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How to identify your skin type: dry, oily, combination and sensitive

Our bodies and skin give us the signs we need to care for them in the best possible way. That’s why it is important to be able to identify and read those clues; for example, the ones that let us identify our skin type: dry, oily or combination.

Even though your skin type is determined by genetics, it can also vary because of external factors like temperature, sun exposure and humidity, as well as with age. That means a single person’s skin type can vary throughout their life.

The same happens with sensitive skins. According to the Piel Sana Foundation, which is part of the Dermatology Academy of Spain, sensitive skin is a term used to describe “the skin of people who present tightness, redness and flaking.” Although most common in people with dry skin, the symptoms of sensitive skin can appear as a result of stress, the use of certain products or because of changes in the weather.

Discover the main characteristics of each skin type so you’ll always know what your body is trying to tell you.

Dry Skin

Dry skin produces less sebum than is considered normal, which reduces its ability to retain moisture and protect itself from external factors.

Keep in mind: as we age, all skin types tend to become more dry.

Characteristics of Dry Skin

- Tightness

- Dullness

- Fragile

- Rough

- In some cases, the skin can become flaky and itchy 

Oily Skin

Unlike dry skin, oily skin produces excess sebum and is more prone to acne. 

Stress, hormonal changes and comedogenic cosmetics can trigger this excessive production of sebum.

Characteristics of Oily Skin

- Shiny 

- Enlarged, clearly visible pores

- Blackheads

- Acne

Combination Skin

It’s the most common skin type and, as its name suggests, it combines aspects of both dry and oily skin.

The nose, forehead and chin, also known as the T-zone, show signs of oily skin, while the skin in the cheeks and eye contour area tends to be dry.

 Characteristics of oily skin

- Clearly visible pores in the T-zone

- Tight or rough skin in the cheeks and around the eyes 

Sensitive Skin

Although sensitive skin is most common amongst children and older people, there are external factors that affect us all and which can cause skin sensitivity.

According to the Piel Sana Foundation some of these factors are: a dry and cold climate, excessive sun exposure, the use of products that can cause irritation or allergies (like fragrances and preservatives), stress and certain plants and foods.

Characteristics of Sensitive Skin

- Dry skin that is easily irritated

- Tightness

- Flaking

- Conditions like rosacea, seborrheic dermatitis and other forms of eczema can make skin more sensitive

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