Ever wondered what your skin type is? We’ll help you understand your skin type in order to customize your skin care routine to better suit your individual needs.
Have you ever tried the “most amazing skincare product” but it does nothing for your skin or even makes your skin worse? When it comes to skincare, it's not a one-size-fits-all magic solution because everyone’s skin is unique and its needs can often change as a result of hormonal, seasonal, and lifestyle factors.
This can make it challenging to figure out your true skin type and many people might misdiagnose their skin types! Understanding your skin type is vital in helping you choose the right facial cleansers or face moisturizers which are key products to healthy, glowing skin!
What’s the difference between skin types and skin conditions?
One of the main differences is that everyone has a skin type, but not everyone has a skin condition. Skin types are mostly predetermined by your genes while skin conditions can refer to temporary conditions of your skin.
Some skin conditions can arise from genetic factors but also can come from things such as hormones, environmental, lifestyle factors and they can span across different skin types. Some of the common skin concerns include dehydration, sun damage, signs of aging, acne, breakouts, redness, and hyperpigmentation.
How to determine your skin type?
The first step toward figuring out your skin type is to make your skin test-ready to ensure an optimal result. Analyze your skin care routine and look for ingredients and products that commonly cause skin problems and see if you’re using wrong products or missing a critical step in your routine.
For example, using comedogenic ingredients for acne-prone skin or harsh chemicals on sensitive skin or even skipping the exfoliating step in your beauty regimen. Fix these underlying issues you’ve found and let your true skin type reveal itself. Now you are ready to do a simple test to identify your skin.
- Step One: Do a double cleanse! Use an oil-based cleanser or makeup remover to remove all traces of makeup, excess sebum, or other oil-soluble debris. Followed by a mild face cleanser to cleanse the residues left behind.
- Step Two: Gently pat dry and leave your skin bare – don’t apply any products such as toners, moisturizers, or serums.
- Step Three: Wait for at least 30 minutes.
- Step Four: Examine closely how your skin feels and determine your skin’s unique characteristics.
⭐️ Dry Skin
If your skin feels tight or itchy and rough year-round, especially after cleansing, and drinks up the face moisturizer, you probably have dry skin. There may also be scaly patches or flaking and you may suffer from premature wrinkles or irritation to the skin.
Some causes of dry skin can include many factors such as your genetics, a hormone imbalance, aging, sun exposure (UV), hot showers/baths, indoor heating (think winter), over-exfoliating, harsh ingredients form cosmetics, soaps, and cleansers.
Dry Skin vs Dehydrated Skin?
It’s important to understand there’s a difference between dry skin and dehydrated skin. Many assume that dry skin is a lack of moisture, but dryness is caused by a lack of oil, natural moisturizing factors (NMFs), which are naturally produced in healthy skin.
This includes amino acid and urea, which helps bind water into the skin and increase the skin’s protective moisture barrier function. Dry skin is used to describe a skin type, and dehydrated skin is caused by a lack of water and is a temporary skin condition that can affect all skin types. ( Want to learn Moisturizing vs Hydrating? )
Some common characteristics of dry skin can include:
- Almost invisible pores
- A feeling of tightness
- Red, mild scaling or flakiness in patches
- Dull complexion with low skin elasticity
- More visible fine lines
Skin Care Tips for Dry Skin
When it comes to combating dryness, using thicker moisturizers with rich texture can help. In general, these face creams generally contain greater oil content and choose products with hyaluronic acid (often labeled as sodium hyaluronate), glycerin, shea butter, and ceramides.
Stay away from alcohol-based products or harsh facial cleansers instead use a detergent-free gentle cleanser or soap. Stick to fragrance-free beauty products as dry skin is likely to be irritated by certain chemically created fragrances.
Regular exfoliation with gentle, non-abrasive ingredients helps to flake and promotes skin cell turnover without stripping with skin’s natural oils. Just be wary of over-exfoliating and keep it to one or two times a week.
Using hydrating sleep masks or sheet masks regularly can help to keep your skin soft and supple. You can also make changes in your everyday lifestyle and habits to ensure keeping your dry skin in better condition – avoiding long hot showers too often or even using humidifiers.
Our Pick of Korean Skincare Products For Dry Skin
A key to improving dry skin is hydrating – you should be more familiar with hydrating cleansers, heavy thick creams, ointments, and even facial oils. We love Banila Co Clean It Zero Nourishing and Aromatica Natural Coconut Cleansing Oil as a first step oil-based cleanser for double cleanse. Your skin will like rich textured creams containing ceramides like Dr.Jart+ Ceramidin™ Cream, Urang Rose Ceramide Cream.
Add a humectant emollient essence or serum to your skin care regimen to boost hydration. For example, The Plant Base Waterfall Moist Balanced Hyaluronic Acid 100 contains 100% sodium hyaluronate. Or Huxley Essence Oil Essence; Essence-Like Oil-Like which is a blend of oil and essence that revitalizes skin while strengthening skin’s natural barrier.
A face mask can serve as an easy yet intensive skin treatment for giving your skin a healthy glow. Try TonyMoly I’m Real Seaweeds Mask Sheet Skin Purifying, Mediheal NMF Aquaring Ampoule Mask, or add Laneige Water Sleeping Mask to your night skincare routine.
💘 Check out 5-Step Skin Care Routine for Dry Skin
⭐️ Oily Skin
Oily skin is one of the easier skin types to tell as you tend to notice a great deal of glossy shine in their face and neck. Blotting sheets or sebum control powders are more likely your best friend and you may feel like washing your face again midday as your face may feel greasy due to excess oil.
The high oil production can leave pores congested but the good news is this makes you less prone to wrinkles and dehydration.
Common characteristics of oily skin can include:
- Enlarged pores
- Thick and shiny complexion
- Acne-prone skin
Skin Care Tips for Oily Skin
Oily skin types should require careful selection of your skincare and makeup products. Look for oil-free moisturizers, non-comedogenic products, and acne-fighting ingredients such as salicylic acid, glycolic acid, benzoyl peroxide, and tea tree.
Stay away from thick heavier creams, oil-based makeup products because your skin can only absorb so much moisture, the rest is left sitting on the surface of your skin. This can lead to clogging pores and extra shine on your face.
It’s critical to exfoliate dead skin cells that may result in pore blockages. Oilier skin is also prone to PIH(post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation) which is likely to leave you with dark spots and acne scars. Regular exfoliation helps promote cell turnover, refine skin tone and texture as well as lightening scars.
Oily skin can be dry and some acne treatments contain ingredients that can dry the skin. You can find a facial moisturizer or serum with hyaluronic acid, a humectant that can hold up to 1000 times its own weight in water – making it an excellent ingredient to help draw moisture into your skin.
Best Korean Beauty Products for Oily Skin
Cosrx Salicylic Acid Daily Gentle Cleanser and AC Collection Calming Foam Cleanser, or Pyunkang Yul Acne Facial Cleanser can be a smart skincare choice if you’re an oily skin type and are prone to blemishes. You can do an at-home chemical exfoliation one to two times per week with Benton Aloe BHA Skin Toner or Cosrx AHA/BHA Clarifying Treatment. For moisturizing, stick to an emulsion or gel-type moisturizer because thick rich cream is likely clogging your pores and your skin can get greasier.
Isntree Green Tea Fresh Emulsion is our pick for a shiny complexion. As it has an anti-sebum P(HD) technique that controls oil production and green tea contains excellent soothing and anti-inflammatory properties.
If you’re a great fan of face masks, a clay mask should be your next go-to mask. A mineral-rich clay mask can unclog pores and decongest skin in a pinch with the detoxifying and clarifying abilities of kaolin. You might want to check Klavuu Special Care Pearl Glow Mask and Innisfree Pore Clearing Clay Mask with volcanic clusters.
💘 Check out 5-Step Skin Care Routine for Oily Skin
⭐️ Combination Skin
Combination skin is the most common skin type but it can be trickier to determine as it features two different skin types on the face. Your skin will often be oily in the T-zone which includes a forehead, nose, and chin due to the high production of the oil glands.
The other parts of your face such as cheeks and jawline are likely to be dry, flaky, or normal. This skin type can change seasonally as well, so your skin might be oily in the summer and dry in the winter.
Common characteristics of combination skin can include:
- Enlarged pores and shiny skin mostly in the T-zone
- Post-blemish acne scars
- May have hyperpigmentation such as dark spots
- Acne-prone skin
Skin Care Tips for Combination Skin
Dealing with both dry and oily skin means that restoring the skin’s balance is key to healthy skin. Exfoliation is an essential part of the skin care routine for combo skin as it helps remove dead skin cells on the dry parts of the skin while clearing clogged pores as well.
Avoid harsh ingredients and products with fragrances but opt for skincare products with natural extracts such as green tea, centella asiatica, aloe vera to soothe skin irritation, and redness.
Use a pH balancing cleanser, toner, and moisturizer to even out skin and apply spot treatments on areas you get acne. A helpful tip – a more acidic pH level is better for balancing the oil in your skin. (Want to learn pH Balance in Skin?)
Korean Beauty Products For Combo Skin
Huxley Cleansing Gel Be Clean Be Moist and Cosrx Low pH Good Morning Gel Cleanser which are both pH balancing and gel-type cleansers, making a great fit for combination skin. A cult classic Korean exfoliator, Skinfood Black Sugar Wash Off Mask, can be added to your peeling step.
You might also want to try these - Pyunkang Yul Essence Toner, Missha Time Revolution The First Intensive Moist Treatment Essence, and Olivarrier Dual pH 5.5 Moist Hyaluron Essence. Never skip your moisturizer, Benton Snail Bee High Content Lotion and Belif The True Cream Aqua Bomb, both are light Gel Moisturizers that won’t clog pores or feel greasy and sticky.
⭐️ Normal Skin
If your skin is not too dry and not too oily, you have a great natural balance of oil and moisture. This is one of the least common skin types, so you’re lucky and you should thank your parents for the genes!
Well-balanced healthy skin can tolerate most beauty products without experiencing a negative reaction. This is really amazing as this means you can play and have fun experimenting with all-new face cleansers, sleep masks, and makeup products.
One thing to note is that even if your skin is tame, you may deal with occasional breakouts or other skin issues that can go away fairly quickly without persisting.
Characteristics of normal skin types can include:
- Small, not easily visible pores
- A velvety soft and smooth texture
- No severe skin sensitivities
- No signs of flaking or oiliness
- A radiant complexion
Skin Care Tips for Normal Skin
Normal skin type is one of the easiest types to care for but you have to remember that our skin can change over time due to seasons, aging, hormone level change, and life events.
If hormonal imbalances occur, you may experience dry or itchy skin or even cystic acne breakouts. It’s important to remain consistent with a regular skin care routine and most importantly with sun protection.
This type is one of the first skin types that show signs of aging and one of the main environmental factors that ages our skin is ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. This is because once they penetrate into the skin, they damage the collagen and inhibit the development of new collagen, leaving skin less firm and allowing fine lines and wrinkles to develop.
Add a good SPF 30 or greater and an anti-aging cream with ingredients like hyaluronic acid, vitamin C, ceramides, and retinoid.
Recommended Korean Skincare
If you’re a normal skin type, you’re lucky as you get to more options but just remember good skin care choices can help delay natural aging and prevent skin problems. Make a good friend with skin beneficial ingredients such as vitamins, antioxidants, and niacinamide.
Liz K Super First C Serum Pure vitamin 13% is enriched with Absorbic acid and 10 kinds of anti-aging ingredients, so please check it out! Sunscreen should be worn daily, no matter your skin types and your location – indoors and outdoors. Amore Pacific Natural Protector Broad Spectrum SPF 35 Sunscreen or Dear Klairs Soft Airy UV Essence SPF50+ PA+++ can be a great option.
⭐️ Sensitive Skin
If your skin tends to deal with a great amount of redness, skin irritation, itchy skin rashes, chances are you’ve got sensitive skin. This might be caused by genetics, environmental factors, severe allergies.
If you suffer from skin disorders or allergic skin reactions such as rosacea, eczema, asthma, atopic dermatitis, or hay fever, you’re likely to have sensitive skin.
Characteristics of sensitive skin can include:
- Skin that is easily irritated, inflamed, dry or itchy
- Frequent rashes and bumps
- Flush easily with heat
- Red, flaky patches
- Burning or stinging sensation after applying skin products, especially with synthetic fragrances and dyes
Skin Care Tips for Sensitive Skin
Finding the perfect beauty product that won’t irritate your sensitive skin can be very challenging. Unfortunately, it’s not easy to pin down a single cause for skin sensitivity; however, you may notice you develop symptoms in response to certain triggers.
Common trigger ingredients are fragrances or dyes, sulfates, parabens, and other harsh chemicals that can aggravate skin sensitivities and allergies. As sensitive skin requires cosmetic products that treat it gently while still being effective, seek out natural beauty products with fewer additives.
Choose skincare products with hypoallergenic, fragrance-free labels and those with soothing, healing, or anti-inflammatory properties such as green tea, snail mucin, centella asiatica, aloe vera, and propolis.
A great skin patch test allows you to examine your allergic reaction to a product and see if it’s suitable for your skin. Try a sample size of a product first and dab a small amount on somewhere hidden but close to areas where the product will be applied such as the jawline, side of the neck, or behind the ear.
Wait a few hours or 24 hours for a better result and look for signs of redness or skin irritation. If you can’t notice any allergic symptoms, it’s safe to add to your skincare regimen. The last thing you want is to try a new product on your entire face and have an adverse reaction.
Korean Beauty Products For Delicate Skin
You need products that are gentle to the skin, yet powerful enough to help you achieve healthy and radiant skin. We recommend Heimish All Clean Balm, I’m From Rice Toner, Purito Centella Green Level Buffet Serum, and Urang Pink Everlasting Ampoule.
If you’re prone to redness, your skin would love Benton Good Bye Redness Centella Gel and Sheet Masks or Olivarrier Emollient Extra Comfort Cream.💘 Check 5-Step Skin Care Routine for Sensitive Skin
Building Your Perfect Skin Care Routine!
No matter what your skin type is, a great daily skin care routine with the right products can help you treat and maintain your overall skin health and improve skin concerns like blemishes, hyperpigmentation, blackheads and rough patch of skin.
Finding the right moisturizer for your skin is tricky but you should understand it’s an essential part of healthy radiant skin. As your skin conditions change over time, pay better attention to its needs for it to function and look its best. This will help your skin balanced and beautifully glowing.
(Related: Why Korean Beauty & Skin Care Is So Popular? )