What skin type do I have?

By Alison Angold CIDESCO ITEC

Lady with several magnifying glasses pointing at her skin. What skin type do I have?

With so many skincare products available and a new wonder ingredient being revealed all the time, it’s so difficult to know what products to use and which is going to have the greatest benefit to our skin.

But before we can decide on what to use, we must be able to determine ‘what skin type do I have?’ By doing this we can at least narrow down the products that we can choose from! And by identifying our skin type, we can see what is happening within the skin, and choose the ingredients that will be most effective.

We are all born with a skin type and this generally does not change throughout our lives. However there are various factors that affect our skin and can give us different skin conditions.

Lets first take a look at these factors that can change our skin;

What affects our skin condition?

UV Rays


UV rays are in the atmosphere every day, not just when the sun is  shining.  Although sunshine has a positive effect on the mind and produces a tan, thus inducing a feeling of well being, it unfortunately causes skin burning (caused by UVB) and skin ageing (caused by UVA).  It is important to use a an SPF factor every day! I cannot stress this point enough!



Smoking slows down cell respiration, meaning it restricts the amount of nutrients that the cells receive.  It also makes the removal of waste products less effective.  Smoking produces a chemical that destroys vitamin C, which interferes with the production of collagen therefore causing premature ageing.



  • Dull skin
  • Dehydrated skin

Caffeine can affect the skin if consumed in large quantities (more than four cups per day) by blocking the absorption of nutrients.  This means that the skin cells are not receiving the nourishment they need to renew themselves.



  • Dehydration
  • Dull skin
  • Broken capillaries – more sensitive skin

Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the body and skin.  It also  prevents the absorption of certain vitamins.  If you drink a lot of alcohol you will often find that excessive numbers of broken capillaries are developed, along with sluggish skin, that leaves the skin looking much older.

Poor diet/water intake

Photo by Isaac Taylor from Pexels.  Fast food - a poor diet causes skin to look dull and dry.


  • Dull skin
  • Sallow skin – a slight yellow tone or uneven colour to the skin
  • Dry skin – due to lack of essential ‘good’ fats
  • Dehydration

The foods we eat can have a big effect on the condition of our skin. If our body is not nourished with foods containing anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids then the skin can become dull and sallow, due to the skin cells not being nourished enough. Similarly not drinking enough water can cause the skin to become dehydrated and dull.



Hormones can play havoc with the skin! At various times of our lives hormones can increase, decrease and fluctuate.

Skin conditions

So before we delve into the skin types, lets take a quick look at the skin conditions that we might find. When analysing your skin, take note of any of these that you come across and then you should have a good idea of what your actual skin type is.

  • Broken capillaries – small thread veins under the skin’s surface
  • Spots – Red lumps on the skin; an inflammation of the oil gland
  • Whitehead – White pus filled lump; a spot that has become infected
  • Blackheads – a black dot on the surface; a pore blocked with dead skin cells and oil
  • Lines and wrinkles – caused by the depletion of collagen so the skin is not supported and begins to literally ‘cave in’
  • Open pores – these look like tiny holes in the skin, that stretch due to the excess oil being secreted or due to the skin loosing elasticity
  • Loss of elasticity – the collagen and elastin in the skin are depleting so the skin looses its firmness and begins to sag.
Broken capillaries
Broken capillaries
Spots on skin
Blackheads on skin
Lines & wrinkles on the skin
Lines & wrinkles
Open pores on the skin
Open pores

What are the 4 main skin types and how to look after them.

There are 4 main skin types. Normal. Dry. Oily. Combination.

Skin conditions that accompany these are: Sensitive. Dehydrated. Mature. THESE ARE NOT SKIN TYPES!! This is a common misconception. These are additions to the main skin type.

So for example you can be oily & dehydrated, or oily & sensitive, or oily & mature. Hopefully this makes sense so that you begin to understand your skin better and therefore understand its needs.

What does a NORMAL SKIN look like?

To have a completely normal skin is very rare. A totally normal skin is usually on a very young skin before hormones start whizzing around or make-up is being worn. However, areas of our skin can be normal if there are no other major skin conditions in these areas.

  • Good skin tone and texture – smooth to the touch.
  • Even colour – no areas of redness, pigmentation, or darker patches
  • No visible pores
  • Smooth & supple – excellent elasticity and firmness
Young girl with clear skin

What does a DRY SKIN look like?

The sebaceous glands (the glands that produce our skin’s natural oil) of this skin type are under-active and do not produce sufficient oil so the skin lacks moisture. This skin will often have:

  • Extreme dry skin will have flaky patches on the surface
  • Your skin will feel tight and uncomfortable, especially as the day progresses
  • The surface will feel rough
  • Possibly broken capillaries
  • Signs of ageing – lines, wrinkles and sagging skin.

How to treat dry skin

  • Layer products to allow each product to absorb
  • Use a cleansing balm
  • Use a glycolic toner to keep the surface of the skin smooth
  • Exfoliate at least twice a week
  • Use hyaluronic acid to add extra moisture
  • Start using a retinol to prevent signs of ageing
  • Use a facial oil in the evening to nourish and protect

For a more in depth look at dry and itchy skin, see HERE

What does an OILY SKIN look like?

An oily skin has overactive sebaceous glands, which can controlled by the hormone levels.  Common characteristics that you will see all over the face on this skin type are:

  • Open pores
  • Blackheads
  • Spots – either red ‘blind’ spots or whiteheads
  • A greasy shine – due to the excess oil

How to treat oily skin

To read more about hormonal acne read HERE

What does a COMBINATION SKIN look like?

This is a combination of 2 skin types with the skin typically having a combination of oily and dry/normal skin. We have more oil producing glands across our forehead and down the nose and chin, which is why we tend to get more oily in this area.

How to treat a combination skin

Treat the most prevalent type first. If it more oily, then choose products to suit this and vice versa for dry skin. There are many suitable products that treat both dry and oily skin at the same time, by balancing out the levels of oil in all areas. These will be labelled ‘for combination skin’ or ‘balancing’.


Skin conditions

Remember, these conditions are in addition to your actual skin type. You should treat your SKIN TYPE first and add in or make changes to treat these conditions.

Sensitive skin

Sensitivity can accompany any skin type and if present, the skin would be prone to irritation, broken capillaries or flushes & blushes easily. There are two types of sensitive skin:

Touch sensitive – is sensitive to touch, heat and embarrassment. You have this type of sensitivity if your skin turns pink after you even just wash your face.

Allergic sensitive – is prone to allergic reactions and sensitive to specific products or ingredients.

How to treat sensitive skin

  • Gently! Work out what the skin is sensitive too and avoid it
  • Use calming and soothing products to reduce and prevent redness and irritation

Dehydrated skin

The skin tissues are lacking in water. Dehydrated skin is identified by; superficial criss-cross lines, ‘crepy’ skin surface, skin feels tight, sometimes flaky

crepy skin being shown on the skin

A dehydrated skin can be caused by, lack of water intake, environment – air conditioning and central heating in the car, home or workplace would cause dehydration, medication that the client is taking, illness – especially fevers which would cause loss of fluids from the body, excessive hot flushes/night sweats in menopause.

How to treat dehydrated skin

  • Drink more water – this is THE best thing you can do for dehydrated skin!
  • Use a hyaluronic acid serum under your moisturiser – this boosts the water content in your skin.
  • Layer your products to get the maximum benefit

Mature skin

Within the beauty industry a client over the age of 25 is generally classed as mature! This is terrible right??! This only means that form this age, the factors that cause a mature skin, will start to happen.

A mature skin will show signs of some, or all of the following in varying degrees:

  • Lines & wrinkles, as the collagen depletes
  • Loss of elasticity
  • Skin slackens due to the lack of collagen
  • Broken capillaries often appear as the top layer of skin becomes thinner
  • Irregular patches of pigmentation causes darker patches
  • Blood circulation is not as efficient and therefore the skin often appears sallow
  • Metabolic rate slows down, therefore waste products are not removed as effectively and therefore the skin often looks puffy
  • Pores look more enlarged as the skin is not as tight
Mature lady showing lower half of the face and neck

How to treat mature skin

  • Hydration is key – the more hydrated a skin is, the younger it will look
  • Facial massage, not only lifts the skin to promote firmer skin, it will also remove waste from the skin, helping to reduce puffiness, and it will stimulate the oil glands to produce more oil, naturally hydrating the skin

For your ultimate guide for treating mature skin, read HERE


So, your skin will either be mainly – dry, oily, or combination.

In addition you may have, sensitivity, dehydration or signs of mature skin. You may possibly have signs of all 3 of these.

If you can determine your type and then your conditions, you will be able to treat your skin effectively. It is still a minefield with products, but hopefully I have given you some suggestions, that will help.

SHOP my favourite and recommended products here.

Still confused? CONTACT ME for a skin consultation! I will be happy to help!

About the Author
Alison Angold is a fully qualified (certified) beauty therapist, massage therapist, and aromatherapist from the UK. She has over 25 years of experience in this industry and has worked in a variety of beauty salons, spa’s as well as running her own successful beauty and massage business. Her career has allowed her to treat many, many clients, with skincare concerns, medical conditions, and a whole variety of other ailments and issues, which has enabled her to work closely with essential oils, prescribing specific blends for these clients to help with these conditions. Her qualifications in the use of essential oils and aromatherapy, allow her to share this knowledge with others, in a safe, reliable way.