What Are the Different Skin Types?

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  • Written By: Erin J. Hill
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 September 2019
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The most commonly referred to skin types are oily, dry, damaged, sensitive, and combination skin. These names are usually used to described how much oil someone's skin produces, although sensitive and damaged skin may also be dry. Each type has its own issues and treatment needs, so individuals who are considering a new facial routine should keep their skin type in mind when choosing products.

Those with oily skin types may have an overproduction of oil on the face and body. This oil is produced by glands located in the skin for the purpose of keeping it moisturized. When too much is produced, the skin can appear shiny and pores can become clogged. When this happens, acne is often the result. Oily skin types should cleanse with a foam or water-based cleanser. Those with acne may also choose one which benzoyl peroxide or salicylic acid to dry out pimples.

People with oily skin should be very careful to buy moisturizers that do not contain additional oil or any pore-clogging ingredients. Although it seems counter-productive, a daily moisturizer should still be used because if skin is not replenished with moisture, oil glands may start to produce even more. Those with oily skin types may also need to exfoliate more often to remove dead skin cells, since oily skin often rejuvenates itself more quickly and leads to dead skin being left behind on the surface.


Dry skin types usually require more intense moisturizing on a daily basis. If skin is scaly or peeling, exfoliation may be needed but not more than a few times per week, at most, since exfoliation can remove what oils the skin does have. It is a good idea for these individuals to use cream based cleansers for added moisture during washing.

Combination skin refers to those with both oily and dry skin. Oil is usually found on the area of the face known as the "T-zone," which includes the chin, nose, and forehead. The rest of the face is often excessively dry and flaky. Products for both oily and dry skin types should be used in those with combination skin either in rotation or with two products being used for various areas of the face. Using a mud mask or toner on the T-zone may also be beneficial.

Those with sensitive skin have to be particularly careful when choosing cleansing products. Their skin may feel dry at times, and sensitive skin is often particularly prone to rashes and irritation. Using products specifically labeled for sensitive skin types may prevent this.

Sun damaged skin is often dry, and it has that "leathery" look most people are familiar with. Wrinkles and sagging are also common, since sun exposure can lead to premature aging. There are cosmetic products which can help improve the look of damaged skin, but the best way to avoid skin damage is to prevent it from occurring. That means wearing sunscreen before going outdoors and moisturizing regularly. Those with fair skin may be especially prone to sun damage.

There are also those who have what is known as normal skin. These lucky few have skin that is not overly dry or oily. They may also have clearer skin and smaller pores than others.


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