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The 4 Main Skin Types: How to Identify & Care For Them

July 18, 2023

The four main skin types are normal, oily, dry, and combination. But how can you identify which type your own skin is? And how do you care for each of these skin types? We’ve got you covered! We’re going to break down what each of these skin types looks like and then how to take care of them.

By: Mackenzie, Licensed Esthetician


Before Identifying Your Skin Type

As a start in helping to identify what type of skin you have, I suggest washing your face and not placing any product on your face for at least half an hour. This will give you a better base to evaluate the texture and visibility of your skin.

Once you’ve done that, use our guide below in helping you identify which skin type you are!

Normal Skin

Normal skin means your skin is in balance. Your skin will feel neither dry nor oily. It is not prone to breakouts, flakiness or feeling greasy or tight. Pores will appear small, and skin texture is smooth and less prone to breakouts. 

What does normal skin look like?

  • Radiant complexion, little-to-no blemishes 
  • Smooth texture, small pores 

How to take care of normal skin:

  • Use a gentle cleanser, moisturizer, and SPF
  • Stay Hydrated 
  • Remove your makeup before sleeping and double cleanse at night (even if you do not wear makeup)
  • Moisturize

Even those with normal skin should strive to maintain healthy skincare habits. While you may be less prone to breakouts or enlarged pores than some other skin types, it’s still just important to have a basic skincare routine.

photo of Osea Ocean Cleanser box next to the Osea Ocean Cleanser bottle

Oily Skin

This is primarily a result of excessive sebum production. The skin will appear greasy and shiny. Oily skin types are prone to suffer from acne, large pores, and blackheads. 

What does oily skin look like?:

  • Big pores, Shiny appearance 
  • Prone to breakouts, Blackheads, blemishes 

How to take care of oily skin:

  • Moisturize regularly. If the skin is dry this will actually produce more sebum to overcompensate the dryness of your skin. 
  • Do not over-exfoliate the face. Over-exfoliating can lead to dry and irritated skin.  
  • Wash your face morning and night. Make sure you are double cleansing at night whether you wear makeup or not. 
  • Stay hydrated 
  • Look for non-comedogenic makeup, Wash with gentle soap and semi-warm water 

If none of these seem to be doing the trick I would suggest finding a face wash with salicylic or glycolic in it!

Dry Skin

This occurs when there is a lack of moisture in the skin. Dry skin lacks to produce less oil and lacks vitality. 

What does dry skin look like?

  • Uneven or rough textured skin 
  • Skin feels/looks tight
  • More visible lines 

How to take care of dry skin:

  • Moisturize your skin regularly (I would suggest using a thicker moisturizer) 
  • Do not wash your face with super hot or super cold water. Lukewarm water is the best. When drying skin after washing, pat lightly—do not scrub water off. 
  • Drink lots of water
  • Use sunscreen daily to prevent your skin from getting dehydrated. 

Combination Skin

Combination skin is when the face is both dry and oily. The t-zone is where things tend to be more oily, whereas the cheeks will lean more on the dry side.

What does combination skin look like?: 

  • T-zone (forehead, down the nose to the chin) is oily, while your cheeks are dry.
  • Skin tends to be oily in the summer and dry in the winter. During the transition months (spring and fall) that’s when it’s more likely for your t-zone area to be oily and your cheeks to be dry. 
  • Hormone fluctuations can also determine whether or not your skin is oily or dry. 

How to take care of combination skin: 

  • Use a mild salicylic cleanser (one that is not harsh and that will not dry your face out more). Oxygen Infusion by Skinbetter is my favorite go-to cleanser. 
  • Add exfoliation into your routine but be mindful of it. Over-exfoliating the skin can actually cause irritation and can make the skin dry.
  • Make sure you are staying hydrated—drink your water.
  • Still, use moisturizer & double cleanse your skin at night. 
two Atalo Aesthetics practitioners smiling while hugging

Not sure which of these skin types you are? Schedule a consult!

If after reading through all of this you’re still a little lost on which of the four main skin types you are—don’t worry, we can help! Here at Atalo Aesthetics in Cincinnati, OH, we offer complimentary skincare consultations. You’ll sit down with one of our providers and they’ll assess your skin to help identify which type you best align with.

That way we can then recommend the best skin care products (and potential treatment plans) suited for your skin type. Just fill out our new patient inquiry form here and we’ll be in touch to get your complimentary consultation scheduled!

If you’re new to skincare, click here to watch our video on how to start building a healthy skincare regimen!