The Five Basic Skin Types

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There is no shortage of products available to target an array of different skin types. From oily to sensitive, dry to combination, how do you know what kind of skin type you have? Properly identifying what your skin type is will help prevent wasting money on products that are not meant for you.

The good news is that we can essentially break down every skin type into five categories. Typically your skin will only fall into one of the five categories. This list below is meant to be used as a general guide and please keep in mind that it’s possible that your skin type can change over time. Read more to learn about the five basic skin types from the experts at SomaSou MedSpa.


Combination skin types can be difficult to pinpoint. A general rule of thumb is that combination skin is dry in the winter and oily in the summer. Combination skin can also produce varying amounts of oil in different parts of the face, meaning one section may be more oily than others. Combination skin can include a more oily forehead and nose (where your oil glands are located) and then a drier section on your cheeks and near your mouth.


Dry skin is extremely common, especially in the warmer months. Dry skin is often covered in a layer of dead skin cells. When light reflects off these dead skin cells, it can make your face appear dull. In contrast, when your skin is hydrated and smooth, it reflects light evenly. There are many contributing factors that lead to dry skin and they are usually self-induced. If you overuse exfoliating products like salicylic or glycolic acid, they can dry out your skin over time. Prolonged sun exposure can also cause your skin to dry out. Keep in mind that our skin naturally dries out more as we age because of hormones. You can combat dry-looking skin by always staying hydrated.


Normal skin can be difficult to define, but a basic definition is a skin type that can tolerate most things without overreacting. Normal skin is often characterized as skin that is healthy and well-hydrated. A term used to describe normal skin is “well-balanced,” meaning there’s enough moisture to balance the skin so it’s not too oily and not too dry. The common characteristics of normal skin include a soft, velvety texture that is radiant. Normal skin includes fine pores, no blemishes, and a fresh appearance. As mentioned above, normal skin can handle just about any exposure without overreacting.


Over moisturized skin can create an oily skin type, especially if you are born with larger than usual pores. Large pores indicate that you may have very active oil glands, which will secrete oil and create an “oily” look. Oily skin is not ideal, as it can lead to frequent breakouts. One way to determine if you have oily skin is if you apply a moisturizer and then experience a breakout shortly after. You need to be especially careful with finding a sunscreen that keeps your skin protected without producing too much extra moisture. 


You will quickly realize that you have sensitive skin if you use a product and immediately experience side effects. Sensitive skin is prone to inflammation, which can manifest as acne, dermatitis, rosacea, or a rash. Stinging and burning often accompany sensitive skin, especially when trying out new facial products. It’s very important to find the right skincare ingredients for sensitive skin to avoid inflammation, which can be painful. 

About SomaSou

SomaSou is Del Ray’s first MedSpa offering services to help our community enrich themselves and build confidence. “SomaSou” means “your body” and we give you options to help you feel confident about it. Start your journey by taking an active role in your well-being and schedule a free skin consultation with SomaSou today. For more information about our services or to schedule a treatment, visit our website here.

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