Expert Advice

Discover your unique skin type

Oily? Dry? Combination? The buzz around skin types can feel hard to navigate but understanding your skin type is key to finding the perfect skin care solutions for your skin’s unique needs.

What are the different skin types?

Healthy skin can be classified into five different types: dry, oily, combination, sensitive and normal. The basis for determining this is how much water your skin retains, how oily it is and how sensitive it is. Understanding how to identify which skin type you have is fundamental for creating an effective skincare routine.

What do the five primary skin types look like?

Dry skin: Dry skin is characterised by a lack of moisture, often resulting in flakiness, roughness and tightness. It may appear dull and prone to fine lines. Your skin can feel constantly thirsty and in need of a “drink”. Itchiness is also a common issue with dry skin.

Oily skin: Oily skin produces excess sebum, leading to a shiny complexion, enlarged pores and susceptibility to blemishes and blackheads. This can be a particular problem around the T-zone area — your forehead, nose and chin.

Sensitive skin: Sensitive skin is prone to redness, irritation and discomfort in response to various factors such as skincare products, weather conditions or environmental irritants. Your skin can feel reactive and break outs of rashes are frequent, making introducing new skincare an issue at times.

Normal skin: Normal skin is well-balanced, neither excessively oily nor excessively dry. It typically has a smooth texture, even tone and minimal blemishes.

Combination skin: Combination skin combines features of oily, dry and normal skin. You may have an oily T-zone (forehead, nose, and chin) while having dry or normal patches around the cheeks and hairline. It can be hard to know what skincare to reach for as some of the time you feel you’re battling shininess and other times tightness and flakiness are your key skin concerns.

Now you know what the five primary skin types look like, here is our quick and handy guide to determine your skin type.

If you need more ways to identify your skin type beyond the cleansing test, here are some more helpful tips.

How to identify your skin type

Identifying your skin type is the first step in selecting appropriate products for your needs and building a layered skincare routine that delivers results. You can identify your skin type in a few different ways:

Observation: Notice how your skin feels throughout the day, paying attention to any tightness, shine or dryness. Skin that seems to appear shinier throughout the day is likely to be quite oily, whilst flaky patches and a feeling of tightness or dehydration signify drier skin types. Feeling like you have a mix of both flakiness and shine? This probably means you have combination skin. If you don’t notice flakiness or shine, it’s likely you have a balanced or ‘normal’ skin type. Do you regularly find your skin reacts to varying weather conditions or environmental changes? If so, you may have sensitive skin.

Cleansing test: How does your skin feel after cleansing? You may notice your skin becoming even drier and feeling tight, which would indicate you have dry skin. Or if on the other hand your skin appears even shinier, it would suggest you may have an oilier skin type. A mix of these reactions would probably point towards combination skin, while skin that doesn’t have much of a reaction means you are likely to have normal or balanced skin. If you regularly notice redness, discomfort and rashes after cleansing, you probably have sensitive skin.

Patch testing: Introduce new products gradually and monitor your skin’s response. The way your skin reacts will indicate your skins level of sensitivity.

Consultation: For a comprehensive evaluation of your skin type, it’s always best to seek guidance from a skincare professional. You can do this with our dermatologist-grade Pro-Derm Scan technology – a personalised in-store consultation service to help you see and understand your skin, so our advisors can recommend the best products. Or, you can speak to your GP or a healthcare professional if you have any concerns.

Challenges in identifying your skin type

Identifying your skin type can be challenging due to various factors. These can include variations in the weather or season, environmental changes, hormonal impact and product interactions.

Weather variations: Your skin may behave differently in different climates or seasons.

Hormonal changes: Hormones can influence skin behaviour, making it challenging to pinpoint a single type. You may notice your skin type changing throughout your monthly cycle, with the various fluctuations of hormones.

If in doubt, our in-store Pro Derm Scan can help take the mystery out of sussing out your skin type.

So what’s the best way to approach a skincare regime for my skin type?

Alongside our already comprehensive selection of No7 skincare products, we’re introducing No7 Derm Solutions — the perfect fit whatever your skin type. Our all-new collection brings you a range of products that combined with our one-of-a-kind Pro Derm Scan skincare service, offered by our CIBTAC endorsed Beauty Advisors, will rehabilitate the nation’s skin once and for all. Your road to skin recovery starts here.

Dry skin: What helps dry skin? To address dry skin, use products that provide deep hydration. Our all-new No7 Derm Solutions Calming Gel Cleanser removes impurities, excess oil and make-up, without drying, whilst our No7 Derm Solutions 100hr Hydration Cream, is particularly great for soothing and hydrating sensitive dry skin. You may want to learn how to layer skincare and think about an eye cream for dry skin such as our No7 HydraLuminous Eye Hydrator also.

Oily skin: For oily skin, opt for lightweight or non-comedogenic products that help to control excess sebum. Our No7 Derm Solutions range includes a Lightweight Hydrating Moisturiser proven to soothe and hydrate blemish-prone skin, providing 100 hours of hydration without increasing oiliness. We also recommend trying the all-new Clarifying Treatment which exfoliates to clear pores, removes surface dead skin cells and is clinically proven to deliver clearer-looking skin. Our No7 Laboratories Resurfacing Peel 15% Glycolic Acid is also a product to bear in mind for clarifying pores, with 90% of women saying a professional peel could wait after using.*

Sensitive skin: Sensitive skin requires gentle, calming products. No7 offers a selection of sensitive-skin-friendly options such as our Hydraluminous and Menopause Skincare ranges to soothe and protect your skin. The No7 Derm Solutions Comforting Cream Cleanser is proven to help restore comfort and help maintain skin’s delicate moisture barrier.

Normal skin: Normal skin still needs love and affection to keep it looking and feeling happy and healthy. No7 offers a variety of products suitable for maintaining and enhancing your skin’s natural balance. Our No7 Derm Solutions Skin Balancing Serum has been created with a unique antioxidant complex including vitamin C, vitamin E and green tea, and is clinically proven to restore and maintain the skin’s natural balance, making it a great choice for all skin types.

Combination skin: Combination skin requires a tailored approach, addressing both oily and drier areas. The ADAPTPRO™ triple action complex developed for our No7 Derm Solutions range contains niacinamide, ceramide and adaptogens, perfect for helping to balance combination skin.

Incorporating the right skincare products, tailored to your skin type, is the key to achieving a healthy, radiant complexion. Explore No7’s extensive product range to find the perfect solutions for your specific skin needs.

Learn more about our new No7 Derm Solutions range

No7 Derm Solutions is an expert skin range proven to improve the appearance of skin concerns often caused by hormones and restore skin’s moisture barrier leaving it hydrated and balanced. We help you understand, treat and care for your skin in three easy steps:

1. Understand 

Including our dermatologist-grade Pro-Derm Scan technology, No7’s personalised consultation service helps you see and understand your skin, so our advisors can recommend the best products.

2.Target skin issues

Our range of highly effective targeted solutions are expertly designed to reduce the appearance of blemishes and relieve and treat dryness, sensitive skin and redness, often caused by hormones.

3. Care & maintain

Our dermatologist approved cleansers and moisturisers are designed to work alongside your treatment, tailored to your skin type. Rich in skin-nourishing ingredients and our exclusive ADAPTOPRO™ complex, our triple-action formulas will:

  • Strengthen: with niacinamide, to strengthen skin’s natural barrier.
  • Hydrate: with ceramides, to lock in moisture for 100 hours.
  • Rebalance: with adaptogens including phytoestrogen rich red clover, to target visible signs of hormonal skin fluctuations.

Explore No7 Derm Solutions product range

*Consumer testing on 77 women, considering a peel treatment at a clinic, at 6 weeks.

No7 Beauty

No7 Beauty

Writer and expert