often lessen as we enter our thirties, when oil production begins to slow.

Skin saving strategy:

  • Avoid over-cleansing, over-scrubbing, washing with very hot water and fiddling with skin with your fingers – all of which can stimulate oil production.
  • Moisturise daily with an oil-free, mattifying moisturiser. Use one with a built-in, broad spectrum sunscreen to protect skin against sun damage.
  • Look for oil control skincare products.
  • Apply a clay mask once a week to draw out grease and grime and to unblock pores.
  • Switch to an electric razor if spots are a problem when shaving.
  • Keep a spot cream handy and apply to pimples the moment you see them popping up.
  • Reduce stress levels.



Many men say they have sensitive skin when in reality the sensitivity they say they have comes from wet shaving rather than from the nature of the skin itself. Genuinely sensitive skin is easily irritated by heat, sunlight and some skincare products, flushes easily and is often red, sore and itchy for no reason.


People with allergies, pale complexions and dry skin are particularly susceptible but any skin type can become sensitised if its protective barrier is disrupted by dehydration, over-exfoliation, environmental pollution or drastic changes in humidity. Stress, poor diets and bad skincare regimes don’t help much either.

Skin saving strategy:

  • Downsize your routine to the essentials only.
  • Avoid products containing alcohol, fragrance, mineral oil and artificial colours.
  • Avoid very hot water and coarse facial scrubs.
  • Use soap-free cleansers and products formulated especially for sensitive skin, ones labeled “hypoallergenic” or switch to milder baby soaps and shampoos.
  • Moisturise daily and protect skin from sun damage by using a moisturiser with a built-in sunscreen.
  • Try using an electric shaver instead of a wet razor to avoid nicks, cuts and razor burn.



You’ve got combination skin if you’ve a T-shaped zone of oily skin – stretching from the forehead to the chin, via the nose – with dry skin on the rest of the face, particularly the cheeks.


The reason the T-zone areas become so greasy is down to the large numbers of oil-producing sebaceous glands in these areas.  It’s a common skin type and both dry and oily skin types can find themselves slipping into combination territory sometimes.

Skin saving strategy:

  • Wash skin with a soap-free cleanser.
  • Avoid using very hot water which can stimulate oil production in the T-zone and dry out other areas.
  • Use an oil-free, mattifying moisturiser.
  • Apply oil-control products only to problem areas in the T-zone.
  • Mop up excess oil that appears during the day with anti-shine blotting papers.
  • Protect skin from sun damage using moisturisers with a built-in, broad spectrum sunscreen.
  • Apply a clay-based face mask to the T-zone once a week to mop up grease and grime.
  • Use a gentle face scrub once a week to prevent blocked pores along the T-zone and remove flaky skin on the dry areas.
  • Manage your stress.



When skincare products say they’re suitable for ‘normal’ skin what they really mean is that they’re ideal for skin that’s neither too dry nor too greasy, only ever suffers from the occasional spot, has fine pores and rarely becomes red or irritated. Chances are, if you’re not aware of excessive dryness or oiliness you skin is normal. Don’t become too complacent though – skin changes as we age and can also be affected by environmental changes.

Skin saving strategy:

  • Cleanse twice daily with a soap-free cleanser to maintain balance * Moisturise skin with a moisturiser featuring a broad-spectrum sunscreen an insurance policy against future wrinkles.
  • Use a face scrub once or twice a week
  • Avoid using to many products to ensure skin remains balanced
  • Stick to the products you’re currently using: if your skin is free of dry patches, spots or shine they obviously work!