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What is my skin type?

23.09.2022 | Skincare

When creating a routine, the best place to start is by defining your skin type to ensure the products you select are working with and not against your skin’s natural properties in order to effectively target your concerns.


There are four primary ‘types’ which you can define your skin by and help guide the best products to build into your routine. Read the below and see which best applies to you...

  • Oily skin : Do you have shiny skin, enlarged pores, prone to blackheads and breakout but at times your skin feels tight? 
  • Combination Skin: Do you have medium size pores, smooth texture, healthy colouring? Do you tend to be dry on the cheeks and may have some oiliness in the t- zone?
  • Dry Skin: Does your skin feel tight after cleansing? Any flakiness and dullness?
  • Normal Skin: Is your skin balanced in oil production? Are your pores barely visible? Is your skin smooth?

Be aware that, whilst your skin type tends to be dictated by your genetics, it can change over time due to ageing, hormones and also be impacted by the seasons, climate and environment you’re in. Keep an eye on your skin and adjust your routine as necessary if you notice changes. 

Now you’ve defined your skin type, here’s how best to target your routine... 


Normal skin tends to be fairly constant although may be affected by seasons. Healthy, normal skin tends to be more common in younger people and is also indicative of a healthy balanced body so is a good benchmark to notice if something changes in your wellbeing. The best routine for normal skin is focused on prevention, protection and hydration because we want to keep skin like this for as long as possible. 


  • Smooth texture
  • Unnoticable pores
  • Minimal blemishes or breakouts


  • Whilst it can be tempting to see healthy skin as a blank canvas to experiment, it’s important to keep your routine consistent and avoid anything that may imbalance or destabilize unnecessarily. Introduce new products slowly.
  • Focus on maintenance as well as targeting any other skin concerns which can still occur in this skin type such as pigmentation or dehydration.


SPF 30 - to prevent any damage to the skin barrier and offer broad spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays. 

15% VITAMIN C + EGF SERUM - a lightweight but powerful antioxidant to keep your skin healthy and protect against damage from environmental stressors such as pollution and free radicals. 

RETINOL SERUM - The go-to ingredient for skin renewal and helps target the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and boosts overall skin clarity and uneven skin tone for a brighter, more even complexion.  


Dry skin is caused by a lack of sebum as well as a lack of water in the upper layers of the skin. Be aware of the difference between dry and dehydrated skin to target your specific needs. With dry skin, we want to focus on adding the moisture back in as well repairing the skin barrier which can become compromised meaning moisture isn’t retained. The ideal way to arrange your dry skin routine is to use the AM to hydrate, protect and nourish and the PM to stimulate and treat the skin e.g  gentle exfoliation to remove dead/dry skin cells and stimulation of skincare turnover.


  • Dull
  • Flakiness
  • Redness / irritation
  • Rough texture


    • We can work from the inside out to support dry skin through our diet by introducing fatty acids that are not manufactured by the body. Oily foods such as fish, nuts, avocado, seeds, brussel sprouts will deliver oils to skin whilst Omega 3 and 6 supplements are also beneficial, especially in winter.
    • Temperature can have a significant impact on the dryness of skin. Cold temperatures, dry air conditioning or heating systems and scalding hot showers are all particularly triggering for this skin type. 
    • When it comes to routine, hydration is key. We recommend using Hyaluronic Acid Serum) as well as a moisturiser. It isn't alway necessary to use a heavy cream for dry skin - these can be great for moisturising the surface layer but also important to combine with a product with lower molecular weight to penetrate and hydrate deeper into the skin. 
    • Be careful with over cleansing which can strip the skin of its natural oils and avoid scrubs/cleansing brushes which can damage the skin barrier. You also want to ensure you cleansing with lukewarm water – not cold or too hot!
    • Carrier oils such as Rosehip Oil hydrate and nourish the skin and can be applied underneath moisturiser to seal it in.


Oat Cleansing Balm - a rich cleansing balm formulated with Oat Kernel Oil which hydrates and moisturises the skin and cleanses without drying it out. 

Hyaluronic Acid Serum - a powerful moisture-binding ingredient that works beneath the skin surface and can hold up to 1000x its weight in water.

Ceramide Night Treatment - to hydrate and plump the skin, Ceramides bind skin cells together helping the skin’s barrier feel rehydrated, supple and protected. 

Polyglutamic Acid Serum - a powerful hydrator for the skin's surface, Polyglutamic Acid can hold 4x more moisture than Hyaluronic Acid, locking in moisture and helping the skin appear instantly smoother.

PHA Toner - a gentle exfoliating formula will still work into the pores without compromising the skin  or over exfoliating. 

Q10 Serum - This antioxidant works to protect your skin, hydrate it and target signs of ageing.

Squalane Oil- A natural, super-lightweight face oil that improves skin hydration, helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and supports oil control.


Often caused by overproduction of sebum, this skin type can have visible excess oil on the skin and blocked pores which can cause increased breakouts, blemishes and blackheads. When building a routine targeting oily skin, use the AM to cleanse, protect with antioxidants and lightly moisturise. In the PM is where you can build in a double cleanse and chemical exfoliants for deeper cleansing. 


  • Excess oil on the skin’s surface
  • Large, visible pores
  • Regular breakouts and blemishes
  • Acne prone (whiteheads and blackheads) 


  • Try a double cleansing technique in the PM to first clear away dirt and then deep cleanse the pores.
  • When exercising, we recommend cleansing oily skin both before and after to stop pores becoming clogged by sweat. 
  • Despite what you might think, including Omega 3 and 6 or fatty foods in your diet will not increase oil in skin. In fact, it’s these fatty acids which are responsible for acidic PH which helps form the chemical barrier around the skin and protect it. Without fatty acids, the skin might be compromised and actually produce more oil to compensate for the loss of nutrients. 
  • It’s still important to use a moisturiser even with oilier skin types. Opt for a light moisturiser and make sure it’s non-congesting.


Niacinamide Serum - a naturally occurring B3 vitamin helps to effectively reduce excess oil, blemishes and redness. 

Beta Hydroxy Acid Serum - an exfoliator that works beneath the surface of the skin to help unclog pores, target blackheads and reduce excess oil. Use our BHA Serum or targeted Succinic Acid Blemish Treatment. 

Salicylic Acid Cleanser - our Salicylic Acid Cleanser includes an added zinc compound to create a formula that helps with oil-control, reducing blackheads and breakouts. 


This skin type typically displays an oily t-zone (forehead, nose and chin) whilst the cheeks are normal or dry but it can be a combination of any different types of skin. When approaching a routine for combination skin the key is to work on the different areas. Strategically mix and match products to deal with the different needs of the different parts of your face - treat locally and apply properly.  


  • T-zone oilier than rest of face
  • Dry/tightness during winter months
  • Pores more pronounced


  • Identify what type of combination skin you have and notice what triggers the skin to change e.g stress, sleep, diet, hormones.
  • Be aware that there are no products that technically work on combination skin so deep dive into the ingredients to make sure it’s what your skin needs. 
  • Using chemical exfoliants and serums are best for targeting specific areas vs overall cleansers/foaming cleansers.


Apple Cider Vinegar Peel - antioxidant rich apple cider vinegar helps brighten and reduce redness, while minimising the appearance of pores, post-blemish marks and reducing breakouts. Use this potent treatment once weekly or fortnightly.

Kaolin Clay Mask - easily applicable to specific areas, this natural, deep-cleaning face mask uses high-grade clay to help absorb excess oil, unclog pores and remove impurities from the skin.

Multibiotic Moisturiser - helps to maintain your skin’s PH balance which, when unbalanced can show itself as accelerated signs of ageing, irritation and excessive oiliness.  


Whilst there are four main skin types, there can also be other ‘types’ that run alongside them which can also impact how you build your routine. Here are the most common: 


Sensitive skin is not really a skin type, more of a condition that can go along with other types. It tends to be due to a thinner epidermis layer which means it has less protection and is easily irritated. There is also a difference between sensitive skin and sensitized skin - sensitized skin is sensitivity as  a result of external/lifestyle factors such as over exfoliation, diet, dehydration, products and sun which causes the skin to become irritated and skin barrier damage. A routine for sensitive skin should be simple and built up gradually to recognise reactions or changes. Sensitivity is often caused by a compromised skin barrier so the main focus is to repair and protect before treating other concerns.  


  • Rashes/reactions/burning/itching
  • Flushed or red skin
  • Frequently irritated 
  • Broken Capillaries


  • For sensitive skin it’s especially important to patch test whenever introducing new products to your routine. Apply a small amount to the inner elbow or behind ear and wait for 24 hours - 48 hours.
  • A lot of factors can cause irritation in sensitive skin such as: fragrances, products/routine and active ingredients, weather e.g wind, hormones, diet, lifestyle, stress, lack of sleep. You can keep a skin diary monitoring food and activities to find patterns and triggers for reactions in the skin.  
  • If sensitivity increases, strip back to the basics - a simple cleanser, moisturiser and SPF and allow it to stabilize before reintroducing active ingredients. The earlier you treat the sensitivity, the less damage it will have on the skin barrier.
  • Be cautious of any products containing fragrances, active ingredients etc which may cause irritation.  


Oat Cleansing Balm - a rich cleansing balm that contains a high level of skin beneficial natural actives, making it a must have cleanser to soothe irritated skin and reduce redness. 

PHA Toner - a gentle chemical exfoliant for sensitive skin. Made of large molecules, it removes dead cells from the surface layer of the skin, while naturally locking in moisture.

Bakuchiol Moisturiser - a natural Retinol Serum alternative that helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and even skin tone. 


From around the age of 25+ our skin starts to change and cell, collagen and elastin production starts to slow down.  This can cause skin to lose its elasticity, develop fine lines and wrinkles and change in tone and texture. There are key ingredients which can help support these natural processes and reduce the signs of ageing. 


  • Fine lines/wrinkles
  • Sagging skin
  • Dark spots/patches


Hyaluronic Acid Serum – Keeping ageing skin hydrated is important. Dehydrated skin can decrease elasticity and suppleness causing the fine lines and wrinkles to be more visible. Hydration will also help the skin to properly reap the benefits of treatments.

Retinol Serum - aimed at reducing fine lines and wrinkles, this serum is a perfect introduction to using Retinol for those who are starting to see the signs of ageing. 

Collagen Booster - make the skin appear plumper and firmer, to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Peptide Moisturiser - helps to support natural collagen and hydrate skin, leaving skin looking youthful. 

SPF - as 97% of premature skin ageing is caused by UV exposure,this SPF offers broad spectrum protection from both UVA and UVB rays.

Want support working out your skin type? The askINKEY team are always happy to help - contact us here.

Photo of Written by one of our askINKEY skincare advisors

Written by one of our askINKEY skincare advisors

Our askINKEY team are available 24/7 on our live chat. A friendly bunch, all experts with deep product knowledge, ready to make skincare as simple as possible. Whether you are an ingredient expert or starting your journey, no question is too big or too small, no judgement or jargon, we’re here to help and be part of your journey.