Dry, Combination, Oily or Sensitive? Let’s Figure it Out

Dry, Combination, Oily or Sensitive? Let’s Figure it Out

Many women and men can spend half a lifetime thinking they have a different skin type than they actually do. An excess production of oil might convince someone she has oily skin. Redness and dermatitis might convince someone they have delicate and sensitive skin.

But understanding your skin type is not a black and white science. More often than not many people have combination skin types, but have no idea how to recognize it. Often the t-zone is more oily in someone with drier skin, but they might mistake themselves for having oily skin. Sometimes after too much sun our skin dries out, making one believe she might have more sensitive or dry skin. Understanding the true nature of your skin can help you discover how to take care of it so that you can fully find your skins potential.


There are a couple ways one can test what kind of skin one has:


1. The bare-faced test. Wash your face and neck with your favorite cleanser. Make sure to completely remove all make-up, and excess dirt and grime. Afterwards, wait about 1 hour. Does the skin feel tight? Do you notice any shininess? Here’s what your skin might be telling you:

  • Dry skin will feel tight, with minimized pore size, and with no shininess.
  • Oily skin will have a prominent noticeability of shine and noticeably larger pores.
  • Combination skin will have shininess on certain areas (like the T-zone), while other areas might feel tight.
  • Sensitive skin will feel a bit tight, and might exhibit some scaliness, and red patches.
Blotting Sheets

2. The blot test. Some OTC skin care lines at your local pharmacy will sell something called “blotting sheets.” These are little thin sheets that can help absorb oil, but they are also very telling if you have oily skin (or otherwise) overall. At the end of the day, take two blotting sheets and press one sheet on your t-zone, and the other all over your face.
  • Dry skin will have almost no amount of oiliness, but only a bit focused in the t-zone area.
  • Oily skin will soak both blotting sheets with oil, and leave the blotting sheets virtually transparent.
  • Combination skin will have more oil in the t-zone, but very limited amounts over the rest of the face.
  • Sensitive skin will have light oily spots, but will not make the blotting sheets transparent.
Outside of these two primary tests, here’s the general breakdown of each skin type and how to determine what kind of skin you might have if you still feel confused!


Dry skin. Caused by genetics, misuse of products, weather, hormones, or lifestyle changes, dry skin can be sensitive, tight, and even itchy. Many people think they have dry skin because they use products that have a high percentage of alcohol, or are using cleansers that strip the skin. Those with dry skin are more likely to recognize symptoms of dermatitis or eczema.

How to deal? Dry skin requires occlusive products (meaning products that contain ingredients that helps moisture stay in the skin). After showering or bathing, apply richer creams or products with hyaluronic acid, like our Cellular Repair Day or Night Cream Complex. Apply products while the skin is still damp. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water, as dry skin can often become dehydrated much more easily.



Oily skin. You tend to shine, you feel a natural slip to your skin when you touch it, and nothing ever feels like it’s cleaning your skin deeply enough (cue the overuse of foaming cleansers!) Oily skin is easy to spot, and does not require as deep cleaning as most would expect, but instead, requires more nourishment than anything else.

How to deal? Having oily skin is not actually such a negative trait  - on the contrary, you are less likely to show aging when you have naturally oily skin. Try to avoid heavy mineral oil, and make sure to use nourishing masks and masks that draw out impurities like our Antioxidant Black Mud Mask. It’s also important to keep skin hydrated, but with lighter moisturizers, like our Skin Balance Revitalizing Gel Cream.


Combination skin. Confusion is the skin care game when it comes to combo skin. Fluttering from product to product, some parts of your skin feel oily while others dry. Some parts are even feeling sensitive! This confusion is normal to someone with combination skin, and is more common than one would think. Most commonly, the t-zone is more oily than the rest of the face.

How to deal? Spot-treatments are your saving grace if you’re a combo skin type. Using a combination of different product types is going to be the most helpful in balancing the skin, and also avoiding harsh ingredients like alcohol. Don’t use overly stripping cleaners as well with combination skin, as this can upset the balance. Our favorite products for combination skin include the Moisturizing Balance Toner, or our Vitamin D Serum, both choice products that help balance the skin and promote youthfulness.


Sensitive skin. A product of genetics, environmental factors, or the result of allergies or sensitivities, sensitive skin will be more prone to redness, dryness, dehydration, tingling, itchiness, stinging, and flakiness. Making sure to use gentle products that are full of calming ingredients is key in maintaining a soothed and even skin tone, something those with sensitive skin often battle with.

How to deal? Try to avoid using harsh chemicals and makeup, and stick to products that are more natural and gentle. Non-foaming cleansers, moisturizing masks, soft serums and oils are positive go-tos with sensitive skin. Our Collagen Boost Repair Mask and our Active Vitamin D Serum are great additions to your daily skin routine when you have sensitive skin.


At Arianna we offer phone consultations as well as in-person meetings to help you determine your skin type and how to care for it. Simply follow the link below to our webpage regarding out locations, and we’ll be ready and willing to help you discover your true skin.

Book your complimentary IN STORE skin consultation.

Book your complimentary PHONE consultation.

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