DIY Skin Analysis: What's My Skin Type?

We all know that looking after our skin from a young age is vital if you want to have good skin throughout your lifetime, and with endless advertisements and campaigns claiming that their products can do this and that for you, it can all become a little overwhelming. In this post I'm going to strip it right back down to basics. Before you invest in any skincare product or regime, you need to know what your skin type is first and foremost. I would guess that for most people that aren't in or interested in the beauty industry, skincare is like a foreign language and goes as far as makeup wipes, maybe even soap and a flannel. In this *very detailed and hopefully informative* post, I aim for you to leave this page knowing what skin type you have, and your next step to finding the right products for your skin.
Disclaimer: I am not a qualified dermatologist, but I am a trained beautician and so without blowing my own trumpet, I kinda know what I'm talking about. To write this post, I have combined my own experiences and knowledge along with the book 'Beauty Therapy, the foundations, 4th edition by Lorraine Nordmann' to inform this post. P.S- There is lots to cover, and lots of details, so buckle up!

A few things to bare in mind when reading this post:

There are four basic skin types. They are normal, dry, combination and oily

Definitions/Key words:
-Skin texture is how your skin feels. Some people may have bumpy skin, some may have rough skin. Normal skin often feels soft and smooth to touch. (As the saying goes, like a baby's bottom!)
-Skin elasticity test- with your thumb and fore-finger, gently grab your cheek. Pull it and let go. If it bounces back to normal quickly, your skin elasticity is good. If it takes a little longer to get back to its original position, your skins elasticity will naturally be not as good (more common in elder people).
-Pigmentation- without applying any makeup, have a look at your skin closely. Are there any areas that look a little darker, a little lighter, or just a different shade to the rest of your face? If you have areas of patchiness/skin discolouration, this is a sign of pigmentation.
-Blemishes can be anything from a spot, a raised spot underneath the skin, a spot that has either a black or white head on it, a cluster of spots or areas of redness that have been cause by a spot etc.
-Milia look very similar to whiteheads. They can come in all sizes but are generally quite small and round which is why they are quite commonly mistaken for whiteheads. They are most commonly found around the eyes, eyelids, under the eyes and down towards the cheeks in some cases. They can be removed by your local GP which is completely painless and some beauty salons may perform this treatment too so if you have a local salon, ask for help! I am trained in it and remove my mums all the time at home so don't panic!

Normal Skin
People with normal skin types have very balanced skin. If you have normal skin, you will tend to find that:
  • Your pore size is small or medium
  • Your moisture content is good
  • Your skin texture is even, neither too thick, nor too thin
  • Your colour is healthy
  • Your skin elasticity is good
  • Your skin pigmentation is even-coloured
  • Your skin is usually free from blemishes
Dry Skin
Dry skin is more often than not, dehydrated too. Dry/dehydrated skin is a result of moisture being lost from the skin. This can also be due to a lack of sebum in the sebaceous glands. Sebum is like a natural oil that prevents moisture from leaving the skin, and helps keep the skin supple. Dry skin characteristics are:
  • Your pores are small and tight
  • You have little moisture (skin feels dry, and dry to touch)
  • Your skin texture is coarse and thin, sometimes with visible patches of flaking
  • Skin can feel sensitive (you may react to products often), broken capillaries (small red veins appear in the thinner areas of your face- FYI I have broken capillaries all over my cheeks!)
  • You show signs of premature ageing, usually in the form of fine lines and wrinkles around the eye area
  • Pigmentation may be uneven. (Those who have freckles commonly have dry skin!)
  • Milia may be seen on the skin
Combination Skin
Combination skin is a mixture of dry and oily skin. The oily areas are generally the nose, chin and forhead (T-Zone area) and sometimes the upper cheeks. The remainder of the face and neck is dry. If you have combination skin, your skin will show:
  • Enlarged pores in the T-Zone area
  • Small to medium pores in the cheek area
  • High moisture content in the oily areas, low moisture content in the dryer areas
  • Skin lacks colour and a healthy circulation- can sometimes appear grey, but shows sensitivity and redness in the dry areas
  • Good skin tone in the oily areas, but poor in the dry areas
  • Uneven pigmentation
  • Blemishes, white heads and black heads in the T-Zone area
  • Milia and broken capillaries in the dry areas
  • Skin is thick and coarse in the oily areas, but thin in the dry areas
Oily/Greasy Skin
Interesting fact #1: oily skin is caused by the same  gland which causes dry skin-the sebaceous gland! Oily skin happens as a result of the sebaceous glands under the skin producing too much sebum. This is then layed onto the skin, causing a greasy/oily surface. Interesting fact #2: It is a build up of the sebum within the sebaceous glands which cause pimples, whiteheads and cysts to appear on the skins surface!
How else can I tell I have oily skin?
  • Your pores are enlarged
  • The moisture content is high
  • Your skin is coarse and thick
  • The skin is sallow in colour as a result in excess sebum production, dead skin cells becoming embedded in the sebum, and the skin has sluggish blood and lymph circulation. ('Lymph' relates to the 'lymphatic system.' Find out more about it here if you are interested!)
  • The skin is prone to shininess
  • The skin tone is good
  • Uneven pigmentation
  • Comedones (blackheads), large/medium and  small whiteheads, cysts and milia are extremely common
Notes for Oily skin types:
If you are a teenager, more specifically a boy, skin more often than not tends to be oily. This is due to a the stimulation of the male hormone androgen at puberty. Oily skin tends to reduce down into your twenties.

You may find that your skin shows additional signs of the following:

Dehydrated skin: Often found on dry or combination skin types. You will also find that your skin:
-Has a fine orange-peel effect, caused by the lack of moisture
-The skin is flaky
-Fine lines are seen on the skins surface
-Broken capillaries (small thread veins which are red in colour and are seen on the surface of the skin)

Sensitive Skin: Often accompanies dry skin types. Your skin will show signs of:
-High colouring (usually red or pink)
-Broken capillaries on the cheeks
-Skin feels warm to touch
-Flaking on the skins surface
-Tightness after cleansing the skin

So there we have it. Your total guide to giving yourself a DIY facial analysis! My advice is to wash your face with a proper cleanser (not a face wipe) and give it a once over with some toner. Do not apply your moisturiser, as it will allow you to work out if you have dehydrated skin or not. Then and only then, should you carry out your skin analysis!

Your next step- Investing in a brand
Now you are clear on your skin type, you need to start purchasing your chosen products. A few great brands that I can swear by are: Garnier, Nivea, Simple, Loreal, La Roche Posay, Bioderma, Origins, Emma Hardie, Chanel and I am soon to try out Clarins which I have heard great things about! Forget all about serums and masks and eye creams and everything else. All you need to invest in for now is a cleanser, toner, exfoliator and a moisturiser. If you want more information on why and what they do, I have a 3 step skincare routine which you can find here with all that information. Until you are happy and comfortable with that, you can learn about all the other stuff another time and I have a blog post in mind so keep posted!

If you found this post helpful or have any other questions then I'd love to hear from you! Please leave me a comment below, or even send me a tweet! (You can tweet/follow me here, I spend most of my time on twitter). For my Facebook page, click here, and to find me on Instagram daily, just click here! To see what products I am currently using to remove my makeup at night and how I do it, just click here!



  1. This post is so helpful, thank you so much, i think i have an oily skin, i put some creams to arrange this, and try to put some creams to keep me out of acne, but anyway, it's hard...

    Thank you for the post


  2. Thank you! I'm glad you have got something from it. If you suffer from acne sometimes it helps using a spot cream (la Roche posay effaclar duo is quite good you can pick one up in boots) however be careful if you have sensitive skin or areas of dryness as it could inflame your skin and make it worse. If your blemishes are not going down it might be worth considering this! Going back to basics is probably your best bet and remember it takes 4 weeks before you will notice any different in your skin as the 'skin cycle' is 4 weeks long xxx


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