A woman with oily skin applies product to her face. She holds her hands up to her face.

Do You Really Have an Oily Skin Type?

If you’re fighting to find a makeup product that stays in place, or you make sure to bring blotting sheets when you’re on the go, you may suspect you have an oily skin type. But it turns out that identifying your skin type isn’t simple, and many people mistype their skin.

Understanding your skin type will help you better address common skin concerns and  make more informed skin care decisions.

What Are Skin Types?

There are four basic skin types: dry, oily, combination, and normal. Dry skin appears flaky, oily skin appears shiny, combination skin is dry in some areas and oily in others, and normal skin is balanced.

How to Test for Skin Type 

Your true skin type will show itself once you’ve cleansed. After cleansing with a gentle, fragrance-free face wash, don’t apply any products. Wait 30 minutes to an hour. Your skin will then either appear dry and flaky, oily, or balanced.

How Do You Know If You Have Normal Skin?

Normal skin type means you have balanced skin that doesn’t feel oily or dry. It generally has a smooth texture with small pores. In general, normal skin isn’t prone to breakouts, flaking, oiliness, or feeling tight. Normal skin also doesn’t tend to be overly sensitive.

How Do You Know If You Have Dry Skin?

Dry skin tends to have a rough texture with flaky patches of skin. Dry skin may itch or feel painful. It may sting or burn in cold climates or when exposed to the wind. Dry skin may also wrinkle when it’s dehydrated, and react to certain cosmetic and topical products as a result of its more sensitive nature.

How Do You Know If You Have a Combination Skin Type?

Combination skin is oily in some areas and dry in others. Typically, combination skin is oily specifically in the T-zone, which includes the forehead, nose, and chin. The cheeks may then be dry. Combination skin may or may not have larger pores and blackheads around oily areas and sensitivity around dry areas.

How Do You Know If You Have Oily Skin?

If your skin is shiny around the T-zone as well as other areas of the face, you likely have an oily skin type. The shine occurs as a result of excess oil sitting on the surface of the skin. Characteristics of oily skin include:

  • Visible oil throughout day (likely more so as the day goes on)
  • Enlarged pores
  • Clogged pores and breakouts
  • Makeup that “slides” or “melts” throughout the day

Points of Confusion Around Skin Types

Identifying your skin type may not be as straightforward as it sounds. In fact, there’s a lot of confusion surrounding skin types. Many people believe they have oily skin, when in reality, they don’t.

Here are facts to keep in mind before determining whether you have oily skin:

  • Oily shine solely in the T-zone is often an indicator of a combination skin type.
  • It’s normal for the skin to produce visible oil throughout the day! Having a slight shine by the end of the day isn’t necessarily characteristic of true oily skin. 
  • If you’re using drying or matting products without properly hydrating and moisturizing the skin, even normal skin types may notice increased oil production.
  • It is possible for normal or dry skin types to experience breakouts or acne.

How to Manage Oily Skin

Having oily skin doesn’t mean you have to settle for a shiny t-zone or “sliding” makeup. You can manage your oily skin by implementing these oily skin tips:

  • Apply hydrating products. Look for water-based, humectant-rich products.
  • Don’t skip the moisturizer. Instead, opt for a gel or gel-cream moisturizer.
  • Choose your cleanser wisely. While you’ll want a cleanser that effectively removes excess oil, watch out for cleansers that make your skin feel tight and dry after use. It’s also important to use a pH balanced, microbiome-friendly cleanser.
  • Look for ingredients that regulate sebum production. These include niacinamide and zinc.

Understanding the Characteristics of Oily Skin

Recognizing whether you have oily, dry, normal, or combination skin will help you develop a more effective skin care routine. No matter your skin type, always look for gentle products that protect the integrity of your skin barrier and microbiome. Even if you have oily skin, you’ll want to prevent stripping your natural oils. Opt for fragrance-free, microbiome-friendly products like the Gladskin Makeup Remover and Face Wash.