What’s my skin type?

Identifying your skin type is key to curating a routine that works.Man Washing Face

Do you know your skin type? Do you identify as “oily” or “dry”? It’s important to know your skin type to get the most out of your skincare products and achieve the best results. Proper skin health is more than skin deep. Making sure that you are consuming the right foods & staying hydrated is just as important.

When you think about your skin type, most of us think of five types: normal, oily, dry, combination, sensitive. But honestly I like to remind people there are at least eight different types.

  • Normal
  • Oily
  • Dry
  • Dehydrated
  • Combination
  • Sensitive
  • First Signs of Aging
  • Second Signs of Aging

To determine your skin type, you must first understand what the characteristics of each type are.

Normal – Barely visible pores. Your skin rarely faces blemishes or pimples. It can occasionally feel dry, but not enough to classify as “dry skin”.

Oily – Your pores, especially on the nose are enlarged and visible. Your face can look shiny and feel oily.

Dry – Your skin may chronically feel tight, especially around the cheeks and corners of the lips, and your forehead can feel rough and matte. Your skin will often quickly absorb lotions or moisture. To be classified as dry skin, your skin will need to feel this way often, even shortly after applying moisturizer.

Dehydrated – This is “acute” dry skin. Your skin may have the same symptoms as listed above for dry skin, but it’s only on occasion. This could be from the weather, being in a new environment (vacationing, etc.) or from dehydration in the body. The symptoms of dry skin usually improve shortly after the cause is removed.

Combination – You could have (or not have) visible pores, especially on the nose, and your face occasionally blemishes. A characteristic of combination skin is a shiny T-zone.

Sensitive – Your skin is very reactive & prone to redness and inflammation, whether you neglect it or apply skincare products.



Oily skin is actually thirsty skin.

Most people don’t realize that having oily skin is a result of having chronically dry skin.

When your skin is chronically dry, the body overcompensates to produces more sebum to hydrate – just like it’s designed to do. To remedy this, you pick up a product designed for oily skin. As your wash away the oil, your body quickly replenishes, making you get more and more aggressive in your skincare routine to prevent the oil. All this cleansing dries out your skin even more and triggering (can you guess?) more oil!

Facial oils are important.

Facial oils are formulated to replenish your skin’s natural oils. And believe it or not, all skin types benefit from facial oil, yes, even the oily skin type.

A general rule of thumb is 1 drop for dry skin, 2 drops for normal, and 3 drops for dry skin.

Incorporating a high-quality facial oil into your skincare routine will greatly improve your skin’s health and radiance. Depending on your skin, you can figure out the best schedule. Some people benefit from using facial oil once per week, others every day.

There are two types of aging phases.

It’s natural to age. While skincare companies are spending millions to create & market the “best” anti-aging serum, companies like my all-time favorite Neal’s Yard Remedies combat this scheme by formulating products that actually help you age well.

Neal’s Yard Remedies has formulated products for the first and second signs of aging.

The first signs of aging include fine lines and wrinkles.

The second signs of aging include loss of firmness and deep lines and wrinkles.


Skin care goes further than skin deep.

If you really want to improve your skin health and create radiant, youthful appearance, you need to look further than the bathroom cabinet. Your pantry also holds the key to skin health. There are a number of healing foods that compliment specific skin types.

Normal – incorporate leafy greens, nuts and seeds. Nuts, and especially leafy greens are packed with Vitamin A (which you may know in the skincare world as retinol) which boosts your skin’s anti-oxidants and collagen levels. (4)

Oily – Incorporate spirulina, and fiber rich whole grains. Spirulina contains an anti-oxidant called Tyrosine which could help slow down the aging of skin cells. (6) Chlorophyll that is found in spirulina has properties to help your skin retain moisture. (1) (Remember when I said Oily skin is really thirsty skin?) Consuming fiber rich wholegrains can help eliminate toxins through the GI tract instead of accumulating in your pores. (2)

Dry – Incorporate coconut oil and avocado into your daily diet. Avocado’s contain omega-3 fatty acids to help fight inflammation, and loaded with vitamins A, D, and E. (3)

Dehydrated – Since dehydrated skin is more often a temporary condition, re-hydrating your body is the best way to help. Incorporating hydrating foods like celery and watermelon can help. Drink at least half you body weight in ounces of water per day.

Combination – Cucumbers and leafy greens are a quickly hydrating (for the dry part) and the vitamin A in the leafy greens can help boost collagen. Vitamin A can help remove free radicals which can help prevent loss or degradation of collagen. (4)

Sensitive – Incorporating antioxidant rich whole grains such as buckwheat could help since it’s a powerhouse of anti-oxidants, which as mentioned above, can help prevent loss or degradation of collagen. (5) Sensitive skin can sometimes be food allergy related too, so following a elimination diet, or testing for food allergies could help.

First Signs of Aging – Consuming seaweed could help combat the first signs of aging because of its anti-oxidant properties. It provides fiber and polysaccharides which support gut health. A healthy gut can better utilize collagen which could combat fine lines and wrinkles. (7)

Second Signs of Aging – Consuming gogi berries could help combat a loss of firmness and deep lines because of its anti-oxidant properties and reduce inflammation. Gogi berries could help even our skin tone and promote collagen production. (8)

Your skin changes, and it’s perfectly normal.

Over time your skin will change, and so could your skin type. Several factors will contribute to this change, of course, including geographical changes (eg. moving from the beach to the rainy northwest), hormonal (eg. menopause, polycystic ovarian syndrome, etc.), or simply aging. (9) It’s important to acknowledge that your skin has changed and to work with it. Your skin will be different when you’re in your 30’s versus your 20’s.

Accommodate it, take care of it, and love it.

-Kurt Stradtman, CFNC, CPT

If you would like a complimentary skincare consultation with Neal’s Yard Remedies, fill out the form below:

*Please note, while Vitamin A is beneficial for healthy skin, it is important to not take it as a supplement orally (besides naturally occurring in food) without first testing your levels and/or speaking with your healthcare professional. 

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